Kenny Wayne Shepherd Launches New Blues Festival Tour; Announces Tour’s Details

Courtesy: Merlis For Hire

Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his fellow musicians will lead the way on a new blues tour.

The group, formally known as the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, will headline the first “Backroads Blues Tour” this summer. The brief tour is scheduled to run Aug. 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21 as part of the band’s ongoing Trouble Is25th Anniversary Tour.

The “Backroads Blues Tour” will stop in Providence, RI Aug. 13, Bethel, NY on Aug. 14, Lewiston, NY on Aug. 16, Springfield, MA on Aug. 18, Roanoke, VA on Aug. 20 and Portsmouth, VA on Aug. 21. Buddy Guy and Grammy Award winner Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will joining the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on the brief tour.

Shepherd shared his thoughts on developing the tour during a recent interview.

“These days nobody mounts a traditional touring blues festival,” he said. “I conceptualized one that will give people a chance to see the best of the best all in one place.  We are extremely excited that  Buddy Guy will be with us for each show. He is, after all, the living king of the blues these days.  Also worthy of great respect is Christone “Kingfish” Ingram who is revitalizing the blues in a potent and powerful way.

Shepherd added, “We’re featuring three successive generations of blues artists, underscoring the resonance of the genre. In the past, I really looked forward to those blues packages both as a fan and as an artist, so I decided to bring the concept back with the Backroads Blues Festival tour. “Those were very special shows and once that ended there was a void.  Our Backwoods Blues Festival Tour is firmly rooted in that same tradition.”  

Guy also shared his enthusiasm for taking part in the tour.

“I’m excited to be part of the first annual Backroads Blues Festival and back out with Kenny Wayne and looking forward to jamming with Kenny and Kingfish,” he said. ““It’s possible we could do an all-acoustic show; we want to be as inclusive as possible.”

Ingram said he is also looking forward to the tour.

“To be back touring again is really great and the opportunity to join Mr. Guy and Mr. Shepherd on stage will be electric,” Ingram said. “These tour dates will be lots of fun.”

The full scheduled for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s upcoming tour dates is noted below.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band on tour (Backwoods Blues Festival Tour dates in blue)

4/7                   Kansas City, MO           Uptown Theater

4/8                   Springfield, MO             Gillioz Theatre

4/9                   New Buffalo, MI            Four Winds Casino

4/13                  Warren, OH                  Robins Theatre

4/14                  Glenside, PA                Keswick, Theater

4/15                  Greensburg, PA           Palace Theatre

4/16                  Carmel, IN                    Palladium

4/26                  Midland, MI                   Center for the Arts

4/27                  Champaign, IL              Virginia Theater

4/28                  Milwaukee, WI              Pabst Theatre

4/29                  Green Bay, WI              Epic Event Center

5/1                    Fargo, ND                     Fargo Theater

5/3                   Sioux Falls, SD             The District

5/5                   Ft. Collins, CO              Lincoln Center

5/6                   Denver, CO                  Paramount Theatre

5/7                   Pikes Peak, CO            Pikes Peak Center

5/19                 Norwalk, CT                  Wallstreet Theatre

5/20                  New Brunswick, NJ       State Theatre

5/22                  Annapolis, MD              Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival

5/28                  Marksville, LA               Paragon Casino

6/11                  Ft. Wayne, IN                Sweetwater *

6/12                  Kettering, OH                Fraze Pavilion *

6/17                  Aurora, IL                     Blues on the Fox

6/24                  Wichita, KS                   Hartman Arena (with ZZ Top)

7/9                   Nescopeck, PA             Briggs Farm Blues Fest

7/15                  Houston, TX                 House of Blues

7/16                  Austin, TX                     ACL Live at Moody Theatre

7/30                  Baton Rouge, LA          River Center

8/13                  Providence, RI              Bold Point Park

8/14                  Bethel, NY                    Bethel Amphitheatre

8/16                  Lewiston, NY                Artpark

8/18                  Springfield, MA             Symphony Hall

8/19                  Wantagh, NY                Jones Beach

8/20                  Roanoke, VA                Elmwood Park

8/21                  Portsmouth, VA             Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion 

8/22                  Ocean City, NJ              Ocean City Music Pier

9/17                 Biloxi, MS                      IP Casino & Resort

9/29                  San Diego, CA              Humphreys by the Bay

9/30                  Saratoga, CA                Mountain Winery

10/2                  Reno, NV                      Battle Axe & Tracks Festival

*KWS birthday celebration with Samantha Fish, the Ally Venable Band and special guest Shemekia Copeland

More information on the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s run on the inaugural “Backwoods Blues Festival Tour” is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Ala.Ni’s Debut LP Proves To Be A Solid Offering On Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums List

Courtesy: Missing Piece Records

2017 has been a good year fans of jazz and the blues.  From more established acts such as Diana Krall, Charlie Watts, Trombone Shorty and Diana Panton to new yet equally promising acts such as Ala.Ni, Nova Collective and others, both genres, which despite their musical differences are still related to one another, have turned out a mass of enjoyable (and in some cases surprisingly) impressive albums.  Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I is one of those surprising releases.  It also tops this critic’s list of the year’s top new Jazz & Blues albums.  Also on this year’s list is Argentine musician Fer Isella’s latest LP The Art of The Possible, new offerings from Putumayo and Music Action Ensemble’s new album Foundation among others.

This year was not an easy one to choose top records.  Charlie Watts, who is known just as much for his jazz work as for his work with his band mates in The Rolling Stones, released quite the impressive new offering this year in Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band. Taj Mahal and Keb Mo partnered for the simply titled TajMo.  Even veteran blues man John Mayall is still going strong.  He released his new album Talk About That this year, too.  Back on the jazz side, Charles Lloyd and his new group of fellow musicians released their own standout offering in the form of Passin’ Thru.  Even here, there is so much to say.  Simply put, coming up with a final list for this year’s new jazz and blues albums was not easy because of the level of talent exhibited across the board.  So no dishonor was meant to any act on this year’s list.   

As is the case with each Phil’s Picks list, this list features the Top 10 Albums on the list and five additional honorable mention titles.  Enough rambling.  Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums.


  1. Ala.Ni — You & I
  2. Jazzmeia Horn — A Social Call
  3. Diana Panton — Solstice/Equinox
  4. Charlie Watts — Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band
  5. Taj Mahal & Keb Mo — TajMo
  6. Charles Lloyd New Quartet — Passin’ Thru
  7. Diana Krall — Turn Up The Quiet
  8. Charnett Moffett — Music From Our Soul
  9. Fer Isella — The Art of the Possible
  10. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — Lay It On Down
  11. Courtney Pine — Black Notes From The Deep
  12. Trombone Shorty — Parking Lot Symphony
  13. Music Action Ensemble — Foundation
  14. John Mayall — Talk About That
  15. Jimmy Greene — FlowersBeautiful Life, Vol. 2

Again, this was NOT an easy list to assemble.  This critic still feels rough coming to terms with the list.  That is because so many great jazz and blues records were released this year including new material from Elvin Bishop and so many others.  Even with that in mind, the list noted here is this critic’s final choice for this year’s top new jazz and blues albums.  Now with this list completed, there is still plenty more to go including the year’s top new Rap/Hip-hop albums, reggae albums, rock and hard rock albums as well as the year’s top albums overall.  There are also a bunch of categories for DVDs and Blu-rays including box sets for families and for older audiences, new live DVDs and Blu-rays, etc.  So stay tuned!

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