Gary is an optometrist originally from Newton, Mass. right outside of Boston, and is happily relocated in lovely Aiken, South Carolina. His passionate guitar style borrows most gratefully from the sounds of Robin Trower, that of Jeff Beck, Clapton, and later, of Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel, and Joe Satriani. Trower is, of course, one of the original members of Procol Harum, the classically oriented British rock band that's wielded enormous influence throughout his life both musically and creatively. Gary is a self-taught musician, and also plays keyboards, bass and mandolin. He writes and records in his home studio when not examining eyes.
Gary started his first band at the age of 9, soon after teaching himself very basic organ. This fledgling group played “The House of the Rising Sun” at summer camp in New Hampshire and finished second in a talent contest won by a baseball wonderchild who could recall any given player from any team from any game or era. What a start to a life of passionate musical pursuit!
Gary has played in many different bands and musicals, including Aiken’s annual Heart Show, a musical variety show to benefit the local Women’s Heart Board, which Gary has played in since 2003. He played and recorded with Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers, Percy Sledge, Rich Little, Night Ranger, and several times in several countries with the great British band, Procol Harum.
He started the ever popular band, Lo Down Brown, in 2003, whom has gained a large following, playing in various clubs, special events, and musicals from Washington DC to Hilton Head. He plays guitar and keyboards and sings harmonies in the band. In 2012 he put together a second classic rock, R & B, and blues band, Atomic Road, which is gaining in popularity and playing regularly in the Aiken – Augusta area. In both different musical entities, Gary considers himself quite fortunate to have the talents of Ms. Sherry Iles on bass and vocals. Gary is also now playing lead guitar for the band, Upshot, in the Aiken, SC area.
One of Gary's good friends and musical partners, Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) from the legendary progressive band Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band contributes his inimitable bass to his track "All Our Dreams Are Sold" from the latest album, "Total Eclipse".
Gary has two beautiful children, Becky and Allie, one handsome and adorable grandson, Sebastian, and his gorgeous sister, Amelie, a cutie pie born in 2005.
It is with great sadness that my beautiful daughter, Becky was taken from us in November of 2014. She had a long battle with breast cancer and ultimately succumbed to the disease. She was very spirited, creative, caring and courageous. The world is blessed to have had such a wonderful lady in it. She is survived by me, her mother, her sister Allie, her husband Paul Neidzella, and her two children, Sebastian and Amelie. Her husband and children continue to reside in the cob house he and Becky built together on Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver, BC. Becky we all miss you greatly and love you dearly.
Allie lives in Buffalo, NY where she is attending a local community college studying Architecture!
Gary Brooker (UK): The latest Palers' Project 'From Shadow to Shadow' is stuffed with gems – not tribute band homage but original treatments, sometimes off the wall – sometimes massive, but always with real imagination and musicianship.Impassioned Italians, growling Americans, guitars that sound more like Trower than Trower – cheeky comedy, churning Salty Dogs, versatile families, until the whole becomes larger than the sum of the parts. - Gary Brooker, Surrey, Procol Harum 2004
Bert Sarraco writes: "Tracks 16 – 20 tour through much of In Held 'Twas In I, throwing a curve here and there, and sometimes mimicking the original to an amazing degree. Of particular interest is Hulluuteni Syksy (better known to you and me as In The Autumn of My Madness), which features a nice, understated vocal by Saara, and the amazingGary Shepard on all instruments. Gary, by the way, is impressive throughout the project and gets this year’s ‘I Can Do The Trower Parts’ award (the last winner was Richard Beck … the first winner was Robin Trower)."
James Dolen writes: "There's so much great guitar playing that it's hard to mention names without feeling like I'm slighting the others but Gary Shepard's growling, almost furious work on Juicy John Pink is a personal favorite. On Wish Me Well he sounds like he's enjoying himself as much as Robin Trower must have."
Alan Matthews writes: "A special mention should be made of those names who crop up throughout the collection. The talented Clare family members glue the whole thing together with enthusiasm, skill and thoughtfulness. And the name of Gary Shepard seems to coincide with some brilliant fuzzy Trowerisms on more than a couple of occasions (including his own version of Wish Me Well) as well as with various other instruments."
Geoff Welch says, "Ringmaster Roland Clare is deftly all over the place on keyboards, bass, guitar, background vocals, etc. Gary Shepard is just about as ubiquitous. Fine work gentlemen. Together they seemed to have formed the backbone of the project, which once again is skilfully programmed to create a surreal flow of music."
John Hall writes: "Ringmaster" Roland Clare and his American counterpart Gary Shepard are at the heart of this cosmopolitan ensemble blending close reworkings and startling reinterpretations of the familiar and not-so-familiar into a collection full of old friends and new surprises."
Charlie Allison says, "The musicianship is high throughout and outstanding on many tracks – particular mention must go to Gary Shepard for several wonderful creations – two backing Procol's No 1 fan Al 'One-Eye' (but certainly not 'one-note'!) Edelist; also most of the In Held 'Twas In I suite, including a strangely effective Finnish vocal on Autumn of my Madness."
Dave Knight has these interesting insights on the various tracks that Gary did:"Juicy John Pink: Laid-back funky rhythm, great vocal and guitar. One Eye is now officially the new John Lee Hooker (I’ve suspected this for a while). This track rocks: again, another song that knocks spots off the original (am I allowed to say that?): my foot never stopped tapping.The Pursuit of Happiness: a great acoustic version of this song appeared on Lost in the Looking Glass: can One-eye Edelist’s and Gary's version match the first? You bet it can! Great beat, great performance from all. If a single was chosen from this set, this should be it. I can picture Al (in the MTV video) sitting by a pool, surrounded by bikini-clad chicks. A common goal indeed.Wish Me Well: Hang on a minute, I did a version of this on Lost in the Looking Glass: how dare Gary copy me? But no that’s not Gary Shepard, it's Gary B and Robin T isn’t it? I’m glad I don’t live next door to Gary with all that bloody loud guitar racket. Great track … I’ll get my coat!"
Jill McMahon had this to say, "The immensely talented Clare Family seems to appear everywhere, and that includes their very talented cats, Quibble and Quirk (my own cats are writing their review even now). And Gary Shepard with his many musical personalities backs up so many tracks I lost count, only to close out Disc Two with most amazing In Held 'Twas in I tracks accompanying Sam Cameron, John Edgar, Saara’s beautiful voice, and Stephen ‘Doc’ Wallace, finishing with a very grand Grand Finale. I could go on and on, but I’m sure everyone would rather I didn’t. Everyone involved worked very hard with excellent results. This set is a collection that they can all be really proud to be a part of."
Reviews of "Trace of A Feeling"
Bert Saraco writes: "A solid blues in its original form, House of Usher gives Crucifiction Lane a real ‘good ol’ boy’ country vocal treatment, along with an unexpected tease of Für Elise going right into the post-'beanstalk' build-up from In Held 'Twas in I, leading back into the second verse, only to be reprised at the end of the song – very convincing vocal and instrumental work (the guitar work on this track is stunning, and very Trower-esque), not only here, but on all of these country-tinged performances.If you’re looking for a hard-rocking blues number, you’ll find an absolute gem three songs before the whole project ends. The Shepard Rockette Band have recorded a more blues-oriented version of All Our Dreams are Sold than we could’ve, well, dreamed of. I would go as far as to say that this just might be a direction that Gary Brooker and company might want to take the song in future performances! All of the playing is very good, and the guitar work is something that I think Trower himself could’ve been proud of having played. For me, this is one of the best tracks out of all forty-two ... and, yes – that is the legendary Rockette Morton of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band fame!"
Rick Ray writes: "Phenomenal version of Procol Harum's 'All Our Dreams Are Sold' which, if I'm not mistaken was written by Robin Tower on the Prodigal Stranger album 1992...you brought this song to another level. I'd bet Trower and Brooker would dig the hell out of this!!!!!"
Gary Shepard - Femme Fatale
See Gary Play Live!
August 18 - Shannon's w/Atomic Road - 8:30 - 12:30
August 26 - Hotel Aiken w/Upshot - 9:30 - 1:30
September 15 - Shannon's w/Atomic Road - 8:30 - 12:30
September 30 - Rose Hill w/Upshot - 7:00 - 10:00
October 14 - Private Party w/Lo Down Brown - 6:00 - 10:00
October 20 - Shannon's w/Atomic Road - 8:30 - 12:30
October 21 - The Alley w/Lo Down Brown
October 28 - Hotel Aiken w/Upshot Halloween - 9:30 - 1:30
November 17 - Shannon's w/Atomic Road - 8:30 - 12:30
December 15 - Shannon's w/Atomic Road - 8:30 - 12:30
recent Musical experiences
2012 - present; Atomic Road - lead guitar, keyboards & vocals - classic rock & blues frequently playing at Shannon's, Cork & Bull and Rub It Inn.
2003 - present; Lo Down Brownlead guitar, keyboards – classic rock, various clubs, weddings, receptions, parties from Aiken to Hilton Head to Washington, DC!
Myrtle Beach, SC
1993-1994 Carolina Gold 1994-1995 Michael Ryan Band Afterdeck: Opened for Night Ranger
1994-1995 Chill Factor
1996 Film at 11 1995-1997 Silver Beach Wagon
1996-present Various Weddings
1996 Percy Sledge - Crossroads Night Club
1996 "Elvis & Patsy Cline Show"
1996-1997 "Rich Little Show" - Gatlin Brother’s Theatre - 85 shows
1997 "Working" keyboards - Coastal Carolina Community College
1998 "Steve Gatlin Show" - Gatlin Brothers' Theatre - 115 shows
2003 Palers' Band (Procol Harum tribute band) lead guitar, bass, keyboards
BB King's Club, CityWalk at Universal Studios, Procol Harum 4-day musical festival
2003 "Viva Heart Vegas"
2003 "Best of Broadway" - Hopeland Gardens
2003-2004 "Moonlighters" - various clubs, events
2003 "Bobby Tuba’s Dixieland Band" - St. Luke’s Methodist Church
2003 "Sound of Music"
2003-2005 "St. John’s Christmas Concert"
2004 "Heart Diamond #735"
2004 "Best of Broadway"
2004 "Always… Patsy Cline"
2004 "Tony 'N Tina’s Wedding"
2004 "Annie Get Your Gun"
2005 "Girl's Night Out"
2005 "Little Shop of Horrors"
2006 "Heartville: 28 Miles"
2006 Palers' Band (Procol Harum tribute band) -
The Domus Felix, Lejre, Denmark, Procol Harum 4-day musical festival
2006 "Smokey Joe's Cafe" - Aiken Playhouse
2006 "Fiddler on the Roof"
2007 "Heart 500"
2007 "The Robber Bridegroom"
2007 "Palers' Band & Palers' Project" -
St. John's, Smith Square Procol Harum's 40th Anniversary Celebrations
2008 "Take 30"
2008 "Always… Patsy Cline"
2009 "The 1958 Heartberry Fair"
2009 "Tony 'N Tina’s Wedding"
2010 "Aiken's Most Excellent Adventure"
2011 "Happily Ever After"
2012 "It's Dandy in Deadwood"
2013 "Remember When"
2013 "Bobby Dallas After-Party"
2014 "The Last Mulligan"
2015 "Heroes Retreat"
2016 "A Patriotic Salute"
2013 Paler's Band (Procol Harum tribute band)
6 Day Festival - Live at Club Barman
Westbury, New York
2014 Paler's Band (Procol Harum tribute band)
Procol Harum Festival with Gary Brooker