T.G. Sheppard has done it again!  His  unstoppable passion for music, alone with  his talent and ability to recognize a hit  song is showcased in his release of his song, "I Am a Song" from his new album "Midnight in Memphis".    T.G.'s  legendary talents in music have already  garnered him 21 number one hits and a ranking  among the top 100 Country artists of all time and his new release is sure to continue his chart topping history.    

T.G. knew early in his life that music was more than a hobby. He  confirmed that he did run away from his home in Humboldt, Tennessee, at the age of 15, journeying to Memphis to begin his career in earnest. HIs father, whom he resided with after his parent's  divorce, did not appreciate T.G.'s love of  music and wanted him to work  with heavy equipment in  'a real job'.   T.G. was determined that the music that resided in his soul was his destiny. 

 

Upon arriving in Memphis the young upstart found work with  various bands, developing  his stage skills, learning to put his own creative touch on the myriad of songs required to survive on the club and party circuit. Using the name Brian Stacy, he released his first record, "High School Days", which caused a few ripples on the Pop charts in 1966.  The resulting acclaim brought him gigs as an opening act for some of the most renowned acts in America, including  The Animals, Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys.  The fledgling star took another turn in his musical course in 1965, reverting to his birth name of  Bill Browder and establishing himself in the record promotion business. In a short time his natural skill and ability to recognize a hit song was honed into a skill he used in  furthering the careers of others, making him one of the industry's most successful record promoters.

 

With, his ability to know a hit song T.G.  would soon change his life forever when in 1974  he was given Bobby David's composition "Devin in The Bottle" to pitch.   His astute ability to pick a hit song had paid off for numerous artists, yet T.G. could not ignore his own musical aspirations.  He was convinced that  "Devil In The Bottle" was destined to be a hit, but had zero success in pitching the tune. After being rejected by eight record labels in 18 months, T.G. decided he would cut the song himself. 

 

Heading to Nashville, he signed with Motown, the mammoth R&B label that at that time was trying to establish a presence in Country music. When he released "Devil In The Bottle" as T.G. Sheppard while still maintaining his promoters position,  he realized very quickly which of the two jobs should get his focused attention.  In his duration of promoting records for RCA, T.G.  had also formed a close personal and professional relationship with many business insiders and famous artists including the one and only,  Elvis Presley.

 

The legendary performer appreciated T.G.'s unique style and personality.  Elvis, as a token of their friendship, gave T.G. his first tour bus in 1976,  providing T.G.  with the confidence to give up the promotion business and launch his touring full time. During this first year on the road, T.G.  scored numerous hits including "Trying To Beat The Morning Home" and "When Can We Do This Again".

 

Named "Best New Male Artist" in 1976, T.G. signed with Warner Bros. after Motown decided to get out of Country music. His career skyrocketed as Sheppard  scored 14 consecutive number one hits, including such classics as "Only One You", "Party Time", and "War Is Hell (On The Homefront)". In 1982, following this impressive accomplishment, T.G. was honored as Music City News "Most Promising Male Vocalist".

 

T.G.'s sound, a fusion of R&B rhythms, Pop arrangements and solid Country songwriting was a blueprint for Country music in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  During this time, his style remained consistent, and fans came to rely on his multitude of  recordings being well crafted, slickly produced Country, Pop rhythms,  meshed  with hievocative vocals.  T.G.'s early amazing success continued into the 1980s, as he racked up one hit

after another. His duet with Karen Brooks, "Faking Love", scored yet another number one, and "Make My Day", a duet with Clint Eastwood which was  featured in the feature film "Sudden Impact" crossed over onto the Pop charts.

Signing  with Columbia Records in 1985, T.G.  again found himself at the top of the charts.   Songs such as  "Fooled Around And Fell In Love", "Strong Heart", and "One For The Money"  charted during his Columbia days while he  worked with renowned producers Rick Hall and Bob Montgomery creating four more albums to add to his repertoire. By 1990, Country music traditionalists had come into vogue again and T.G. took a hiatus from recording  to concentrate on his live performances.   Sheppard  toured almost nonstop, touching audiences night after night with substantial  repertoire of hits, delivered with his non stop energy and with the the same enthusiasm and excitement he had as a teen.

 

T.J. 's successful foray into music promotions in his earlier years  also helped him develop a reputation as an astute businessman. In 1988, he opened his private residence in the Great Smoky Mountains as a bed and breakfast. The 160 year old log home, built high atop Moon Mountain, was an instant success and is still a popular tourist destination, although T.G. no longer owns the property.  T.G.'s firsthand knowledge of the kind of entertainment experience fans craved, made him  one of the original investors in the highly popular chain of Country nightclubs, Guitars & Cadillacs. The clubs, located throughout the Midwest, serve as showcase venues for many emerging Country singers as well as some of the format's biggest stars.

Sheppard has also served as the national spokesperson for the Folgers' NASCAR racing team for eight years and for six years he hosted "Folgers' Wakin' Up Country Tour", which headlined throughout North America.   In 1995, taking a  two year hiatus from the road, T.G. performed exclusively for eight months a year at T.G. Sheppard's Theater In The Smokies. For the first time in his extended musical career he enjoyed the luxury of going home every night after a show.   However,  the wanderlust of a  road musician soon resurfaced and Sheppard returned to the road in 1997.

T.G. has continued to record and release music throughout the years while touring, including in 2015  his album "Legendary Friends & Country Duets".   This album was a  star-studded project featuring collaborations with some of music's biggest icons including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty, Kelly Lang (T.J.'s beautiful wife) , Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Englebert Humperdink, Lorrie Morgan, Crystal Gayle, Delbert McClinton, The Whites, Mickey Gilley, Steve Cropper, Jimmy Fortune, and Wayne Jackson and the Memphis Horns.  There was also a 90 minute motion picture length DVD filmed as the sessions were recorded and has won the top award for best music documentary at the Tele Awards in Los Angeles, CA.  

Sheppard often wonders if he could have become the Country music legend he is without the huge impact of his friendship with Elvis Presley.  T.G.  remains grateful for so many memories and enjoys getting the chance to share some of them on his weekly radio show on Elvis Radio SiriusXM Channel 19. (It airs Fridays from 3pm to 6pm EST).  The show, broadcast live from Graceland, often features special guests and his first guest, when the show debuted, was Priscilla Presley.  Sheppard's radio show  was created to replace new broadcasts of disc jockey and Presley friend George Klein’s show after Klein's death in 2019.   T.G.'s release of his album "Midnight in Memphis" features two songs that honor Elvis, "I Wanna Live Like Elvis" and "The Day Elvis Died." 

 

Sheppard's fans will also be overjoyed to hear that he  has also signed a  new nine album licensing deal with Time Life which spans 25 years of hit songs.  The deal will provide  Country music fans around the world withthe reissue of  nine of  T.G. Sheppard's legendary albums making them available for download digitally for the first time.    

 

Recently in February of 2021 as part of the Springer Mountain Farms Valentine Special hosted by Dailey & Vincent, Sheppard teamed up with his talented and beautiful wife Kelly Lang for their unique rendition of “Quando, Quando, Quando.”  Other special guests who  performed included Jeannie Seely, Jimmy Fortune, Moe Bandy, Sharon White, Dan Tyminski, and a surprise appearance by the hilarious comedian, XOXO . The special night of music, laughter, and love aired on Circle and RFD-TV.

 T.G. Sheppard  also appeared recently on TBN’s Huckabee  to debut his single, “I’m A Song” from his current album "Midnight in Memphis".  T.G.  chose to release this single particular song as it is a  tribute to the many friends he has lost over the last year during the pandemic. “I’m A Song”  relays the message  that although the entertainers may be gone, their songs and lyrics will live forever in our hearts. 

 

 "Midnight In Memphis"  offers a wide array of  Sheppard's songs about love and heartbreak. His career  still soars with “The T.G. Sheppard Show” on SiriusXM Radio’s Elvis Channel.  With his continued music stardom spanning nearly five decades and a total of 21 #1 hits,   T.G. Sheppard shows no signs of slowing down.

 

The key Sheppard believes to having longevity in the the music industry is the ability to reinvent yourself as times change.   You also have to be authentic to yourself and your music and kind to others,  compassionate and willing  to help others including those starting in the music business.   Also, there is no place in any business, including the music industry  for "ego', and T.G.  believes fans make you and your fans can break you if you don't retain a humble and proper attitude.  

Charity work is also  a crucial part of T.G.'s career and a responsibility he takes seriously.  Throughout the year, he works with many of the nation's top charitable organizations such as Cerebral Palsy, Inc,  St. Jude Children's Hospital; The Alzheimer's Association; The United Way and ChildHelp USA. 

 

Sadly, T.G. has lost all of his siblings in the last year, some to accidents and other to disease, all happening within eight  months of each other.   These losses remind  T.G. that every day is a gift from the Lord and he fully intends to live the rest of his life appreciating each day given.   Sheppard truly acknowledges and treasures how blessed and fulfilled he has been in his life and music career.   

 

Sheppard is excited to emerge from the pandemic with his first live show in the last year just happening last month and  new touring dates being booked, which are found at his website tgshepharrd.com.  After being sidelined due to the pandemic,  T.G.  is emerging  with a new appreciation for being able to give live performances and loves the instant gratification that performing live gives him after each song and  is so grateful to his fans.  T.G. is also thankful that he had his wife,  Kelly Lang,  to be homebound with in their Hendersonville TN home during the pandemic as she and his faith made it possible for him to ride out the isolation. 

 

With a reputation as a solid performer who delivers exactly what audiences want,  combined with his  steadfast dedication to entertainment, T.G. Sheppard is truly one of the great legends in Country music.  T.G. Sheppard's enthusiasm for life and endless energy allows him to fulfill his unrelenting passion for music which is fully heard in  his latest album, "Midnight In Memphis"  which offers a song for everyone who loves Country music.   

 

By Deborah Gibson

Nashville Country Music Magazine ©