"There's no denying the impact when Shepherd does let the blues off the leash": Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Dirt On My Diamonds Vol 1

Kenny Wayne Shepherd keeps the blues under control on 11th album Dirt on My Diamonds Vol. 1

Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Dirt On My Diamonds Vol 1 album art
(Image: © Provogue)

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These days Kenny Wayne Shepherd tends to keep his blues lurking low in the mix, waiting for the chance to break out from under the bright, sassy classic rock riffs and melodies he’s been perfecting over the past couple of albums. 

But there’s no denying the impact when Shepherd does let the blues off the leash, like the stunning solo that rips through the middle of this album’s Sweet And Low or the brief bursts that punctuate Bad Intentions. The final track, the slow, repetitive Ease My Mind, is all blues, reaping the benefits of the smart production. 

However, there are moments when the album sounds a little too clean, when even the power chords gleam. 

The contrast when Shepherd drops his guard for a raucous cover of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting and lets fly with a blistering solo at the end is vivid.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.