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Pell City teachers enjoy making music together on stage

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PELL CITY -- When this couple isn’t in front of a classroom teaching students, the husband and wife musicians are in front of an audience playing bluegrass music.

“We are very blessed,” said Heather Slaughter, who along with her husband, Shannon, recently cut a new album, “Never Just A Song,” with their band, County Clare. “We get to do the things we really enjoy, teaching and music.”

Heather, who has a master’s degree in collaborative teaching, is a special education teacher at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary in Pell City.  Shannon is a history teacher and football coach at St. Clair County High School in Odenville.

The couple lives in Pell City, not too far from where Heather grew up. The talented bluegrass singer and musician was raised in Argo and attended Springville High School.

Heather said she and her husband met through music, in Nashville, Tennessee, when she was cutting a record.

“He’s a really good songwriter,” Heather said.

And it wasn’t long before she was recording his songs.

Heather said they initially met in Nashville but went on their own separate paths. About two years later, Shannon came south to watch her perform.

“We just hit it off,” she said. “We have so much in common.”

In July, the couple will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary with their 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Rae.

The Slaughters stay busy with their careers, teaching, music, and, of course, there’s family time.

“Our daughter has completed our lives,” Heather said.

Music has always been a part of the Slaughters lives. Both grew up in families of musicians.

“My mom and dad met through music,” she said.

She remembers her mother and father performing in the basement of Black Eye Grocery in Argo. Her mother sang and her father played a guitar.

Her father taught her to play a guitar at the age of 11, and Heather later graduated to the mandolin. She sings and also plays bass now.

Shannon, who was raised in Chiefland, Florida, began playing a guitar on his own at age 8 and was soon singing in churches, livestock fairs and other venues.

Shannon started his professional music career with Lost and Found in 1992, moving to Virginia that summer. He has played with many bands during his two decades in the music business, including the Larry Stephenson Band.

He was the lead vocalist and guitarist with The Lonesome River Band before he and his wife joined up to form County Clare.

Shannon has a bachelor’s degree from Radford University and a master’s degree from Samford University.

“We are big lovers of traditional country music,” Heather said.

Their audience will hear a mix of bluegrass and traditional country music in their performances.

The husband and wife spend their time touring during the summer months when they are out of school, usually in other states. They are scheduled to play in Canada this summer, along with scheduled performances in Montana, Virginia and Indiana.

“Right now, we’re putting out records and traveling when we can,” Heather said.

The Slaughters newly release album, CD, “Never Just A Song,” features smooth voices and ultra-tight harmonies by the couple.

Eight of the 14 songs on the CD were wrote or co-wrote by the Slaughters. The single “Moonshiner” recently made its debut at No. 10 on the Bluegrass Today Weekly and at No. 20  on the Bluegrass Today Monthly Top 20 Song charts.

The CD is available at the couple’s website -- ShannonandHeather.com -- and can also purchased at iTunes or CD Baby.

If you would like to see the couple live, they are scheduled to perform at a hot dog supper fundraiser Thursday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School to help raise money for school’s special education program. The month of May is Autism Awareness Month.

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