I am slowly learning to appreciate the blues- primarily modern blues to be sure but thanks to the Doc's Blues Rock Show, I am discovering new artists everyday- including the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. For those of you unfamiliar with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, he was born Kenny Wayne Brobst in 1977 and is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is a self-taught guitarist who does not actually read music. He began playing guitar in earnest at the age of seven, about six months after meeting and being "pretty mesmerized” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. His self-taught method employed a process of learning one note at a time, playing and rewinding cassette tapes and learning to play by following along with material from his father's record collection.
From 1995 on, Shepherd took seven singles into the US Top 10, and holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts with Trouble Is…. In 1996, Shepherd began a long-time collaboration with vocalist Noah Hunt.
So what of Lay It On Down, his eighth (and latest) studio album Well, it is a fantastic mix of blues and blues-rock with 10 excellent tracks of the highest quality – on both production and musicianship. In the opening track, Baby Not Gone, Hunt and Shepherd share the harmonies on vocals for a rocking start to the album. Then comes the beautiful Diamonds & Gold, with horns and Hammond organ adding to the depth of the song. Nothin’ But The Night has a very Santana-like feel to it and Lay It On Down is as raw as it comes in its intensity.
She’s $$$ has a beat that is pure Deep South and Hard Lesson Learned is a real tear-jerker. The upbeat mood returns with Down For Love with a brilliant guitar solo in the middle. How Low Can You Go keeps the energy up with a 60s feel to it and Louisiana Rain is as laid back as it gets. The album finishes energetically with Ride Of Your Life, with some rather excellent guitar work from Mr Shepherd.
If you love your blues-rock skilfully produced and played, then go out and buy this album. You won’t be disappointed.