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Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Ten Days Out (Blues From The Backroads)
Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
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  This is one impressive DVD. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the teenage phenomenon of the 90s, is now a veteran of the blues and still truckin' right along. He finds himself on a 10 day road trip with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) and the Double Trouble rhythm section of Chris Layton (drums) and Tommy Shannon (bass) filming a documentary in the south. The group visits some blues legends along the way down the long road they travel. Featured are unencumbered performances with influential figures such as Etta Baker, Neal Pattman, Cootie Stark, Gatemouth Brown, and of course the man himself B.B. King. 

Engrossed by this footage from start to finish, I found myself spellbound by its simplicity and gut level honesty. But that is the blues and the people that make the music, and that is the reason why I continue to enjoy it every time I hear it or watch a documentary that tells the true story. There are no mysteries here; it is like a down-home cooked meal, the real deal. This DVD was like watching history in the making right before my eyes. It gave me further evidence of how much I really do love the blues and all the great personalities that shaped the genre into what it is today. The young bloods like Kenny Wayne Shepherd will carry the torch for the blues once players like B.B. and the like are long gone from this earth. Five of the album's participants (Neal Pattman, Cootie Stark, Gatemouth Brown, Wild Child Butler, and Etta Baker) passed away before the album and documentary film were finally completed and released this year. This is a shame but I also feel a sense of gratification and joy for all of them in the fact that they had the opportunity to participate in this landmark event and to find some vindication for their lives and art in the process before they passed on.

Kenny Wayne is not the star in this footage and there is no flash or loud monster solos. Its all very laid back and understated compared to sitting and listening to a studio album by Shepherd or Stevie Ray for instance. If you stop and think about what went on here, and the reason it all transpired to begin with…this is why these cats played the blues in the first place. It is because of people like King, Pinetop Perkins, and all the rest that the blues matured into what it is today. Kenny Wayne was taken aback by this experience and you can see the love and respect he has for the music and the people he plays with, on stage, in their living rooms, backyards, wherever they end up, it all sounds the same-tight, original, and pure unbridled blues from the first to the last note played.

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this experience watching this DVD. Kenny definitely was not a fish out of the water and the old timers seemed to embrace him and the reason he was doing the documentary. Having Layton and Shannon on hand made the transition much easier-as Kenny said during one of his conversations with Jerry Harrison, that rhythm section knows the blues, they can play anything.

If you love the blues this is a necessary item for your music collection that you will cherish for years to come.




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