Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s new album, “Goin’ home” is an album of cover versions. That’s something that always divides opinion – some critics will say it’s lazy and a way to release an album without going to the trouble of writing new material, while others will argue that albums like this are a way for fans to discover new artists. When done well then I’d go with the latter argument, and this album is definitely a good one. When a blues musician like Kenny Wayne Shepherd chooses to cover a range of artists that have been big influences on him then I think it’s a great way to show fans who those artists are and to get fans to listen to their songs.
There’s an impressive array of artists covered – Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lee Dorsey and more. Add to that the guest musicians – Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Robert Randolph, Kim Wilson and more, and you’ve got the makings of a great album.
So we’ve got great songs by great artists and a strong lineup performing them. As you listen to the album, it’s noticeable that the songs cover a wide range of styles of Blues music, so putting them together like this is something that could easily not work right, but happily it’s been done so well that the songs all work together, with enough commonality to tie them together and make them feel like a proper album rather than just a collection of songs picked at random.
This album is absolutely great. I’ve been listening to it a lot since it arrived for review a week ago, and I’m still loving every second of it. There’s a huge amount of variety in styles but one thing that you’ll find in all the songs is great vocals and some beautiful guitar playing. There are some lovely guitar solos. Use of the harmonica or piano in some songs adds to the different feel that each song has.
Normally I’d pick out a track or two that particularly impress me but I really can’t do that here, not because none impress, but the opposite – the songs are all so good. I can’t pick a favourite as every time I listen to the album I keep changing my mind. Sometimes it’s a faster song, sometimes a slower one, sometimes a harmonica driven song, sometimes a piano based one – there’s just so much good stuff here that you’re spoilt for choice, but that’s never a bad thing.
This is an excellent Blues album that I recommend highly – check it out and you won’t be disappointed.
“Goin’ home” is out now via Provogue records.
1. Palace of the king
2. Everythings gonna be alright
3. I love the life I live
4. The house is a rockin’
5. Breaking up somebodys home
6. You done lost your good thing
7. You can’t judge a book by its cover
8. Boogie man
9. Looking back
10. Cut you loose
11. Born under a bad sign
12. Still a fool
13. Three hundred pounds of joy (Bonus track)
14. Can you hear me (Bonus track)
15. Trick bag (Bonus track)