"Louisiana's Finest" Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been one of the established ones for several years now. The former blues guitar wonder child was something like the superstar of the blues rock scene in the nineties and noughties. Even when these times are long gone, Forty-Something still has a loyal audience and likes to play live. The new record "The Traveler" is a mature work of the fivefold father, which he presents as headliner and special guest of Beth Hart in Germany from the end of June.
eclipsed: Your way from guitar hero to songwriter, who also gains more and more stature vocally, continues on "The Traveler".
Kenny Wayne Shepherd: I see myself as a guitarist at first, but why should you make new albums with new songs if you haven't written some good new compositions? I have a good band [singer/guitarist Noah Hunt, drummer Chris Layton, bassist Kevin McCormick and keyboarders Jimmy McGorman and Joe Krown; note], and then it's just fun to work with the guys on something new. I'll share the singing with Noah. But other things are very personal. It's about complicated relationships, so it makes sense to sing it yourself.
eclipsed: The young guy with the overflowing solos is largely history, isn't he?
Shepherd: I've been holding back in the studio for several albums. Maybe it was a good thing I was able to leave everything out in my teens and twenties. Now I rarely do that live, and in the studio only when the song just needs it.
eclipsed: How does a live audience influence you?
Shepherd: It makes a difference whether you play as a special guest at a hippie festival like Herzberg or in a dignified environment with seating. Sometimes little things decide. A smile from the audience, a nice concert organizer or an annoying journey can influence your mood. But in the end we are also able to give ourselves joy as a band. And when the spark ignites, much more is possible.