Kenny Wayne Shepherd returned to his roots, and then some, on his latest album.
"Goin' Home" finds the guitar prodigy exploring his musical influences in the blues, covering songs by Freddie King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and others. It also marks the first of his seven albums that he's recorded in his home town of Shreveport, La., using drummer Brady Blade's Blade Studios.
"There was never a studio of that caliber there before," says Shepherd, 37, who's wife Hannah is the oldest daughter of actor Mel Gibson. "Serendipitously, the timing worked out so that it was ready for this album that was very appropriate for me to record (in Shreveport). This was returning to my musical moots and also to my family roots.
"When I started picking songs for this record, I began this retrospective journey, and all of the vivid memories for me as a child sitting in the living room for countless hours listening to the blues and learning to play these songs on guitar brought up all these memories. There was no better place to record this record than where all of this actually took place for me."
"Goin' Home" features guest appearances by Shepherd pals such as Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, Warren Haynes, Robert Randolph, Keb' Mo', Kim Wilson and the Rebirth Brass Band. And even more appropriate guest is Pastor Brady Blade Sr. of Shreveport's Zion Baptist Church, who appears on Shepherd's version of Bo Diddley's "Can't Judge a Book By the Cover."
"We included 'Can't Judge a Book' to have a positive message on the album," Shepherd explains. "It's just a fun song. Blues songs handle some tough subject matter, but there's also a very light side to the blues and a very joyful side, and as I get older, I gravitate more towards that.
"Rev. Blade just kind of showed up when we were cutting the song and said, 'I'm gonna sing on that song with you.' 'OK.' He came out and sang the song and just killed it."
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Robert Randolph
Wednesday, June 25
Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.
Doors open at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show and $55 for reserved mezzanine.
Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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