Keeping two bands fed with fresh meat is enough to reduce any songwriter to a gibbering wreck, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s run with The Rides presumably explains why there hasn’t been a solo release of original material since 2011’s How I Go. It’s a mini-drought that’s ended in style by Lay It On Down, an eighth album where the Stratocaster rampages of old are tempered by thoughtful songcraft.
Shepherd trawled Nashville for his co-writers, and they’ve pushed him. Baby Got Gone and Down For Love are roadhouse-shaking power blues. Nothing But The Night has a smoky riff that isn’t too far from the Stones’ Miss You. Diamonds & Gold is fantastic too, with a horn section, wah solo and sneered vocal. Respect to The Rides, but Shepherd shouldn’t forget the main event. More soon, please.