Straight To You Live
Provogue/Mascot Label Group
Kenny Wayne Shepherd first heard Stevie Ray Vaughan when he was only seven. His father encouraged him to study the guitar and Shepherd was invited onstage by Bryan Lee when he was thirteen. Shepherd released his debut album “Ledbetter Heights” on the Giant imprint in 1995 and became a wunderkind to a new generation of blues rock lovers.
Over the years Shepherd developed an appreciation for the masters. In 2007 he released the DVD “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads” documenting himself as he toured, jammed with, and interviewed the last of the authentic blues musicians. Ending with a concert played with the surviving members of the Muddy Waters’ and Howlin’ Wolf bands, including Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Pinetop Perkins; the DVD resulted in Shepherd winning a 2008 Blues Music Award. Shepherd won a second BMA and a Grammy nomination for his 2010 album “Live in Chicago” recorded with Sumlin, Smith, Lee and Buddy Flett.
Shepherd signed with the Concord Music Group and released “Goin Home” in 2014 resulting in another BMA nomination. He followed-up with 2017’s “Lay It Down” and received three more nominations including two for “Blues Rock Artist of the Year”. Shepherd who also records with the super group “The Rides”, released his last studio album, the highly successful “Traveler” in 2019.
Currently the KWS Band includes, Shepherd, guitar and vocals; Noah Hunt, vocals and guitar; Chris “Whipper” Layton (formerly with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble), drums; Scott Nelson, bass; keyboardist Joe Krown who played with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown; and the horn section of Mark Pender, trumpet, and Joe Sublett, saxophone.
Shepherd states “For years we have received requests from our fans to release a live concert. The live music experience is the essence of what we do best as a band and I felt that now is probably the most appropriate time to give you an opportunity to enjoy what we do on stage in the comfort of your own home.”
The KWS Band was touring in support of “Traveler” and five songs are reprised from that last recording. The band opens with Shepherd’s “Woman Like You”; while two more originals “Long Time Running”, and “I Want You”, are also included. I love a good cover and Neil Young’s “Mr. Soul”, and Joe Walsh’s “Turn To Stone”, both included on “The Traveler” are also reprised. Six more originals written or co-written by Shepherd round out the set list including his number one single, “Blue on Black” from 1998. Other covers included are Elmore James’ 1960 “Talk To Me Baby”, Slim Harpo’s 1957 classic “I’m A King Bee”, and Jimi Hendrix’ “Voodoo Child”.
After enjoying this live concert DVD my appreciation for Shepherd and his talented band has definitely increased. Hopefully we can witness him live again soon.