Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is an artist I have seen before, but I’ve never really saw him. “Huh? What did he just say?” What I’m saying is I’ve never been able to see Shepherd cut loose. I’ve been lucky enough to see him twice as a touring member of Experience Hendrix. I’ve even been a VIP at a free show in St. Louis, long before my journalist career. But somehow, I feel I’ve never witnessed the true Kenny Wayne.

In case there is anyone that doesn’t know Shepherd, he is the currently at the top of the heap of the blues guitarists. Listening to interviews with Kenny it becomes apparent, all he’s ever wanted was to play music and play it well! During his almost thirty years in the music business, he has accomplished just that. As a teenager in Louisiana, he honed his craft and tone. Shepherd has shared stages with scores of his heroes and music legends. Some will tell you he’s a rip-off of now deceased great blues guitarist. I will tell you almost all musicians are borrowing from someone! Say what you will but there’s no denying, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has evolved into a great guitarist!

As I watch Shepherd and band take the stage, I find it hard to believe this tour is commemorating the 25th anniversary of his sophomore album, Trouble Is. The music from this album holds a special place in my heart as it got through a tough time in life. From the opening notes of “Woman Like You”, lead singer Noah Hunt’s vocals are in lock step with Kenny Wayne’s Stratocaster. Four songs in, Shepherd and company revisit the first song to receive airplay from Trouble Is, “Deja Voodoo”. This song’s slow build has the near capacity crowd shouting the praises of Kenny’s guitar mastery. At this point it is also evident Shepherd has brought some top notch musicians along for the show. Chris Layton on drums, from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band, Double Trouble. Joe Krown on keyboards and lastly filling in the bottom end, Kevin McCormick on bass.

A real treat awaited the Shepherd faithful as Tommy Kramer was introduced to the House of Blues. Mr. Kramer was an early guitar mentor to Kenny and he is forever grateful for the shared knowledge. Student and teacher launched into a beefy two-song jam covering “Diamonds & Gold” and Elmore James' “I Can’t Hold Out / Talk to Me Baby”. Polishing of the main set, Kenny Wayne tests the tuning of his instrument with a rowdy rendition of Joe Walsh’s “Turn to Stone”.  After a few short minutes of calls for encore, the quintet is back for more, launching into “Blue on Black”. If any doubts remain about Shepherd’s guitar abilities they are quickly removed at the end of the night with a blistering cover of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”!

After the show, I walk down the side streets of Dallas to my car. On the way I think to myself, “I have finally got to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd!” Big thanks our gracious hosts at the House of Blues and to Kenny Wayne Shepherd for allowing MTC MAG to be in the presence of greatness!

Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on February 20, 2023 Rating: 5
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