Louisiana’s famed self-taught blues rock guitarist & singer/songwriter KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD will release a brand new album ‘Lay It on Down’ out July 21 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.
In addition to sculpting a successful solo career, the Grammy nominated guitarist formed the blues-rock supergroup THE RIDES in 2013 — with Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg, accompanied by bassist Kevin McCormick and Chris Layton on tour.
During a 25-year career, the young Shepherd opened for Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and the Eagles. He has released seven studio albums, “Lay It on Down” will be the eighth.
“The point of [the] album…” he says, “was that I wanted to put a heavy emphasis on the songs themselves and the writing behind them. I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words…”
Lead track, already released, “Baby Got Gone” is a vivid and quick-witted fizzing rock ‘n’ blues number featuring accomplished guitar-work, powerful vocals and agile rhythms.
“Diamonds and Gold” is a brassy bouncer with swirling organ notes and the kind of thump that takes the listener into the very heart of the mid-1970s Memphis soul scene with its splendidly rousing “That’s how we roll…” chorus and squelchy guitar. The vocals are lively and chipper. This is zestful and ever-bold.
The theme tune for the best part of a 24 hour day “Nothing But The Night” has a pressing rhythm and commanding vocals. This is sensual, with a sticky, vaporous finish and long dribbled guitar lines of dark syrup. Reminiscent of Don Henley’s Eagles circa 1972.
Title track “Lay It On Down” has a sweet acoustic feel with genuinely sensitive vocals and country rock aspirations. The light filaments of Spanish guitar impel this warm-hearted swayer.
The manly “Ride Of Your Life” is gutsy & sexy with a dark, driving riff and valiant vocals. The percussion here is ambitious as the guitars fizz and roister. This is a hard-driving road-song about not-quite containing bad behaviour but trying nonetheless… it’s always hard when living a rebellious free-wheeling lifestyle.
This is a collection of robust songs from a virtuoso performer whose guitar-skills always provoke fascinated interest — the numbers here are evocative of buckskin pants, free-love, rifle pickups from quick stops at ratty five ‘n’ dimes… and trying not to fall-out-of-love when roaring across Parish lines on a Trans-Mississippi adventure.
Lay It on Down by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is out July 21 via Provogue/Mascot
Words: @neilmach 2017 ©
In the UK:
Sat 29 July – Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone (Headline Outlaw Country Stage)
Sun 30 July – The Picturedrome, Holmfirth