Kenny Wayne Shepherd | Lay It On Down
Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s not one for coasting. On the road, his everyday runabout is a pimped-out 2010, supercharged Dodge Challenger SRT-8. And in the studio, eight albums into a solo career, he’s still pushing himself as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter.
“I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words,” he says of his latest LP, ‘Lay It On Down’.
The result is his most diverse, and powerful, collection of a career that’s already spanned the better part of two decades. It kicks off with the gutsy ‘Baby Got Gone’ which fine-tunes his trademark blend of rock swagger, nimble soloing, and monster hooks before ray of sunshine ‘Diamonds & Gold’ ups the ante even further with its lavish brass arrangements, funky guitar licks, and shimmering chorus.
A brooding ‘Nothing But The Night’ adds a darker, menacing vibe to the melting pot, while the title track is a classic acoustic ballad in the old-school Nashville tradition, and the high-octane ‘She’s $$$’ effortlessly powers 12-bar blues into the 21st century.
‘Hard Lesson Learned’ fittingly pairs a mournful slide guitar with words of regret, the good-time anthem ‘Down For Love’ roars into Bob Seger terrain, and ‘How Low Can You Go’ turns a nimble guitar riff into the musical equivalent of a high-speed Hollywood car chase.
Guaranteed lighter anthem for the ages ‘Louisiana Rain’ shifts the intensity from the musical performance to the emotional impact, and, with its steamin’ guitar solo, the cocky ‘Ride Of Your Life’ easily lives up to its title.
There’s clearly no cruise control in effect here.
- Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays indigo at The O2 on 28 October.