Growing up on a musical diet of his father’s blues, soul and rock record collection, Kenny Wayne Shepherd began playing guitar age seven after meeting Stevie Ray Vaughan. He learned his craft through stopping and starting old cassette tapes, and teaching himself one note at a time, later playing along with his father’s records. At the age of 13, Shepherd was invited to play on stage with bluesman Brian Lee for a period of several hours, after which he was determined to pursue a career in music.
And he has done just that. In a 20-year recording career that began when he was just 16, Shepherd has established himself as an immensely popular recording artist, a consistently in-demand live act and an influential force in a worldwide resurgence of interest in the blues. Utter the phrase "young blues rock guitarist" within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The Louisiana born axeman and songsmith has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens.
Twenty years into his recording career Kenny Wayne Shepherd continues to create genre-defining blues-infused rock n' roll. Shepherd has built an enviable resume as an accomplished recording artist, a riveting live performer and one of the most talented and distinctive guitarists of his generation. Shepherd has sold millions of albums worldwide, received five GRAMMY® nominations, two Billboard Music Awards, as well as a pair of Orville H. Gibson awards, the Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive award and two Blues Music awards. He's had seven #1 blues albums and a string of #1 mainstream rock singles.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Bands’ new album ’Lay It On Down’ is a tracklisting that runs the musical gamut, with songs that will be embraced by Shepherd’s long-standing fans, alongside moments that strike out in fresh directions. “Baby Got Gone, Ride Of Your Life and Down For Love. Those songs have what a lot of people will expect to hear from me and my band. Blazing guitar, rocking grooves, aggressive playing and stuff” he explains. “But I wanted there to be a variety of textures and grooves and feelings and emotions conveyed through this record. “So Nothing But The Night” doesn’t sound like any other song we’ve ever recorded. It’s a smoky, vibey kind of song.”
Despite the experimentation, Shepherd is confident that fans of his trademark blues-rock will not be disappointed. "That's the foundation of what I do. You hear that in all my music, and in all of the tracks on the record," he explains. But the other genre flavors put that root in a new context. "Drawing from these different genres and various musical influences, it enables me to take that blues foundation and put it in different directions and try different things with it, step outside the box a little bit," Shepherd says. "I really wanted to continually keep the fans interested in what we're doing and not be predictable."