David Shepherd
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David Shepherd


Band R&B Soul


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"Gotta Leave Where You're From"

Soulful grooves cut through the spine of this record, though not in the over-produced way that the phrase has so often become shorthand for. No, one listen to a track like "Hospital Gown," built on hammered piano and jagged guitar chords beneath Shepherd's ever-so-slightly frayed vocals, and cut with a nicely mixed breakdown—guitar solo to the far left, piano over on the right, both left out in the open with no unpleasant gloss over top—makes it clear that Shepherd's voice—both singing and writing—and vision are well-established here, and the result is an uncompromising soul record. - Vue Weekly


Gotta Leave Where You're From (2010)



"Gotta Leave Where You're From" is more than just the title of David Shepherd's debut album, it's the story of his life. Suffering from severe social anxiety, Shepherd spent years torn between his desire to perform his music and the limitations of his mind and body. Over a span of 6 years, he embarked on a journey that saw him come to grips with a debilitating illness, lose almost 100 lbs, let go of his childhood faith, and, after 23 years of writing songs, distill those experiences into his debut CD.

"Life and growing up is all about leaving the familiar," says Shepherd. "It took me a long time to get started on that road, but the songs on the album are all snapshots of the steps along the way. 'Leaving' and 'Downtown' are songs about the hunger of adolescence, the desire to live bigger and find more, to define yourself as your own person. 'Hospital Gown', and 'Good Country People' are about the rude awakening that comes when you realize you've been fooling yourself. 'Icarus' is a bittersweet love song to insecurity and fear. 'Minutes' is about accepting that you have limitations and that there's no value in beating yourself up, and 'Seasons' acknowledges the cyclical nature of growth."

In 2004, after his anxiety sabotaged attempts to record, Shepherd gave up on being at the front of the stage, choosing to work as a sideman with such locally acclaimed artists as Screwtape Lewis, Tanyss Nixi, and the James Murdoch Band (JMB). It was during his stint with JMB that Murdoch and his studio partner, Chris Wynters (Captain Tractor), began encouraging Shepherd to return to performing, and through their support he began playing shows again. They then steered him towards Rawlco Radio's 10K20 program, which provided the funding to record "Gotta Leave Where You're From."

Produced by Murdoch and Wynters at The Norwood Studio (The Wheat Pool, Amy Seeley, James Murdoch Band), Shepherd's debut is a sonic throwback to what Murdoch calls "AM Gold", a reference to the sound of late 70's pop/rock. Thick drums, fat bass, smooth horns, and warm stacks of vocals provide a sumptuous bed for Shepherd's deft keys, memorable melodies, and sharp turns of phrase. As Shepherd observes, "It took a long time to get here, but it's the richer for every step."