Shepherd will entertain hometown fans this weekend with Civic Center concert

Farmington High School alum will perform first local show since January 2019

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington's Chevel Shepherd performs Loretta Lynn's "You're Lookin' at Country" on Dec. 4, 2018, on NBC-TV's "The Voice." Shepherd will perform Nov. 20 at the Farmington Civic Center.
  • Shepherd performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. in Farmington.
  • Tickets are $25 and $28, and can be purchased online at fmtn.org/events or by calling 505-599-1148.
  • Shepherd plans on recording some new material the day after her concert at a studio in Durango, Colorado.

FARMINGTON — In early December 2018, in the midst of her victorious run on season 15 of NBC-TV's "The Voice," Farmington resident Chevel Shepherd performed a cover of the Loretta Lynn classic "You're Lookin' at Country" to advance to the round of eight finalists.

Nearly three years later, when she takes the stage this weekend at the Farmington Civic Center, Shepherd again will invoke the magic of the country music legend when she performs a new song, "Lookin' for Loretta," that chronicles Lynn's massive impact on the genre.

Shepherd said the song was written by Kellys Collins, who penned much of the material found on "Everybody's Got a Story," Shepherd's recently released debut EP. That tune will be among a handful of new songs that Shepherd performs in what will be her first performance here since Jan. 26, 2019, when she was effectively taking a victory lap for her triumph on "The Voice."

Chevel Shepherd says she has focused on who she wants to be as a country singer since winning season 15 of "The Voice" in 2018.

"That doesn't even seem like it was three years ago," Shepherd said, reflecting on how dramatically her life has changed since late 2018 and how she has evolved as an artist. Shepherd said she continues to listen to a mix of classic and contemporary country, and is inspired by both.

Over the course of the last three years, "I've homed in on who I want to be as a country singer," she said.

That process has been slowed somewhat by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Shepherd and thousands of other performers to the sidelines for several months. But she said the second half of 2021 has been much busier for her. Shepherd has been touring regularly since June, including a performance earlier this month at the Professional Bull Riders World Finals at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

That kind of pace can be demanding, but it seems to suit the Farmington High School graduate. She said life as a touring performer has allowed her to become much closer to her touring band, a five-member outfit that will back her this weekend.

"We are a really tight-knit group," she said. "We're also like a family. It's fun to play with people who love it as much as you do."

Shepherd said she has developed a much fuller appreciation of the kind of commitment it takes to build a music career now than she did when she burst on the scene three years ago.

"Going into it, I was 16, and I had no idea what it was going to be like," she said, explaining that her life is an everyday routine of performing, rehearsing, learning to play guitar and writing songs, leaving little time for anything else.

"People look at it sometimes and think it's easy, but it is definitely not easy," she said. "It's a lot more work than it seems."

When she does have leisure time, Shepherd said, she spends it with her family, and she continues to live in the Farmington area when she's not on the road.

Even though this weekend's show will serve as a homecoming for Shepherd, she doesn't have a lot of down time built into her schedule. A day after her concert, she plans on heading to Durango, Colorado, to begin recording material for her first full album, which she hopes to release next year.

Shepherd's fans elsewhere in New Mexico should have another chance to catch one of her performances, as she said a date for a concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe should be announced soon.

"It's looking busy," she said of her schedule for 2022.

Shepherd performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. in Farmington. Tickets are $25 and $28, and can be purchased online at fmtn.org/events or by calling 505-599-1148.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.