Kenny Wayne Shepherd – 10 Days Out

Holy Flurking Schmidt! This thing is awesome!  Allow me to quote from the cd website for a moment:

From the first compelling minutes of TEN DAYS OUT: Blues From TheBackroads, it’s immediately evident that bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd is up to something different. Shepherd embarked on a ten-day trek into the heart of America. Traveling highways and byways with a roving documentary film crew, aportable recording studio, portable house band—the esteemed Double Trouble, with producer Jerry Harrison, Shepherd visited blues veterans in their homes,backyards and local clubs, creating as intimate and intense a blues film as has been seen in many a year. The resulting film allows music lovers to join in theexploration and witness the artistic creation of both the film and the accompanying live CD.

With TEN DAYS OUT, Kenny Wayne Shepherd continues his love affair with America’s homegrown music, introducing his fans to a varied lot of his blues predecessors.The goal was to get intimate recordings in intimate places, and maintain authenticity: the album has no overdubs, no high-tech fixing. “Live as it went down,” says Shepherd. “What happened is what you hear. We kept it as real as possible.”

The DVD lays bare that truth, taking us into the small rooms, the kitchens, the dense woods where this music was made. “I was trying to convey the place that produced this kind of music,” says the film’s director Noble Jones, a self-confessed culture junkie, “the elements that came together to produce the blues. The environment these people came from and how it weighed on them.”

So that is the overview. In July of ’04 KWS and the others hit the road, 10 destinations in 10 days. Jamming with blues legends all the way. From the moment Prison Blues starts you know they caught lightning in a bottle. Even though this is technically a Kenny Wayne Shepherd release, the real stars are the ageing musicians whose chops are still sharper than most indie rock kids ever will be. One of the highlights (there are TONS) of the cd is when Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown plays his fiddle like it is a lead blues guitar in Born in Louisiana. I ain’t never heard anything like that in my life. I had already listened to the cd 6 or 7 times before I noticed it and had to listen to that part over again about 4 times in complete awe.

As bad ass as the cd is the real reason to buy this release instead of downloading it is the 1 hour and 46 minute documentary it comes with. I sat riveted to the couch through the entire thing. From juke joint’s to front porches to KWS and Buddy Flett’s performance at Ledbelly’s grave you get to see some amazing performances but some true legends, some of which have already left us. Along the way you also get some really good insight into the history of the genre and the characters that these guys really are. When I was a kid I would watch a skateboarding video and get jazzed as shit to go out and skate.  This dvd makes me jazzed as shit to spend a night with a whiskey neat in a sweaty bar listening to howling guitars and haunted men releasing their demons.

I seriously can not recommend this enough to anyone who is a fan of blues music.  Especially if you are a peripheral fan, since it will give you so much insight in this, one of the only all American forms of music. Check out the trailer for the documentary and hear Kenny Wayne Shepherd play with B.B. King on “The Thrill Is Gone” and I bet that you will be in a full sprint to the record store to pick up a copy for yourself. However, should you need anymore incentive to go and buy this cd/dvd consider this, partial proceeds are being donated to Music Maker Relief Foundation, a non-profit organization helping impoverished blues artists. More information about the artists involved and the project itself can be found at the Official Website.

I think this cd will be a reoccurring feature here on ninebullets. I tend to follow musical chains and I think this one really poses some impressive links to pursue. I have already ordered some cds from the Buddy Flett fronted band The Bluebirds and I suspect I will be buying material by plenty of the other artists featured on this album.

Kenny Wayne Sheppard w/Cootie Shark and Neil Pattman – Prison Blues
Kenny Wayne Sheppard w/Buddy Flett – Honky Tonk
Kenny Wayne Sheppard w/Bryan Lee – Tina Marie

Kenny Wayne Sheppard Official Site, 10 Days Out Official Site

P.S. Since we are on the subject of blues documentaries I feel obligated to mention another, equally impressive doc featuring some of the old Mississippi backwoods bluesmen including RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford. It has a much grittier feel to it than 10 Days Out but is equally captivating. From imdb:

You See Me Laughin’ is a full length documentary that takes a look at the often untamed lifestyles of the last great North Mississippi bluesmen and the Oxford, MS based label- Fat Possum Records- that struggles to record them. The film is an exciting collage of exclusive interviews, live performances and personal anecdotes. It includes rare, black and white footage of RL Burnside from 1974, disturbingly funny stories about touring told first hand by Iggy Pop and John Spencer Blues Explosion as well as an interesting encounter with Junior Kimbrough described by Bono from U2 and much more. This is not for the faint of heart.

I saw You See Me Laughin’ on IFC a few years ago and will stop on it every time they are airing it to this day.

Introducing: The Dirty 30s

The challenge: To write about a cd that you love from beginning to end without sounding like a cheap PR one sheet. I have been thinking about this piece for a little over a week now. How do you tell people that a cd is completely wonderful but keep it close enough to the vest that people will still look into it…..and should I even bother? Should I say The Dirty 30s cd is 11 tracks that will not ever see the skip track button on your cd player and you will send me countless emails thanking me for telling you about them? Who knows but whatever I am gonna say, I am gonna say it now.A few weeks back I contacted The Dirty 30s and asked for a copy of their cd. I had been listening to the tracks on their myspace site for a few weeks and the Miles of Music goes and labels their cd “It’s a Cracker”. For the uninitiated, It’s a Cracker means they guarantee that you will enjoy that record. If you don’t, send it back and they’ll give you full credit of the cost of the CD towards your next purchase. It’s a great way to check out people you have never heard of. So the cd shows up and I promptly tossed it in the cd player and knew I was in love after one time through.The Dirty 30s are Jason Riley (guitar, vocals), Jeb Venable (Bass), Brian Heuring (Guitar) and Stu Farris (drums) from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They play a loose at the hinges brand of American rock. The loose feel can be attributed to the band rarely practicing as a full band. When I say loose I don’t mean sloppy. I mean the bolts have some wobble to them. It really adds to the atmosphere of the cd. I get the feeling that these guys are the consummate bar band and as a St. Louis Times reviewer said, “To call them a bar band is no slur: They play fast and loose with free-wheeling blues-based guitar riffs, always a dependable soundtrack for drinking till last call and smoking up on the way home.” If you are a fan of the earlier (more raw) Drive-By Truckers, Lucero (both bands get the Replacements comparisons), or gimmick-free American rock and roll, do yourself a favor and check these guys out. If you hate it just send the cd back to Miles of Music and get whatever Ryan Adams released that week. Personally, this is my favorite cd to have entered the house so far this year and even though it came out in 2006 I am labeling it my favorite cd of 2007 so far.

The Dirty 30s – Rode Hard
The Dirty 30s – Local Anesthesia

The Dirty 30s – Justine

The Dirty 30s Official Site
, The Dirty 30s on myspace, Buy The Dirty 30s cd from Miles of Music