Keep­ing the blues alive and well is Amer­i­can blues-rock gui­tarist Kenny Wayne Shep­herd. Les David­son ex­plores his in­cen­di­ary style.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Les David­son checks out the style of the in­cred­i­bly gifted Kenny Wayne Shep­herd.

Kenny Wayne Shep­herd (Kenny Wayne Brobst) was born on June 12, 1977 and grew up in Shreve­port, Louisiana. His grand­mother gave him his first guitar around the age of four, but he says he re­ally started work­ing at his play­ing at the (still ten­der!) age of seven. His in­spi­ra­tion at that time came af­ter be­ing taken to a Ste­vie Ray Vaughan gig by his dad who was pro­mot­ing the event. He was left, in his words, “pretty mes­merised” by the ex­pe­ri­ence. Kenny is a self-taught mu­si­cian who cites his dad’s ex­ten­sive record col­lec­tion as his teacher. At the age of 13 he was in­vited up on­stage to play with blues mu­si­cian Bryan Lee and from then on he honed his play­ing. Af­ter mak­ing some demo tapes and a video, Irv­ing Azoff of Gi­ant Records who had rep­re­sented Steely Dan, Bon Jovi and Van Halen, signed him to his record la­bel.

Kenny has had huge suc­cess with his re­leases, notch­ing up seven Top 10 Bill­board sin­gles and the long­est-run­ning al­bum on the Bill­board Blues Charts with Trou­ble Is…

A true blues mu­sic fan to the core, in 2007 Kenny re­leased a DVD-CD pro­ject en­ti­tled 10 Days Out: Blues From The Back­roads, which fea­tured Kenny jam­ming with and in­ter­view­ing some of the blues gi­ants, in­clud­ing sur­viv­ing mem­bers of both Muddy Wa­ters and Howlin’ Wolf’s bands as well as other no­ta­bles such as Clarence Gate­mouth Brown and B B King. Dur­ing his ca­reer, Kenny has been nom­i­nated for five Gram­mys and re­ceived two Blues Mu­sic and two Orville Gib­son awards. A re­cent suc­cess­ful side pro­ject is The Rides – a band with Stephen Stills and Barry Gold­berg. His most notable legacy so far though is that Kenny Wayne Shep­herd has kept the blues flag fly­ing, thus con­nect­ing a younger au­di­ence to the huge canon of blues artists that came be­fore him.

For both of these so­los, I’m in reg­u­lar tuning. I’m us­ing a pick on both ex­am­ples but oc­ca­sion­ally I’ll also use my sec­ond and or third fin­ger. Do which­ever suits you and I hope you en­joy the piece. NEXT MONTH Les looks at the smooth but fiery blues style of the great Joe Bona­massa


Kenny Wayne gives it some at the top of his Strat’s neck!

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