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Two new projects loom for Kenny Wayne Shepherd

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd's new musical ride is a career highlight for the onetime guitar prodigy from Shreveport, La.

The Rides is a supergroup featuring Shepherd (nee Brobst), Stephen Stills and Electric Flag keyboardist Barry Goldberg. Its debut album, "Can't Get Enough," which includes a cover of Iggy & the Stooges' "Search and Destroy," is due out in August, and Shepherd acknowledges that he's champing at the bit to have people hear it.

"Y'know, you never know what the chemistry is going to be like when you try and write songs and stuff like that, but this was spectacular," says Shepherd, 35. "Once we got together, it was obvious it was going to be an amazing record. We didn't have to put a lot of thought into it. We really, genuinely just played what came to us naturally, only a couple of instances where we had to figure out a part here and there.

"So the process came very naturally and very effortlessly. There were no egos in the room. We all treated each other as equals, and I think the end result speaks for itself."

While he waits for The Rides to start in earnest, Shepherd is happy to keep making his own music. He and his band were in the studio late last summer in Shreveport working on a covers album that he says "doesn't really sound like a covers album because I've dug real deep into a lot of people's catalogs and tried to find songs that haven't been done a million times." The sessions included material from Howlin` Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Johnny Guitar Watson, Lee Dorsey and others, and Shepherd plans to add a number of guest performers to flesh the set out -- including Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Robert Randolph so far.

"There's several other artists who have committed to performing, and it's just a matter of scheduling to get them down," says Shepherd, who's married to Mel Gibson's eldest daughter, Hannah. "Once we get their parts finished we'll mix it and get it scheduled to be released in the first quarter of next year, hopefully."

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and the Reefermen perform at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Macomb Music Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mt. Clemens. Tickets are $20-$50. Call 586-541-1107 or visit www.macombmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.macombmusictheatre.com

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