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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Mar 20 2024

7:30 PM

Tickets: $65, $75, $85 + tax/fees

On-sale Friday 9/22 @ 10AM

Since the release of his debut album, 1995’s Ledbetter Heights, this Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum bandleader still sounds like the future of the blues. Approach Dirt On My Diamonds expecting autopilot twelve-bars and you’ll instead be thrown a volley of curveballs, from the modern urban edge of Sweet & Low and Best Of Times’ socio-political observations to the speaker-tearing production from Shepherd and his partner-in-sound of recent years, Marshall Altman. “Working with Marshall, it’s like any productive relationship. We put our strengths together and push each other”, considers the guitarist. “Every record I make is a moment in time. And this is a really special moment.”

Since his birth in North Louisiana, in 1977, Shepherd’s own life has never followed the script. Steeped in classic blues and rock ‘n’ roll from an early age by his dad – a respected Louisiana radio personality and promoter – the kid soon reached for his first Fender Stratocaster and found he didn’t require lessons to make it cry and wail. Long before Warner Brothers subsidiary Giant Records offered a deal, Shepherd had clocked up countless miles on a merciless touring schedule of clubs he was still too young to drink in. “For the first five years,” he says, “I was on the road non-stop.”

But that old-school apprenticeship sharpened both his chops and songcraft to a razor’s edge. Following up the aforementioned Ledbetter Heights, Shepherd changed his world forever with 1997’s Trouble Is…, the breakthrough second album that saw him write songs of such eye-opening maturity as Blue On Black, and sell over one million copies in an era when post-grunge supposedly held sway. “It was vindication,” he nods.

Shepherd’s studio releases kept gathering pace, from 1999’s Live On to 2004’s The Place You’re In, before 2007’s two time Grammy-nominated album/documentary Ten Days Out: Blues From The Backroads saw him stand up and be counted alongside such giants as B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin and Pinetop Perkins. “I always felt like I owed it to those people to mention their names and the impact they had on me,” he says, “because otherwise you’re doing them a disservice.”

In 2013 and 2016, he even found the bandwidth for two albums with blues-rock supergroup The Rides, also featuring Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg. But to understand the direction of travel on Dirt On My Diamonds, it pays to revisit 2017’s Lay It On Down, on which Shepherd’s enduring partnership with producer Marshall Altman began. “After Lay It On Down and The Traveler, this is my third consecutive album working with Marshall, and the evolution almost feels like chapters in a book. To me, this album sounds incredibly fresh, modern and current.  For me, it’s all about capturing the essence of the band playing live together, because that’s what we do best.”

At a time when mainstream music is polished, quantized and airbrushed of soul, Dirt On My Diamonds sees Kenny Wayne Shepherd catch eight shards of honest human emotion and serve them up raw for an audience that needs real music more than ever. “I just feel a responsibility to make the best music I can make,” he concludes. “And I’m really excited to see what’s gonna happen with these songs when we take them out on the road…”

Complimentary vouchers are not valid for this performance.

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