'If you are a blues fan or if you are a fan of the guitar, this concert will be for you'
Blues/rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd is 37, but has 20 years of recording and touring with the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Aerosmith and Van Halen, as well as sharing a stage with BB King and Hubert Sumlin from Howlin’ Wolf’s band. He talks to Mick Burgess
YOU’LL be playing seven shows this month across the UK. Are you looking forward to playing over here again?
Absolutely. We’ve played in Europe a number of times, but in the UK, we’ve only really played in London. We got a new booking agent and I told him we really had to go outside of the ccapital so this tour is a result of that request. The fans’ voices have been heard and we want to come and play for them.
Your guitar looks as though it has many stories to tell?
I have many guitars, but my main one is a 1961 Stratocaster. I found it when I was 15 or 16 and it was one of those moments that I knew when I laid my hands on it, it was meant to be mine and I’d never part with it. It’s been all over the world with me and on every record and it’s irreplaceable. It’s got a lot of battle scars and is very worn, but it’s been very well played.
“Ever since back in the 90s, when Fender started doing the Signature series, that was something for the elite musicians. People like and Jeff Beck have signature series guitars. Naturally I was extremely excited and honoured when they asked me if I wanted to help create a Kenny Wayne Shepherd edition Stratocaster. It was a great experience and process. We came up with three different models, the same specification but different appearances. And I play them all the time on stage. You’ll see them when we come to your town.”
Now Kenny is a huge name in his own right, with his own brand of blues-rock. He has sold millions of albums, had seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Charts, been nominated for five Grammy Awards and worked with legends including BB King, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
Ringo Starr has been a personal friend for 12 years and Kenny played on a couple of songs on his 2012 album. Ringo has returned the favour and is one of the big names featured on Kenny’s latest album, Goin’ Home.
Kenny will be playing songs from it and his extensive back catalogue at Sheffield’s Plug.
In an exclusive interview - listen to it in full at thestar.co.uk - he said: “If you are a fan or blues music, guitar playing or just good music in general - this is the show for you.
“We’re going to do songs from previous albums, an extensive catalogue, after being in the business for over 20 years - but we are also going to focus a lot of attention on the new record, Goin’ Home.
“It’s a traditional blues album where we go back and record songs by some of my bigest heroes and musical influences. So old and new songs.