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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Illumination Road Debuts New Single, ‘It Looks Like They Got To You (Too)’

Independent rock band Illumination Road debuted its new single and music video this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘It Looks Like They Got To You (Too)‘ Tuesday. It is available to stream and download through all digital platforms.

The song’s premiere comes more than two months after the premiere of the band’s then latest single, ‘the Modern World’ and its video. That song is available to stream and download through SpotifyiTunes, and Apple Music.

Courtesy: Earshot Media

The musical arrangement featured in ‘It Looks Like They Got To You (Too)’ changes things up from the band’s previous single. Instead of the classic rock approach and sound featured in that song, this song is more of a blues rock style composition. It is easily comparable in its sound and style to works from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

The lyrical theme featured alongside that blues-rock musical arrangement is left up to interpretation. Bassist Chad Shlosser discussed the song’s lyrical theme in a somewhat cryptic fashion during an interview with Elmore Magazine, stating, “This cut, ‘It Looks Like They Got To You (Too),’ is the smashing yet groovy second single. Following the story line from the first single, where we’re introduced to ‘The Modern World,’ we’re now feeling the effects of this new way of life and how it’s cutting to the core of all of us.”

More information on Illumination Road’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:



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Jazz At Lincoln Center’s ‘Jazz And Art’ Paints The Year’s Best New Musical Picture Of 2019’s New Jazz, Blues Albums

Courtesy: Blue Engine Records

The worlds of jazz and blues are intertwined with one another and have been for ages.  From their earliest days to the modern era, a close listen to records from the two genres exhibits this connection.  Keeping that in mind, it makes sense to combine the two genres when considering year-ender lists.That is just what this critic has done for years and is doing again this year.  This year’s list of top new jazz and blues albums touches on lots of different artists and groups.  The Jazz AT Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis has released a handful of noteworthy albums this year, as has World Music Network.  Blues artists Keb Mo and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are also featured on this year’s list with their new albums.  The same can be said of Diana Panton, as her new album is featured in this list, too.

As with every list this critic produces, it features the year’s top 10 new albums and five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Jazz & Blues albums.



  1. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz & Art
  2. Joel Ross — Kingmaker
  3. Diana Panton — Cheerful Little Earful
  4. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To Blues Divas
  5. Mark Clive De-Lowe — Heritage
  6. Mark Clive De-Lowe — Heritage II
  7. Keb Mo — Oklahoma
  8. Pancho Sanchez — Trane’s Delight
  9. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Signs
  10. Miles Davis — Rubberband
  11. John Coletrane — Coletrane ’58The Prestige Sessions
  12. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Big Band Holidays II
  13. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz For Kids
  14. World Music Network — The Rough Guide To World Jazz
  15. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — The Traveler


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Rock Super Group’s 2014 Debut Getting Proper U.S. Release This Spring

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

It may only be January. But rock collective The Bullhounds is officially giving American audiences good reason to think warm. That is because the band will release its debut album Protector this spring via MVD Entertainment Group.

The members of The Bullhounds are no strangers to the music business. Guitarist Peter Stroud has performed and recorded with both Sheryl Crow and Pete Droge & The Sinners. Drummer Mauro Magellan and guitarist Rick Richards both spent time with the famed Southern rock band Georgia Satellites. Richards also spent time alongside Guns N’ Roses founding member Izzy Stradlin in his own solo career. Magellan also joined bassist Keith Christopher as part of Keith & The Satellites. Singer Erling Daell rounds out the band’s lineup.

Protector was originally released overseas in May 2014. The album’s U.S. release can be pre-ordered online from MVD Entertainment Group’s website at And while audiences wait for the album’s U.S. release date, they can check out the video for the album’s lead single ‘Make It’ online now via YouTube at to get a feel for what the band has to offer audiences. More information on The Bullhounds is available online along with any tour schedule updates at:



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ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:




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PBS Celebrates Four Decades Of ACL With Special Anniversary Concert

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Austin City Limits hit a major milestone this year.  The network’s hit music series celebrated forty-years with PBS.  In celebration, PBS is releasing a special DVD celebrating the long-running series next month.

PBS will release Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years on Tuesday, December 2nd.  Austin City Limits’ four-decade long run on PBS is especially important to both the network and to music lovers alike.  In the four decades that Austin City Limits has been on PBS, it remains the only TV series to be awarded the Medal of Arts.  Also in that time, MTV’s Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers have gone by the wayside.  And even CMT’s on Crossroads series has failed to maintain the stability and reputation of ACL.  Throughout its now forty-years on television, ACL has seen and continues to see some of the industry’s biggest names take to the stage.  Those names include the likes of Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and so many others.  Many more names are sure to be added to that list as there appears to be no end to this landmark series.

In honor of the series’ fortieth anniversary, many of those same big names have come on board for this celebratory concert.  Bonnie Raitt joins Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes for a performance of the Sam & Dave classic ‘Wrap It Up’ to open the concert.  Howard returns later in the show alongside Gary Clark, Jr. for a special performance.  Willie Nelson, the red-headed stranger himself, joins Emmylou Harris for a performance of Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’  Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow team up for a performance of Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.  Foo Fighters even make an appearance to perform Roky Erickson’s ‘Two-Headed Dog.’  That performance was recorded at the original ACL television studio especially for the concert.  Actor Jeff Bridges hosts the night’s festivities.  He also performs a special rendition of ‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ from the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton.  Bruton was a big influence on Bridges’ Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Crazy Heart.’  As if all of this isn’t enough, Joe Ely and fellow local legend Robert Earl Keen make an appearance.  Blues legend Buddy Guy rounds out the show with a performance of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’  And finishing off the whole thing is a star-studded tribute to Buddy Holly and the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan.  A who’s who of guitarists performs Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ and SRV’s ‘Texas Flood’ for the night’s biggest finish.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped live at the ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the show’s original studio, Austin PBS affiliate KLRU’s Studio 6A.  The complete list of performers is: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years will be available Tuesday, December 2nd.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at  More information on Austin City Limits is available online at




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Blues Virtuoso’s Debut EP One Of The Year’s Best

Courtesy:  Swing House Quality Recordings

Courtesy: Swing House Quality Recordings

Jared James Nichols’ new EP, Old Glory and the Wild Revival, is one of the best new EPS of the year, and one of the best rock records of the year overall.  It only boasts five tracks.  But if those five tracks are any hint, then the future is very bright for this young guitar virtuoso.  The EP’s opener, ‘Blackfoot’, is a powerful first impression for Nichols and his band mates.  This blues-rock infused song will have any listener moving right from the first notes.  Nichols himself sounds almost like fellow blues guitarist Johnny Lang in his vocal style on this song.  The solos are blistering to say the least.  And considering that Nichols is only in his twenties and is able to smoke the strings in such impressive fashion is mind blowing.  Together with his band mates, Nichols will have audiences instantly comparing him not just to Johnny Lang, but even to the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even Derek Trucks if not the master himself, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The fun bluesy guitar licks don’t end with the EP’s opener.  Listeners will instant get thoughts of Foghat, Ted Nugent and so many other famed guitarists of days gone by when Nichols and company launch into ‘Can You Feel It.’  This up-tempo rocker is just as certain as ‘Blackfoot’ to get audiences moving whether in their homes or even in their cars.  It’s a nice piece for those Summer road trips.  It’s just as great for a weekend party in the warmer months of the year.  Its energy is evident not just in the musical side of things, but also in the lyrical side.  Nichols and company come across as singing about a woman here.  The chorus singing together late in the song, “Don’t you need it/Babe can’t you feel it” will most certainly have listeners singing along happily.  It would be so easy to see this song being performed live if only because of that.  And that’s a good thing.  It’s one more element that makes it such a fun song.

Things let up only slightly after ‘Can You Feel It’ in the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Sometimes.’  This song is slower than ‘Can You Feel It’ or ‘Blackfoot.’ But it is still another nice, heavy blues based rock song that is just as certain to become a favorite with its solid musicianship from Nichols and his band mates.  It is a straight up blues influenced song all the way through, from its music to its lyrics.  Nichols writes about overcoming life’s tough times as he writes, “Take the backseat baby/Cause I found my way/Gonna ride into/A brand new day/Gotta  hold on tight/to the things I love/Kiss the ground/And thank the lord above/Don’t think you’re the only one/Your day don’t end/When darkness comes/ Sometimes you cry/Sometimes you lie/Sometimes you gotta reach up for the sky/And look for the full moon/To carry you home.”  That positive sentiment mixed with the influences from the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Lynyrd Skynyrd makes this one more impressive piece of the overall puzzle that is Nichols’ new EP.

Jared James Nichols takes his listeners on quite the trip with his ne EP over the course of the record’s first four songs.  It ends just as solidly as it began on ‘Take My Hand.’  The song starts off slow and gentle with just Nichols singing and picking a steel guitar.  That slow open eventually builds into another blues based song that rocks just as hard as the other songs on this record.  The control that he and his band mates have throughout the song absolutely demands this song be part of Nichols’ live set.  One need only close one’s eyes, and one can see the lights shining bright on stage, highlighting every single note as audiences pump their fists in the air.  Simply put, this song could not have been better placed in this record.  It leaves audiences wanting more in the best possible fashion by the time it hits its final notes. Nichols’ new EP is available now, and it can be ordered online at and  Fans can also check out both websites to check out Jared James Nichols’ latest tour dates.  Audiences will have their chance to experience this outstanding new EP live as Nichols will be performing live tonight in Sturgis South Dakota at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Festival.  And then on the 8th and 9th, he will be in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving on to Boise, ID on his way to the West Coast.

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