Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Is Goin' Home

Kenny Wayne Shepherd @bluesandsoul.com
Kenny Wayne Shepherd @bluesandsoul.com Kenny Wayne Shepherd @bluesandsoul.com Kenny Wayne Shepherd photo by Greg Logan. Kenny Wayne Shepherd CD cover pic.

Five-time Grammy nominated US blues star Kenny Wayne Shepherd is in the UK for two shows, at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and his own headliner in London, to promote his brand new album, "Goin’ Home.”

His seventh studio album, featuring a collection of blues covers by legendary artists who helped to influence young Kenny when he was starting out. With guest appearances by his pals Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Robert Randolph, Kim Wilson, Pastor Brady Sr and the Rebirth Brass Band. Chris “Whipper” Layton from SRV’s Double Trouble plays drums.

Simon Redley caught up with him recently, to find out about the new record and what makes this blistering blues man tick.

1. You go back right to your influences with the new record. Was your approach to this project any different to previous releases?

The main difference in the approach of making this record, was to do everything the old fashioned way - similar to the way many of these songs were probably originally recorded. No isolation, with all the musicians playing together in the same room, with lots of bleed over into the microphones. Everything was done Analog. We recorded the whole album to two inch tape and mixed it to half-inch tape. We never used auto-tune, click tracks or anything like that.

2. Was there any extra pressure here, because you were following in the giant footsteps of the likes of BB King, Albert King, SRV etc?
The only pressure I felt was to be sure that our versions of these songs did the original recordings justice, and we maintained the integrity of the original recordings in our recordings.

3. Which song was the biggest challenge for you?

That's a hard question to answer. I'm very familiar with the songs, because I grew up listening to most of them throughout my childhood. So the challenge wasn't necessarily any particular song, the challenge was getting the right performance without having to go back and over-dub corrections.

4. Which track is your favourite?

I tend to go through phases with favourite tracks on records, but currently my favourite would be "Everything Gonna Be Alright."

5. Are there any amusing or interesting anecdotes about making this record?

When we were recording, "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now," we actually ran out of tape at the very end of the song. So we had to go back and add more tape, and then “punch in” the entire band at the end of the song and finish it out. It's pretty amazing. I have to give much credit to the band and their abilities, because you can not tell that it was fixed at all.

6. Describe how you felt when you heard this record all the way through, after it was completed?

I'm extremely proud of this record. The first time I listened through to this album after it was completed, I sat back and realised how much passion everyone put into this, and the vision from the beginning had been completed in the end.

7. Sum up this record in one word or one sentence?

Honest, heart-felt blues.

8. What is the best thing about being KWS?

The best part about being me, is waking up each day to a loving family and getting to play music every night.

9. Best moment of your career so far - that moment when you had to pinch yourself?

There are no best moments, but there are many that I'm grateful for. I've had to pinch myself so many times, I've lost count. The most recent time was when we were paying tribute to the late Hubert Sumlin, at a concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City. and I was jamming on stage with Eric Clapton Keith Richards Billy Gibbons Derek Trucks, Robert Randolph, Doyle Bramhall, Jimmy Vaughan and many more.

10. Explain how you feel when you are on stage playing your guitar in front of a crowd?

It is very difficult to try and put that into words. It's almost as if you enter the zone different than the normal one that we exist in. You're somewhere in between the people, the music and reality.

11. Which one album could you not do without?

Muddy Waters: "Hard Again"

12. Any tips of new artists?

I'm really digging Matt Schofield. He's a fantastic player.

13. How many times have you visited the UK? Any one good memory of the UK you have?

I have visited more times than I have performed there. My favourite memory of the UK would have been my first visit there with The Eagles. I did their whole European tour and we played Wembley Stadium a few times. That was incredible.

14. What was the first record you bought?

The first record I bought was Muddy Waters: "Hard Again"

15. List your own fave top 3 guitarists of all time and why?

Hendrix, SRV and BB King. Three of the greatest guitar players of all time. Their individual phrasing and techniques can be applied to any kind of music.

16. Who would you most like to collaborate with - living and no longer with us?

Living: Clapton. No longer with us: Hendrix.

17. Best advice you have ever been given and by whom?

SRV wrote on my guitar: "Kenny, just play it with all your heart."

18. Do you have any hobbies apart from music?

I love collecting, restoring and customizing classic cars.

19. What are your career plans for the rest of 2014 and 2015?

I will be touring the world in support of my new album "Goin' Home," and at the end of the year I will be going into the studio to record a second album with my other band, "The Rides" with Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg.

20. How many guitars do you own?

I have never counted my guitars, but I have a fair amount. There's certainly people that have more than I do. My cheapest guitar would have been my first guitar, a Yamaha SE 150 and my most precious would be my '61 Strat. It is irreplaceable.

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The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band: Goin’ Home (Provogue) is out on 5th May. He appears at Cheltenham Jazz Festval on 1st May and London’s O2 Academy, Islington on 30th April.

kennywayneshepherd.com

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Read more from our not to be missed interview with Blues Rock Guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd in our print issue, click below to get your copy of the new Blues & Soul magazine delivered to your door - also available at your local magazine retailer, including; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and many independents.

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Words SIMON REDLEY

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