04 December 2017
Veronica Monica

Laying it all out for "Lay It On Down"

Lay It On Down
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Check out five-time Grammy-nominated, Louisiana's blues rocker, Kenny Wayne Shepherd's new and 8th studio album, Lay It On Down! 

The album was recorded right in the self-taught guitarist's own comfort zone, Shepherd's home town of Shreveport, where he was born and first picked up guitar at age 7. Having opened for Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Eagles, Van Halen and The Rolling Stones, he was first discovered at age 13 by Giants Records chief Irving Azoff. 

This 10-track album released by Concord Records, has blues rock written all over it, with tinges of country southern rock. It has cool new sounds and cool new grooves that you normally wouldn't associate with the band's past music, while still maintaining the classic sound in songs like How Low Can You Go. 

Lay It On Down brings a fresh and diverse approach to blues-based rock 'n roll roots music, with some country vibes. The musicianship, production and overall sound of the album are impressive. There are strong, soulful, bluesy, southern rock vocals by Noah Hunt, who accompanies Shepherd on lead vocals. When their voices are joined, the vocals soar eloquently. 

Produced by Nashville's Marshall Altman and beautifully engineered by Chris Bell, these are all original great-sounding, feel good, catchy country blues and blues rock tracks written by Kenny Wayne Shepherd that all tell great stories about life experiences. The rhythms and vocals definitely have a Nashville sound feel to it. 

Just as their last record in 2014, Goin' Home, the tracks were all cut live as Shepherd wanted most of the creative interpretation to happen right in the studio, where there is no disconnect but rather where it's all about music communication and creative connections that can only happen when all band members are together in one room. It's all about a live performance trying to be captured. Kenny Wayne Shepherd likes that everything go through a tape machine as well. 

Known for his use of Strats, the blues electric guitar playing is top-notch, as are the sounds of the acoustic guitar played by Shepherd in slowed-down country rock songs like the title track. The album comes with a variation of musical genres from heavier blues rock tracks to slower-paced southern country laid back relaxing rhythms that you'd hear blaring out of a Nashville bar. 

There are no official You Tube videos or audios available of any of the tracks, so I'm leaving you with a not perfect, but decent-enough sounding recording of a live performance of my favourite cut from the album, Nothing But the Night, with Noah Hunt on lead vocals. Just crank up the volume a bit. There is superb electric-guitar playing by Shepherd from the 3:45 mark, carrying you to mesmerizing musical heights right to the end of the performance. 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is also with the band The Rides, which he formed in 2013 with Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash) and Barry Goldberg (Electric Flag). 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band consists of:
Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Guitar/Vocals); Noah Hunt (Lead Vocals/Guitar); Jim McGorman (Keyboard); Kevin McCormack (also in The Rides / Bass guitar); Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble / Drums); and Chris Bell (Engineer).

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