Kenny Wayne Shepherd / BB King Blues Club / New York, NY

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, BB King's
Photo by Arnie Goodman

After the opening act by award-winning blues singer Curtis Salgado warmed up the audience with his soulful, classic take on the blues, Kenny Wayne Shepherd played to a packed house. The audience was ready for more blues, greeting Shepherd with great enthusiasm. The all-star band included bassist Tony Franklin (who played with Jimmy Page in the Firm) and keyboardist Riley Osbourn (who has played for Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson). Keeping the beat going was Chris Layton, former drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. The high-energy set, full of acrobatic guitar playing, started out with “Never Lookin’ Back,” a single from 2011’s How I Go, and continued with songs from Shepherd’s back catalog, as well as blues classics like Elmore James’ “Talk to Me Baby.” Showing off his guitar skills is not one of Shepherd’s top priorities at a show, but it is one of the things that the audience comes to see, and he certainly did not disappoint—especially on the Stevie Ray Vaughan classic, “The House is Rockin’.”

After playing 13 songs, the band walked offstage but returned for a four-song encore—starting with Shepherd’s biggest hit, “Blue on Black,” and ending with the Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”—much to the delight of the audience.

– Stanley Abraham

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