The five-time-Grammy-nominated guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd announces ‘Trouble Is…25,’ a top-to-bottom reinterpretation of his seminal album ‘Trouble Is…,’ which struck the match that reigned modern blues upon its release 25 years ago.
Slated for release on December 2nd via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group, the album (which includes a bonus track of an unreleased version of “Ballad of a Thin Man”) will be accompanied by a live DVD filmed at The Strand Theater in Shepherd’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, shot at the launch of his year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of ‘Trouble Is…,’ which found the band performing the album, in its entirety, across the US. To celebrate the announcement, Shepherd has released a lyric video for “True Lies,” which he describes as “the classic infidelity song.”
Watch “True Lies”
Pre-order the album HERE
Great songs are not set in stone. Since he burst from the blues clubs of Louisiana onto the global music scene with 1995’s breakthrough first album ‘Ledbetter Heights,’ followed by his career defining second album ‘Trouble Is…’ In 1997, Shepherd has twisted those classic cuts into bold new shapes each night on the stage. Led by the pulse of the crowd, every last note alive in his hands, the ‘Trouble Is…’ tracks have always been on the move, never settling into museum pieces. But to give a quarter-century-old album a second birth is another matter. And in more recent times, the multi-platinum-selling artist looked up the road and saw the 25th anniversary of ‘Trouble Is…’ On the horizon, he hatched an audacious plan.
To join the dots from the hungry 18-year-old gunslinger who caught lightning in a bottle in 1997 to the still-questing master musician, with a lifetime’s soul under his fingers. To assemble the old crew from the original ‘Trouble Is…’ sessions at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California and attack the track listing afresh. And to remind seasoned fans and new listeners alike how this album struck the match that reigned modern blues.
“One of the coolest things about re-recording ‘Trouble Is…’ has been finding out – or verifying – how timeless this album really is,” says Shepherd, who is also leading a triumphant anniversary tour across the United States in 2022 and 2023, performing the album in full. “I’m so proud of what we accomplished, and also the fact I was just 18 years old when I did it. I mean, I had an experience with this album that most musicians can only dream about. ‘Trouble Is…’ sold of millions of copies. There’s validation in all of that for me.”
Having pricked up ears with 1995’s sparky debut ‘Ledbetter Heights,’ ‘Trouble Is…’ hurled Shepherd headlong into contention. These were songs and performances that shouldn’t have been feasible from a teenager barely out of the classroom, yet the bandleader was already standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a veteran studio band that included the iconic Double Trouble lineup (drummer Chris Laytonbassist Tommy Shannon and keys man Reese Winans).
And while he had yet to find his own singing voice (then, as now, Noah Hunt handles powerhouse lead vocals on ‘Trouble Is…) Shepherd’s precocious guitar work was in a different class to the fading grunge scene, one moment white-hot on originals like “Slow Ride” or the title instrumental, the next rivaling Jimi Hendrix himself on a wiry cover of “I Don’t Live Today.”
In the ensuing 25 years – a period in which Shepherd has released a further seven acclaimed solo albums, not to mention two with his all-star side-project The Rides, alongside Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg – some aspects of the reborn ‘Trouble Is …’ album are unavoidably changed. The Record Plant closed its doors in 2008 (the new sessions went down at The Village in Los Angeles and Nashville’s Ocean Way), while Shannon has retired from the music scene (he’s capably replaced by Shepherd’s regular low-ender, Kevin McCormick).
“Aside from Tommy, we got the whole crew back together, with Jerry Harrison co-producing once again,” reflects Kenny “And in the studio, it felt like no time had passed. If you play well together, you play well together. It worked back then and it worked just as well this time. It was all of us live in a room. That’s just how I do it, man. I’m old-school. Human beings need to be in the same room to be able to play music together.”
“During the ‘Trouble Is…’ anniversary tour,” says Shepherd, “everybody was commenting on how this album could be released today and still be just as relevant as it was 25 years ago. Making this album in 1997 was just a really monumental achievement. The new recording was a serious trip down memory lane for me. And I’m still so proud of these songs…”
Shepherd will continue to tour in support of ‘Trouble Is…25’ this fall. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit HERE
‘Trouble Is…25’ – Track List
1. Slow Ride
2. True Lies
3. Blue on Black
4. Everything Is Broken
5. I Don’t Live Today
6. (Long) Gone
7. Somehow, Somewhere, Someway
8. I Found Love (When I Found You)
9. King’s Highway
10. Nothing to Do with Love
11. Chase the Rainbow
12. Trouble Is…
13. Ballad Of a Thin Man
Pre-order the album HERE
Kenny Wayne Shepherd website