Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The Tramshed

Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The Tramshed

 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The TramshedKenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The Tramshed tonight. Opening the cauldron of fiery guitar curling around the blues, we have Laurence Jones Band. Tonight over six numbers Laurence and his new(ish) band demonstrated a maturity the love of rock infused with blues and so much more. Tonight his guitar cried and fought off any ghouls and demons in the room. This you have come to expect of this young British Gunslinger who has been wooing the crowds for many a year despite his youth. Tonight, at The Tramshed Laurence’s vocals came of age adding to the act as he played a mix of numbers, including two tracks from his latest album The Truth – Give Me Your Time & Never Good Enough, and they were definitely rawer rockier. The rhythm combination of Phil Wilson & Greg Smith works really well creating an imaginative and solid foundation for Laurence to soar from. The addition of Bennett Holland’s lively keys gives the band an additional range of tones and structure for the numbers. Closing with Hendrix’s version of Dylan’s Classic All Along The Watchtower. We had had a fizzing and bubbling helping of live music the band played tight and the music excited. This is modern melodic rock hardened blues this is a band that connects with the music and are enjoying playing for the audience. It was appreciated.

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The TramshedShort break as the stage was rearranged and the main event started as the stage darkened the band took their place to cheers of anticipation. The lights went up as the first of many sweet guitar chords was struck from Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Stratocaster and resounded around the Tramshed. We were off on a journey of blues guitar extravaganza with some rock, hints of country and a very large swirling dollop of Kenny Wayne Shepherd magic.

The lead breaks were scintillating Kenny certainly makes the Strat bend to his fingers demands as it weeps, curls around tones of joy and pain. Tonight the setlist was a mix of old and new with six tracks from his current acclaimed album Lay It On Down. Of the six numbers, Diamonds and Gold stood out. It was a superb and stellar highlight among the many that the band shared with us tonight. The ballad Hard Lesson Learned with Noel’s vocals also caught the ear and raised the joy of the audience. SRV’s House Is  Rockin definitely got the Tramshed bouncing and rocking with pure delight.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The Tramshed

As Kenny introduces the band in the absence of Chris Clayton, for this tour sees the return of Sylvester “Sam” Bryant (toured with the band in the 1990’s); bassist Kevin McCormick, Joe Krown presiding over the keys and the mighty vocals of Noah Hunt. A marvellous live version of Baby Got Gone from his latest album, they really have this number captured for the energy of a live performance, with its emotional lead break simply breathtaking. Kenny inserted into the set a number from his side project The Rides from their 2013 album Can’t Get Enough; Talk To Me Baby a superb re-shaping of this Elmore James’ blues classic.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The TramshedKenny Wayne Shepherd closed the night with some blues, slow and full of authentic Chicago Blues with a medley of BB King numbers and then Shotgun Blues. What an evening full of exploration of the power of the six-stringed Stratocaster. Tonight we saw three forms including his signature guitar and what tone KWS pulled from the black beast. The lights dimmed, silence fell on the stage as the band left. The noise though was reaching crescendo point as they stamped their feet and demanded more. The band did not resist. Back on stage with two more numbers his signature tune Black on Blue followed by the second Hendrix of the night.  Both acts ended with Hendrix, and so appropriate for tonight we were entertained by KWS, Voodoo Chile and phenomenal playing.

From the first few notes the temperature in the Tramshed definitely rose, there was that feeling of electric joy and anticipation that only live music brings. When you hear a band you love to play in a venue near to where you live, welcome to Wales KWS; come back very soon there will always be a warm welcome for the band and the music that you showcased tonight. By the end of the evening, the cauldron was boiling with energised musical magic on Halloween in Cardiff.

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a Halloween Treat at The Tramshed

Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album

Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album

Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album

 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd new album Lay It On Down; Bluesdoodles can sum up his eighth solo album as searingly confident modern blues.  You want to read a little bit more? Happy to oblige as I listen once again with intense pleasure to Lay It On Down.

Lay It On Down, on Mascot Group Label with a release date of 21st July 2017. The album was recorded in January as Shepherd and his band entered the Echophone Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana. New Year, New Project , with an ambitious mission statement: the greatest songs of Shepherd’s career. No more. No less. “The point of this album,” he says, “was that I wanted to put a heavy emphasis on the songs themselves and the writing behind them. I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words.” Having listened mission accomplished full of fresh vibes; strong lyrics surrounded with the brilliance of electric blues.

Throughout the album the guitar sizzles with a controlled intent. The shining Goldilocks never too hot, never too long and definitely not cold. Kenny always leaves you wondering as the voice is hooked in what guitar lick was left out for the main event the lyrics.  It is that feeling of intrigue, the notes that have not been played that leaves you not wanting more but satisfied, intrigued and with melodies and lines that flash into your head as the most welcomed of earworms. Lay It Down, the music has been laid down with thought, commitment and self-belief that less is often more when it comes to electric guitar lead breaks.

Opening the narrative that connects the album’s eleven tracks is Baby Got Gone; starting off at full throttle with rock that is full of attitude we know we are embarking on a musical journey that will take us around an interesting circuit of songs recorded in Nashville out of Louisiana as rocks in the road are explored.  Rock and romance in the air combine on romantic number Nothing But the Night. Diamonds & Gold is full of soulful luxuriousness, a cascade of notes on guitar, drum and horns the sound is funky, modern and energised. The title is two objects of desire signifying for many power, and wealth giving us our status and identity.  Shepherd manages through the lyrics to look beyond to bigger more meaningful and fulfilling things as the guitar squeals delivering a crescendo of sound more valuable to the listener than Diamonds & Gold.

With a floating, Americana feel of the title track, Lay It On Down takes the musical road in another direction. This light and fresh number has a darker lyric trapped in a gilded cage as Shepherd sings “Who broke your will now honey who stole your dreams like money who made you think you were keeping around”. The lyrics build the story, the guitar break fills in the gap as we travel the road knowing we need to look at the inner beauty to pass the self-doubts that we often show to the world. .

The lap-steel curls with a depth of tone on Hard Lesson Learned and the electric guitar adds a salty sharpness. Then into blues shuffling glory that is the signature of Kenny Wayne shepherd for many. Followed by another vintage bluesy number we are then showered with Louisiana Rain.  The acoustic guitar is gentle reflecting rain on a window, distorting the view with its shades of grey. A song sung with heartfelt personal emotions. As we are led to the final stop on the journey that is Ride Of Your Life.  The music hooks back to the driving rocky feel of the opener. This is as it says a Ride Of Your Life the guitar crackles with static electric power, the flashes of sparks are iridescent with every shade of blue from baby blue to darkest indigo.  The encore is an acoustic version of the title track; we revisit the bird in the gilded cage the lyrics suit the acoustic sound. Lay It On Down is an album that will grow with very outing and tracks will become live favourites..

By the eighth album an artist can become predictable, all feels like heard that before. DEFINITELY NOT with Lay It On Down, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, picking up on his other passion motor cars has given his music a complete overhaul, the guitar driven engine still has its power and integrity but added to the accelerator taking us on a journey are strong lyrics and modern Americana influence. As KWS said recently, “I feel like the band’s best days are still ahead of us. And the next album could be completely different…”  He has certainly succeeded as Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album. While we wait for the next re-vamp we can Lay It On Down with pleasure in the company of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Lay It On Down – Mascot Label Group

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Baby Got Gone
  2. Diamonds & Gold
  3. Nothing But The Night
  4. Lay It On Down
  5. She’s $$$
  6. Hard Lesson Learned
  7. Down For Love
  8. How Low Can You Go
  9. Louisiana Rain
  10. Ride Of Your Life
  11. Lay It On Down (Acoustic)

 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album