Singer-songwriter Andrew Sheppard grew up in Hailey, Idaho around an abundant amount of musicians as his mother was always playing and singing in rock and roll and blues bands. Influenced by taking in their rehearsals and live shows, Sheppard was playing bass in punk rock bands in high school. At the age of 19, he picked up the guitar and started writing songs and 10 years later, he is poised to release his sophomore album, Steady Your Aim on March 23rd.
Steady Your Aim is a concept record, a musical journey in which every song was methodically thought out to fit the record. An analog recording, it is a cinematic dreamscape narrative that is richly layered with the pedal steel, piano, cello, Wurlitzer and organ. All of their parts are gently tucked in which leaves the listener wondering just what it is they are actually hearing. “We used traditional sounding instruments to create a new sound,” said Sheppard. “For example, we used cello on this record because I wanted a deep sound that didn’t come from anything electric or synthetic. Instead of being a ‘lead’ instrument we used it as a texture tool giving the songs a more rich and ‘real’ feel.” Produced by Sheppard, Eric Loomis and Wes Walsworth (both of whom play guitar on the album), Steady Your Aim was recorded at Loomis’ Ivy Hall Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. John Mayfield at Mayfield Mastering mastered the record.
Leaving Idaho just after high school, Sheppard headed to Los Angeles, CA to pursue his other passion, skateboarding. After a blown-out knee derailed his skating plans, he shifted his focus back to writing music. In 2008 he formed the band, The Gypsy River Haunts that disbanded in 2012. Feeling the need to roam, he bought a car, loaded up his dog and headed around the country collecting stories for what he deemed his “record-writing road trip”. After 8,000 miles of driving, Sheppard wound up back in Idaho with no plan to stay, but realized after landing, that all his childhood friends were great musicians and that he had everything he needed to make the record he had in mind. Packing it up for a trip to LA, Sheppard and pals recorded Far From Here in 2015 at Bedrock Studios before heading back to Idaho. “I realized how much more I thrive in a mountain town,” said the artist. “I need to be in nature to feel a bit more sane.”
But a slower pace doesn’t mean that Sheppard has slowed down. He is on the road constantly (both solo and with band), playing festivals such as Stagecoach Country Music Festival, Treefort Music Festival, The Feed LA Festival and The Northern Rockies Music Festival. He’s shared the stage with The Black Lillies, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Whiskey Shivers and Scott H. Biram and has toured with friend and fellow roots musician, Jeff Crosby.