Kenny Wayne Shepherd's music is classifed as rock. His guitar work, however, claims otherwise. Kenny Wayne Shepherd's deep vocals, story-like lyrics, and intense electric guitar notes against a background reminiscent of Deep South swampland is anything but rock as music enthusiasts know it. . .it is the blues.
I have two favorites: Was and Blue On Black.
Off of the album Live On, "Was" starts with a distant echo and simple vocals with instrumental. . .until the drums make their presence known. At this point, the song takes off. The lyrics are unique, slightly country western style. The guitar and drums provide a rock-like beat. The standout instrument not found in rock music is what I believe is a banjo, the essential sound to "Was" being blues-like. This song provides a stop and start motion, allowing individual spotlight on all elements - vocals, banjo (yes?), guitar, and drums. Kenny Wayne Shepherd is highly creative in this regard. "Was" may have a rock beat and label, but in fact is blues-inspired with its lyrics, unusual instruments, and Southern tone.
Off of the album Trouble Is..., "Blue On Black" is deep and sexy in its lyrics and instrumental, especially the guitar work. The song is labeled Pop on iTunes, but I personally do not see this. The beat is slow and defined. The tone is dark, deep, and mysterious. The lyrics catch on to the listener easily. The mood set by "Blue On Black" is very much blues-like.
Is Kenny Wayne Shepherd's style within the House of Blues? Check him out yourself. Decide for yourself whether his story-like lyrics, deep vocals, and intense instrumentals fit under Pop, Rock, or Blues.
No matter what, always remember to play it!