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Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s landmark 1997 release Trouble Is… contains plenty of technical dazzle and old-soul touches, but what truly set the album apart was the mature songwriting that it featured from Shepherd, an indication that he was shaking off the tedious “teenage sensation” tag that had followed him previously. “Blue On Black,” the album’s rootsy fan favorite, hit No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, set a new record for its 104-week tenure, and still blares from stateside radios today. Now, Shepherd is revisiting the record breaking hit on The Trouble Is…25, a top-to-bottom reinterpretation of his seminal album, out December 2nd via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group.
“The beauty of ‘Blue On Black’ is that the lyrics conjure up imagery for the listener to apply to their own experience. Some people tell me it helped them through a breakup, or the loss of a loved one, or they were suffering domestic abuse and that song spoke to them.” Shepherd says. “The original video implied a relationship and the many futile attempts to salvage it. So we made a new video for Blue on Black, which, I think, is open to more interpretations of the song.”
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 reignited modern blues.
The set will also include a live DVD filmed at The Strand Theatre in Shepherd’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, shot at the launch of his year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the album, which found the band performing the album start to finish across the US.