Sheila Stephen, Rising Starr

By Roscoe Bland and Jean Metcalfe .

Sheila Stephen didn't get top billing at the concert at Jasper High School in Jasper, Ind. on Sunday, August 12, but she did a top.-notch job of entertaining the home-state audience.

The diminutive Bloomington, Ind. native opened the concert for country stars Les Taylor and T.G. Sheppard to help Buleher's Buy Low celebrate its fiftieth birthday in the town best known for brave artificial-heart pioneer Bill Schroader.

Standing only four-foot-eleven, Ms. Stephen possesses a powerful voice, exemplifying the adage "good things come in small packages." She sang a medley of Tammy Wynette hits before offering up a couple of her own originals, "Desperate Road" and "New Fool at an Old Game."

"New Fool at an Old Game" – that's a Reba McEntire hit, you might be saying. And you would be right. But Ms. Stephen co-wrote the song with Rick Giles and Steve Bogard, Reba recorded it on her Reba album and it went to No. 1, receiving Cashbox magazine nomination for single of the year.

"Desperate Road" was recorded by Highway 101, but it was never released as a single.

The 26-year-old Ms. Stephen began her musical career at the age of sixteen, earning a talent award as Miss Indiana in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. in 1987.

Besides Sheppard and Taylor, Ms. Stephen has opened concerts for Ronnie Milsap, Earl Thomas Conley, Moe Bandy, Mel Tillis, Jerry Reed, Janie Fricke, Dan Seals and others.

Booking information for Sheila Stephen can be had by contacting Linda James, 7312 N. Tunnel Road, Unioinville, Ind. 47468; (812) 336-3151.