Bill Shepherd

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Many musicians would just love to be described as "one of the primeval hillbillies" but will have to accept the disappointing reality that only a select group of performers actually merit such a title,…
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Many musicians would just love to be described as "one of the primeval hillbillies" but will have to accept the disappointing reality that only a select group of performers actually merit such a title, one of them being fiddler and vocalist Bill Shepherd. To point out a glaring similarity in spelling abilities between hillbillies and discographers, the latter artist is frequently identified as a Shephard or Shepard. His brother with whom he performed, Hayes Shepherd, was also known as Hence Shepherd.

The brothers, whose '20s recordings include the solid "Bound Steel Blues," have such a strong association with the better-known old-time music performer Dock Boggs that Shepherd tracks were included on a superb Boggs collection issued by the Revenent label. An increasing facet of such sonic research is to present examples of performers who may have influenced the star of the show, even if documentation of these players actually jamming together isn't available. Hailing from east Kentucky, the Shepherd brothers supposedly freaked out record company scouts with their extreme and free-wheeling versions of songs. They were considered to have "no commercial potential," so they only had the opportunity to make a few recordings.