Last night at the Sands Event Center, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band was in town to deliver some good old-fashioned blues in Bethlehem. The Grammy-nominated group is currently touring in support of their latest album, Goin’ Home, which came out back in May. The disc debuted at #25 on the Billboard Top 200, and #1 on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. The album is an homage to the blues greats of yesteryear, and is a dazzling display of Shepherd’s roots is a young guitar prodigy from Shreveport, Louisiana. The band covers songs by the likes of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and many more. To enhance the record, Shepherd called in heavyweights like Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Robert Randolph, and Ringo Starr for guest appearances. Now the band is bringing these classics back to life again on tour, as well as original gems from their own catalog.
The band opened the show with “Never Lookin’ Back”, a hit single off their previous studio effort. For the next hour, they did just that. They dropped hits like “The House is Rockin'” (Stevie Ray Vaughn), “Talk To Me Baby” (Elmore James), and many more. The band also played two back-to-back B.B. King classics, and Shepherd professed his love of King’s legendary live album Live at The Regal Theater. Shepherd’s exceptional guitar work perhaps shined the brightest on songs like “Born of a Broken Heart” and “Heat of the Sun” with his soulful, heart-wrenching solos. In addition Shepherd being the guitar virtuoso that he is, vocalist Noah Hunt, bassist Tony Franklin, keyboardist Riley Osbourn, and drummer Chris “Whipper” Layton (formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble) were nothing short of spectacular. The band as a whole was loud, sharp, and smooth. They brought the evening to a close with their biggest original hit “Blue on Black” and an amazing cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band formed in the early 90s and released their debut album Ledbetter Heights in 1995. The band achieved astronomical success with their sophomore effort, 1997’s Trouble Is… The album produced their biggest hit single, “Blue on Black”, and holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. The band has released seven albums, six of which have hit #1 on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. Four of them have been certified platinum. Throughout their career, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band have garnered two Grammy Award nominations, won two Billboard Music Awards, and toured with the likes of Aerosmith, Eagles, Van Halen, Bob Dylan, and more. – by Matt Bishop (KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD BAND – LIVE PHOTO GALLERY)