At age four, Ivy was given a portable record player, a Hank Williams, Sr. record, and a Jimmie Rodgers record. These days her collection of mint condition 78rpm records includes nearly all of both of those, over 200 Carter Family sides, and thousands of elusive bluegrass, old-time, gospel, blues, and early jazz records.
Her radio career began by accident when a friend invited her to be on his old-time music show on WPAQ, a legendary AM station in Mount Airy, North Carolina. She went back the following week. The third week he telephoned to say that he would not be there and could she do the show by herself. He never came back and she never looked back. Bringing the music she loves to her radio audience has become an obsession fueled by her relentless search for rare records and field recordings.
Ivy’s name is rapidly becoming synonymous with exciting, informative radio shows featuring rare and obscure music and musicians. Even obsessive fans of bluegrass, old-time, and gospel know that if Ivy Sheppard is on the air, they are going to be pleased and amazed at what they hear.
In addition to her radio career, Ivy is also an active musician. By age fifteen, Ivy was playing clawhammer banjo and had announced to her parents that she was going to make her living playing music. She met up with Janice and Bill Birchfield in 1999 at a fiddlers convention, followed them home, and subsequently performed with the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers for several years, and currently tours with The South Carolina Broadcasters playing music of the Carter Family, transitional old time-bluegrass tunes, and originals. She also had a competitive run for Mayor of Mount Airy in 2017.
On the radio or in person, Ivy Sheppard is a living tribute to the music she loves.