Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band // Straight To You Live // Album Review
So here we have it, folks, the first-ever live DVD from the great Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, So let me begin this review with a tale of woe. I was a long-standing KWS fan was uber excited to see he was to play Dublin (Ireland) many moons ago now. So tickets purchased I ran like a little girl to my car and drove from Northern Ireland to Southern Ireland, Dublin, and again like a little girl ran to the venue to get a good spot in the queue to find out the gig was canceled. Impressed I was not. After a few sessions with my therapist and I am finally whole again.
I’ll not let that experience taint my review today, but I am watching you KWS …. Watching you.
So back to Straight To You Live, here we have the KWS Band at their finest, vocalist Noah Hunt is a stellar performer and cuts through with a booming vocal display right from the off, a lot of people outside of the KWS fan-base are unfamiliar with Noah on vocals as many assume Kenny does both the guitar and vocals. I caught Kenny’s recent interview with Joe Bonamassa where he raised this in fact, and that he himself is starting to feel more comfortable now stepping up and sharing vocals as well as taking the lead occasionally as he does on ‘I Want You’. There certainly is nothing lacking in any shape or form with Kenny’s vocals but I think he knows that a band is the sum of its parts and as a guitarist first and foremost his six-string technical ability is where his heart is and where he likes to be.
Speaking of Bonamassa while he has the infamous Reece Wynan on keys, KWS has the one and only Chris Layton of SRV fame on drums, and the band as a whole is a joy to watch. The full ensemble is on show here with the horn’s thrown in for good measure, so you get that larger than life sound that makes you feel like you’re in the room and can feel the air move with the force. Tow of our team was lucky enough to catch the band on their UK tour the last time Kenny & Co. came through and it made an impression. Understandable as the guys here deliver a sublime performance so polished you can hardly believe it is a live performance at all. Kenny on guitar is as blistering as ever and as mentioned previously Noah’s vocals just hit the mark. Established fans of KWS will not be disappointed at all and for anyone out there that has yet to experience this teen breakthrough revelation, now turned family man, you’ll understand how and why KWS is a name firmly engrained in modern blues music.
We may be three-plus decades into Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s career in music, and as I mentioned to him one time during an interview it’s just the infancy when it comes to the blues, in this genre, he’s still a kid and will no doubt be slaying it for decades to come.
Straight To You: Live is out this coming Friday, Nov 27th via Provogue.