RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Lay It On Down
Concord Records


Rating B+

After two decades in the music industry Kenny Wayne Shepherd has become legendary in blues/rock circles. The gifted guitarist first came to prominence as a teenage musical prodigy. In 2017, however, a grownup Shepherd has taken his Stevie Ray Vaughan approach and expounded on it. Having a member of Stevie’s band Double Trouble in drummer Chris “Whipper” Layton onboard certainly helps that process.

Lay it on Down is Shepherd’s eighth long player.  Shepherd takes the mike for several songs on the album.  His vocals have come a long way from the first time he laid them down on the 2004 release The Place You’re In.  This album features more songs with Kenny singing lead since that album! But fret not fans of Noah Hunt…his soul tinged timbre is still a vital part of the KWSB machine.

“Baby Got Gone” and “Diamonds & Gold” are the one-two punch that kicks the disc off – both featuring Shepherd’s lead vocal. We hear Hunt for the first time on “Nothing but the Night” a mid-tempo rocker with a chorus that could become a crowd favorite at future concerts. Shepherd’s lead vocal returns for two more tracks: a shuffle called “Down for Love” and the title track. The latter is an acoustic ballad that features the soulful harmonies by both Shepherd and Hunt.  This one could be a crossover hit for a daring radio programmer to consider.

It’s exciting to see Shepherd add vocals to his playing like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix did during their career.  Yet, the strength still comes from Noah Hunt in the vocal department.  Songs like “She’s $$$” and the note perfect “Louisiana Rain” show that Hunt has lost nothing in his twenty year tenure with the KWSB. In fact I compare these two with another Stratocaster player named Robin Trower and his blue-eyed soul vocalist, the late Jimmy Dewar. 

Lay it on Down is a straight forward blues and rock album. There are no surprises for long time fans. This one is just a group of folks playing music for music’s sake. This genuine approach means Kenny’s fans, both young and old, will appreciate it more with each listen.


1. Baby Got Gone
2. Diamonds & Gold
3. Nothing But The Night
4. Lay It On Down
5. She’s $$$
6. Hard Lesson Learned
7. Down For Love
8. How Low Can You Go
9. Louisiana Rain
10. Ride Of Your Life

By Jay Horrocks Jr.