KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD-Lay It On Down

Provogue Records/Mascot

09 August 2017 by Michel van de Moosdijk

It has been a few busy years for Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He has been touring with his own band after his 2014 CD ‘Goin’ Home’ (more or less a cover CD) and he got involved with The Rides a band he formed with Stephen Stills (from the legendary outfit Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and recorded two albums with them so far. And he has a family of 5 kids as well, so also in that department he has been busy. In January this year he and his band started recording a new CD. ‘Lay It On Down’ is studio effort number 8 and as usual for Shepherd, this CD does not sound the same as his other records. He always is in for writing with new partners, trying to look for and where possible extend his musical borders without losing his musical integrity by going too far. There are always tracks on the CD that are typical for Shepherd, but there are always tracks there that just change things around a little bit. But in the end he always manages to find a good balance between hard rocking bluesy rock and new tunes, making sure to keep his audience entertained and giving them more insight in his musical endeavours and a bit of a different taste. ‘Lay It On Down’ is exactly that. Familiar songs meet with new musical ground. Listen for instance to ,,Hard Lesson Learned’’ where a steel guitar is introduced in a ballad so emotional and gorgeous. Ever since his second album ‘Trouble Is.. ' (1997) this band has made use of the vocal talents of Noah Hunt, for me just as important to this group as Kenny Wayne Shepherd himself. Hunt is a top singer with a warm, deep and dark bluesy voice. For years now Kenny Wayne sings a few songs on each CD himself. I must say he has improved as a singer during the years, but also on this CD (where he sings a lot more tracks than ever) he just does not match up against Hunt. If you have such a guy in your band, put your own ego on the shelf, concentrate on what you do best and that is playing guitar and writing songs and give Hunt some more room. It is about the only thing that is wrong with this band but I guess it will never ever change. Still, with songs like ,,Louisiana Rain’’ (a tribute to the state where Kenny Wayne comes from), ,,Hard Lesson Learned’’, ,,She’s $$$’’, ,,Nothing But The Night’’, ,,Down For Love’’ and ,,How Low Can You Go’’ the conclusion is that Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band yet again have delivered a strong, versatile and entertaining record.