"It was definitely an emotional experience, and it was the most fun I've ever had making a record," Kenny Wayne Shepherd says of his aptly-titled album, Goin' Home released on Concord Records. "I felt like I was retracing my steps back to where it all began."
Having already set an impressive standard for creative vision and world-class musicianship, Shepherd delivers his most personal project to date with Goin' Home. Recorded in an 11-day whirlwind in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, the raw, righteous release finds Shepherd revisiting a dozen of the vintage blues classics that originally inspired him to pick up the guitar and pursue a life in music, approaching the material with an intensity that affirms his deep connection to these time-tested classics.
On Goin Home, Shepherd's sharp interpretive skills and sublime guitar work shine on his renditions of tunes originally popularized by such blues icons as B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Magic Sam, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Shepherd's memorable readings of such beloved standards as "I Love the Life I Live," "The House Is Rockin'," "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" and "Born Under a Bad Sign," along with some lesser-known tunes drawn deep from within the catalogues of his heroes. Shepherd's new interpretations are faithful to the spirit of the originals, while serving as vibrant expressions of Shepherd's musical soul.
Goin' Home first began to take shape when Shepherd decided to take advantage of an 11-day gap in his touring schedule. Rather than use the time to take a break, he rerouted his tour bus to Shreveport and headed for Blade Studios, run by Shepherd's hometown friend and respected drummer/producer Brady Blade, renowned for his work with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Dave Matthews. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of American Blues, Shepherd and his band-singer Noah Hunt, ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, former Firm bassist Tony Franklin and keyboardist Riley Osbourn, whose voluminous credits include work with B.B. King, Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker-cut 22 songs, with no studio trickery and minimal overdubbing.
Also lending their talents on Goin' Home are several talented friends who shared Shepherd's enthusiasm for the project's back-to-basics ethos. Those guests include fellow guitar icons Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo' and Robert Randolph, longtime friend Ringo Starr, Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, the Rebirth Brass Band and co-producer Blade's father, Pastor Brady Blade Sr., who lends a bracing dose of preaching to Shepherd's version of Bo Diddley's ""You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover."
Shepherd predicts that the lessons he learned in making Goin' Home are likely to influence his approach to record-making in the future. "We had so much fun doing it this way that it never felt like work," he asserts.
Two decades into a recording career that began when he was 16, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has built an enviable resume as an accomplished recording artist, a riveting live performer and one of the most talented and distinctive guitarists of his generation. He's also emerged as one of the contemporary blues world's leading lights, helping to spearhead a widespread revival of interest in the blues.
Shepherd has sold millions of albums worldwide and received five GRAMMY® nominations and two Billboard Music Awards, as well as a pair of Orville H. Gibson awards, the Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive award and two Blues Music awards. He's had six #1 blues albums and a string of #1 mainstream rock singles, and his acclaimed CD/documentary project 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads was the top-selling blues album of 2007.
LP 1 - Side 1:
1. Palace of the King (featuring Rebirth Brass Band)
2. Everything Gonna Be Alright
3. I Love the Life I Live (featuring Joe Walsh & Kim Wilson)
4. House Is Rockin'
LP 1 - Side 2:
1. You Can't Judge A Book By the Cover (featuring Pastor Brady Blade, Sr)
2. You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now
3. Breaking Up Somebody's Home (featuring Warren Haynes)
LP 2 - Side 3:
1. Looking Back
2. Boogie Man
3. Born Under A Bad Sign (featuring Keb'Mo & Rebirth Brass Band)
4. Cut You Loose (featuring Ringo Starr)
LP 2 - Side 4:
1. Three Hundred Pounds of Joy (featuring Rebirth Brass Band)
2. Still A Fool (featuring Robert Randolph)
3. Can You Hear Me
4. Trick Bag (featuring Rebirth Brass Band)