Veterans Day at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand will see country music hitmakers T.G. Sheppard and Moe Bandy take the stage for a special show beginning at 3 p.m.
“It’s always an honor to play for folks, no matter the date, but when it’s a special day like that, the crowd is always more patriotic, and up more for you, and what you’re doing,” Sheppard said. “I’m looking forward to this being one of those kind of days, especially coming back to Branson. Branson is known as a very patriotic town, and a lot of my dear friends who are patriots embrace certain festivals and functions that honor our heroes and our men and women of service.
“It’s a magical time when you can perform a show on a holiday as special as this.”
Sheppard had careers as a pop singer, a record distributor and a record promoter, and even became friends with Elvis Presley and John Denver, helping get “Suspicious Minds” and “Take Me Home Country Roads” the airplay to make them smash hits.
He eventually started his own production company and discovered a song by Bobby David called “Devil in the Bottle.” He eventually decided to cut the song himself, and it reached No. 1 in 1975. Sheppard followed that with a handful of other hits, and in 1978, he released a song called “When Can We Do This Again,” which began a streak of Top 10 hits that lasted five years.
During that time, Sheppard released more than 10 No. 1 songs, including “Last Cheater’s Waltz,” “Do You Want to Go to Heaven,” “I Loved ‘Em Every One,” “I Feel Like Loving You Again” and “Only One You.” Sheppard continued to have success through the late 80s, racking up several more No. 1 hits for a grand total of 21.
“We had an incredible run, and if you’re fortunate enough to have another run, that’s great, but if not, you hope the hits you had the first time around are enough to sustain you through your life and career,” he said. “Evidently, our songs have held up because we’re working as much now, if not more, than ever.”
Currently, Sheppard is working on a new album.
“I haven’t done a new country solo album in about 21 years,” Sheppard said. “I really just had the urge to get back in the studio and do a new project. I started the album about a year or so ago, and I’m just now finishing it, so I’m very excited.”
Sheppard said the album will consist of new music, with the exception of a re-recording of “Party Time,” which will be a “musical event” featuring “a lot of top artists.”
Sheppard says he hopes the album will be released in the spring.
For Sunday’s show, Sheppard will be joined by Branson favorite Moe Bandy.
“Who is he? Is he a singer?” Sheppard said with a huge laugh. “No, no (laughs). Moe is one of my dearest friends, and we do a lot of shows together throughout the year.
“Any time I get the chance to work with Moe, it’s just a day filled with laughter and fun. I love is humor and his music, but I love him more. He’s such a great friend.”
Although he always loved music, Bandy spent many years riding bulls and participating ind other rodeo-related activities. After a near fatal incident with a bull’s horn, Bandy decided to try his hand at country music.
For 12 years, Bandy performed all over the San Antonio area at night, and worked as a sheet metal worker by day. In 1973, he decided to make his way to Nashville, got a loan and recorded “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today.” The tune was Bandy’s first hit, and two years later, he’d record his signature song, “Bandy The Rodeo Clown.”
That tune hit No. 7 on the charts, and he followed it up with the popular tunes “Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life,” “I’m Sorry For You, My Friend,” and his first No. 1, “I Cheated My Way Right Out Of You.”
In the early 1990s, Bandy began performing full time in Branson, a tradition he carried on until a few years ago. He still visits Ozark Mountain Country at least once a year, and in some cases, more than that.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” he said. “It’s always great to be able to play with Moe, and play in Branson, and play for our veterans. It truly is an honor.”
Next Wednesday, Up Close Concerts returns to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand with “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” hitmaker Crystal Gayle performing “a perfect mix of her greatest hits and Christmas favorites,” followed by the “Lee Greenwood Christmas Show” Dec. 5.
For tickets and information, visit upcloseconcerts.com.