Kenny Wayne Shepherd addresses Blues Music Awards controversy

Kenny Wayne Shepherd returned to the stage at Waterfest in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on June 24th. It was the first time since the pandemic began that Shepherd and his band performed live.

Prior to the show, Shepherd sat down with Blues Rock Review to discuss a variety of topics, including the Blues Music Awards. The BMAs rescinded Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s nomination for “Best Blues Rock Artist” back in March.

When asked whether he would accept a BMA nomination in the future, Shepherd said, “We’ll let the audience speak for that. I’m not going to necessarily reject it. I don’t really know to be honest with you. I kind of have to see how things go.”

Shepherd also said, “I never woke up as a kid and picked up my guitar saying I really hope I win an award one day for this. I picked up the guitar to play music because I love to play music and I love to play the instrument.” Shepherd added, “The approval of the fans is far greater than the approval of a board.”

Following Shepherd’s rescinded Blues Music Award nomination, he connected with Shemekia Copeland to record the new single, “Hit ‘Em Back” which addresses anger and divisiveness in the blues community.

“There’s been a lot of divisiveness, a lot of people trying to paint certain pictures, a lot of people with their own agendas, maybe on both sides of the fence, but she and I realized the best example that anybody can ever set forth in times of divisiveness is to come together because united, any group of people, are more powerful and stronger together than divided.” Shepherd added, “This just gave us the opportunity to take some really powerful names in the blues community and genre and get us all together, and stand together, and say, hey, no matter what narrative everybody is trying to push here this is the reality and the reality is that we all get along.” About the song, Shepherd concludes, “The song has a really strong message of unity but it also just lets people know where we stand.”

Shemekia Copeland will be joining Shepherd on select upcoming tour dates. Click here to see Shepherd’s upcoming tour dates.

Stay tuned for Blues Rock Review’s full interview with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.



Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete founded Blues Rock Review in 2010 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

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