Retro review: Trouble Is... / Kenny Wayne Shepherd

One incredibly cool thing about my job at Springfield Missouri's Gillioz Theatre: I get to be a part of a variety of concerts, and am exposed to artists who would never be on my radar otherwise.

The most recent example of this is the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. KWS and the guys played the Gillioz on June 30th. I had heard of Shepherd, but didn't know any of his music. Then Mike heard "Blue on Black" on the radio, and we had an, "Ohhhh, that guy!" moment.

A photo posted by Carrie Winchel (@mrswrocks) on

"Blue on Black" is the only song I was able to catch during the show. I have since become pretty obsessed with it. I don't have a poetic explanation to justify why I am wildly, passionately (inappropriately?) in love with this song. I just am:

So, of course, if I'm going to check out some of Shepherd's music, I'll hit up the album featuring my new favorite song, 1997's Trouble Is.... This was Kenny Wayne Shepherd's second album, and his first with vocalist Noah Hunt. This guy can sing. There's a warmth to Hunt's voice that compliments Shepherd's guitar playing just right.

Complete with necessary '90's dude hairstyle: the middle part

Trouble Is... is an upbeat album, for the most part. I love that. The opener, "Slow Ride" is a nice blues rocker, with Hunt's vocal melody matching the guitar. "True Lies" keeps the attitude going. Then I listen to "Blue on Black" at least twice on every spin.

There isn't a song I would suggest skipping on Trouble Is... Highlights include: "(Long) Gone," "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway," check out the guitar on "Nothing to do with Love," and groove along with the instrumental title track closing out the album. 

Blues is a genre I've always respected, but haven't spent much time exploring. Kenny Wayne Shepherd's music is the perfect blend of blues, pop, and rock. Shepherd's guitar playing is expressive and interesting, and Noah Hunt is easily becoming one of my favorite vocalists.

I'm looking forward to digging into more of KWSB's music, and discovering other artists who are doing the same thing.