Kenny Wayne Shepherd

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Kenny wayne shepherd jf.jpg
Kenny Wayne Shepherd live at the New Orleans Jazz Festival on May 1, 2010.
Background information
Birth name Kenny Wayne Brobst
Born (1977-06-12) June 12, 1977 (age 39)[1]
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Blues rock, blues, rock, roots rock, hard rock
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1990-present
Labels Roadrunner Records
Associated acts Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
The Rides
Website Official Website
Notable instruments
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature Series Stratocaster

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (born Kenny Wayne Brobst; June 12, 1977) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He has released several studio albums and experienced significant commercial success both as a blues artist and a young musician.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Stephen Stills and Shepherd (front) and Barry Goldberg, not visible, performing as The Rides in Boston, Sept. 7, 2013.

Shepherd was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.[3] He graduated Caddo Magnet High School in Shreveport. The guitarist is "completely self-taught", [4] and does not read music. Growing up, Shepherd's father (Ken Shepherd) was a local radio personality and some-time concert promoter, and had a vast collection of music. Shepherd got his first "guitar" at the age of three or four, when his grandmother purchased a series of several plastic guitars for him with S&H Green Stamps, which Shepherd has said he would "go through like candy".[4]

Shepherd stated in a 2011 interview that he began playing guitar in earnest at age seven, about six months after meeting and being "pretty mesmerized"[4] by Stevie Ray Vaughan, in June 1984, at one of his father's promoted concerts. His self-taught method employed a process of learning one note at a time, playing and rewinding cassette tapes, using "a cheap Yamaha wanna-be Stratocaster...made out of plywood, basically",[4] and learning to play by following along with material from his father's record collection.[4]

At the age of 13, Shepherd was invited to play guitar onstage by blues musician Bryan Lee. He subsequently made demo tapes, and a video was shot at Shepherd's first performance at the Red River Revel Arts Festival in Shreveport. It was this video performance that impressed Giant Records chief Irving Azoff enough to sign Shepherd to a multiple album record deal.

From 1995 on, Shepherd took seven singles into the Top 10, and holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts with Trouble Is.... In 1996, Shepherd began a longtime collaboration with vocalist Noah Hunt, who provided the vocals for Shepherd's signature song, "Blue on Black". Shepherd has been nominated for five Grammy Awards, and has received two Billboard Music Awards, two Blues Music Awards and two Orville H. Gibson Awards.

In September 2008, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. released the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature Series Stratocaster, designed exclusively by Shepherd. In 2007, he released a critically acclaimed and two time Grammy nominated DVD–CD project, 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads. This documents Shepherd as he travels the country to jam with and interview the last of the authentic blues musicians. As they tour the backroads, Shepherd, with members of the Double Trouble Band, play with a host of blues greats including Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Bryan Lee, Buddy Flett (with whom he jams at Lead Belly's grave), B. B. King, blues harp master Jerry "Boogie" McCain, Cootie Stark, Neal Pattman, John Dee Holeman, Etta Baker, Henry Townsend with Honeyboy Edwards, and a concert session with the surviving members of Muddy Waters' and Howlin' Wolf's bands, including luminaries such as Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Pinetop Perkins. In 2010 Shepherd was nominated for a Grammy for Live In Chicago which featured performances with Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Buddy Flett and Bryan Lee. In 2011, Shepherd released his seventh CD entitled How I Go on Roadrunner Records. In 2015, he joined the judging panel for The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards.

In 2013, Shepherd, along with Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash) and Barry Goldberg (Electric Flag), formed The Rides. The three wrote, recorded and released a CD entitled “Can’t Get Enough" on August 27, 2013. Stills refers to the band as “the blues band of my dreams”. The band toured the US in 2013 supporting their debut record, culminating with an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The three reunited in 2015, writing and recording a new record which will be released in the Spring of 2016.

Personal life[edit]

Shepherd married actor Mel Gibson's daughter, Hannah, on September 16, 2006.[5] The couple has three children, a daughter born on October 10, 2007, and sons born in 2009 and on March 12, 2011.[6] They live in Bell Canyon, California.[7]

Live performances[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications

1995 Ledbetter Heights
  • Released: September 19, 1995
  • Label: Giant
  • Formats: CD, CS
108 1 25
1997 Trouble Is...
  • Released: October 7, 1997
  • Label: Revolution
  • Formats: CD, CS
74 1 36
1999 Live On
  • Released: October 12, 1999
  • Label: Giant
  • Formats: CD, CS
52 1
2004 The Place You're In
  • Released: October 5, 2004
  • Label: Reprise
  • Formats: CD, DI
2007 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads
  • Released: January 23, 2007
  • Label: Reprise
  • Formats: CD, DI
164 1 52
2011 How I Go
  • Released: August 2, 2011
  • Label: Roadrunner
  • Formats: CD, DI, LP
52 1 86 92
2014 Goin' Home
  • Released: May 19, 2014
  • Label: Concord
  • Formats: CD, DI, LP
25 1 77 82
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Live albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions


2010 Live! in Chicago
  • Released: September 27, 2010
  • Label: Roadrunner
  • Formats: CD
114 1 42


Year EP details
2004 King's Highway EP
  • Released: October 7, 1997
  • Label: Reprise
  • Formats: CD, CS, DI


Year Song Peak chart positions Album
Main. Rock

1995 "Déjà Voodoo" 9 Ledbetter Heights
1996 "Born with a Broken Heart" 15
"Aberdeen" 23
1997 "Slow Ride" 3 Trouble Is...
1998 "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway" 3
"Blue on Black" 78 1
"Everything Is Broken" 10
1999 "In 2 Deep" 5 Live On
2000 "Was" 9
"Last Goodbye" 14
2004 "Alive" 13 The Place You're In
2005 "The Place You're In" 30
2011 "Never Lookin' Back" 36 How I Go
"Come on Over"
2014 "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover" Goin' Home
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.


  1. ^ "Today in history". ABC News. Associated Press. June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. Biography for Kenny Wayne Shepherd at AllMusic
  3. ^ Biography for Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved January 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Harcourt, Nic (host) (February 12, 2011) [Recorded January 15, 2011]. "Kenny Wayne Shepherd". Guitar Center Sessions. DirecTV. 
  5. ^ "Mel Walks His Daughter Down the Aisle". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  6. ^ "Mel Gibson Welcomes Third Grandchild". 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  7. ^ Kenny Wayne Shepherd's House in Bell Canyon, CA (Google Maps) - Virtual Globetrotting Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Kenny Wayne Shepherd awards at AllMusic Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  9. ^ "Discography Kenny Wayne Shepherd". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  10. ^ "Discography Kenny Wayne Shepherd". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  11. ^ "Discography Kenny Wayne Shepherd". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  12. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK – Update 13.08.2011". Zobbel. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  13. ^ a b c d "RIAA certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 

External links[edit]