"Kenny Wayne Shepherd"

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

A name that mightn’t be familiar to many of you but hopefully one that you will all check out.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a 37 year old blues/rock guitarist hailing form Louisiana, United States and He first came onto the scene in the mid 90’s.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Shepherd began playing at the age of 7 where he would try and figure out Muddy Waters licks from his father’s record collection.  At the age of 13 he was invited on stage by Brian Lee, a New Orleans bluesman and after holding his own he decided that from that point on, music was what he wanted to do.

Shepherds father who was also his manager helped him land a major record deal to Giant records.  His first album “Ledbetter heights” was releases 1995 to critical and commercial success.   The album achieved a level of success most blues albums never achieve so it was a great start for Shepherd only in his teens at this point.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Slash

Shepherd cites Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Slash as just some of his influences and you can see a bit of each of these players in his playing.

As a player Shepard plays many blues styles on his alum for example acoustic blues, Texas blues,  Louisiana blues.  He however doesn’t tackle Chicago blues owing to his fan base being bang in the middle of the Texas triangle.

Lets now take a look at one of his early hits – Blue on Black

Shepherds album Trouble is was Grammy nominated and was released in 1998.  It features the above track “blue on black”, possibly his biggest song to date.  The following year he released his third million selling album “Live on”.

One of Shepherd’s most interesting projects was his 2007 project Ten days out.  For this documentary he travelled the American south and recorded blues players, many veterans and icons such as B.B King on their home turf.  He achieved another Grammy nomination and a blues music award for the CD’DVD.

Lets look at a clip from Ten days out –

Shepherd once said the following in an interview when asked for advice for guitarists

“A lot of players who want to play the blues learn certain patterns and they get stuck in a rut. They play the same ‘box’ licks and they’re afraid to go beyond them. Listen to Hendrix – man, that guy broke every rule and took the blues as far and wide as you could go.

“See, I’m not just a one-trick pony: I grew up listening to rock, R&B, gospel, James Brown – you name it. I have a lot of musical influences, and I’ve always tried to incorporate them into what I do. If you want to be a blues player, be a blues player. But don’t limit your listening to just the blues, and don’t restrict your playing, either. Don’t say to yourself, ‘I can’t play these notes because they’re not blues notes.’

“I always tell myself, ‘The blues is limitless. As long as you can imagine it, you can do it.'”

And perhaps that is why he is so successful.

Gear

1961 Fender Stratocaster

1958 Fender Stratocaster

KWS bought this original 1958 Fender Stratocaster while on the road back in 1997 from the Guitar Center in Houston, TX. It is a very rare 3 tone sunburst, hardtail, maple neck Stratocaster of which not many were made for ’58.

1964 Fender Blackface Vibroverb Reissue

a new Fender Super-Sonic Twin set on the Bassman setting Fender Deluxe Reissue that’s been rebuilt by Alexander Dumble called the Tweedledee Deluxe. He runs all three amps and brings the Deluxe into the mix as “icing on the cake.”

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