Guitar wunderkind Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
By Amy Sciarretto
Roadrunner/ Loud & Proud Records is pleased to announce the signing of four-time Grammy nominated, American blues/rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd to a worldwide, multi-album deal. He is currently working on his Roadrunner/Loud & Proud debut projects, which include his first live album and a new studio album.
“Kenny Wayne is a special artist” stated Loud & Proud President Tom Lipsky. “He is passionate about his songwriting, his musicianship and he values the relationship that he has with his fans.”
Shepherd himself said, “I am both excited and proud to be a part of the Roadrunner/Loud & Proud family. We have some very exciting music coming for our fans, and I couldn’t think of a better home for my music. I’ve been playing it ‘loud and proud’ for years.”
Widely regarded as a guitar hero before that term exploded into pop culture with the video game, the self-taught Shepherd learned to play at the tender age of seven-years-old, learning Muddy Waters licks while listening to his father’s record collection. At 13, he was invited onstage and performed with New Orleans bluesman Bryan Lee. Signed to Giant Records at 16, Shepherd recorded his first album while a senior in high school.
In 1997, Kenny was ranked third in Guitar World’s list of favorite blues artists behind legends B.B. King and Eric Clapton. He has enjoyed two platinum and one gold albums, six Top 10 singles and his album Trouble Is… holds the distinction of being the longest running album on the Billboard Blues Charts. It held strong at #1 for 20 weeks including 15 weeks consecutively. The hit single “Blue on Black” was also a record-breaker, #1 for 17 consecutive weeks at rock radio.
Shepherd’s decorated career includes four Grammy nominations, two Billboard Music Awards, two Orville Gibson Awards, the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award and a Blues Music Award. In September 2008 Fender released the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature Series Stratocaster, designed exclusively by Shepherd. The inimitable James Brown referred to him as “one of the wonders of the world.”
His most recent release, 2007’s #1 selling Blues Album 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads, documents Shepherd as he travels the country to jam with and interview the last of the authentic blues musicians. This full length CD/DVD documentary was nominated for two Grammys, aired on PBS television nationwide and has been certified RIAA Gold as a Long Form Video.
This article also appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, July 1, 2010.