Kenny Wayne Shepherd has not forgotten about you, Salt Lake City. “We played there a few years back and there was a really bad lightning storm halfway through the show. We had to go off stage and wait for it to pass, but it didn’t pass,” he told Salt Lake magazine. “The fans were really disappointed and we promised them we’d come back and make it up to them and play an extra long set to make up for it. It’s been several years but we’ve just now been asked to come back and I haven’t forgot. So we’re gonna bring them a great show.”
The bluesman will be in town promoting his new record, out in August. He describes the new material as “contemporary and very diverse, pulling from a lot of different styles and genres.” Salt Lake is in for a treat, because Shepherd and crew will be recording the show at Red Butte for use in music videos—and, Shepherd says, depending on how the show goes, possibly his first-ever live DVD. “You’ll definitely hear at least a few of the new songs.”
Shepherd doesn’t typically play unreleased tracks, “In today’s world things get recorded and put up on YouTube, and I’m fine with that,” he explains, “but I’d rather people’s first impression of a song be the recorded version of it. Wee put a lot of effort into making our records and getting them to feel a certain way. First impressions are important. That’s the preferable approach because then they know the full potential of the song.”
And who is he listening to these days? “There’s a lot of great music out there,” he says, “Derek Trucks and his band Tedeschi Trucks. Gov’t Mule. There’s a new guy, Marcus King, he’s great. What a player! He’s got the jam band thing happening, but he’s a really talented guy.”
It makes perfect sense that the Ogden-based roots music prodigy 16-year-old Sammy Brue is opening for Shepherd, who burst onto the music scene when he was about the same age as Brue. Shepherd says he gets final approval over all proposed opening acts, adding, “Anytime we get an opportunity to help a younger person who is trying to make a career for themselves, I lean towards that because of my own background. I love it. It reminds me of when I was a kid.”
Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays Red Butte on Thursday, doors at 6 and the show starts at 7. Tickets are still available here.