Picks and Pans Review: Ledbetter Heights
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
At 18, this precocious Shreveport, La., native has already strapped on his Stratocaster and traded licks with the likes of B.B. King and Robert Cray. On his mostly remarkable solo debut, Shepherd, who favors that swingin', low-slung style that was the trademark of his hero, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, proves he has the chops of the blues masters he idolizes, even if they need basting with a sauce he has yet to develop.
Shepherd peels off some tasty acoustic slide riffs when he unplugs for the first half of Bukka White's "Aberdeen" but is less successful when he goes electric for the tune's second half. Like other flashy players, he wastes notes and loses emotion by playing at warp speed. Still, he scores on his own deeply felt composition "While We Cry," taking his time and caressing notes like a new father stroking his infant's cheeks. If Shepherd listens more to his heart in the future, he could join the pantheon of blues greats—before he hits 30. (Revolution)
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