Every time I think about Thom Shepherd, I think of times in which I’ve boasted in telling friends know that I know the composer of “Red Neck Yacht Club.” Or, I punch in a cd in my car and I’m reminded about how crazy Texas frontage roads can be….. it’s all because when I play a recording by Thom Shepherd, I know I’m listening to the real deal in song-writing.
Thom isn’t a native Texan – he’s a fairly recent (2011) transplant from Nashville, TN. Before that, he grew up in St. Louis and earned a Film and Television degree from George Mason University. He never took a class in creative writing, but his songwriting talents show he has a great capacity for writing. A self-professed Jack of All Trades, Thom is now touring and writing songs full time.
When I met with Thom to interview him, it was at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon in Key West. He was wrapping up a short gig there and introduced me to a tall woman who could be Julia Roberts’ (prettier!) sister. This was Coley McCabe, who made the transition to the Austin, Texas area with Thom. Coley is a wonderful songwriter and singer, too, and now it’s a real treat to often hear both for the price of one! They were filming a music video of Thom’s poignant “Sand in Her Shoes” and let me be a part of it. Well, my right shoulder was a part if the video for about a tenth of a second, but that friendly, inclusive spirit is so indicative of Thom.
Much of Thom’s music and singing delivery sounds like Nashville, but so many of his songs are right along Trop Rock Alley. There are well-known fun songs like “Redneck Yacht Club,” “Beer Season,” and “Cheaper to Keep Her,” made famous by Kevin Fowler. But there’s also the very moving “Riding With Private Malone” and a Parrot Head Club favorite – “I Flocked a Parrot Head!” Currently, his meaningful song “Simplify” is in the top 20 on the Texas Regional Radio Report.
I never see Thom without a big smile on his face, his trademark cowboy hat, and the love of music that shines from him. Catch his show the next time he’s in your town and you might get to be in a music video, too!