Kenny Wayne Shepherd: How I Go

(Just like) starting over.

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Bursting onto the scene as a teenage blues prodigy in the mid-90s, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has had to prove that he has the substance to back up the style.

Those dues were paid in full on his last two albums, where he collaborated with a welter of blues veterans. In many ways How I Go feels like the follow-up to his Ledbetter Heights debut. He kick-starts with the ZZ Top-style boogie Never Looking Back, all guns blazing and featuring what sounds like The Who’s synths from Won’t Get Fooled Again churning in the mix.

The riff-heavy, effects-laden Come On Over and his grungey take on John Lennon’s Yer Blues confirm that there are no blinkers on Shepherd’s blues and there’s an edginess to his playing, whether he’s covering Albert King’s Oh Pretty Woman or stirring ballads like Show Me The Way Back Home. And then there’s his introspective side, itching to get out on Cold and Who’s Gonna Catch You Now.

Once his voice catches up with his playing – and the gap is closing – Shepherd will be the real deal.

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.