The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band released Lay It On Down in 2017, which was voted Blues Rock Review’s top album of the year. Two years later, Kenny and the gang are back with The Traveler and they aren’t slowing down. Joined by Noah Hunt (vocals), Chris Layton (drums), Kevin McCormick (bass), and Jimmy McGorman and Joe Krown (keys), The Traveler is another top notch album from start to finish.
The upbeat “Woman Like You” opens up the album with Noah Hunt on lead vocals and features a horn section setting the tone. “Long Time Running” follows and the song “is someone expressing what it’s like to lead a complicated existence,” says Shepherd, and includes some scorching lead from Kenny. “I Want You” is a song filled with swagger and “Tailwind” goes in more of a southern rock direction with a bit of a county vibe.
“Gravity” was released as a single and has Kenny back on vocals and is about a complicated relationship with a lover. Kenny is really coming into his own as a vocalist and has credited Stephen Stills of The Rides for encouraging him to sing more. Those vocals are also showcased on “Better With Time.” Kenny and Noah trade off vocals on “We All Alright” while Shepherd is back on lead vocals for “Take It On Home,” a radio friendly song with southern rock flare.
The album features two covers. Noah handles vocals for Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul,” which again, features a horn section and Joe Walsh’s “Turn To Stone,” which closes the album out. “Turn To Stone” is the track where Kenny really stretches his wings on the guitar.
The Traveler is an all-killer no-filler album. It features all sorts of influences, but everything is done well. The Traveler has blues elements, but is a very song-oriented album. We all know Shepherd can shred, but the guitar is always serving the song. When listening to The Traveler it’s easy to tell Kenny and the Band weren’t trying to fit into any particular box, just make a great record and that’s what they’ve accomplished. The Traveler is another can’t miss album from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Woman Like You
– Take It On Home
– Better With Time
The Big Hit
Review by Pete Francis