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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Set to Rock Lawrenceburg Event Center with Latest Album Showcase

Photo Cred:Jim Arbogast

Get ready to grove to the soulful sounds of blues-rock icon Kenny Wayne Shepherd, as he prepares to headline an unforgettable concert at the esteemed Lawrenceburg Event Center in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Set to take place on Saturday March 9th, Shepherd’s performance promises to be a mesmerizing showcase of tracks from his latest album Dirt on My Diamonds, Vol 1, as well as other material from throughout his career.

I had the honor and privilege of talking with Shepherd about his latest album and what fans can expect at the upcoming show.

Can you share the inspiration behind your latest album and how it might differ from your previous work?
 All my records are kind of a representation of a snapshot in time. I never wanted my stuff to be predictable, where people kind of know what the record is going to sound like before it comes out. This is no different. You know you are going to get blues, rock, as well as guitar-heavy songs with good vocals, lyrics, melodies etc. Production wise we went a few different directions. We mixed a couple of different genres in this record. You are going to hear some rock, country, a little bit of hip hop influence with some record scratching. It represents different kinds of music I grew up listening to my entire life and in one way or another ended up in my music. This record is a contemporary album. It sounds new with us trying to take the blues, as we always do, as the foundation and push it into new and different directions.

Can you highlight a track or two that you feel captures the essence of this album exceptionally well?
 I would say the title track “Dirt On My Diamonds.” When people hear this song, they are going to go, yes this is a modern Kenny Wayne Shepherd song and album. This has all the elements we would expect from Kenny Wayne Shepherd. This song sounds appropriate for something for 2023-2024. That’s why this track is the title track of the album. “Sweet and Low” is a good example of us taking a couple of different elements and throwing them in there, doing something different, as the blues world goes. Another one would be “You Can’t Love Me”. This song is more on the mainstream side but still has all the elements of what I am all about.

Are there any challenges you faced while working on this album, and how did you overcome them?
 The challenge was the massive interruption called covid. We had written songs before covid for this album and started some of the work of recording the album. Over the two years, we were at home essentially, I didn’t feel the pressing urge to have to write a bunch of material and record a bunch of stuff. I had already had all this stuff just kind of waiting to be released. The biggest hurdle was trying to figure out when and how we could finish this record and when we could release it to the people. It didn’t make any sense to me to try to finish up a record during a time when we couldn’t have people in the same room together. Also putting a record out when you can’t go out and tour and play the music for the people to support the album made zero sense. The biggest challenge was just logistically trying to figure out how to finish this thing up and when we would be able to release it.

Were there any unique production choices or recording techniques that played a significant role in shaping the albums sound?
 My Approach to recording has been the same since day one. In the modern area of making records, a lot of people will email tracks back and forth and lot of the time the musicians won’t even be sitting in the same room together playing music. We always track songs together as a band. My goal is to capture the essence of the live performances as much as possible because that is what we do best. If I am going to represent me and my band, the best way possible is to try and capture the live performance sound. This is the essential component to making my albums sound the way I want them to, as to have all of us in the same room together at the same time.

How do you feel your sound has evolved since your previous album and what new elements can fans expect?
 I love blues. Blues has been my first musical love my whole life. The goal here is to bring other people that weren’t maybe blues fan before to turn them onto blues music. I think one of the ways we have been as successful as we have and have sold millions of records and a have had multiple number one hit songs on radio, is by the recipe I have. I have been starting with the blues and grabbing from other alternate influences I have had throughout my life listening to music and coming up with something that sounds current and different. This then reaches people outside of the blues world and then brings them into the blues world, so that they can find out all the blues musicians that have inspired me to do what I am doing.

Where was the album recorded and what was the thinking behind the album's artwork?
 All the songs were written at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. At that time, we were on the road, we found ourselves out in LA and recorded the album there. Writing the songs down in Muscle Shoals certainly helped influence the sound and the vibe of what we came up with. The album cover has a picture of a project car I have been working on. I have a love for cars, as I have a love for guitars. It’s a 1970 Barracuda convertible. It’s been a bucket list car for me for many years. Once I got it and started building it, it took a lot of time to get done because of covid. I took a photo of the car in its current condition for the album cover because it represents a diamond in the rough. It’s this thing that has all of these flaws. It plays on the lyrics of “Dirt On My Diamonds” and the whole meaning behind the song. For instance, embracing our flaws because that’s what makes us unique. Despite all these flaws, we still see the potential and this car represents this well.

I know this current tour is coming off the heels of the previous tour. How will this tour differ from previous tours and performances and what can fans expect at the show in Lawrenceburg?
 We have a lot of repeat fans that come see us. I sometimes take a survey from the stage and ask how many people have seen us before. When I ask this, about half of the audience cheers. I then ask how many people have seen us for the first time and the other half of the audience cheers. This is remarkable to me because we are still reaching new people 30 years into this career. This is ideal because we are still turning new people onto our music and music that I love. Things on this tour are going to be very different from previous tours. We are going to feature some songs off the new record without a doubt, but we have had a lot of radio hits over the years. We have to balance and include certain songs people want to hear to keep people happy, but then also keep others happy that want to hear the new stuff as well. This will be a different set list than what we have done the past two years for sure.