Local musician Keith Sherman, best known for his deep, colorful voice, songwriting and as one of the original members of Overland Express, died Tuesday afternoon after a long illness.
Sherman was later a member of several bands including Nite Owl and the Sherman Williams Band.
Rick Williams played with him in Overland and Sherman Williams, but also before that.
“I’ve been playing with him since the Canyon Band before Overland,” he said. “We’ve been through a whole lot of stuff I can’t talk about. He was one of a kind. One of the most unique vocalists I’ve ever heard, and a great songwriter, too.”
Joe “Dixie” Fuller, talent and production coordinator for the Riverbend Festival, worked as a roadie for the band in the mid-1970s and remembers Sherman for his talent and his even temper.
“I literally cut my teeth in the music business working for Overland Express,” he said.
“They were that first band you would work for for free, like we’ve all done. I set up his guitars and hauled equipment for them. He was just a humble guy. My fondest memories are of driving in that van all packed together. I don’t think I ever saw him lose his temper.”
Williams said the same about his old friend.
“He never did lose his temper. After everything he went through in Vietnam, he wouldn’t. I saw him raise his voice a few times maybe.”
Actor Dennis Haskins was the band’s first manager and handled booking for the group.
“I got to hear that voice almost every day,” Haskins said. “As selfish as it feels to miss him, I’m glad that God has finally eased the pain he was going through. We were colleagues and friends for 40 years. This is a truly sad day for me personally and everyone who loved Keith and his music.”
Fuller put into words what many wrote on Facebook after hearing the news.
“He is going to be sorely missed. It hurts my heart.”
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...