By Joe Southern
Bill Browder is coming to perform next month at the Redneck Country Club in Stafford.
If the name doesn’t sound familiar it’s because most people know him by his stage name of T.G. Sheppard. The country music legend known for such hits as “Devil in the Bottle,” “Last Cheater’s Waltz” and “Do you Wanna go to Heaven” will perform Sept. 30.
“It’s a great, great venue,” Sheppard said in a telephone interview with the Fort Bend Star. “Michael Berry has done an incredible job making that one of the best venues in the country.”
The 72-year-old performer is still on the road, touring the country. He is also promoting a new album.
“There has been a resurgence of traditional country music from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” he said. There is a new generation turning out at the concerts and loving our music and it keeps us out there.”
He said country music has never been as diverse as it is today.
“It’s an amazing time in country music. There is something for everyone,” he said.
In his 41-year career, Sheppard has scored 21 No. 1 hits off 25 albums. None of his work has been more personally satisfying, however, than last year’s “Legendary Friends and Country Duets” album. The album was years in the making and features 16 fellow legends including his wife Kelly Lang and a few artists who have since passed away.
“George Jones, this was almost the last studio recording that he did,” Sheppard said.
Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty are also on there.
“I asked 16 or 17 of my dearest friends … and every one said yes,” he said.
It took years to coordinate schedules to get each participant into the studio with him.
“It was like a gigantic puzzle that had to be put together,” he said. “It was worth the effort, it really was. … There are some special, magical moments in the album.”
The album was much more than a labor of love for Sheppard.
“The one thing that was missing in my life was validation. I always felt accepted but I wasn’t complete,” he said. “I’m feeling complete now. I feel like I’ve done something that will make a difference.”
Sheppard said most any fan of traditional country music will recognize the voices on the album without knowing the names. Among the other artists are Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Oak Ridge Boys, Mickey Gilley and Ricky Skaggs.
Although he hasn’t made up his mind yet, Sheppard is seriously considering making another commercial studio album next year.
“I don’t really know what that direction will be but it may be a return to a more traditional type of music,” he said.
Even though touring has been very satisfactory to him, he knows the importance of making new music.
“Magic happens in the studio and if you quit going to the studio the magic stops,” he said.
He would also like to have his own television show. For now, however, he will continue to tour, entertain the crowds and meet and greet fans.
“I’m blessed to do what I do for a living and I’m enjoying it more than ever,” he said.
If you go:
Who: T.G. Sheppard
Place: Redneck Country Club
Date: Sept. 30
Time: 8-11 p.m.
Tickets: $25/member to $50, $40 on main floor