Ranked at No. 70 on Billboard’s list of top 100 country artists of all time, TG Sheppard will soon be making an appearance in Texoma. Having recently released his first solo album in 20 years, Sheppard is currently on tour and in the studio because he says there is still something he has to say.
The long-time friend of the late Elvis Presley, Sheppard put two songs on his new album in honor of the music legend and the other songs on the album were written by songwriters that he thought could add a different sound to his current set list.
Since he began performing in 1975, Sheppard has had 14 No. 1 hits and eight consecutive No. 1’s between 1980-1982.
Sheppard will be performing at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Rialto in Denison. Tickets are $25 for reserved seating and VIP tickets are $35. Reserved rickets can be purchased at Shawnda Rains Studios in Denison. To purchase, call 903-337-1658.
Sheppard answered a few questions about his upcoming album and performance in Denison.
Q: So you recorded your first solo album in 20 years. What was it like to get in the studio knowing that this album has been a long time coming?
A: I have done a Gospel album as well as a legendary friends album that featured the Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Mickey Gilley, Willie Nelson and others. Doing another country solo album was something I was missing though. I did not realize that I had something more to say. I wanted to wait until I had something to say. I do not just make music because the record label wants me to. I have to feel it. And, working on this album has been a blast because I am having more fun. It is less pressure because I am making the music I want to make how I want to make it.
Q: What is your writing process like? Do you begin with the end in mind?
A: For this album, I sought out a lot of great writers. And, I found all of these great songs all of a sudden. These writers are saying things in a different way. I did not do a lot of writing for this album. I left it to the writers who do it everyday. With this album, I wanted to stretch myself. I wanted to challenge myself. All artists want to show growth as an artist as well as growth as a human being. I am more spiritual now. I have always been a Christian, but now I am more spiritual. I wanted to show that with this album.
Q: Who was Elvis to you? And, what does it mean to you to have the opportunity to honor him on this album?
A: Elvis meant everything to me. He was a close dear friend of mine. He believed in me. He gave me my first tour bus. That showed a lot of confidence in me. He’s a rare individual. And, we were predestined to be friends. I told my mom when I was young that Elvis and I would be great friends. She said that was a far fetch and that for that to happen would be really rare. Low and behold, it did happen. I have never done songs about him. I have never written a book about him. I did not even set out intending to make this album a tribute to him, but I found these two really great songs and they were Elvis songs. “The Day Elvis Died” was a really important one. Everyone remembers where they were when they learned that Elvis passed. We all remember where we were when JFK passed and when John F. Kennedy Jr. passed. It is just something that we all remember. The second song, “I want to live like Elvis” was just written so well. Each line is something that Elvis did. It is a lot of fun and it is said in a unique way.
Q: You have seen a lot of changes in the music industry. Tell me about what keeps you going and what keeps you excited about touring?
A: Walking out on stage to a different crowd is what keeps me going. It is about the possibility of making a connection through a great song. You can take someone through a moment and help them get through a crisis. Music is such a healer. When someone is having a traumatic time, it gives them a mental vacation. It accomplishes that.
Seeing crowds get bigger and younger is also great. Seeing people sing to my songs, it freaks me out. It’s a whole new generation whose parents played the music and they caught on to it. Right now the crowd is really swelling for classic country artists. It’s like having a new career.
Q: What would you like people to be saying about you after your performance?
A: I want people to be thinking, “I had no idea he was that funny.” I want people to say, “Man, I forgot all the songs he had.” I enjoy the shows. I get in the moment and I really enjoy myself. I hope that people see that.