Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his group exploded onto the scene in the mid-90’s and garnered huge amounts of radio airplay on commercial radio, which historically has not been a solid home for blues and blues-rock music.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kenny Wayne began playing at the age of seven, figuring out Muddy Waters licks from his father’s album collection. With a career that officially began at age 16, Kenny Wayne has a storied decade in music’s big-leagues.
Kenny Wayne’s 1995 debut album entitled Ledbetter Heights has sold over a million copies, making it a platinum record. Most blues records never achieve that level of commercial success, much less ones released by artists who are still in their teens. Ledbetter Heights is impressive for its range of styles such as acoustic blues, rockin’ blues, Texas blues, and Louisiana blues.
Kenny Wayne took six singles into the Top 10, holding the record for the longest running album on the Billboard Blues Charts. In 1998, Trouble Is also sold over one million copies and earned Kenny Wayne a Grammy nomination. He also has received two Billboard Music Awards, two Orville Gibson Awards and has sold millions of CDs.
In 1999, Live On followed, earning Kenny Wayne another Grammy nomination. In 2004, The Place You’re In was the first album that featured Kenny Wayne doing the majority of the lead vocals. “I cut my teeth as a blues artist,” says Kenny Wayne. “My first three records mixed my styles, and the last one, The Place You’re In, was a pretty heavy dose of rock and roll. So this became a perfect time to present a solid dose of the blues.”
Kenny Wayne’s most recent collaboration is entitled, TEN DAYS OUT: Blues From The Backroads. Kenny Wayne embarked on a ten-day trek into the heart of America. Traveling highways and byways with a roving documentary film crew, Kenny Wayne visited blues veterans in their homes, creating an intimate and intense blues film. The result is a film allowing music lovers to join in the exploration and witness the artistic creation of both the film, and the accompanying live CD.
The TEN DAYS OUT: Blues From The Backroads CD features a stellar lineup of some of the most renowned blues artists such as B. B. King, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Hubert Sumlin.
The years of intense study polished his musical instincts. “That’s basically what separates the men from the boys in music. Every one of these guys has a different style. That’s where doing your homework is important. I studied as a young man every style of blues that exists.” As a result, Kenny Wayne ably walks the line between bandleader and accompanist. He has proven himself a true devotee to the music as both a star soloist and a star accompanist.
In 2006, Kenny Wayne married Mel Gibson’s only daughter, Hannah Gibson. Their first child was born in 2007.
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