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article imageCountry singer T.G. Sheppard revisits his signature hit Special

By Adrian Peel     Feb 18, 2016 in Music
From a list of 21 number one singles, one in particular stands out arguably more than any other: "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven." Now, 36 years after it first wowed audiences, T.G. Sheppard has put out a bluegrass version of the song and made a new video.
T.G. Sheppard's signature song, "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven," off the album Smooth Sailin', was released in 1980 and was the first of two number ones he had that year (the second was "I Feel Like Loving You Again").
His 2016 take on "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven" is, as mentioned above, a bluegrass version, and to add another dimension to it bluegrass collective Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road guest. Why did Mr. Sheppard decide to revisit this country classic?
"Well, the reason I revisited 'Do You Wanna Go to Heaven' is because it's one of my biggest hits and it told a great story," he replies, "and of course I've always been a fan of that genre of music, so it was just natural to do that particular song bluegrass style.
"As far as is it one of my songs that people associate me with? I think so. That along with a few others. We've had 21 number one records, but this is one of the most fun ones."
When asked to name some of his other favourites, the 71 year old reflects, "Well you know, I'm fond of basically all the number one songs because they were very magical in our career. There are some favourites that I enjoy doing more than others in concert. Those would have to be 'Slow Burn,' 'I Loved 'Em Every One,' 'Last Cheater's Waltz' and 'Party Time.'"
I inquired as to how the Lorraine Jordan collaboration came about. "I wound up collaborating with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road through my publicist, Kirt Webster," explains Sheppard. "He felt that this was a great avenue for my music and I could reach some people that might not normally hear it. I've always truly loved bluegrass music - who doesn't? It's very infectious music that really grabs you."
Legendary Friends & Country Duets, T.G.'s latest album released in October, is a 14-track collection of duets - although "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven" is not included, I suspect because it's a more recent recording. Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Lorrie Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys and Willie Nelson all lend their talents to what has been a well-received departure from the norm.
"I haven't done a commercial studio album for 16 years and I wanted to do something that would be a little bit different than just going and doing another album," notes the former restaurant owner.
"So I made the phone call to 17 dear friends, who I have toured and worked with through the years, and asked them to come and do a duet with me. Low and behold, they all showed up - all 17 of them. It was an incredible, magical time in the studio with these great icons."
T.G. is also on tour at the moment, as he has been for the last few decades, and has dates booked right up until October 19. Are there any cities or countries he's not previously visited where he'd one day like to perform?
"Well I've basically toured everywhere in America and there's always a few cities that you like... I love New York and I love working Vegas, but sometimes it's that small town in rural America that doesn't get entertainment a lot that you enjoy the most because they are so responsive and appreciative.
"As far as international, I worked in Germany and Austria last year. I love working anywhere in Europe because the people over there really and truly love country performers. The crowds are always so responsive.
"I think some of my most memorable concert dates, as far as feeling good about the venue is concerned, was when I had the chance to play the White House.
"That's always on any artist's bucket list to want to do that for a president, and of course I had the distinct honour of playing for President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Those would have to be two of the most crowning moments in my career."
For more information on legendary country crooner T.G. Sheppard, visit his official website.
To learn more about Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, go to theirs.
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