by Kenny Wayne Sheppard
~ Thank God for the bassist ~
Kenny Wayne Sheppard can play. Seriously. Dude can flat out wail on some blues, and while some of it might be a little derivative, when he settles into a groove it just carries you along, like Born With A Broken Heart.
On Slow Ride, however, he’s only kinda-sorta after that groove. He’s just wailing. He’s shredding. It’s an end-to-end connection of riffs underneath the vocals, and while they’re living within a blues chord structure, the lead lines are all over the place. Not only that, but the drummer is all over the place. Hell, without the bassist holding things together, you’d have one repeating riff (right at the start of the chorus) and an extended late night jam showing off for the six not-completely-falling-down-drunk people left in the bar.
But it works. It totally works. You’ve got a solid vocal line over top of the guitar pyrotechnics, a drummer who manages to play an entire song with no hi-hat and fills everywhere but stays on beat, and a bass player who actually glues everything together and keeps the band honest. So let the lead guy show off – it’s his name on the track, after all – and let the rest of the band bring their A-game, where they’re needed. Even the bassist.