On the heels of his critically acclaimed fall 2023 US tour, the five-time Grammy-nominated guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has released “You Can’t Love Me,” the latest single from his upcoming album “Dirt On My Diamonds, Vol. 1,” out Nov 17th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. “You Can’t Love Me” is a sonic embodiment of Shepherd’s modern vision for blues, with evocative lyrics that delve deep into the nuances of self-worth and love, highlighting the emotional depth and raw truth that Shepherd brings to the table. Written in the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album finds Shepherd challenging the traditional boundaries of blues, embracing an eclectic blend of modern sounds, socio-political narratives, and of course, songs that resonate deeply with life’s imperfections. Watch the accompanying music video for “You Can’t Love Me” here.
“Dirt On My Diamonds, Vol. 1” chronicles Shepherd’s journey of musical evolution, touching on stories of loss, redemption, and memorable melodies, all crafted by an elite team of songwriters. As Shepherd himself describes it, ‘Every record I make is a moment in time. And this is a really special moment.’
Since the release of his debut album, 1995’s “Ledbetter Heights,” this multi-platinum bandleader still sounds like the future of the blues. Approach “Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1” expecting autopilot twelve-bars and you’ll instead be thrown a volley of curveballs, from the modern urban edge of “Sweet & Low” or the socio-political single “Best of Times” to the speaker-tearing production from Shepherd and producer Marshall Altman. ‘Working with Marshall, it’s like any productive relationship,’ considers the guitarist. ‘We put our strengths together and push each other.’
Throughout, as the album title suggests, the grit and emotional honesty of these new songs is prized above guitar pyrotechnics (even for one of the modern scene’s most valuable players). Of the “Dirt On My Diamonds” guiding philosophy, ‘Life has imperfections, and I actually prefer it that way. The imperfections are what make it interesting.’
With material this strong, no polish was needed. As on any KWS album, songs are the currency, and the seven originals from “Dirt On My Diamonds Volume 1” demand to be heard, lifting listeners above their circumstances at a time when life often feels bleak and bone-raw. ‘I didn’t want this record to be dark or dreary,’ considers Shepherd. ‘There’s not a lot of incredibly heart-wrenching or difficult subject matter…My goal is always to make music that makes people feel good, regardless of what it’s about.’
Shepherd has just announced a series of live performances for Winter 2024, which will follow the release “Dirt On My Diamonds, Vol. 1.” These newly revealed dates kick off on February 6th at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando, FL and will then head west for a Texas run, beginning in Tyler at the UT Cowan Center on February 14th, before wrapping up at the famed ACL Moody Theater in Austin on February 17th. The tour will also include standout performances at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN on February 24th and the iconic Beacon Theatre in New York City on March 15th.