The Rides a bonafide super group with youth, legendary hit making, and chops are comprised of:
Thirty-five year old, five time Grammy nominated and two-time Blues Music Award winning, guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd who has recorded with Hubert Sumlin and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.
Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, 71 year old guitarist and songwriter Stephen Stills, a member of the ground breaking Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” and later Crosby, Stills, and Nash; and of his own solo recordings including “Love The One You’re With”.
Add 73 year old keyboard wizard Barry Goldberg, whose credits include The Electric Flag, Bob Dylan, and The Chicago Blues Re-union; and stir.
Long ago manager Elliot Roberts, who managed both Stills and Goldberg, suggested the veteran musicians work together. They both appeared on the 1968 album “Super Session” alongside Michael Bloomfield although not on the same tracks.
Stills met Shepherd at a private party before the 2007 Superbowl. The trio united in 2013 and recorded their first album “Can’t Get Enough”. Among the best tracks were covers of Muddy Waters “Honey Bee” and Elmore James’ “Talk to Me Baby”.
The Rides also include the rhythm section of bassist and co-producer Kevin McCormick; and drummer Chris Layton whose credits include Shepherd’s band and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Double Trouble”. Now with improved songwriting from band members they have exceeded all expectations.
The opening two songs “Kick Out of Here” and “Riva Diva” are shuffles. More important then the lyrics are the band’s collective musicianship. The rhythm section lays down the foundation for the interplay between Stills lofty fretwork and Shepherd’s lead guitar. Goldberg on the keys adds the coloration to complete their sound.
“Virtual World” sounds like Crosby, Stills and Nash; while “Mr. Policeman” has a sixties vibe reminiscent of Buffalo Springfield. “Game On” includes Kim Wilson on harmonica.
“By My Side” and “I Need Your Lovin” were composed by Shepherd and Goldberg while “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” is an older song written by Goldberg and Gerald Goffin.
The only cover is a jazzy version of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe”; unless you are fortunate enough to have the Deluxe Edition. The three bonus tracks include Nick Gravenites “Born in Chicago” which opened the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s first album; and Jimmy Reed’s “Take out Some Insurance”.
Make sure you catch these guys when they’re out on tour this summer.