Kenny Wayne Shepherd's critically acclaimed CD/DVD Ten Days Out: Blues From The Backroads (Warner Bros./Reprise Records) has been nominated for two 2008 Grammy Awards—"Best Traditional Blues Album" and "Best Long Form Music Video." The awards will be telecast from Los Angeles February 10 on CBS. In addition to the Recording Academy's recognition, The Blues Foundation will honor Shepherd's album and accompanying documentary with the prestigious "Keeping the Blues Alive" award for Film, Television or Video. The ceremony will take place on February 2, 2008 in Memphis, TN. The documentary is also nominated for "Best DVD" at the 2008 Blues Music Awards, which will take place in Mississippi on May 8. Shepherd will also be playing at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25th at Harry O's in Park City, Utah with special guest, Hubert Sumlin.
The #1 Album on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart for 2007, Ten Days Out: Blues From The Backroads chronicles the journey of renowned blues and rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd—along with a film crew, a portable recording studio and producer Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads)—through a ten-day journey into the heart of the American South. USA Today heralds the resulting documentary and accompanying live CD as "…a blues fan's dream…," while Billboard Magazine writes, "Kenny Wayne Shepherd passed for an old blues soul when he was just 18 and released his first album…So it shouldn't be surprising that, at 29, he can hang convincingly with some real old blues souls…"
Directed by Noble Jones, Ten Days Out captures the stories of some of America's best-known blues artists including B.B. King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Honeyboy Edwards as well as some of the genre's lesser-known talents. Shepherd is joined by longtime collaborator and vocalist Noah Hunt as well as friends Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon who make up the esteemed rhythm section Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughan's longtime band). Shepherd and his team immersed themselves in the environments, which shaped these essential blues musicians, talking, recording and performing in kitchens, living rooms, front porches and local clubs. The goal was to get to know these amazing artists and to produce intimate recordings in intimate settings maintaining authenticity—no overdubs were used. "What happened is what you hear," says Shepherd, "We kept it as real as possible." This historic trip culminated in a once in a life time performance at a church in Salina, Kansas where Shepherd and friends were joined by the remaining members of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters' bands at the aptly named Church at Blue Heaven Studios.
"A project like this, with all these great people, it's not about me—it's about the music," says Shepherd, "and about the people who inspired me to pick up an instrument and make music. You've got to listen to what they sing or write about, and you'll hear the people behind the music, the players behind the blues. And that's what the blues is about—the lives these people led, and that we are living today."
Since the making of Ten Days Out: Blues From The Backroads six of the featured musicians—Etta Baker, Henry Townsend, Wild Child Butler, Neal Pattman, Cootie Stark, and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown—have passed away, sealing the documentary's fate as an important historical work in the tradition of Alan Lomax's The Land Where Blues Began. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern musical traditions gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs.