The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's previous album, Trouble is..., went platinum, topped Billboard's Blues chart for nearly two years, won 1998 Billboard Music Awards for Rock Track of the Year ("Blue On Black") and Blues Album of the Year, and was Grammy nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Live On is another milestone of rockin' blues for this phenomenal musician still in his early twenties. Certified at 500 thousand units by the RIAA. (2/01)
Never mess with a good thing; Kenny Wayne Shepherd certainly hasn't. There's no appreciable stylistic difference between Live On
and its predecessors, Trouble Is...
and Ledbetter Heights
, except that Shepherd's guitar work here sounds more assured. All of the other usual ingredients are present--a full, crunchy guitar sound, a tight rhythm section, mature-sounding vocals from Noah Hunt, and the usual assortment of uptempo rockers and slower, sweeter numbers. If Shepherd seems to be edging closer to the rock side of the blues-rock genre, it's hardly surprising given that's where he's had his greatest success. And if the result doesn't seem to quite transcend genre boundaries, it is, at least, a high-octane, energetic effort. --Genevieve Williams