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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

. . .of Blues

On the other hand, consider the blues.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd's music is classified 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 the Deep South is anything but rock as music enthusiasts know it. . .it is the blues.

Rightly so - "Kenny Wayne Shepherd (born in Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. . .In 1997, Guitar World ranked Shepherd #3 after B.B. King and Eric Clapton on their list of popular blues artists."  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Wayne_Shepherd)

I have two favorite songs: "Was" and "Blue On Black."

Off of the album Live On, "Was" starts with a distant echo and simple vocals with instrumentals. . .until the drums make their presence known.  At this point, the song takes off.  The lyrics are unique.  The guitar and drums provide a rock-like beat.  The standout instrument not found in rock music is what I believe is almost an electrified banjo, the essential sound to "Was" being blues-like.  This song provides a stop and start motion, allowing individual spotlight on all elements - vocals, guitar, drums, and suspected banjo.  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... (longest running on the Billboard Blues Charts) (Id.), "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 don't 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?  Rock?  Dare say Pop?  No matter what, always remember to play it!

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