Kenny Wayne Shepherd
LAY IT ON DOWN
The Blues Gets Low down, ‘Ornery and Rusty.
While Kenny Wayne Shepherd has made a mighty fine living over the years from his music, his is still a name that gets a ‘raised eyebrow’ when mentioned in polite circles; which is difficult to understand when you look at his statistics over the last 20+ years.
But, hey ho…..I likes him a lot and this latest album has been my default ‘go to’ in the car for the last few weeks on journeys short and long.
Long term fans will love the feisty opening track Baby Got Gone. A low slung guitar and a story about a ‘girl who done him wrong’ has always been a winning combination at RMHQ and Shepherd sure knows how to get the notes out of the dirty end of a fret board!
Diamonds & Gold, which follows is a much ‘bigger’ and ‘fuller’ sound, with a horn section complimenting Kenny’s almost breathless vocals on a swinging piece of Chicago Blues that would do someone like Freddie King proud.
KWS’s trademark Blues Rock licks are here with panache and gusto on Ride of Your Life, Nothing But The Night and a nod in the direction of Cream….Down For Love; but there are plenty of twists and turns around every corner too.
If I’m not mistaken Kenny may have been listening to a lot of Southern Rock and/or Alt. Country in the months before going into the studio as there is a definite move in that direction on the exquisite She’s $$$’s and the heartbreaking How Low Can You Go too?
The singer-guitarist shows a lovely mellow side here with a couple of late night acoustic tracks. Louisiana Rain is a contender for ‘favourite’ track as Noah Hunt’s husky voice sounds so fine on this glorious love song ; and the title track Lay It On Down gets two outings (both acoustic) but the first, a harmony driven version with the band and the album closer a more intimate interpretation solo outing.
It’s one of the slower, Countrier songs which wins the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song. Hard Lesson Learned is as good a bittersweet Country-Blues song as I’ve heard in years; with Kenny Wayne Shepherd sounding as if his life depends on the ‘girl coming back to him’; even if he does know that would be the biggest mistake of his life!
Of course his guitar features heavily on every song; but I’m pleased to report this album actually revolves around the actual songs and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s wonderful voice…..which is a winning combination.
Released 4th August 2017