PITTSBURG — Singer-songwriter T.G. Sheppard, a country music artist with numerous number one hits to his name including “I Loved ‘Em Every One,” “Last Cheaters Waltz,” “Devil in the Bottle,” and “Party Time,” will perform at Kansas Crossing Casino on Saturday, March 23.
In addition to his well-known classics, Sheppard will perform his new single “I Wanna Live Like Elvis” off of his upcoming album to be released in April at his Kansas Crossing show.
Although Sheppard released an album of country duets in 2015, featuring major names such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty and many others, his new album, scheduled for release in April, will be his first solo country album in more than 20 years.
“It just took a long time for that desire to come back around to do new music because country music has been going in many different directions the last 10 years and I was just kind of trying to wait and see where I fit in,” Sheppard said in a recent interview.
“I kind of made my decision that you don’t really have to worry about fitting in.
“If you were successful in your career, you just pick up where you left off, and that’s what I did. I just went in and found the greatest songs that I could possibly find, and record them and let the music dictate where I go.”
Sheppard’s new single “I Wanna Live Like Elvis,” written by Chip Davis, Billy Davis and Doug Graham, has the approval of the late music legend’s former wife, Priscilla Presley. Sheppard was able to get that approval for his performance of the tune no doubt in part due to his longtime friendship with The King, he said.
Sheppard first met rock and roll legend Elvis Presley when he was 16 years old and stayed close friends with him for the rest of Presley’s life.
“He was probably one of the most unique human beings that I have ever known in my life,” Sheppard said. “He was a very giving person. He was super religious. There was no ego involved with Elvis. What you saw was what you got. … He was the real deal, that’s why he was as big as he was.”
Presley even bought Sheppard his first tour bus. The two were on a flight from Memphis to Dallas on Elvis’s private jet when Presley told him “I bought you a bus today and it’ll be at my house tomorrow,” Sheppard recalls, adding that it was a shock to receive such an expensive gift and it gave him the confidence to get more serious about his career, considering Elvis thought highly enough of him to buy him a bus.
“I drove it ‘til the wheels fell off and it’s probably sitting on blocks somewhere in a field with grass growing up around it,” Sheppard said of the bus, although the country music band Sawyer Brown also used it for a while. “But I would give anything to have that bus back and just be able to walk inside and sit down and reminisce.”
Sheppard himself has described his single “I Wanna Live Like Elvis” as “comical.” In some of the song’s memorable verses, Sheppard sings:
I wanna learn karate
Make a movie in Hawaii
I wanna work for the CIA
And get a badge from the DEA
Presley was, as a matter of fact, presented with a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, a predecessor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, by President Richard Nixon.
Asked if he could confirm or deny the legendary musician was an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, however, as his song seems to suggest, Sheppard did the latter. While Elvis did not really work for the CIA, though, “he would have,” according to Sheppard.
“He was a very patriotic kind of guy,” Sheppard added. “He was always in awe of people in law enforcement, whether it be people at the top level of the FBI, the CIA or the local police.”
Presley would’ve even gone undercover, Sheppard added, if he hadn’t been so famous that he would instantly be recognized.
Attendees of Sheppard’s upcoming Kansas Crossing show can expect to hear “I Wanna Live Like Elvis” along with many of his classic hits. In addition to Sheppard himself, the audience will also be hearing the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Band.
“They are the finest musicians from Texas, and they really and truly could do a show just themselves,” Sheppard said. “They’re just an incredible group of musicians. I think people will thoroughly enjoy their professionalism and how great they are.”