Words & Photos by Marco Denzer
The beautifully restored 1930s era Paramount Hudson Valley Theater in Peekskill, NY, with its gilded columns, ornate architectural details, colorfully painted ceiling and comfortable red chairs, welcomed the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on Friday for an evening of blues excellence.
The quintet, featuring vocalist / rhythm guitarist Noah Hunt, bassist Kevin McCormick, keyboardist Joe Krown, renowned drummer Chris Layton formerly of the band “Double Trouble”, and the incomparable Kenny Wayne Shepherd on guitar and vocals kicked things off at 8PM on the dot.
Wearing a black Fedora and neatly dressed in Friday casual attire with a beautiful Gibson Les Paul strapped around his neck, Kenny and his band cut right into “Woman Like You” at the start of their set and from there proceeded to delight the audience with a two-hour concert that was nothing short of amazing. The rock steady rhythm section that Chris and Kevin laid down coupled with Joe’s great piano and Hammond B-3 organ work cemented the foundation for Kenny’s masterful guitar playing. Their sound was clear and very well balanced.
The evening’s setlist consisted of fourteen songs in total, including titles like “Long Time Running”, “Diamonds & Gold”, “Deja Voodoo” and “Born With a Broken Heart”, a song written in tribute to the many bluesmen that have paved the road and influenced generations of musicians such as Kenny.
While fourteen songs may not seem like enough music to last two hours, it’s worth noting that many of the tunes were relatively lengthy as a result of the guitar shredding segments of some of them. They easily lasted approximately six to eight minutes instead of the average three to four minutes per tune.
This aspect of the show that was an absolute treat for those in attendance and guitar music fans in particular, because this is where Kenny’s virtuosity shines brightest. His ability to play with an incredibly deep, heartfelt and impeccable form and style is awe-inspiring and mesmerizing. Whether he’s simply strumming along on rhythm, holding a very long sustain at just the right note a la Stevie Ray Vaughn, or ripping through a fiery guitar lead full of passion and rage, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a consummate musician and he’s extremely fun to see live in concert. The band will continue their tour through early next year, and catching one of their shows is highly recommended.
Woman Like You
Long Time Running
I Want You
Diamonds & Gold
Born With A Broken Heart
While We Cry
Down For Love
Turn to Stone
Blue on Black
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