Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Review, Update

I liked Kenny's music so much, from hearing him play at the G3 concert (&&&), I decided to buy one of his cd's. I knew Noah Hunt was a "new" vocalist, so I was not surprised to see a different vocalist credited on the first cd /Ledbetter Heights/. My first reaction to Cory Sterling's vocals was, "I can tell it's not Noah," but still I listened carefully, determined to give Cory the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, his vocal style and delivery is very earthy and gutsy, the same qualities I'd raved about in my review of Noah's vocals. I began to doubt my impressions of Noah's vocals, thinking perhaps I'd been swayed simply by hearing him first. But the best news was, I enjoyed the MUSIC - the SONGS - on this cd. I listened to it repeatedly and while doing so I meticulously analyzed Cory Sterling's vocals.

I will state emphatically I do NOT have any problem with this vocalist. My only quibble, and it's a very minor one, is that very occassionally his delivery j-u-u-u-s-t misses, FOR ME - just my opinion, here - and I think in these few instances he's trying just a tad too hard, but these are few, and overall he gives a very soulful delivery and I like his vocal style VERY much. Also, it is to the CREDIT of Kenny's music, itself, that songs like "Born With A Broken Heart", "Deja Voodoo", and "Shame, Shame, Shame" lend themselves so naturally to the gutsy, throaty delivery STYLE that so impressed me, at the G3 concert (&&&).

In fact, I enjoyed my /Ledbetter Heights/ cd so much, I decided to go get the next cd. I wasn't sure if Noah was the vocalist on this next cd /Trouble Is.../, but I'd enjoyed Kenny's songs so much I didn't really care one way or another. Still, I was happy to see Noah credited on the cd notes, and I sat back to listen. The minute I heard his vocals I said, "Yep, that's the voice I remember", the voice I'd practically swooned over at the River Queen Showplace 9/28/97 (&&&).

This time around, I got a chance to listen in much more detail, up close as it were, and found Noah's vocals even more incredible in their studio incarnation than I'd remembered from the concert. It's true I'd begun to doubt my concert impressions, but /Trouble Is.../ convinced me I'd made no mistake in identifying Noah's vocals as OUTSTANDING (and that's what I consider to be a real understatement!) His voice has a naturally rich, full tone. "Them's just the pipes he was borned with", but along with that he's got the intense style and that soul-filled gutsy delivery to send those vocals straight up to the next level. I'm in LOVE and I wanna hear MORE MORE MORE!

time out for self-defense: readers can hear me "gushing" and I fear my reactions may be dismissed as over- the- top. *Yes* I'm passionate and if I like something, yes, I will gush. But I don't want anyone thinking I go nutso- ga- ga- crazy over male vocalists every other day, every time I turn around, at the drop of a hat, etc. Ok, so I like to sing, so *Yes* I notice the vocals, but this is a FIRST for me - to have such an intense reaction to a vocalist.

Just because I have a VERY strong, VERY positive reaction to this music, to this singer, doesn't mean it isn't REAL - it's real. Once again, Noah has a great voice to start, but it's what he DOES with it that's exciting, and the music is MONDO(+++). Let no one think I'm just an easy mark and I gush over just anything or anyone - not like this, I don't.

(+++) There's a saying I've found to be true, within my own experience, that an actor or actress can never be better than their material. The same can be said for a singer and I have no doubt it's true. KWS has co-written some FINE SONGS - immediately accessible, given a top-notch vocal treatment by Noah Hunt, backed-up by a HOT band - nice and tight, in the groove. Let no one think I don't give credit to KWS - I certainly do!

And Another Thing: I'm also nervous about going on at length about KWS's vocalist and not so much about KWS. Well, I've been singing and noticing vocals ever since I was a child, but have only started "noticing" real guitar-playing for a much, much shorter time (I'm embarrassed to say how long, let's just say "recently" I've tuned-in to the sound of the guitar, to instrumental solos, whereas for all those years before, I tapped my fingers impatiently during the instrumental breaks, impatient to get back to the singing. It's a common mistake [[&&& - link to soapbox rant about newscasters and video cameramen]] but I want everyone to know I've now gotten religion - I've seen the light and will sin no more - Amen.)

NOW HEAR THIS and Pay Attention: I may not be so qualified to judge Kenny's solo guitar, but it was HIS choice to include a vocalist in the band. He's perfectly free to play instrumental music if he wants, but if he's going to have a vocalist, how WONDERFUL he should have such an awesome talent to front his band. As long as Kenny chooses to have a vocalist, it's only fitting he should have a vocalist with as much to offer as Noah - thank you KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD for bringing NOAH to all the fans! There.

I'm enjoying both my new cd's, each in their own way - both for the music - the songs, themselves - and the vocals, the two different voices with Kenny's guitar binding the whole thing together into one incredible package I'm thrilled to listen to over and over. I'm one happy fan, right here.

[[Thanks, guys!]]


(&&&) Links to ...

G3 Concert Review (Page 1) ...: ... River Queen Showplace 9/28/97...
G3 Review, Page 2 ... : ... Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band...
G3 Review continued, Page 3 ... : ... Steve Vai...
"Questions" (c) by Faye Manning ... : ... (un)poem dedicated to one of the 3 "G's"... ...lyric(?)... ...philosophy...
Front Door ... : ... Contents... ...Dragon... ...What's Cookin'...
Comments on | Merry Axemas | cd ... : ... Kenny and band play "Rudolph"... ...various guitarist perform assorted Christmas tunes... ...project headed by Steve Vai... ...Merry!...
Soapbox Rants .... : ...[[coming soon]]... ...a much-desired, long-anticipated, but (to date) unrealized project...



[[..30 Nov 1997..]]

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