Kenny Wayne Shepherd
may be available for your next special
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
time you play," says Kenny Wayne Shepherd, "it's
important. It doesn't matter if it's a little club somewhere or a big
arena with thousands of people you make a connection. Blues is
about real life, real feelings. You can make them feel it."
the release of "Ledbetter
Heights," his debut Revolution Records (formerly Giant Records)
album, Kenny quickly climbed the charts. He had three top 10 single
tracks on the rock charts along with holding the #1 position on
Billboard Magazine's Blues Chart for more than five months.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd was exposed to a variety of
music at an early age, and his father's career in radio offered access
to entertainers from the rock, pop and country worlds. But the spark
that would become a burning passion was struck by legendary bluesman,
Stevie Ray Vaughan.
I was about seven," Kenny recalls, "we went to hear Stevie. He
lifted me up on his amp case on the side of the stage, and I sat there
the whole time, watching him play. I was hooked, man. I started asking
my dad for a guitar right after that, and I finally got one about six
While his friends listened to typical pop fare, Kenny
Wayne Shepherd found himself drawn to the deeper message of the
blues. Still a child, he dove headlong into a serious study of the
masters, developing uncanny takes on their individual styles.
"You listen to all these different artists, and
you sort out the ones who really punch your button. I listened to Muddy
Waters a lot, and some of my other favorites were Albert Collins, Howlin'
Wolf, B.B. King,
Jimmie Vaughan and Stevie, of course. But I'd have to
say that Albert King was the one who hit me hardest. He was just so
original. He had his own thing."
By 13, Kenny's considerable gifts were evident, at
least to his family and friends. Never having played in front of a
crowd, however, he was still unsure of his own abilities until a family
trip to New Orleans, where he encountered local guitar legend, Bryan
Lee. After much persuading, Lee was convinced to let "the kid"
sit in. Kenny blew the crowd away, and he and Bryan began a friendship
that continues today. The event served as proof to the young guitarist
that he could, and should, pursue his music career.
Kenny began sitting in with other performers and
formed his own band. Appearances at clubs and festivals soon followed.
The buzz began among the blues elite: "Have you heard about this
kid from Shreveport?"
Kenny met and jammed with many of his heroes, earning
accolades from each. He also played on posthumous Willie Dixon and
Albert King releases, which featured Kenny adding licks to sides that
the legendary bluesmen had cut before their deaths. Inevitably, word
spread to the highest branches of the music industry, and Kenny was
signed to Revolution Records by Irving Azoff in 1993.
In May '95, as they wrapped production on the album, Kenny
Wayne Shepherd and his band were asked to open for
The Eagles at
Austin's Memorial Stadium. Their four-song set left Azoff shaking his
head in wonder: "He is truly a phenomenon. He plays like someone
who's lived a lot longer than he has. You don't learn what he has, it's
given to you."
His live shows have been met with increasing
enthusiasm. The critics have been equally enthusiastic, with the Seattle
Times in a concert review calling Kenny "a fiery passionate
guitarist"; the Los Angeles Times claimed "the solo work he
weaves is as evocative as any lyric"; People predicted "he
could join the pantheon of blues greats before he hits 30,"
and USA Today called him "a best bet for stardom."
Kenny's teaming with
The Eagles paid off with a
stadium tour of Europe opening for the legendary band, which became one
of the summer's highest grossing tours, according to Amusement Business.
Kenny also performed a few solo club dates, including one at London's
In a rare review, The London Times said of Kenny
Wayne Shepherd, "Remember his name; it's one you'll be hearing
again and again." Following his European adventure, Kenny returned
home to join the 5th Annual Blues Music Festival, headlined by B.B. King
which also starred
The Neville Brothers
and Delbert McClinton.
Today, Kenny is one of the most highly visible
endorsers of Fender Guitars, with the company hand-crafting a custom
guitar built to Kenny's exact specifications. He has also conducted
several guitar clinics around the country in association with Fender.
"I don't want people to just listen to my
music," cautions Kenny. "I want them to hear it. Having people
appreciate what I do is the ultimate satisfaction for me. I think
there's a big explosion happening in blues-based music, and it's very
exciting. I'm glad to be a part of it. I want to turn my generation on
to it. I want to help keep it alive for them."
Hits include: "Blue On Black", "Slow Ride",
"Somehow, Somewhere, Someway",
"In 2 Deep", "Déjà Voodoo", "Was",
"Everything Is Broken", "Alive", "Last Goodbye",
"Born With A Broken Heart", "The Place You're In",
"Never Lookin' Back".
Kenny Wayne Shepherd may be available for your next special
.Blues-Rock. / BluesRock
.Modern Electric Blues. / ModernElectricBlues
.Contemporary Blues. / ContemporaryBlues
x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s
Born: ..in Louisiana / born nLouisiana
Born: ..in Shreveport / born
Born: Jun 12, 1977
Based: ..in US
Based: ..in Louisiana / based nLouisiana