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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Biography


Home > Music > S > Shepherd, Kenny Wayne > Biography


Birth Name: Kenny Wayne Brobst
Born: 1977/06/12
Birth Place: Shreveport, Louisiana
Years Active: 1990-present
Genres: Blues, Blues-rock


Kenny Wayne Shepherd (born Kenny Wayne Brobst, June 12, 1977, Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Shepherd is “completely self taught,” 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.”

Shepherd began playing guitar in earnest at age seven, about six months after meeting 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, learning Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Albert Lee licks from his father's vast music collection.

At the age of 13, Shepherd was invited on stage by the New Orleans bluesman Bryan Lee. After proving his abilities, he decided on music as a career. Demo tapes were made and a two-camera 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.

His debut album, “Ledbetter Heights,” was released in 1995 when Shepard was 17 years old. The platinum certified album spent 20 weeks topping Billboard's Blues Albums chart. The single, “Déjà Voodoo” reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

His next album, 1997’s “Trouble Is...” would again certify platinum and reach the #1 spot on the Billboard Blues chart. Featuring the #1 Mainstream Rock Tracks hit “Blue on Black” the album holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues chart. The album also spawned three further hits including “Slow Ride,” “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway” and “Everything is Broken,” a Bob Dylan cover. It also featured a cover of “I Don't Live Today” by Jimi Hendrix.

Vocalist Noah Hunt, who appeared on “Trouble Is …” was again featured on 1999’s “Live On.” The album again reached #1 on the Blues chart. His streak of #1 Billboard Blues albums continued with the 2004 release “The Place You’re In” and “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads” released in 2007.

The DVD–CD project “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads” documented Shepherd as he traveled the country to jam with and interview the last of the authentic blues musicians. Shepherd, with members of the Double Trouble Band, played with a host of blues greats including Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Bryan Lee, Buddy Flett ,B. B. King, blues harp master Jerry “Boogie” McCain, Cootie Stark, Neil 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.

In 2011 he released his sixth consecutive #1 Billboard Blues studio album, “How I Go,” which featured the single, “Never Lookin' Back.”

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.