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Thom Shepherd Proves He’s More Than Just a Songwriter With His New CD, ‘Simplify’ – Album Review

Thom Shepherd
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The list of songs written by Thom Shepherd is pretty impressive. He’s written national country hit songs as well as chart-toppers for Texas radio. All in all, Shepherd has had over sixty songs recorded, including cuts by George Jones, Montgomery Gentry, Colt Ford, Kevin Fowler, Josh Abbott, Bucky Covington and several others. But it’s Thom’s turn, and he shows that he’s more than able to sing his own tunes on his new CD, ‘Simplify’.

‘Band-Aid On A Bullet Wound’ is the opening track, and immediately grabs your attention. This tune features slick, catchy lyrics delivered ably by Shepherd. Thom doesn’t take long to let us know that he can sing. Check out a sample here:

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The title track to ‘Simplify’ is just as good. He performed an acoustic version of this when he visited with me recently. The song’s message is a suggestion that we spend less time earning money to but stuff, and more time on our relationships:

“Do we own this house, baby, or does this house own us?
And those Harley’s in the driveway, they’re just gathering dust and one’s got a flat
What’s up with that?
Had to buy that great bigt lawn tractor for that yard we had to have
Now the only time we’re out there is when we’re cuttin’ that dang grass
And how cool’s the pool you never get to use?”

‘Feeder Road Do-Si-Do’ is just plain fun. I get a Bob Wills-meets-Robert Earl Keen vibe, and it makes perfect sense when you listen to it.  I love that the song comes to a stop about 2/3 of the way through in order to address a question for the ages:  ‘Damn, why do I only want Chick Fil-A on Sunday?’. I’ve often wondered the same thing myself.

‘The Night Is Young’, ‘More Time Drinking Beer’, ‘Stomping Grounds’ and the ballad, ‘You Have Always Been Mine’ each have everything it takes to be hit songs for Shepherd.

As a radio guy, I’ve decided not to take ‘Country Police’ personally. Actually, this song (co-written with Brian Keane) has a bold message about the state of country music today. It’s meant to be a lot of fun, and it is. No hard feelings.

‘I Wasn’t Gonna Drink Today’, (co-written by Kevin Fowler) is practically the perfect beer drinking honky tonk song. ‘Heaven on the Times Picayune’ sings the praises of some of the best cajun cuisine you can find. Complete with a salute to Hank Williams and a song suggestion to use on your voicemail, ‘Times Picayune’ spares no expense to entertain. Ridiculous. I love it.

‘I’d Still Have Everything’ is sappy, emotional, and deep. The message is very fitting for an album entitled ‘Simplify’:

if all the things we had today were taken away
This little three-bedroom house and that Chevrolet.
If our whole world came crashing in, and we had to start all over again
It was down to you and me without anything
I’d still have everything

The simple fact about ‘Simplify’ is, this album is a joy to listen to, beginning to end. The CD features nice tempo changes, outstanding players, quality lead vocals and harmonies, and out of the 12 tracks, there’s not a dud in the bunch.

I should also give mention to the live track, ‘Take Yer Drunk Ass Home’ This is a nice touch at the end of the record, but skip it when you’re listening with the kids in the car.

This isn’t Shepherd’s first CD (it’s actually his 5th), but he’s clearly better known for his songwriting than his singing talents. Based on what you can hear on ‘Simplify’, I expect more folks to start appreciating Thom as a very talented singer and performer at some point down the line. This is one terrific country CD.

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