If you’re watching country music singer and “Voice” winner Chevel Shepherd’s latest videos and you think you see a bunch of familiar-looking landmarks and people, you’d be right.
Durango filmmaker David Dibble has directed Shepherd’s three latest videos: “The Letter,” “Just Like the Circus” and “Good Boy,” which was released March 26.
Dibble said he began working with Shepherd, who lives in Farmington, when she was looking for a director who would be able to do more with her videos than just the basics.
“It’s a small world. I work with Jeff Johnson (D&SNG general manager) at the railroad, he’s a friend of mine and he’s also the banjo player and fiddle player for Chevel,” he said. “They had a music video come up, and he thought, ‘Wow, we should get a hold of a filmmaker since it’s an actual story,’ so he put us in touch.”
The timing of the projects was both challenging because of the pandemic and all the public health and safety protocols that went along with that, but it was also a good chance to get back to work, Dibble said.
“It’s been a nice surprise because I wasn’t really doing that much, nobody was, during that time,” he said. “So to pull it off it definitely had a lot more stress trying to be safe and so forth. We’re lucky we got to make these during that time.”
And it’s cool to pick out familiar places in the videos – in “Just Like the Circus,” for example, while Shepherd is the star, local landmarks – and residents – especially the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Durango Arts Center theater share top billing. And be sure to catch Oscar’s Cafe’s cameo in “Good Boy,” which stars Shepherd and actor and singer Charlie Gillespie.
Dibble, who’s originally from Hanford, California, and has lived in Durango for the last seven years, said he has been making films since he was 12. According to his website, his parents brought home a video camera and he was hooked, creating a Lego stop-motion movie, a “Star Trek” film and even a Florida Citrus music video in high school that earned him and other students a trip to Walt Disney World. He went to the University of Southern California’s film school and then went to work on independent films and commercials. He moved to Durango from Los Angeles: “I was living there way too long, so I wanted something just the opposite.”
Dibble said his approach to music videos is a lot different than videos we’ve seen in the past, focusing more on telling a story than relying on gimmicks or performance footage.
“What’s funny is I wasn’t paying attention to the country music videos until this came along, but I would say back in those days, you could be as easy as just videotaping people singing and performing or doing weird things like walking on the beach,” he said. “But I think the way I approach it, it becomes more like filmmaking, more storytelling and certainly more advanced. ... I personally like the direction to make them more like films, like stories rather than just sort of abstract images and singing at a concert.”