Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 62

Cougar Comics Online
Game Review: Final Fantasy Anthology

The Wrestling Report

Album Review: Natalie Merchant

Movie Review: The Messenger


About the Cougar

Kenny Wayne Shepherd brings back smooth blues sound on latest album

Live On

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Giant Records
14 tracks; 55 minutes


By Christine McCreary
Daily Cougar Staff

It's a blues explosion! Racking up an arsenal of awards while topping the Billboard's Blues charts for two years straight with such singles as "Slow Ride," "Blue On Black," and "Somehow, Somewhere Someway," the 22-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon as he lives it up on his latest album Live On.

Featuring some of the best rock/blues yet to come out of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, this album is destined for the top of the charts. It follows in the footsteps of the group's previous release Trouble Is (1997), which was nominated for a 1999 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and went on to pick up a BMI award.

Kenny Wayne Shepher, who looks like he could easily be a Hanson brother, features a surprisingly funky, energized New Orleans-style blues sound.

Mark Seliger/Giant Records

"This is my third album and people are appreciating me more as an artist," Shepherd said.

Backing up Shepherd's lead guitar and occasional vocals are Noah Hunt's rich and soulful lead vocals, Sam Bryant on drums and Keith Christopher on bass.

Also featured on Live On are a multitude of other world-class musicians, such as members of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn's backing band Double Trouble and guitarists Bryan Lee and Warren Haynes, as well as bassists Arion Salazar of Third Eye Blind and Les Claypool of Primus.

The musical growth and development of Shepherd's band can be witnessed in the opening track "In 2 Deep," which kicks off the album with catchy lyrics joined by Shepherd's unbelievable Vaughn-like guitar solos.

The band also breathes new life into Buddy Miles' "Them Changes" and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well." These are some stylish covers.

The band has opened for the Eagles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Aerosmith and Bob Dylan, to mention a few.

"That's the big payoff -- to walk on stage every night and watch the fans sing along. It's total fulfillment. It's what playing music is all about," Shepherd said.

Another noteworthy track is "Last Goodbye," which is a sensitive, heartfelt ballad.

In reference to the sound of Live On, Shepherd says, "The end result is just what I heard in my head all along ... I like to go from one extreme to another, and I think we did that on this album."

With raging rock 'n' roll electric guitar solos colliding with the full-bodied, flavorful Southern sound of New Orleans blues, this album is the perfect blend of genres and definitely worth checking out -- especially if you are a fan of Vaughn's.

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