Kenny Wayne Shepherd – The Traveller

Concord Records (May 2019)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been kicking around the blues scene since the early 90’s when he burst onto it as a teenage guitar prodigy. However, judging by the opening track on this album he has progressed somewhat since then.

Women Like You‘ is the ultimate blend of melodic and blues rock with a great blues riff and huge chorus hook with superb blues, which I believe are provided by vocalist Noah Hunt. ‘Long Time Running‘ picks up the peace and continues in the same melodic blues vein before ‘I Want You‘ kicks in and takes the band back to a more slow blues base in Shepherd shows his roots.

The feel changes again for ‘Tailwind‘ and is an upbeat acoustic number with another absolute superb vocal performance and catchy chorus. ‘Gravity‘ is next and opens with a great build on guitar and drums before building up into a great bridge and chorus.

As the album only has ten tracks we are by the half-way mark with ‘We All Right‘, which straddles the blues with a great rhythm through the verse before bursting into another hook-laden chorus. We slip right into the blues groove with the ballad-like ‘Take It Home‘ with some great keyboards and equally lush guitar solo and vocals. Again, the chorus is as catchy as a catchy thing that catches things!

The double-time drumbeat drives ‘Mr Soul‘ which I believe is a cover version of a Buffalo Springfield song. It has an almost R & B feel to it and certainly raises the tempo back up. Next up is ‘Better With Time‘ which has a real Rolling Stones groove to it with a little Living Colour thrown in for good measure. It bounces along on a grooving guitar riff with keyboard accompaniment and of course a killer chorus. By now we are onto the last track, ‘Turn To Stone‘, which opens with some great guitar licks and then drops into grooving staccato guitar riff and a great one-liner chorus. Most definitely a fitting end to a superb album.

This album for me is certainly up there with the best blues rock out there in terms of the quality of songs, which ultimately is what it is all about. I have only heard the odd few tracks from this guy in the past but based on this outing I will be sure to delve into his back catalogue over the coming months.


Billy F Gibbons will release a brand new solo album, ‘The Big Bad Blues‘ on September 21st.

Concord Records is releasing ‘The Big Bad Blues‘, ZZ Top legend Billy F Gibbons’ second-ever solo release, on September 21, 2018. This is the follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 Afro-Cuban-flavored solo album ‘Perfectamundo‘.

The Big Bad Blues‘, as the title suggests, focuses on Gibbons’ lifelong love of the blues and rock & roll, showcasing the blues-influenced vocals and guitar licks that have together served as the foundation for his numerous hits over the past five decades. The album features 11 tracks balancing some classic covers like ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin‘ and ‘Standing Around Crying,’ along with some of Billy’s signature new blues originals.

We successfully made our way through those uncharted waters with the Cubano flavor of Perfectamundo and completed the journey,” says Gibbons in distinguishing ‘The Big Bad Blues‘ from its predecessor. “The shift back to the blues is a natural. It’s something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots tradition and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.

Gibbons, of course, has long been one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from the blues traditions, carrying it forward in a career honored by his 2004 induction, with ZZ Top, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As he notes, he was blues-influenced “right from the beginning—and it’s never let up.

There’s something very primordial within the art form,” he says. “Nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight-ahead licks!

He notes it would take many hours just to scratch the surface surrounding this enduring love affair: “I suspect Jimmy Reed did me in early on. The inventiveness of that high and lonesome sound remains solid and stridently strong to this day. We could go on to mention the lineup of usual suspects, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, all three Kings [B.B., Albert and Freddie]. The lengthy list of champions are forever carved in stone.

After the success of ‘Perfectamundo‘, Concord Records president John Burk expressed his intent on following up with another artistic offering with a more familiar, bluesy kind of content. “Billy has an incredibly deep knowledge of the great blues tradition and has carried that tradition forward in his music throughout his incredible career. Therefore, it seemed natural to do a project that centered on his musical roots, and the music that so inspired him from the very beginning.

Gibbons remarked, “We were delighted to follow suit: It’s steeped in the tradition of ‘BFG meets blues giants’ with an adventurous expression to keep it fresh.

BFG and Burk met in an underground parking garage of a favorite Hollywood bistro from the comforts of JB’s top-down ride, playing some tracks, LOUD, with the music bouncing off the walls beneath a couple floors of raw concrete.”… Gibbons got the nod. He and his “greasy” gang of unbridled players were delivering the goods.

From deep in the heart of Texas, our Hammond organ specialist, Mr. Mike Flanigin, stepped forward and accepted the invitation to step from the B3 bench to take on the task of pounding the ivory 88’s,” says Gibbons, adding, “Great piano stuff from Mike ‘The Drifter’ Flanigin.”

Master of the Fender Bass-guitar, Joe Hardy lent his low-down sound with his fearless funkiness, SO fine!

Also, in the mash-up mix, the man-with-the-backbeat-plan, Greg Morrow. G keeps the skins alive and kickin’. And while we’re on that backbeat thang…

Matt Sorum steps forward with his super-syncopation, thrashing the skins like no buddies business. Alabama–come-California soulster Austin Hanks, roughs up the riffs with his left-handed six-string electric. Have mercy!

Gibbons himself shares the harmonica chops with James Harman who has appeared over the years doin’ that Mississippi-sounding thing. “James is the fastidiously fierce follower of the real deal when it comes to blowing’ the harp. As for the album content, check it out… Hey now!

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” he says. “It’s no secret there are several favorites from the way-back starting with not one, but two, from the Bo Diddley catalog [‘Bring It to Jerome’ and ‘Crackin’ Up’]. We dusted off an old Gretsch Duo-Jet guitar which put it squarely with that infamous Bo Diddley sound. Once covered, we made way into another side—a much earlier number from Muddy Waters, ‘Standing Around Crying.’  The ragged edges with the meanness of James’ bad self on harp seemed to fit the bill to enter the lineup.

As for favorites, Gibbons notes, “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’ is a gift from Miz Gibbons. She knows what girls want and laid it out cold. And ‘Second Line’ is a definite throwback to many good days and nights down New Orleans way.

Other tracks on ‘The Big Bad Blues‘ are easy pickin’, sayin’ it all.  It’s a street affair.

Track list (all songs by Billy F Gibbons except where noted):
1) Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’ (Gilly Stillwater)
2) My Baby She Rocks
3) Second Line
4) Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)
5) Let The Left Hand Know…
6) Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green)
7) That’s What She Said
8) Mo’ Slower Blues
9) Hollywood 151
10) Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)
11) Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

Tour dates to be announced soon.

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Official Website



Lay It Down‘, the ninth album from five-time Grammy nominee and critically acclaimed guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the KWS Band, is out July 21 on Provogue Records in Europe and August 4 on Concord Records in North America and the rest of the world. Recorded at Echophone Studios in Kenny’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and produced by Kenny and Marshall Altman, the album was largely recorded live in the studio to analog tape.

The KWS Band on ‘Lay It Down‘ features his long-time lead vocalist Noah Hunt, the rhythm section from Kenny’s supergroup side project The Rides, Chris Layton (drums) and Kevin McCormick (bass), and keyboardist Jimmy McGorman.

A very limited number of signed CD’s are available now. Click the link below for yours.

Order N. America

Order Europe

Official Website