KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD – The Traveller (2019)
I guess “The Traveler” is the proper title for the KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD Band new album, recorded while the group was on a break from their uncompromising tour schedule that left them road-tested and ready to rock.
The album features 10 rockin’ bluesy songs including eight new originals co-written by Shepherd and some of Nashville’s most in-demand songwriters, plus incendiary covers of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul” and Joe Walsh’s “Turn to Stone.”
For the last quarter-century, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been on road-trip rock ‘n’ roll travel. Gone is the young Louisiana gunslinger who erupted onto the early ’90s scene with his burn-it-down guitar solos and gut-punch songcraft.
The 41-year-old he’s become is even more magnetic, still pushing his Fender Strat where others fear to fret, while diving deep into human truths and global concerns with an honesty that only comes with age and miles on the clock.
Now Kenny and the gang are back with “The Traveler” and they aren’t slowing down. Joined by Noah Hunt (vocals), Kevin McCormick (bass), Jimmy McGorman & Joe Krown (keys), and legendary drummer Chris Layton (formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble), “The Traveler” is another top notch album from start to finish.
The upbeat “Woman Like You” opens up the CD with Noah Hunt on lead vocals and features some great Shepherd riffs, solos and horns. “Long Time Running” follows and the song “is someone expressing what it’s like to lead a complicated existence,” says Shepherd, and includes some scorching lead from Kenny.
“I Want You” is a song filled with a swagger bringing to mind vintage Aerosmith, and “Tailwind” goes in more of a southern rock direction with acoustics into the mix.
“Gravity” has Kenny back on vocals and is about a complicated relationship with a lover. Kenny is really coming into his own as a vocalist and has credited Stephen Stills of The Rides for encouraging him to sing more.
Kenny and Noah trade off vocals on “We All Alright”, then Shepherd is back to the mic for “Take It On Home,” a radio friendly, catchy rock song.
The album features two covers. Noah handles vocals for Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul” done with an updated classic rock feeling, while Joe Walsh’s “Turn To Stone” where Kenny really stretches his wings on the guitar. the solo is amazing.
“The Traveler” is a true no-filler album. It features all sorts of influences, all blues based yet very ‘song-oriented’ and radio friendly. We all know Shepherd can shred, but the guitar is always serving the song.
When listening to “The Traveler” it’s easy to tell Kenny and the Band weren’t trying to fit into any particular box, just make a great rockin’ melodic record and that’s what they’ve accomplished.
“The Traveler” is another can’t miss album from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.
01 – Woman Like You
02 – Long Time Running
03 – I Want You
04 – Tailwind
05 – Gravity
06 – We All Alright
07 – Take It On Home
08 – Mr. Soul
09 – Better With Time
10 – Turn To Stone
Kenny Wayne Shepherd – vocals, guitar
Noah Hunt – vocals
Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan) – drums
Kevin McCormick – bass
Jimmy McGorman, Joe Krown – keyboards
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