Kenny Wayne Shepherd
In recent years, few have had the same impact as Kenny Wayne Shepherd in the world of blues-related country music. Born in Louisiana, he’s a self-taught guitarist who got his first instrument – bought his grandmother – by the time he was four years old.
Inspired by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, who he met when aged just seven, Shepherd’s first major live performance, at an arts festival in Shreveport, got him a deal with Giant Records, leading to the release of debut album ‘Ledbetter Heights’ in 1995. The musical style was distinctly blues based, but by the time ‘Trouble Is…’ had arrived two years later, Shepherd had expanded his repertoire to become a lot more rock oriented. As with his first album, ‘Trouble Is…’ has sold over a million copies in America alone. It also had a string of well received singles, including ‘Slow Ride’ and ‘Blue On Black’. This record also marked his ongoing collaboration with vocalist Noah Hunt.
Since then, Shepherd has continued to redefine and refine his style, taking on country inspirations for a succession of quality albums, which have sold in vast quantities, while proving that Shepherd wasn’t prepared to deviate from his own musical aspirations to fit in with any trend.
On the most recent studio album, ‘Goin’ Home’ (released by Concord Records in 2014), he amply demonstrates that, although blues is still the basis for what he does, nonetheless there’s so much more to his approach. As the man himself points out, “My stuff has a lot more of an edge to it. It’s a little more contemporary. And there’s a certain youthfulness to what I do.”
During his career, Shepherd has received five Grammy Award nominations, as well as winning two Billboard Music awards and a brace of Blues Music awards. In 2007, he put out the CD/DVD documentary. This followed his 10day journey around America, as met and played with some of the all time great blues artists, including B.B. King, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards and Pinetop Perkins.He’s also toured with such luminaries as the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Eagles.
As well as a solo performer of great credibility, Shepherd is also a member of The Rides with Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg of Electric Flag. They put out first album ‘Can’t Get Enough’ in 2013, and are presently working on a second one.
Have no doubt that, musically, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a true outlaw.
‘Blue On Black’, ‘Who’s Gonna Catch You Now?’, ‘Cryin’ Shame’
His Finest Hour
’10 Days Out: Blues From The Backroads’ 2007
Shepherd live with Pinetop Perkins and Muddy Water’s band a decade ago. Rootsy and thrilling