TG Sheppard and Kelly Lang have been married since 2007. In the years since their nuptials, many of their fans have been asking about a possible duets record. The two have obliged those requests with the release of "Iconic Duets" -- a collection that features their take on many timeless collaborations, such as "Jackson" and "Golden Ring."
Lang told Billboard that she felt the time was right for the project. "People have asked us to record or to sing together, and we put it off. I didn't want people to think that's all we did. I wanted to establish some music on my own." She allowed that recording the set was a truly magical experience. "We have had a blast cutting songs that everyone will recognize – things that he and I have loved that we felt the fans would be able to connect with and enjoy. Hopefully, they can hear our love together on the tracks."
In addition to his string of solo classics, Sheppard has also recorded with acts such as Karen Brooks and Clint Eastwood, and he said that recording a duet is very different than flying solo. "It's more difficult than I thought it would be. When you're doing an album on your own, you only have to worry about one individual," he said. Still, recording with his wife was something he fully enjoyed doing. "It has been one of the most rewarding projects I have done. I had a blast doing it with Kelly. We laughed a lot, and got a chance to record songs that we both have loved for so long."
One song on the album that was notable for Lang was "Islands In the Stream." She performed it with writer Barry Gibb at the recent Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony for Kenny Rogers, which she says was definitely a "pinch me" moment. "To be able to do that in front of him at his induction was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. But, it was also the biggest honor."
Gibb was actually in the studio with the couple when they were tracking the album. "I was nervous for him to hear our version," said Lang. "But, he gave his thumbs up. He had a couple of production licks, and we took himself up on those. The music industry is a great family. I get so much love and excitement form being around these people and opportunities. We also performed it on the Grand Ole Opry. Anything after that is just icing."
Sheppard – a one time record promoter for RCA in Memphis – also had a huge moment recently, being involved in the George Jones tribute concert in Nashville last month. He said it was definitely a night to remember. "The only way I could describe it would be the Opry on steroids. You're standing there talking to Vince, Garth, George and Brad, and I don't know if you'll ever be able to assemble those names in one confined area like that ever again. I kept feeling that we should all break into ‘We Are The World' at any moment. It was a who's who of the industry, and to be invited to come and sing a couple of songs was such an honor for me. I loved George, and Nancy is a dear friend of ours. When you look around and see the other people that are there with you, you realize it was one of the crowning moments in your life and your career."
Both Sheppard and Lang hope that fans will love "Iconic Duets," but she was quick to say they weren't trying to repaint the Mona Lisa. "We did not cut these with any intention of trying to improve them or make them better than the originals. You can't. It's impossible. But, we went into the project with the hope that we would be honoring who came before us."