Meet Cheryl Sahm. She’s a fellow Wolf Pack sister with a great heart and some great stories.
Cheryl is a native of Boerne, Texas, a cute, quaint town just outside San Antonio, where she and her husband, Shawn (you’ll hear more about him in a minute), still reside. She spent a lot of her life in the family business, managing commercial properties her father owned.
“I have worked in my family’s business pretty much all my life,” Cheryl said. “My dad bought commercial properties, and I property manage all of [those]. He passed away six years ago. So I take care of all his stuff, and I take care of my mom, who has dementia.”
And if that doesn’t sound like a full load, Cheryl also participates in a weekly philanthropic effort.
“I have a calling to feed the homeless every Saturday night with Taking It to The Streets,” she said. “In 2018, Double D made blankets for all my homeless brothers and sisters. This company has been a true blessing.”
That’s STILL not all she does. She also handles the business components of the industry for the musicians in her life, both past and present. You see, her husband, Shawn Sahm, is a musician. And he comes by it honestly. Shawn is the son of the late Doug Sahm, of the Texas Tornados (you know… “Hey baby, que paso?”), and the 1960s rock-and-roll band, The Sir Douglas Quintet, before that.
“Back in the 60s and 70s, musicians just created their music. Not a lot of them took care of the business side of it, the publishing and the administrative, stuff like that,” Cheryl explained. “When my father-in-law passed away in 1999, it was all handed to me like, ‘What are we doing with this? How do we do it?’ I had some help – thanks to my husband – who got me in contact with people who were able to help me put it all together and catalog it and get it administrated. I know quite a bit now about how to run that side. So I take care of all of that for my husband’s publishing company and my father-in-law’s publishing company. [Doug] had probably three to four hundred songs that he wrote. I get the boring job, my husband gets the fun one.”
Shawn went beyond just following in his father’s footsteps by playing music, he actually filled the vacancy Doug’s passing left in the band, a legacy (and a decision) he did not take lightly.
“In late 1989, 1990, Warner Bros. came to my father-in-law and said, ‘I want you to create a Texas super-group.’,” Cheryl shared. “So he got Augie [Meyers], his box organ player from the Sir Douglas Quintet, and he got Flaco Jimenez, and he got Freddy Fender, and they created the Texas Tornados. And then [Doug] passed in 1999, and in 2005, the remaining members approached my husband and said, ‘We’d like to go on tour, we’d like to keep playing’. And Shawn was only willing to do it if it was more of a celebration of his dad, to honor him.”
Before they hit the tour circuit, Shawn suggested they first make a CD. So they recorded a CD in 2005, and then shortly after, Freddy Fender passed away.
“So then, the other two remaining guys came to my husband and said, ‘We should go on tour, we should take this on the road.’,” Cheryl recalled. “Shawn was very adamant, ‘This will only be done as long as it’s honoring Doug and honoring Freddy. That’s the only reason I’m doing this. If that stops then I stop.’.”
And so they took the 2.0 version of the Texas Tornados on the road. The band toured from 2006 until 2018, longer than the original band was together.
It’s clear, talking to Cheryl, the tremendous amount of love and respect she had for her father-in-law, and his music still has a pervasive presence in her life. In a way, it’s actually what brought her to Double D.
“The very first Double D Ranch product that I saw was at a little shop in San Marcos called The Depot,” she said. “This was probably 15 years ago, maybe longer. One day I stopped in there, and I saw these shirts -- and I am a big fanatic of embroidery, beads, things like that – so the first shirt I got, I was like ‘Oh my gosh! This is so me!’ It’s got the guitar in the middle with wings on the side of the guitar and underneath it says ‘Outlawed Angel’. And the reason it caught my eye was, my father-in-law wrote a song called ‘Are In-Laws Really Outlaws?’ So when I saw the shirt, I was like ‘I gotta have that.’.”
This was the Outlaw Angel tee from 2007, and she still has it to this day. And, as all you Addicts know, when it comes to DDR, you just can’t stop at one.
“I just kept going back to see if they had gotten any more in,” she laughed. “I stopped shopping at the outlet malls, I just started going all the way over there to this one store because I knew they were going to have the style of clothes that I wanted. That’s where my addiction started.”
So when a friend of hers mentioned that she should join Double D Addiction on Facebook, it was a no-brainer for Cheryl that this was just the kind of group for her. What she didn’t anticipate, was the impact it would end up having, and how much it would eventually mean to her.
“The first time I went to Yoakum, I met some of the girls [from the group],” she said. “It was just so heartwarming to know how kind and beautiful these women are. And we all have so much in common that we don’t even realize. So many of us are going through the same things. When you have a parent with dementia, you feel all alone. You feel like there’s nobody you can talk to, that there’s no one else who can understand this. But then I went to Yoakum, and sat down to lunch with these ladies, and listened to them tell their stories, and realized I wasn’t alone.”
We at DDR are consistently inspired by these stories of the Wolf Pack helping one another, uplifting one another, and just relating to one another. The Wolf Pack is a hard thing to describe or explain, but Cheryl put it into words in a way we really love.
“It’s just become this sisterhood,” she said. “I call them my ‘God-given sisters’, because these aren’t sisters I was born with, these are the sister’s God’s given me along the journey of my life.”
Amen, sister. Not only have the sisters encouraged Cheryl through some hard times, they’ve also encouraged her in some really fun times, too. Like talking her into her current favorite DDR piece.
“I have to say my very first shirt will always be my favorite, the Outlaw Angel,” she said. “But my current favorite is the Warhol’s Suit. When I first saw it, I think it was in the catalog, and it was green, and I was like, “Ugh, I can’t pull off green!” I wear all black all the time, there’s no way I could pull off that color green. When I went to one of the VIP sales, every single girl that tried it on, I was like ‘Oh my god, that looks amazing on you!’ and ‘Oh my god, that looks so good on you!’ And I was thinking to myself, ‘Dang, that’s a really nice suit. And I’m taking my mom to the rodeo next week, and I need something to wear…’ and they convinced me to try it on, and I just [gasped] ‘OH MY GOSH!’ It felt SO good on, because it was stretchy, and it fit, and they said ‘If you need the legs hemmed up, we can do it right now.’ And that was probably the selling point, that they were able to hem them right then.”
Picking a favorite piece of DDR is kind of like picking a favorite child, you just love them all for different reasons. (I would say this is the question my interviewees struggle with the most, and I don’t think anyone in the history of me writing these pieces has ever given just one answer.)
“The Ol San Antonio Rose boots, those are my favorite, too,” she laughed. “And Skat Kat. The San Antonio Rose boots were my first pair of [Double D Ranch] boots, my father-in-law sang a song called San Antonio Rose. I had to get those because of the song.”
Cheryl has a lot of connections to a lot of Double D Ranch pieces. Not only are some garment names reminiscent of her father-in-law’s songs, but she also has emotional or nostalgic ties to entire collections.
“When they did Almost Famous, they did this whole line called Penny Lane, which is my granddaughter’s name,” she said. “And of course I loved it all. I was like, ‘I gotta get a 15th job because I need all of it.’ And then Muscle Shoals, I read all of Muscle Shoals, and I was like ‘I know Muscle Shoals.’ I’ve been there, my husband’s recorded there, my father-in-law has recorded there. And [Doug] was actually good friends with Jerry Wexler. Everything just kind of felt like we had so many similarities and connections, it was just really weird how it all came about. It seems like almost every piece now, I’ve got some kind of a tie to it, in a way.”
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the midst of our conversation, Cheryl nonchalantly said, “I’ve met quite a few characters since I’ve been in this family.” Well, I couldn’t leave it at that. I got her to share a few, and she had me laughing out loud. Since we could all use a healthy dose of laughter right now, I transcribed a few of my favorites. Enjoy.]
The Time Her Husband Didn’t Know He Was BFF’s with a Cartoon Superstar
“I’ll tell you the story of how my husband met one of his best friends. He was doing a show in California, and for several shows this guy kept coming to the shows, and they’d start talking music history. My husband is a music history buff, walking encyclopedia when it comes to music. So this guy kept coming to the shows, and they would talk. One day they were signing autographs, and Flaco looked over to my husband and said ‘You know who that is, right?’ and Shawn goes, ‘Yeah. That’s Tom.’ And Flaco was like, ‘Nah, man… do you know WHO he is?’ ‘Yeah, my friend Tom.’ ‘No, man, that’s Spongebob Squarepants!’ And Shawn just turned and looked at Tom, like ‘Whaaaat?’ and Tom just started doing the voice. It was Tom Kenny, the guy who is the voice of Spongebob. They ended up becoming best friends.”
The Time She Thought Elton John Was a Local
“When I met Elton John, I thought he was from Boerne... He walked in in his jogging suit and tennis shoes. I was expecting to see Elton John in these big huge glasses and feather boas and platform shoes. And he walks in, he’s walking around – we were backstage in this area – he was walking toward us, and I whispered to Shawn, ‘I think I know that guy’. He was like, ‘Huh?’ And I go, ‘Is he from Boerne?’ So he’s looking at me, then looking at him, and it didn’t quite click; we were both thinking the same thing, because he just looked like a normal guy. And then John [Jorgenson] said, ‘Oh, I want you to meet my friends. Shawn, Cheryl, this is Elton.’ And I was just like ‘Ohhhhh my gosh, I feel so stupid.’
And the Time She Made Lloyd Maines’ Day
“I actually seem to do that quite often. My husband’s other friend is Lloyd Maines. We all do the Viva Big Bend in Alpine and Marfa every year, and Lloyd is always there. Two of us were walking to breakfast, and Lloyd was walking back, and he stopped and talked to my friend Kerry [Awn], and at one point, Lloyd says, ‘Oh, you’ll have to email it to me. My email is…’ and I can’t remember now what it was, but it was something like ‘SteelPlayer’ or something like that, and I go ‘Oh! You’re a steel player?’ And he just looked at me like I had mind-boggled him. And I said, ‘You play steel guitar?’ and he just laughed and said ‘Yeah, I do.’ And I go, ‘I didn’t know that!’ And he was just like, ‘You didn’t?’ And I was like ‘No.’ I didn’t even catch on! And he just said, ‘Yeah, I play a little bit.’ And I go on to tell him how we have a little steel guitar that was my father-in-law’s when he was a kid, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ And then I actually invited him over to see it sometime! And I go back to our little condo and tell my husband, ‘I didn’t know Lloyd played steel guitar!’ and Shawn just looked at me, and goes, ‘How do you know? I mean, how did you NOT know, but how do you know now?’ And I said, ‘I just saw him outside.’ Shawn was like, ‘Please tell me you did not ask Lloyd Maines what he plays!’ Turns out he’s a really well-known steel guitar player, and he’s also Natalie Maines’ dad, from The Dixie Chicks. So, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed!’ But my husband said, ‘He probably got a kick out of it, because EVERYONE knows who he is, so having someone NOT know probably made his day.’ I guess he did, because now every year when I see him, he just greets me with a big ol’ grin.”
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