Andrew Sheppard comes home

Andrew Sheppard will perform at the Limelight Hotel on Nov. 6.

Whenever Andrew Sheppard is done with a tour, he comes back home to the Wood River Valley to write. The mountains help clear his mind.

“It’s my muse,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard will bring his rock ‘n’ roll stylings to the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum on Saturday night, Nov. 6.

Sheppard’s stream-of-consciousness writing process strikes like a lightning bolt, sporadically and unexpectedly.

“When opportunity knocks, answer the door,” Sheppard said.

Sometimes, he writes while driving through Stanley, telling Siri to put notes in his phone.

Sheppard wrote his latest bluegrass single “Wings” in Ketchum then recorded it in Nashville. It was one song on a whole album he wrote called “Broken American Dream.”

“It was all middle class misery, I guess you would say,” Sheppard said.

Inspired by greats like John Prine and John Fogerty, Sheppard is a poet at heart.

“I’m pretty lyrically driven,” Sheppard said. “That’s the most important part of the song to me.”

When he sings his lyrics, he hopes people will relate and have an emotional reaction.

“I don’t want to write songs that are too cryptic,” Sheppard said. “I try to make it so a 10-year-old and an 80-year-old can both understand what I’m saying.”

Over the years, Sheppard played in a myriad of bands.

“Each time one of those bands would break up, it was like hitting the restart button,” Sheppard said. “I’d have to start all over again.”

After his L.A. group Gypsey River Haunts disbanded nearly a decade ago, he decided to go solo so he would have complete creative control. He performs with a rotating cast of traveling musicians.

He already has two new albums written. The first one he would like to record is titled, “Different Colors,” inspired in part by the Tornado in Nashville last year and the devastation that it left, examining everyday life dealing with tragedies and things out of your control. Still, Sheppard says it has an upbeat, hopeful feel.

Born in Hailey, Sheppard has seen the Wood River Valley music scene fluctuate over the years. He has been around long enough to play with bands like Old Death Whisper.

“I still think it has a strong pull,” Sheppard said. “There’s just not as many local acts [here] anymore. I think with the influx of new people coming, it’s kind of shifting some people out.”

His show at the Limelight is free and starts at 6 p.m. 

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