Red-hot Blues guitarist is headed to Riverbend for a show with his all-star power trio, The Rides
Kenny Wayne Shepherd has brought a youthful side to American Blues music ever since the great success of his first album, Ledbetter Heights,
which went platinum and reached No. 1 on the Blues charts. He was just
17 at the time of the album's release and has gone on to put out several
more successful Rock/Blues albums with his Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band,
featuring Cincinnati's Noah Hunt on lead vocals.
Shepherd has developed a new exciting project called The
Rides with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stephen Stills and Barry
Goldberg, a veteran musician who formed The Electric Flag with Mike
Bloomfield in the late ’60s and has written and produced many classics. The Rides are performing at the Ohio River
Throwdown, a new Roots music festival, this Saturday at Riverbend Music
Center, playing alongside other acts like Tedeschi Trucks Band, JJ Grey
and the Mofro, Los Lobos and many other artists. CityBeat chatted with
Shepherd recently about his new project.
CityBeat: I saw behind the scenes videos
of The Rides recording in the studio together. What was your favorite
experience being in the studio with the other two guys?
Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Well, the whole thing was a
really good experience. Everybody had a really great time doing the
record. It’s just very interesting. You look back over the course
Stephen's career, and Barry as well, and these guys have made some
really tremendous records in their time. They have also been on so many
albums and done this for so many years that they have accumulated a vast
wealth of knowledge of how to do things in the studio. For me, even
though I have had my recording career for 20 years now, I still consider
myself to be like a sponge, just trying to soak up as much information
as I can. I learned a lot from those guys and it was a really good time.
CB: Where did the name of the band actually originate?
KWS: We were putting our heads together. It went on
for two weeks. One of the hardest things to do is to come up with a
band name, at least it can be one of the most challenging things to do. A
lot of the reasons why it is so hard to do nowadays is because almost
every name has been used. Everything we came up with, we would go back
home and I would look it up online and do a Google search and someone
would have that name and we would start over again.
We spent a lot of the time in the studio between
recordings … Stephen and I are both big car guys, I mean we love cars.
Stephen and his wife have some of the most incredible cars you could
hope to own. I have a pretty cool collection myself. We spent a good bit
of time talking about cars and driving and stuff like that. As we were
exploring name options for the band, one day we were at Stephen's house
and I had driven my 1964 Dodge to his house and we were walking out to
the driveway to leave and he just looked at my car and said, “You know
we should be called 'The Rides.' ” I was like, “Yeah. That’s cool.” I
went home and checked and couldn’t find anybody with that name. So here
CB: What is your favorite car you have?
KWS: I don’t know. I would say right now my 1969
Dodge Charger, and I think it is one of the most beautiful, one of the
most visually stunning cars that was ever designed. Probably that one is
CB: I have listened to the new album and I really, really love it. What is your favorite song to play on the new album?
KWS: I go through phases when I do a new record
like, “Right now this is my favorite song …” and then a few months from
now a different one is my favorite one. Currently my favorite is “Can’t
Get Enough,” the title track. That song is a great representation of
this band and what we are about. It is one of the songs we wrote
together. It has great, heavy guitars. It has got really, good lyrics.
Even the vocal is nice and raspy and bluesy. There are lots of dynamics
to that song and I think it is just really a great representation of who
we are as a group.
CB: Typically you are touring with your band by yourself. What was it like splitting singing duties with Stephen?
KWS: I split singing duties, to a degree, in my own
band. I have Noah Hunt, who is from Cincinnati, he has been my lead
vocalist for 17 years. But over the past few years of my career, I have
stepped up here and there to the microphone when I wanted to, and on the
last record we recorded, Noah and I sang a lot of songs together. I
have kind of started to integrate that idea into my own band even though
I tend to let Noah sing most of the songs because he has such an
incredible voice and it enables me more to focus more on my guitar
playing. There is certainly, in this band, more vocal responsibility for
me. I really wanted to do it. It is pretty cool. Like being around
Stephen, who is so well known for his singing and vocals, it has been
inspiring to me to step up to the microphone and sing more.
CB: I thought I saw Noah at the Peter Frampton show in Cincinnati.
KWS: He was there. He went to the show because we
had just been on the road with Peter over the past two months, we had
done some shows with him. Noah wanted to go hang out and see everybody
when they came through town so he went.
CB: What is the favorite guitar you have ever played?
KWS: The one I am most attached to is my 1961 Stratocaster. It is the first Strat I ever got.
When you are a guitar player you hear this story about how
there is this one guitar that is your soulmate. There is one guitar out
there that was built for you. You know it the minute you pick it up and
start playing it. Some guys go their entire lives trying to find it. I
found this guitar when I was just 15 years old. The minute I picked it
up, it fit me like a glove. I did everything I could to get it, I
couldn’t afford it at the time, then later on, the following year, it
was in Los Angeles at the Guitar Center. Then I came back a year later
and it was still there. I still didn’t have the money to afford it, but I
decided I wasn’t leaving the store without it. I told my Dad, he was
like “We gotta go.” I’m like, “I’m not leaving without this guitar.”
Between him, the guy at my record company, my A&R guy, my music
attorney, they decide they would split the cost up on their credit cards
as long as I agreed to pay them back. I did. That guitar has been with
me ever since. It has toured the world with me and been on every record I
have ever done. It is just my baby.
CB: That is a great story. I have
interviewed so many guitar players and nobody has talked to me about
their soulmate guitar before.
KWS: Yeah, well, it really is. I don’t know about
those guys but there is a bond between me and that instrument. I feel
like all guitar players have their go-to instrument and there should be a
really solid connection between them and the instrument.
CB: Social media has become invaluable
with marketing music and musicians. When you are on the internet, in
general, where do you spend most of your time?
KWS: I am a creature of habit and repetition when
it comes to browsing the web. I have a couple of sites I look at every
day. I go online and get my daily dose of the news. I usually go to AOL,
because half of their stories report the news and the other half are
like looking at a tabloid magazine. They have some really weird stuff
they put up there.
I have a couple car enthusiast websites, like there is a
website called Moparts.org which is for all Mopart Car enthusiasts. I
love the Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth brands, so I am a Mopart guy.
There are a couple guitar pages that I go onto to see what
is going on in the world of guitar. I check in, there is a page called
thegearpage.net, then I go to the Fender Forums and Fender.com.
I am also obsessed with the new Tesla Electric cars. I
have been browsing their forums a lot educating myself on their
technology and stuff. I am kind of a geek when it comes to cars and all
CB: Can you tell us what the fans can expect from The Rides' live show in Cincinnati?
KWS: We just rehearsed, we just had four days to
rehearse for this tour and none of us had played any of these songs
since we recorded the album back in December. So I guess with my
schedule with my band and Stephen and his band, we had a very narrow
window of opportunity to prepare for this tour.
We are basically going to do the album and throw in a few
songs from my catalog and Stephen's catalog and stuff that Barry wrote
that other people recorded. The whole goal is to be loose and have a
good time and just play music together. They’ll hear a little bit of my
stuff, a little bit of Steven’s stuff, a little bit of Barry’s stiff,
then they’ll hear the whole (Rides) record.
Blues/Rock/Soul ensemble Tedeschi Trucks Band headlines the inaugural Ohio River Throwdown
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Blues/Rock/Soul ensemble Tedeschi Trucks Band, fresh off of their chart-busting album release, Made Up Mind, headlines the inaugural Ohio River Throwdown, alongside Los Lobos, JJ Grey & Mofro, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and many other American Roots music all-stars.
by Mike Breen
Indie darling Annie Clark and her St. Vincent are at Bogart's tonight promoting their new album, Strange Mercy. Check out Jason Gargano's recent feature story on Clark from last week's CityBeat here. Opening the show is Austin-based Shearwater, Jonathan Meiburg's orchestral Indie project that is on tour in support of the new Animal Joy album on Sub Pop Records. (Read more here.) Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $20. Here's a recent live clip of Clark and Co. performing "Surgeon."• Local Boogie Woogie piano master Ricky Nye has been taking his pals in the Paris Blues Band around the region for several performance dates. If you missed his show last week at the small room at Baker Hunt Arts & Cultural Center, you can catch the whole crew at Covington's Chez Nora tonight at 7:30 p.m. for free. Read Brian Baker's 2010 feature on the band ("The French Connection") here. And here's a clip for Ricky and his Paris bros from last year's visit.• Former local singer with Uncle Six (and in other local projects) Noah Hunt returns to Greater Cincy tonight with the man who took him away from us, Blues/Rock guitar whiz Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Hunt has been singing with Shepherd's band since 1997. On Noah's website it says, "Noah and Kenny are like brothers, and continue to record and tour the world together." Local crew Grooveshire opens up tonight's show at Covington's Madison Theater at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Here's a clip from the KWS Band's "Never Lookin' Back" from the most recent album, How I Go. • Indie trio The Spring Standards consists of three longtime friends who knock out harmonies as if they were related and have been singing together since birth. James Cleare, Heather Robb and James Smith formed the band in the Delaware Valley during their teens, but moved to Brooklyn to launch their career. The Standards’ 2008 debut, the EP No One Will Know, was produced by Rhett Miller of The Old 97’s; their debut full-length, Would Things be Different, was self-released in 2010. The band recently issued a superb “double EP,” Yellow/Gold, which features 12 engrossing tracks’ worth of the trio’s crafty Pop, which occasionally conjures the warm, fuzzy feelings of “AM Gold” Soft Rock from the ’70s, but also pumps things up to a more rocking level, such as on the Carsian tune "Here We Go" (check the clip below). The threesome performs tonight at MOTR Pub. Local Folk Pop act Shiny and the Spoon opens the free, 10 p.m. show.• Freekbot, the local Electronic/Funk/Dance duo featuring local funkateer Chris Sherman (aka Freekbass) and award-winning turntablist/producer Tobe Donohue (Tobotius), has not played a ton of local shows, spending a lot of time on the road as a touring unit instead. But that changes starting tonight when the duo begins a Wednesday residency at MVP Bar & Grill in Silverton (formerly Play By Play). Each week, the musicians will be joined by a different artist to “give things a different flavor,” says Sherman. For tonight's inaugural event — dubbed “Full Spectrum Wednesdays” — Yusef Quotah from You, You’re Awesome and Brian Olive’s band sits in on keys. On May 23, longtime Jazz saxophonist Randy Villars (currently touring with Bootsy Collins) is the special guest. In June, Sherman says they’ll have a different DJ or band open the shows, as well. Here's the twosome at work.
by Mike Breen
Sebadoh, Seedy George Jones, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and SSLYBY, plus This Day in Music
Music Tonight: Nineties Indie Rock stalwarts Sebadoh bring their "Bakesale/Harmacy Remembering Time Tour" to Newport's Southgate House tonight. The tour is in honor of the recent reissues of the 1994 and 1996 albums in the tour title. Our Jason Gargano spoke to Sebadoh main-man Lou Barlow for this week's CityBeat and some of Barlow's comments about the quality of music in the ’90s have caused a minor uproar with some of our readers (and Lou himself has even politely chimed in; check the comments). Of the ’90s, a typically blunt Barlow said (and it should be noted he laughed often while saying this), “To me the ’90s were one of the worst periods in music — easily, hands down.
by Mike Breen
Music Tonight: Eilen Jewell does her part in putting the "Alt" back in "AltCountry" when she and her band hit the Southgate House ballroom stage tonight at 8 p.m., supporting her fantastic latest album, Queen of the Minor Key. Superb area singer/songwriter Lauren Houston opens up the show. Check out CityBeat's recent interview with Jewell here. Tickets are $15 at the door and the show is open to those 18 and up. Enjoy the clip below of Jewell performing for NoKy radio station WNKU while out supporting her 2009 Sea of Tears album.