The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Lay It On Down (Deluxe)
(Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group)
Shepherd’s albums always have two key elements, whatever the material – a great sense of purpose and assurance AND the uncanny and enduring relationship and understanding between Kenny and his long-time vocalist and guitarist Noah Hunt.
These two give the impression of true brotherhood harnessed for range and creativity. Encouraged he tells me by Steve Stills, Shepherd’s singing ever improves. I recall Stills telling me over Brunch in Kensington that in The Rides he wanted Kenny to just dive in and develop his talent. Accompanying this piece is a discussion of the material with Kenny but aside from Noah, the basic recording band on this set has Chris Whipper Layton on drums and any fan of Double Trouble, Arc Angels and Storyville will attest to his skills with the sticks ( he always appears to be doing rather little but this just disguises his full-blooded attack) plus bassist Kevin McCormick of The Rides, Jackson Browne, CSN et al plus keyboard whizz Jimmy McGorman.
There is a crisp horn section here and there, adding 3-D to the mix. Standout tracks include Ride Of Your Life, opener Baby Got Gone, title cut Lay It On Down ( in two versions, acoustic and electric on the deluxe book edition of the release that Glenn somehow managed to secure and get signed out at Ramblin. Man) and the insanely catchy Diamonds & Gold.
The production by Shepherd and Marshall Altman puts the song upfront and adds whatever it takes to make the number work, emphasis on powerful arrangements and quality vocals. All originals, all sonically framed to perfection but feel is everything, here.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s new album ‘Lay It On Down’ is out now on Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.
For more information visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2qG9qq1