Kenny Wayne Shepherd : Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1 – Review23rd November 2023
There are many talented musicians out there who have cut their teeth by doing the road miles, setting up the gear up and down continents and releasing some fine records. This latest release on the Mascot Records Label from one of these talented musicians, the self-taught Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the expertly titled ‘ Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1’, is one of these mighty fine records.
He’s a guy that oozes class on everything he’s done before, now well into an almost 30-year career . This latest 8 track album hits you with many styles of music that allows Kenny to express his musical length and breadth. You get some jazz funk, Americana dive bar grooves, Mississippi blues and some mean guitar riffs thrown in just to mix it up a bit.
The opening title track ‘Dirt On My Diamonds’ launches with big horn sounds sitting alongside Kenny’s awesome guitar playing. It gets you gently bopping your head to a steady beat, it’s got a bit of country vibe essence to it, but don’t get misled this shows you some mean blues/rock guitar playing.
‘Sweet & Low’ has a moody short intro, again courtesy of the horns, then right into a swaggering blues/funk vibe, love the keyboard sound on this one. Talks a lot about the glitz of the top brands/addresses, but it’s the basics in life that give you the best happiness. Awesome solo from Kenny.
The next up is ‘Best Of Times’ has a 70’s guitar wah wah tone to it, covers off I guess making the music talk in the lyrics. Working hard to make a living through the bars and venues of Mississippi
Love the next one, ’You Can’t Love Me’ has a classy upbeat feel to it. Has the best vocals from Kenny, Hammond keys backing up again some quality guitar work.This is the 11th studio album from Kenny Wayne Shepherd, from the first album ‘Ledbetter Heights’ that was released in 1995, through my favourite release ’10 Days Out..’ from 2007, he’s shown that he’s not frightened to put different styles of music together in his records. This latest ‘Dirt On My Diamonds’ has probably the largest crossover of musical styles from him and shows how multi-dynamic he can be. He’s ably supported on the album by Drums- Chris Layton, Bass- Kevin McCormick, Saxophone- Joe Sublett, Trumpet- Mark Pender, Vocals/backing Vocals- Noah Hunt, Corrina Gill, Marshall Altman (who also co-produces with Kenny), Keyboards- Jim McGorman, Joe Krown, Tommy King and Zac Rae
‘Man On A Mission’ is my favourite track, lets Kenny keep his blues guitar perfection sitting just under the band, then unleashes it about two-thirds in and delivers a great solo.
Putting in a cover is no bad thing and he shares with us the Taupin/John classic track ‘Saturday Nights Alright For Fighting’. He does it justice, puts his own mark on it, clearest/cleanest guitar sounds on the album, delivers it well and sits perfectly on the album.
A couple of tracks to go, ’Bad Intentions’ is number 7, and is the hardest driving track. You think about all the guitar players of Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s generation, for me, he’s up there with the same class and quality as Bonamassa, just listen to this and the final track and I hope you’ll get it.
‘Ease My Mind’ brings us to a close, it’s pure blues, love the feel Kenny’s playing brings to the party here ‘…make my guitar sing….’, yep you certainly did on this one, Kenny.
If you’re new to Kenny Wayne Shepherd then check this great 8-track album out, then go and check his back catalogue, there’s quality for you to pick up right through his career.
1. Dirt On My Diamonds
2. Sweet & Low
3. Best Of Times
4. You Can’t Love Me
5. Man On A Mission
6. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
7. Bad Intentions
8. Ease On My Mind
Release Date: 17th November 2023