DIAMOND, MO – Lem Sheppard may not be a household name, but he, and his guitar, have traveled all over the country, even other parts of the world.
And you have two chances to see him, and his guitar, on stage this weekend.
Si how did a shy kids from Kansas become a performer that’s played in almost every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries.
“I’ve met people from all over the world.” Says Sheppard.
With the help of this and several other guitars he’s played since he was 9 years old.
“My father worked at Sears which is funny because in those days, that’s where a lot of guitars and amplifiers came from, Silver tone Guitars so I kind of grew up in an era where maybe it’s rock and roll, I don’t know what it was, but it was just a typical kids toy.” Says Sheppard.
He taught himself to play the instrument and eventually several others.
Sheppard was born in the Kansas City area but followed several siblings to Pittsburg State University many years ago, and he’s never left that city.
For many years, he played for a living, and he still gets a kick out of going places he’s never been to.
“The fun part of it is being at those places, even though your sliding down a mountain in a minivan but you’re still it’s still exciting, that the fun part of it, the traveling I got to do.” Says Sheppard.
These days he only works full time at the Pittsburg Library with his wife and does about 20 weekend shows a year now.
But he doesn’t just go straight into a tune, he provides it’s historical background.
“They’d sing a song and then people would ask them questions about it, and I remember thinking, ‘Boy I don’t know anything about this song, hope they don’t ask me anything because I just, just read the music and learned the music,’ and I think it was that experience you know that, well one is that I realized that people want that information, yeah, I think it does make me play the song better knowing it’s origins and who wrote it.” Says Sheppard.
If you’d like to see Sheppard perform, you have to options this Saturday.
He’ll be in Diamond at the Carver National Monument as part of Carver Days with sets at 11:00a.m. and 12:15p.m.
He’ll also be the opening act at JOMO Jammin’ in July at 7:00p.m. Saturday night at Mercy Park in Joplin.
Both events are free and open to the public.