Pint & a Half
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Pint & a Half

Salida, CO | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Salida, CO | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Americana Folk




"Calling the Spirits of a Mountain Town"

Pint and a Half’s second studio effort, Boomtown Ghosts, finds a much more adventurous songwriter in Duke Sheppard. Whereas Sheppard showed fluency with country and rock melody on the band’s debut album, Blue Sky Earth, the full arrangements heard in Boomtown Ghosts bring much more character and emotivity to each song. The husband-and-wife duo have quickly gained access to full alt-country credentials. This is an album that will speak to people in a way they haven’t yet heard.

Formed in 2014, Pint and a Half is Duke and Tami Sheppard, longtime Salida, Colorado residents. In adherence to one of the fundamental laws of songwriting, “Write what you know,” both relationships and life in their hometown enter heavily into the text of Boomtown Ghosts.

“This album is meant to play from start to finish,” Duke said.

The album unreels like filmstrip projecting translucent life-moments you can feel – and almost remember as your own. There is careful scene-setting and sense of place. Both Sheppards take character roles with nuanced vocals. There is something truly delightful in the harmony of a couple who have spent so many hours singing together that they link and unlink vibrato at will. The two seem interested in much more than just amusing us, however. Pint and a Half has moved past being the sweet, simple country couple powering out folk songs to being a more serrated and poignant storytelling team. In this album, the Shepherds are serving hot oatmeal instead of Lucky Charms. It will stick to your bones. (The first album was “magically delicious.”)

Boomtown Ghosts growls out a chronicle of boom and bust – in a home, in a town and in the heart. The cover art recalls a time when photography was laborious and carefully composed so that as the expensive flash bulb exploded, a single image would capture the entirety of that scene. Each object and person in the photos from early railroad days is burned in with great care and detail, complimenting the way the album was produced. Sheppard employed Colorado heavyweight musician and producer Don Richmond and his Howlin’ Dog Studio in Alamosa to bring in an assortment of strings and keys that texture each song. The production itself is clean, spacious and detailed, so that when you give it proper volume, it brings you right in.

“Drive, Drive, Drive” is the musical on ramp for this album. “Nothing clears my head quite like the blacktop in the sun,” Duke Sheppard intones. He clears his head, and ours, with a simmering rocker that “blows all the troubles from the corners of my mind.” Sheppard’s quirky phrasing and flourishes, with sliding thirds, fifths and sixths on both vocals and honkey-tonk guitar define some of Pint and a Half’s unique signature, which runs throughout the album. The album begins with strong evidence of an artist that has found a stand-out voice within the genre.

The second track, “Big Creek,” reminisces about childhood summers without worries. Within a gospel structure painted with a bluegrass palette, each instrument contributes, like vocals in the choir. It hits you gently in your chest with memories of that special place that always offered excitement and made you wish you could stay awake forever so you wouldn’t miss a thing.

The story moves on as “Three Chords and a Roof” taps out a wholesome, string-band dance full of hard-working, log cabin, newlywed adoration. If you’ve got an old picture of mom, dad and baby “you,” this song will help you remember where you put it.

The title track, “Boomtown Ghosts,” zooms outward at a mountain hometown that is growing and crowding its roots again. It is told in true country-ballad style by someone who knows the town down to its carvings and secret passages. This town now has “more folks here than we’ve feet above the sea,” Sheppard laments. The track harkens back to Salida’s boomtown days and wrangles with the idea that perhaps something is lost during each boom cycle as people seek to profit. “I still can’t leave my hometown/But it seems she’s leaving me.” And so the album comes together as the etched-in but fading photo-portrait of life. It is a journey through wonderful moments, mindful of the tendency for castles to fall.

The only cover song on the album is Gram Parson’s “Still Feeling Blue.” Tami channels a full Tammy Wynette swagger while the mandolin and banjo come out swinging and smiling. It is the type of hard-luck blues number that lifts the listener out of the headier song before it and harnesses Tami’s vocal power, familiar to those who have seen her live performances.

As one one of the catchiest singles on the album, “Chinook” brings in a country-soul vibe with lap steel and accordion breezing through an airy production. Tami veers toward Leann Rimes, and Duke supports her with a bass vocal harmony that highlights the versatility of his composition skills.

A testament to how much range Duke Sheppard has found as a songwriter is “How You Pray.” Crunch pedal and slide-guitar-scream set off the edgier side of both Sheppards, as they scold:

It don’t matter how you pray
It don’t matter what you do
You can turn and run away
I’ll be watching over you.

Don Richmond supports the tale of judgment with apocalyptic rock organ. Instead of “Sympathy For the Devil,” it is a kind of “Sympathy for the Kick Ass Lord.”

The album starts to rust in the autumn-like song “You’re Always.” Duke pulls out a ragged, wounded voice to deliver the sense of slowly fermenting betrayal from an alcoholic spouse. “You left your bottle in the baby’s room/A boy shouldn’t have to help mommy to bed.”

The mood swings rollercoaster-style to the end, up a steep climb of “Watercolor Gardens,” which is a wondrous finger-picker for a lonely soul, a la “Eleanor Rigby” coming gently loose from her moorings like dandelion seeds. Then there is the boisterous careening down to earth from the title track of their last album Blue Sky Earth. Finally, a return home to the country gospel romance of “The Moon and the Stars.”

It is unusual to find a small-town independent artist who can pull off such a nuanced and impressive theme album as well as such a quality production. This album should earn a place in the CD changer or playlist for every drive long enough to listen to its entirety. But be careful. These songs will imprint very quickly in your mind because they feel like moments you’ve experienced yourself. Pint and a Half just does them better for you. - No Depression Magazine

"‘It Just Gets More and More Fun’"

Americana with influences of country and folk is how Duke and Tami (Williams) Sheppard, the music duo known as Pint & a Half, describe their sound.

“We say our influences are Puccini and Prine,” said Tami, who has a background in classical music and opera and has been known to sing an aria in the middle of one of their live performances.

Duke, on the other hand, used to play drums in both heavy metal and country bands, and one of his musical influences is the singer/songwriter John Prine.

The Union natives who have been living in Salida, Colo., for years, are in Missouri this week for a quick Midwest tour that includes a performance Friday, Sept. 29, at Henderson House Concerts in Union.

Last Friday they played at a gallery, 1900 Park, in St. Louis’ Lafayette Square, and over the weekend, they played a folk and bluegrass festival, Rattle the Bottoms, in Illinois. Tuesday evening they were scheduled to play in Perryville at Mary Jane’s Burgers and Brews. They will close out the tour Sunday, Oct. 1, in Peoria, Ill., with an afternoon show at Music in the McKenzie.

From there, they will begin the drive west to be home in time for the Southwest Independent Artists Awards being held Oct. 7.

Pint & a Half is a finalist for three awards from their second album, “Boomtown Ghosts” — Folk/Singer Songwriter Song for “Drive, Drive, Drive”; Song of the Year for “Boomtown Ghosts”; and Album of the Year for “Boomtown Ghosts.”

The Sheppards are humbled by their nominations and hopeful to win, but that has never been a motivation for playing their music, they said.

“My main goal was to have fun, and when it stops being fun, I don’t want to do it anymore,” said Tami, a 1987 graduate of Union High School and the daughter of Roy and Barbara Williams, Union. “But it just gets more and more fun all of the time.”

Duke, a 1988 graduate of UHS and son of Phil and Pat Sheppard, Washington, agreed.

“We’ve met a lot of musicians, several St. Louis bands who come to Salida to play, so we’ve kind of reconnected with people from this area,” he said.

Began With a Christmas Gift

Both Duke and Tami have always been musical, but after getting married and moving out west, they set that aside to start careers. Each opened a small business in Salida — she has a bead store, and he has a T-shirt and screenprinting store.

During that time, Tami, who had been a music major at East Central College, did work with a vocal coach in Salida for a while and also performed a few classical concerts.

Then about six years ago, Duke’s dad, who is a musician, gave him a guitar for Christmas.

“He was just sort of obsessed with it for two solid years,” said Tami. “And then he started writing songs, so we were like, ‘Let’s play some songs together.’ ”

They started out singing around a campfire with some friends, who suggested they check out the open mic nights at a nearby restaurant.

“So we did,” said Tami. “We played four songs; that’s all we knew at the time. And the owner of the bar came up to us afterward and asked if we would want to do a two-hour show for pay.”

A few months later, they played that show to a packed house, and suddenly they found themselves on the verge of a new career.

“We were overwhelmed by it, but then other venues in town started approaching us, asking if we wanted to play there too,” said Tami.

Salida is a small community of around 5,000 people, but it has a fairly vibrant music scene, Duke noted. And it’s growing.

“People come from all over to hear music there,” he said.

Set in the mountains on the Arkansas River, Salida attracts people for all of Colorado’s popular outdoor activities — fly-fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, climbing . . . But it’s also become a sort of artists’ mecca with a good number of galleries there, and the original music scene has really started to boom in the last five years or so.

“On some random Tuesday night, you might find five or six places to go listen to original music, and there’s maybe only six places that can have music,” said Tami.

First Album Had More Than 800,000 Plays

The Sheppards played their first show for pay in 2013, and said it was the encouragement and support they found in Salida that led them to keep going.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better place to be to start playing music,” Tami remarked.

They recorded their first album, “Blue Sky Earth,” in July 2015. It was a home-recording, completely self-produced in their home studio on a laptop computer. All of the songs were original, written by Duke.

They put the album on Spotify and iTunes radio, and were overwhelmed by the reception — 800,000 plays on iTunes radio.

That was so encouraging that they began writing and recording a second album. “Boomtown Ghosts” came out in March 2017. This time around they decided to record in a professional studio. They went to Howlin’ Dog Records to rent the studio space, and left with a recording contract.

“The guy liked the songs so much that he asked if they would consider coming on with the label,” said Duke. “They are in the midst of growing the label, signing some new people.”

Howlin’ Dog was recently nominated for some awards, Record Label of the Year and Producer of the Year, for the Josie Awards, in Nashville, Tenn., Duke noted.

The local radio station in Salida plays their music a lot, and stores in town play it as well.

Third Album?

Although it’s early to be talking about recording a third album, the Sheppards say that is part of their plan.

“That’s down the road,” said Duke, who said he hasn’t been able to focus on writing any new music because they have been on the road so much.

He mostly works on song writing when he has a quiet place and some time to play around, but there have been times when he woke up with a whole song in his head. Typically the music comes first for him, and then the words.

“It’s everything from fictional stories to stuff straight from our lives or friends’ lives,” said Duke, recalling how they were once out with a friend who was sharing a story with the two of them, and right away they knew it had the makings of a great song.

They even named the song after her.

The Sheppards took their duo name, Pint & a Half, from Tami’s nickname, Half-Pint. She stands just 5 feet tall.

Tami provides the main vocals, and Duke writes the songs. They both play percussion, and Duke also plays guitar and harmonica.

Want to Hear Their Music?

The performance this Friday at the Henderson House Concert is by reservation only because there is extremely limited seating.

House concerts have been a trend in music for the last few years, the Sheppards explained. They are a great option for people who like to hear live music, but don’t like a bar atmosphere. The concerts are played in living rooms and basements or anywhere in the house that has ample room.

The Hendersons, who are friends of the Sheppards from high school, hold concerts often enough that there is a stage and a sound system.

To make a reservation to Friday night’s concert, email Duke at

If you can’t make the local show, you can find Pint and a Half on Spotify and iTunes, or go to

Looking back a few years ago to when they started down this road, the Sheppards said they never dreamed they would get to a point like this, where they are performing concerts, signing with a record label, touring and winning awards.

“It was never a conscious decision for us to start a music career,” said Tami, noting it was more like a suggestion that led to an invitation that led to more.

“It was a wave,” she remarked. - Washington Missourian

"PINT & A HALF "Boomtown Ghosts""

(translated from the original italian):
Pint & A Half is a duo formed by Tami and Duke Sheppard and proposes a folk/folk country music that has the essential and clear charm of the old daguerreotypes and 'sepia' photos that make the packaging of this second album called "Boomtown" intriguing. Ghosts ", inspired by the old towns born in the American West during the nineteenth century. Tami and Duke come from one of these, naturally and strongly changed over the decades but equally full of charm: Salida, Colorado. Theirs is a timeless music whose melodic sense and the arrangements studied with producer Don Richmond, contribute to create a record to consider among the most tasteful and meaningful things of this year in terms of independent productions. "Boomtown Ghosts" is a work that thematically refers to the 'frontier heroes' and to those who have written important but seemingly ordinary and marginal pages in American history, witnessing with disarming simplicity how effective these songs are, all purely acoustic and all proposed with crystalline artistic quality. The voices of the protagonists, often in unison and always measured and fresh, the splendid instrumental support of Don Richmond, the only 'guest' on electric guitar, bass, pedal steel, mandolin, organ, fiddle, banjo, viola and accordion (!! ), a sure and gripping writing with a unique precious cover in the "Still Feeling Blue" by Gram Parsons are the winning cards of the album, a balanced and practically impeccable work. - Planet Country


Not to Forget- (Howlin' Dog Records, 2019)

  • No Water
  • Come Home
  • Not to Forget
  • Pony
  • Broken
  • Spinnin' My Wheels
  • Low Pass
  • Truth
  • Mountains Rivers Music
  • Friend

Mountains, Rivers, Music (Single, Howlin' Dog Records, 2018)

Boomtown Ghosts- (Howlin' Dog Records, 2017)

  • Drive, Drive, Drive
  • Big Creek
  • Three Chords and a Roof
  • Boomtown Ghosts
  • Still Feeling Blue
  • Chinook
  • How You Pray
  • You're Always
  • Watercolor Gardens
  • Blue Sky Earth
  • The Moon and the Stars

Blue Sky Earth (2015)
  • All Hard Times
  • Trouble Road
  • Will You Lead?
  • No Water
  • Blue Sky Earth
  • I Blame You
  • Sweetest Waste of Time
  • Sink or Swim
  • Dara's Song
  • Downhill Side
  • Gone



“…a serrated and poignant storytelling team.” “The husband-and-wife duo have quickly gained access to full alt-country credentials”- Journal of Roots Music, No Depression, 2017

“A balanced and virtually impeccable work”- “Boomtown Ghosts”, Planet Country, 2018

Rooted in Salida, CO and Truth or Consequences, NM, and led by songwriter Duke Sheppard (guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Tami Sheppard (vocals, percussion), Pint & a Half’s music rings out with memorable melodies, expansive vocal harmonies and lingering rhythms that celebrate the colorful tradition of folk, blues and country music and expand the group’s larger-than-life sound. Pint & A Half’s sizzling chemistry and talent for personal storytelling simmers during their energetic performances.

Since their 2017 Howlin’ Dog Records release “Boomtown Ghosts”, Pint & a Half have toured the US extensively, and shared billings and stages with Americana favorites such as The Trishas, Rapidgrass, Gabrielle Louise, Michael Hearne, Moors & McCumber and others. They’ve also found an enthusiastic audience on streaming services and community radio stations across the country, winning the “Best of 2017” album on the syndicated “Colorado Playlist”, Top Ten albums on KDHX FM St. Louis’ “Backroads”, and People’s Choice in the Southwest Indy Artist Awards, as well as multiple nominations in the 2018 Josie Awards in Nashville, Silver medal in the Global Music Awards contest, and others.

Committed to making meaningful music, Pint & a Half return to the studio in February 2019 to work with legendary Colorado producer Don Richmond on their second Howlin’ Dog Records release, with a target date of May. They will follow the release with a tour of the western states throughout June and into July. 

Band Members