Kenny Wayne Shepherd

By Jean-Paul Desjardins

Imagine being in your early 20s, playing with guitar virtuosos like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, recording three albums that sell very well and constantly being dubbed "the next Stevie Ray Vaughn." Now imagine what an egomaniac most people would become when faced with this kind of acclaim. This was certainly not the case with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt who were in town to promote their latest CD Live On.

The interview took place in a small hotel lounge, with Hunt and Shepherd demonstrating they were as humble as their surroundings when it comes to their success.

"It’s about the people that play us on the radio and the people that buy our CD’s… these are the people that we need to be loyal to," explains Hunt.

"That’s one of the reasons why we got into it… one of the things we’re known for is our live shows and that’s one of the things we do best," adds Shepherd. This was not always the case.

The powerful vocals of Noah Hunt haven’t always complimented Shepherd’s lethal guitar work, as Hunt replaced former singer Corey Sterling after the release of the first album. Singing six days a week in a local pub, Hunt was introduced to Shepherd by a mutual friend and consequently invited to try out for the band. During the audition he was asked if he’d like to warm up with a blues song.

"It’s been cool ever since," affirms Hunt.

This is illustrated by overall sales of Live On and the critical acclaim of their sophomore release, Trouble Is, received. Also the way the two interact on a musical level displays cohesiveness.

"Noah hears the music the same way I do… the way he sings the song is the way that I hear it," says Shepherd.

Hunt concurs, "The way he plays the guitar is the way I hear it."

When discussing their latest effort, Hunt and Shepherd both agreed that it was an advancement for the band.

"With each album we want to take a step forward and show a period of growth and maturity and I think we did that," asserts Shepherd. "You hear about a lot of bands that won’t even listen to their own albums. I jam my stuff all the time! Why make music if you don’t enjoy listening to it yourself?"

As for the constant comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Shepherd handles them with ease.

"I just want people to understand that if it wasn’t for this guy, I wouldn’t be playing guitar, at least not the way that I do, and any similarities are just me tipping my hat to him. If it wasn’t for Stevie Ray Vaughn, there wouldn’t be a Kenny Wayne Shepherd."

If you’ve never heard the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, pick up Live On and find out why we’ll being hearing a lot more about this guitar afficionado.

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