Kenny Wayne Shepherd:
TEN DAYS OUT: BLUES FROM THE BACKROADS...... From the first compelling minutes of TEN DAYS OUT: Blues From The Backroads, it’s immediately evident that bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd is up to something different. Shepherd embarked on a ten-day trek into the heart of America. Traveling highways and byways with a roving documentary film crew, a portable recording studio, portable house band—the esteemed Double Trouble, and producer Jerry Harrison, Shepherd visited blues veterans in their homes, backyards and local clubs, creating as intimate and intense a blues film as has been seen in many a year. The resulting film allows music lovers to join in the exploration and witness the artistic creation of both the film and the accompanying live CD.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who ably walks the line between bandleader and accompanist, is joined by a stellar lineup of collaborators. His guests include some of the most renowned blues artists like B. B. King, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Hubert Sumlin and more. Partial proceeds of this project are being donated to Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to helping impoverished blues artists.
“We could have stopped in every city in the US,” says Shepherd, the platinum-selling guitarist and vocalist, “and we’d find somebody, whether an old cat who is an original product of this music or else a kid my age or younger—but we’d have found someone who is a fan of the blues and trying to do it justice. We could lay out a world map, throw a dart, and go there to play blues—and people are gonna love it.”
With a career that began at age 16, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a storied decade in music’s big-leagues. His first three albums mixed blues and blues-rock; his 1995 debut Ledbetter Heights has sold over a million copies, making it a platinum record. Trouble Is…was released in 1998 selling over a million copies and Grammy-nominated. Live On followed a year later, and also got the Grammy nod. (The latter two were produced by Jerry Harrison, who returned to produce TEN DAYS OUT.) On his most recent record, 2004’s The Place You’re In, Shepherd took most of the album’s lead vocals for the first time. “I cut my teeth as a blues artist,” says Kenny Wayne Shepherd. “My first three records mixed my styles, and the last one, The Place You’re In, was a pretty heavy dose of rock and roll. So this became a perfect time to present a solid dose of the blues.”
With TEN DAYS OUT, Kenny Wayne Shepherd continues his love affair with America’s homegrown music, introducing his fans to a varied lot of his blues predecessors. The goal was to get intimate recordings in intimate places, and maintain authenticity: the album has no overdubs, no high-tech fixing. “Live as it went down,” says Shepherd. “What happened is what you hear. We kept it as real as possible.”
Sixteen years ago, at the age of 16, Jonny Lang found incredible success with the release of his major label debut album Lie To Me. Fame does not seem to have impacted him from being the same country farm boy from Fargo, ND who got his start in the local clubs of Minneapolis. He survived the passage of youth to adulthood, fell in love, began a family, and in the process passed through the life lessons we all endure. He has a keen sense of what he aims to achieve creatively, what music means to him, and is focused on the impact that his songs bring to the lives of those that encounter his repertoire. For Lang, with the release of Fight For My Soul, he is entering a chapter wherein he has found his true voice.
When asked what he would tell his younger self if he was afforded the opportunity to share advise, he wisely answers, “I would say all of those voices steering you away from questionable decisions, listen to them. They are right.” He has encountered many in the public eye through his career that approaches two decades. With those experiences, and the personality traits he has witnessed, he has a clarity of how he wants to be, and how he wants to treat others.
This sense of who he wants to be is the core of the album. Lang shares, “The inspiration for the songs on the record vary widely. Some are about personal struggles, some are focused on injustices I have seen. Some are random fictional stories that hopefully can relate to people in some way that is a blessing to them. I’ve wanted to make this album for a long time. Creatively, I think there is a lot more going on inside of me than I’ve been sharing on recordings.”
The album defies categorization by a single genre. The textured arrangements, broad worldview, gorgeous vocal melodies, and expressive guitar playing are what defines Fight For My Soul. It is unequivocally what Lang aimed to achieve over the long period he has been working on reaching a realized vision. He offers, “Much of what I’ve experienced through music and life in general is in these songs. I really like reaching out and connecting with people. For me, this is what it’s all about. It keeps it fresh with different experiences every day.”
Lang has been working on the release for three years with Producer Tommy Sims, who co-wrote Eric Clapton’s Grammy winning “Change the World.” The duo collaborated on the project from the ground up. The first step was fine-tuning the soulful numbers Lang demo’d at home. He relates, “Sometimes I write music that I could never imagine putting on a record, and thanks to Tommy’s ability to see the continuity in these songs, where I might not have, they are on the album”. Sims also brought in one number, the acoustic-electric soul-rocker “Blew Up (The House),” and played several instruments the album that include resonator guitar on that tune, and contributing world class bass guitar performances on select others.
This grass roots approach was new to Lang, whose four earlier studio albums were written and crafted under the watch of his previous record labels. It was a welcome change. After Lang released his Grammy winning Turn Around in 2007, he made the decision to forego the major label route and became an independent artist. The first result was 2009’s Live At the Ryman, but Fight For My Soul, by its nature, is his first fully realized artistic achievement through his own label SayRai Music, featuring his own touring band: drummer Barry Alexander, bassist James Anton, rhythm guitarist Akil Thompson, keyboardist Dwan Hill and background vocalist Missi Hale. “Recording with the band for the first time was really gratifying,” says Lang. “They’re all amazing musicians and we’ve grown together musically and personally by playing hundreds of live shows.” This served us well in the making of Fight For My Soul. Because of them, I have grown musically in ways I never thought I could, and it really is an honor to have them on this record.”
Lang’s full touring schedule as well as making his family a priority in his life, are the primary cause for the length of commitment it took to deliver this album. He reflects, “Between being with my family, and being out on the road touring, the last thing you want to do when home is to go and make a record. We have had to pick our spots to fit in recording time. In the last year, we’ve been able to work on it more consistently, and to finally wrap this thing up.” And with the delivery to label partners Mascot in Europe and Concord for North America, he achieved what he set out to deliver offering, “I’m really happy with the body of work we have for this one. It’s kind of hard to be excited and know what the record was going to be like when the process is extended over such a long period of time. Today sitting here I am really proud of the recordings.”
As an artist he has evolved since he began the writing process. The sound of that evolution is all over Fight For My Soul. “What You’re Looking For” carefully layers banjo, guitars, spacey keyboards and a percussion sample to create a sonic dreamscape for its story of searching for life’s essentials — faith, love, hope. The arrangement of “We Are the Same” evokes the freewheeling spirit of Motown’s Psychedelic Shack era.
Lang has been on has brought him the opportunity to interact with some of the most respected legends in music. On the way up, he shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Aerosmith, Sting, and Buddy Guy, who he continues to tour with today. As a 12-year-old, he began a journey in Fargo, ND that has brought him to points across the Globe, and as he looks on the upcoming near-term future, he shares, “With this album, I really look forward to bringing our music to people in places where I’ve never been before. Music is one of the greatest conveyers of ideas and emotions, and in a sense that doesn’t have as much to do with the individual performing, but the power of the connection. One of my goals is the music can be a blessing to the people listening to it in some way. And if Fight For My Soul can help somebody by making them feel better or that they’re not alone, that’s my idea of success for this album.”
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Noah Hunt and Jason Dennie were a powerful acoustic duo
and major staple on the Cincinnati Acoustic Music and Bar scene in the mid to late 90's. Their debut CD, Long Black Train, was released in 1995 and continues to be a favorite find for many new listeners who enjoy the stripped down sound of acousitc guitar and vocals. While both artists had their own solo projects, they logged many hours/gigs together over the course of 5-6 years before Noah Hunt found himself in the position to take over the lead vocal spot for the then young blues guitarist, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who had made a big splash in the industry.----------------..
The soon to be released new CD, All The Dark Things, is more or less a follow up to Long Black Train, this time around incorporating a fuller sound with more instrumention and harmony vocals. Half the record is Noah and Jason as a duo, recalling the 'old days', and the rest is various combinations of musicians that have been a part of their past, most notable being Dan Hunt ..boards/guitars and Alex Hughes on bass.-----------------..
With acoustic guitars, electric guitars, mandolin, piano, bass, and drums, the palette is broad without ever overshadowing the strong and present vocals and songwriting of Noah Hunt. All The Dark Things is an intimate record and whether seen as a duo or with a full band, the music of Noah Hunt and Jason Dennie brings about an up close and personal feel for the listener and the songs seem to relate to many different types of people and fans alike.
As one of the world's premier blues musicians, Buddy Guy's career has spanned over half a century and he shows no signs of slowing down with tour dates scheduled throughout 2011. The Grammy-Award winning guitarist has been an innovator and inspiration for Blues musicians everywhere since debuting in 1953. As a consistent performer and tourer, Buddy Guy has amassed fans around the nation and has released over sixty-five albums throughout his illustrious career. Don't miss a date on the Buddy Guy concert schedule (2011); Use Eventful as your source for Buddy Guy tour dates and concert information.
The Louisiana native moved to Chicago in the late '50s and became a progenitor of what became known as the Chicago Sound which heavily influenced American Blues music. Buddy Guy has maintained a consistent tour schedule for the past fifty years, oftentimes playing upwards of a 100 shows a year. Known for his unique performing style in which he often plays the guitar with drumsticks, Buddy Guy concerts have been attracting new fans for decades now and earned him the honor of being named as one of Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
The acclaimed performer is the recipient of six Grammy Awards and dozens of other accolades. Guy won his most recent Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Contemporary Blues Album, validating his lengthy and prolific recording career. In 2005, Buddy Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by rock and blues legends Eric Clapton and B.B. King who praised Guy for being an influence over their own iconic music. Buddy Guy, released his most recent album, Living Proof, in 2010 and it owns the distinction of being his highest charting album to-date on the Billboard charts. After fifty-five years in the business, Buddy Guy is still one of the hardest workers in show business and will tour throughout 2011. Don't miss a date on the Buddy Guy concert schedule (2011); Use Eventful as your source for Buddy Guy tour dates and concert performance information.