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.