In the early days of Rock & Roll, a lot of the bands I listened to were blues rock oriented, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Steven Stills. Over the years Rock & Roll has matured, but some of its greatest guitarists still play a blues/rock flavor of music. One of the great “young axeman” for the blues rock guitarist group is Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He emerged on the music scene in 1995 at the age of 16 with his debut album, Ledbetter Heights. Over the last 20 years he has produced a number of quality studio albums and has played with some of the great guitarist, including Steven Stills and The Rides. I saw Kenny last year with Steven and The Rides and Kenny was amazing. Steven even commented on how wonderful it was to find a young guitarist that had the talent that Kenny possessed. So when it was announced that Kenny would be coming back to the Showroom at Talking Stick Resort, I had to see how good he was doing his own material.
The show started with Kenny and the band coming out playing 3 of the songs from his second album, Trouble Is. Kenny was joined on stage by long time friend Noah Hunt providing lead vocals and backing guitar, Chris Layton on drums, and Scott Nelson on bass. Kenny and Noah shared lead vocal responsibilities throughout the show. Many times during the concert, Kenny would jump into a guitar solo and show us why he is such an amazing axeman. Many guitarist can shred, but to really make a guitar sing takes a true artist like Kenny. Numerous times during the show either during or after one of Kenny’s solos, the crowd would give him a standing ovation.
The show consisted of songs that ranged over Kenny’s entire catalog, with a large number from his first 2 albums, Ledbetter Heights and Trouble Is. To slow things down and show their softer side, the band did 2 of Kenny’s ballads, “Where Was I” and “I Found Love”. “I Found Love” is often played at weddings as one of the wedding party’s dance songs. Tonight I saw couples holding each others hands during the song. No real Blues Rock guitarist can perform without paying homage to 2 of the greatest Blues Rock legends, BB King and Jimi Hendrix. Kenny and the band ended the main set with a 2 song tribute to BB King where Kenny performed a 5 minute plus solo to a standing ovation. They ended the main set with “Shotgun Blues”. They came back for a 2 song encore. The first song was “Blue n Black”. The last song of the night was a cover of a Jimi Hendrix classic, “Voodoo Child”. There are some songs that you know exactly what it is after the first couple of cords, “Voodoo Child” is one of those. Kenny did a fantastic job of covering the song, including the classic “behind the head” playing that Jimi made famous.
The Showroom at Talking Stick Resort is small intimate venue and a perfect venue for bands like Kenny’s. The other thing I really enjoy about the venue is the great sound. I have seen many bands perform at the Showroom and I have not heard a bad sounding concert.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Showroom
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
Somehow, Somewhere, Someway (Trouble Is)
Kings Highway (Trouble Is)
True Lies (Trouble Is)
House is Rockin’ (Goin’ Home)
Search And Destroy (The Rides cover)
Heat Of The Sun (How I Go)
Talk To Me Baby (Elmore James cover)
Déjà Voodoo (Ledbetter Heights)
Born With A Broken Heart (Ledbetter Heights)
Where Was I (Live On)
I Found Love (Trouble Is)
Woke Up This Morning (BB King cover)
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now (BB King cover)
Shotgun Blues (Live On)
Blue On Black (Trouble Is)
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix cover)