Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band at The Lincoln Center, in Fort Collins, Colorado, 5/5/2022

Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a lot to celebrate. On October 7, 1997, he released his second album, the certified platinum Trouble Is. The album was produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads and is being presented in its entirety on the current “Trouble Is” 25th anniversary tour. This monumental recording holds the record for longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts and has multi-genre appeal of rock and blues.

Longtime collaborator and vocalist Noah Hunt provided the vocals on Kenny’s signature song “Blue On Black,” written by Shepherd with Mark Selby and Tia Sillers. The song reached the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart and was regarded by many media outlets as the best rock song of 1998. The album won the Billboard Music Award for Rock Track Of The Year. “Blue On Black” was released as a single on Trouble Is. Shepherd added a few select covers on the album, including “Every Thing Is Broken” by Bob Dylan, “I Don’t Live Today” by Jimi Hendrix, and Bonnie Tyler’s “Nothing To Do With Love.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Noah Hunt & Chris “Whipper” Layton – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Shepherd has the abilitiy to combine rock, blues and contemporary innovative styles with the genre he holds close and dear to his heart: the blues. He was born into a musical household; his father, Ken Shepherd, was a local radio personality and sometime concert promoter. Kenny was exposed to a different lifestyle than most kids his age, growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was exposed to a vast music collection from his dad and quickly became a student of his own devices. 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

He is self-taught on the guitar and cannot read music; he creates the melodies and powerful emotions by ear. His passion and desire are his personal expression of teaching himself the craft at the very young age of seven years old. However, he was first exposed at the age of three or four by his grandmother, who would gift him plastic guitars. Kenny has stated that after seeing and meeting Stevie Ray Vaughn at one of his father’s promoted concerts in 1984 he began his adventure into self-taught expression with the guitar, one note at a time.

Kevin McCormick & Kenny Wayne Shepherd – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Shepherd has embraced and explored his hard work and has traveled the world, mesmerizing audiences of all ages. His timeless touch on the guitar seems effortless. He is constantly improvising and discovering new sounds and dimensions of his craft. Being a fan and photographer of live music, I have seen him play countless shows, including several at Lupo’s in Providence, Rhode Island. I bet the band still jokes, “Hey, were we the house band there?” I have personally witnessed his growth as a songwriter, guitar player, and all-around entertainer for the last 25 years, and I am quietly celebrating his success along with his legions of devoted fans. It’s difficult to get into his accolades, nominations, awards, and collaborations with other amazing artists and overall success without this article going on for days. Shepherd has paid attention and chosen his influences wisely. His ambition and determination have prevailed on a grand scale, and like his successors he gives the gift of music to the world and will leave it for generations to come.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Last night (Thursday, May 5), the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, was treated to the on-going exploration of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Starting the show with the title track of the celebrated album Trouble Is, the vibe was set for the evening. Shepherd’s precise, fluid guitar playing coupled with his charismatic stage presence and pin-point musicianship is musical marvel. Noah Hunt’s voice fills the room with clarity and power. He has fronted this band as the vocalist for many years, and the familiarity of his voice, tone, and range are a perfect fit for this style of blues rock. 

Noah Hunt – Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Next up were “Somehow,” “Everything Is Broken,” “Chase The Rainbow,” and “I Found Love,” a track that many fans have enlisted as their favorite and most meaningful love song to date from the band. The album was not played in the order of the recording, and it was a nice mix for a live show. Rock anthem “Blue On Black” was second to last in the set, with “Slow Ride to follow. The band stepped off stage after the Trouble Is set and then came back to play a handful of other songs from other periods of the band’s history.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Overall, the band sounds incredible. Shepherd’s playing just gets better and better; his tone a powerful delivery stands alone in the music world. Noah is rock solid, and his voice just fills your heart with emotion. Joe Krown is on keyboards, and Kevin McCormick anchors the bottom end. All of the musicians are well-seasoned players with years of experience. Collectively, they are very full-sounding band with lots of innovative abilities.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

The addition of Joe Sublett on tenor saxophone and Mark Pender on trumpet really gives the overall sound fullness. Chris “Whipper” Layton on drums played with Stevie Ray Vaughan for many years as half of Double Trouble, Stevie’s backing band. The sold-out show in Fort Collins was a blues fan’s dream. The Lincoln Center is a beautiful hall, with great acoustics and lighting. The band were excited to play and the fans were just as excited to listen.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – 05.05.22. 📷: Backstage Flash

Thanks to the KWS Band, The Lincoln Center, all of the guests, and Kristin for helping me preserve rock and roll forever.

 

TROUBLE IS… 25th Anniversary Tour

05/06  Denver CO
05/07  Colorado Springs CO
05/19  Norwalk CT
05/20  New Brunswick NJ
05/22  Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival Annapolis MD
05/28  Paragon Casino Resort Marksville LA

 

KWS Birthday Concert

w/ Samantha Fish, Ally Venable Band, Shemekia Copeland

06/11  Fort Wayne IN
06/12  Kettering OH

 

TROUBLE IS… 25th Anniversary Tour

07/09  Briggs Farm Blues Festival Nescopeck PA
07/15  Houston TX
07/16  Austin TX
07/30  Baton Rouge LA

 

KWS Backroads Blues Festival

w/ Buddy Guy Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

08/13  East Providence RI
08/14  Bethel NY
08/16  Lewiston NY
08/18  Springfield MA
08/19  Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater Wantagh NY
08/20  Roanoke VA
08/21  Portsmouth VA

 

TROUBLE IS… 25th Anniversary Tour

09/17  IP Casino Resort and Spa Biloxi MS
09/25  Vina Robles Amphitheatre Paso Robles CA
09/29  San Diego CA
09/30  Saratoga CA  w/ Samantha Fish

 

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