Keeping the blues alive and well is American blues-rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Les Davidson explores his incendiary style.
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
ThAT’S ThE BIG pAY Off: TO WALK ONSTAGE EvERY NIGhT AND WATCh ThE fANS SING ALONG – IT’S TOTAL fuLfILmENT
Kenny Wayne gives it some at the top of his Strat’s neck!
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