The Playlist

Back with a new al­bum Lay It On Down, Kenny Wayne Shep­herd talks Hen­drix, so­los and Texan he­roes

Total Guitar - - THE PLAYLIST -

The song that got me into mu­sic… Voodoo Child – Jimi Hen­drix “There were a few songs that in­spired me to play. Voodoo Child was one. To me that is the ul­ti­mate gui­tar an­them. It doesn’t get any more heavy than that. The play­ing, the groove, the open­ness of the song and the abil­ity to im­pro­vise – it has it all. When­ever I would lis­ten to Hen­drix, and also Billy Gib­bons, I would won­der how they got their gui­tar to sound like that. I lis­tened to

Voodoo Child and just ex­ploded, my mind opened up to so many dif­fer­ent sounds and I re­alised that I wanted to do that.”

The first song I learned to play… Pur­ple Haze – Jimi Hen­drix

“For some rea­son every­body seems to learn the first three or four notes of

Smoke On The Wa­ter be­fore they learn any­thing else. I was play­ing that when I was prob­a­bly three or four years old. But the first ac­tual song I learned and wanted to sit down and play was Pur­ple Haze. That’s a pretty easy song to grasp as a begin­ner be­cause it’s ba­si­cally three chords and that open­ing lick is not that dif­fi­cult if you are fa­mil­iar with play­ing in­di­vid­ual notes in­stead of just chords. That one is quite easy even though you’re talk­ing about one of the great­est gui­tar play­ers of all time.”

The riff I wish I had writ­ten… Tush – ZZ Top

“Hon­estly, I could say VoodooChild again here! But I would say some­thing by ZZ Top. Billy Gib­bons is right up there with Jimmy Page to me in terms of writ­ing riffs that stick in your head and just don’t go away. I love

La Grange although that was bor­rowed from John Lee Hooker. Tush is an­other good one, it’s a re­ally swing­ing groove and a sim­ple gui­tar riff that just sticks in your head.”

The song I would play to some­one who had never heard my mu­sic… Blue On Black – Kenny Wayne Shep­herd

“We’re a pretty di­verse group. We don’t just do tra­di­tional blues, we also rock pretty hard and then we have bal­lads. I would look at the per­son and if they like rock, I’d play them True Lies or Slow Ride. If it was a girl: Last Good­bye or Blue On Black. Guys love Blue On Black too so that song would prob­a­bly be the best in­tro­duc­tion to our mu­sic. It has a sig­na­ture sound.”

The song I strug­gled to nail… Wall Of De­nial – Ste­vie Ray Vaughan

“For the long­est time I tried to play this song. That open­ing riff is re­ally in­ter­est­ing. I would fake my way through it. It took me years of com­ing back to that song and fo­cus­ing on it to learn it and get all of the lit­tle nu­ances and all the in­be­tween notes just right. That open­ing riff was chal­leng­ing but I even­tu­ally mas­tered it.”

I’d like to re-visit… Led­bet­ter Heights – Kenny Wayne Shep­herd

I don’t have any re­grets at all. I don’t look back and wish I could re-record things. But it might be cool to re-record the en­tire first al­bum. Not be­cause I don’t like it but be­cause some of those songs have evolved and de­vel­oped new parts through play­ing them live over the years.”

A solo I love… Lit­tle Wing – Ste­vie Ray Vaughan

“This solo shows you the power of gui­tar solo­ing. The en­tire song is in­stru­men­tal and this ver­sion is in­cred­i­ble. Any­body who lis­tens to it is moved by it and that def­i­nitely shows you the power of be­ing able to speak with­out words.”

Lay It On Down is out now on Provogue

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