Red Shepherd
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Red Shepherd

Band Rock Acoustic


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"Whispering Truths" E.P.
"Be Here" Full length album
"Blue Skies" (to be released in winter '08)



The History of this band goes back before my time with these guys. It all started at a school sanctioned event at Freed Hardeman University called UPC COFFEEHOUSE in 2003. Aaron Johnston was singing some of his new songs he had written, when Taylor just happened to be in the crowd that night. He noticed something in Aaron that night. A couple of days went by and finally Taylor decided that he would find Aaron. After weeks of begging and pleading, Taylor convinced Aaron that he was good and they decided to start a duo consisting of a guitar and a hand drum. Not much, you say? Well, that’s what they thought. Now, everyone who is anyone knew that Rett Wood was the man with the plan when it came to bass. How they convinced Rett to play with them, I will never know, but that is when it all began. They called themselves AYO, and the trio was born. And then it died. After the first AYO show, which was mighty successful, Aaron took off to Europe, Taylor went home, and Rett found a “marathon”(Rett’s new band’s name was a.jade.kite.marathon). After a year of unhappiness, They were reunited again, but they knew they were still missing something.
My part in this band began on September of 2006, the beginning of my junior year at Freed-Hardeman University. My roommate and I were walking to our dorm when we some guys stop abruptly in a car to close the loose trunk door. We watched as they fixed the musical equipment into the respective places in the trunk of their 4-runner (possibly a jeep Cherokee, but who really cares). Being friendly and constantly interested in music and musicians, I asked about their band and where they were headed. Starbuck’s was their destination for an acoustic show. I was told that the music that they played was like Jack Johnson, whom I didn’t care for. This was just before they asked if we knew any lead guitarists. I was content to say nothing and forget about this Jack Johnson wannabe band (who I had never heard play), but fortunately, my roommate spoke up to mention that I played some lead guitar.
The following evening, these two gentlemen Aaron Johnston and Taylor Burgess (Rett was in another dorm) invited me into their room for a bit of a tryout I suppose. I remained uninterested in the band until hearing the song they Aaron had written called “There’s a Place”. His voice along with the flow of lyrics and fluid guitar strumming sold me on the band immediately, flooding my mind with the endless possibilities of the music. That evening I played lead to endless songs as the excited Aaron and Taylor introduced them to me.
About a week later I heard the bass and djimbe with the Aaron’s acoustic and voice. If I wasn’t sold on the band before, I certainly was at that moment. The thud and slap of the djimbe had an amazing exotic sound, while Rett’s bass lines showed great creativity and finesse. Jack Johnson? I still don’t understand that reference. We quickly planned for a show together, not yet having a band name. We played the University’s talent show called “potpourri”. We played with 2 acoustics, a djimbe, and an acoustic bass I believe. The sound quality was bad, and it happened to be a sorry event, but we enjoyed doing our first somewhat show. The terrible event somehow drove us to play more and perhaps even inspired us to reach for greater things. We found a room to practice above a karate dojo, owned by a rough, police officer/drill sergeant type character. For some reason he liked Taylor, though. Taylor had recently gotten a drum kit as well as a fairly crappy pa system, so we worked on a new sound with an acoustic/electric mix. We discovered that the songs that sounded so good before could sound even better with some skillful drumming and lead guitar to fill in the gaps. We set up a show with the school again, only it was a much more popular and well prepared event…UPC coffeehouse. We prepared greatly for this show, knowing it would be counted as our true first show because we had a name…Johnstown. The show went extremely well and catapulted us to the most popular band at Freed-Hardeman. After that show, we were asked constantly about new shows, and a possible album release.
In the Fall of 2007, We released our first album, "Be Here".