Title - 'Legendary Friends & Country Duets'
Artist - T.G. Sheppard
For those not in the know, William Neal Browder is an American country music singer-songwriter, known professionally as T.G. Sheppard. Indeed, since that name change, he has had OVER 15 #1 hits - during the 1970s and 1980s, and has now released a brand new album of some of his favorite rock and country songs, Legendary Friends & Country Duets.
Sitting in alongside him is a stellar list of country music superstars, that range from Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, Oak Ridge Boys, Lorrie Morgan, on through to Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Crystal Gayle and many, many more!
For a man who dropped out of high school and at the age of 15 ran away from home to become involved in the music industry in Memphis, Tennessee around that very same time, Sheppard's career has been nothing short of a non-stop speeding train! Indeed, with his last album, Timeless having come out back on 2004, this recording break was one of the first time Sheppard had been musically "silent" since it all began, so to speak.
But here on Legendary Friends & Country Duets we instantly rekindle our love affair with him, as he culls together some of the biggest names in country music for this stunning new album; just perfectly released for Christmas. The first tracks is the mandolin-inspired 'Down On My Knees' with the Oak Ridge Boys ("Life has beat me, plum in the ground. Can't get up, so I had to go down."), and that is backed by the harder mid-tempo rock of 'The Killer' with Jerry Lee Lewis.
The Gospel-tainted 'Why Me Lord' with Conway Twitty is a slow-jam beauty, that should resonate, lyrically, with us all, and is followed by the highly melodic 'Song Man' with Merle Haggard, the fun 'Fifteen Rounds With Jose Cuervo' with Delbert McClinton & Steve Cropper, and then the stunning piano ballad, 'The Next One' with Lorrie Morgan. The acoustic guitar on '100% Chance Of Pain' with B.J.Thomas & Jimmy Fortune sounds as fresh as anything that has come before it, and that is backed by the stellar 'It's A Man Thing' with George Jones.
'Wine To Remember And Whiskey To Forget' with Mickey Gilley is one of the highlights on this new album, for me. Composed by Tony Tolliver, the track is a sway-along standard that allows Sheppard's vocals to ooze along to the lyrics like honey. The upbeat electric feel of 'Dead Girl Walking' with Kelly Lang is another live wire cut, and that is backed by both the storytelling of 'In Texas' with Willie Nelson, and then the standard ballad, 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman' with Engelbert Humperdinck. This must-have album then rounds out with the haunting ballad 'I'm Not Going Anywhere' with Crystal Gayle, before the final tracks comes in the shape of 'If You Knew' with Ricky Skaggs & The Whites.