Kenny Wayne Shepherd Strives To Get Out Of His Comfort Zone “Because That’s Where Growth Happens”

Watch as we get in depth with Kenny Wayne Shepherd about his latest album “Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1″, songwriting, gratitude, kids and more.

November 17, 2023, Kenny Wayne Shepherd released “Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1.” We caught up with Kenny via Zoom to discuss the album and the tour that just recently got underway. Nothing made me happier than when Kenny’s camera opened and I saw he was sitting in his garage, behind him was a 1964 Dodge which we discussed towards the end of our conversation. But, right out of the gate I asked Kenny if he was happy with the album. He jokingly responded, “I would hope every artist would be happy with the record that they’re putting out, otherwise they may want to take a look at what’s going on in their professional life.” He quickly pivoted to say he’s “Fired up about it.”

Kenny mentioned that he began writing and recording the album before COVID happened. There was a tour and some other projects that took precedence on this album seeing the light of day. He said, “I’ve been really excited to get it out there and let people hear it.” It was in here that Kenny mentioned that they made two records, this album Volume 1 and a Volume 2 coming out later this year. Kenny mentioned later in our conversation that Volume 2 will probably drop in the fourth quarter of 2024. Kenny spoke about “Really, that’s what we do this for, we make records so we can go out and play live music for people because that’s what we do best.”

We dug into the songwriting for the album, talking about digging deep. Kenny spoke about the song “You Can’t Love Me” being about learning that life lesson that you have to take care of yourself. The song “Best Of Times” came from a trip to an area that people may see as rundown or depressed but Kenny said “I saw beyond the surface and I saw a community of people, that were hardworking people that actually were enjoying life and had real joy and happiness.” Kenny spoke about the album being very contemporary sounding. He said there is Blues and Rock, but you’ll also hear some R&B and maybe even some Country. Kenny took elements from the music he has grown up listening to and he feels this album doesn’t sound like anyone else.

The albums were recorded in Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Kenny said it was like a “Time Warp. I mean, you walk into that studio and it’s like you go straight back decades in time.” Kenny said they “Went down there for the vibe” and even wrote all the songs there. He said it definitely influenced the music they made and the records. Discussing all this Kenny spoke about striving to get out of his comfort zone “Because that’s where growth happens.”

I challenged Kenny here asking if the perspective he has today on a lot of the things we talked about may be as a result of him taking a journey, coming out the other side and then looking back. Kenny was quick to say he never felt he was an unhappy person, no matter what his circumstances might have been. But after “Living life and all the incredible things that I’ve experienced and been through and having a wife and 6 kids. And, you know I’ve lived an incredibly bountiful life and I got a lot to be grateful for but also, I got a lot of inspiration around me.” Kenny also discussed what he hopes to pass onto his kids from this.

Kenny and I do always talk about gear, guitars and amps. We spoke a little about that. He did try to explain that his pedal board is simple, despite the size and look of it. It was at this point that we spoke about Kenny covering Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” on the album. Kenny said he keeps a list of songs that he thinks they could do really do justice. He discussed the difference between recording a new song and doing a cover tune.

When we talked about the shows so far on the tour Kenny was happy with many of the shows selling out. He also spoke about the audience response to the new material. They are featuring about half the new album in the shows. The set list is still being worked on, and Kenny likes it to vary a bit. He went into some detail in how they’re building the sets for this tour. Kenny was very excited about it being obvious to him that the audience has been listening to the new record and knowing the songs. You can see all the tour dates here.

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