The Axeman Cometh

By Victoria Erickson

The Axeman Cometh

This year, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band will be touring America celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band’s landmark album Trouble Is… by playing the album in its entirety. Known for its blues-infused rock n’ roll sound, the platinum-selling album holds the record for the longest-running album on the Billboard Blues Charts and went on to produce some of the band’s biggest radio hits like “Blue on Black” and “Slow Ride.” On Thursday, May 5, 2022, The Lincoln Center is proud to be one of only 23 scheduled stops on this special anniversary tour.

Some may say Kenny Wayne Shepherd was simply born to play the guitar and his amazing talent has almost certainly proven that. His name is practically synonymous with blues rock guitar and the entire musical genre yet, amazingly, Shepherd is completely self-taught and does not read music.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1977, Shepherd first began playing guitar at age seven. Shepherd’s father, Ken Shepherd, was a local DJ/radio personality who also helped promote concerts. In 1984, Shepherd was able to watch the late guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan perform at one of his father’s self-promoted concerts. After the show, Shepherd met Vaughan and that moment had a huge impact on the then seven-year-old. From that day forward, Shepherd wanted to play guitar with all the fire, passion and intensity that he felt when he watched Vaughan play.   

Shepherd began studying the works of Vaughan, Billy Gibbons, Jimi Hendrix and others trying to figure out how they created their sound. He also dedicated himself to understanding the history of rock n’ roll and the blues.

With hard work and dedication, Shepherd taught himself how to play so well that he caught the attention of Giant Records chief Irving Azoff who signed Shepherd to a multiple album record deal. When he burst onto the music scene with his debut album Ledbetter Heights in 1995, he was just 16 years old. In his first album outing, the young blues rock guitarist proved his talents were way beyond his years.

With his sophomore album, Trouble is…, the maturing axeman proved once and for all that he was no flash in the pan. His meteoric rise to fame was well deserved, proving he could match lick for lick the guitar greats that he scrutinized and emulated while learning his craft.

Now, 25 years and nine albums later, Shepherd is heralded as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation. He has since gone on to sell millions of albums worldwide and has received five GRAMMY® nominations. Over his career, Shepherd has garnered two Billboard Music Awards and two Blues Music Awards. At just 45 years of age, you can bet the end of the accolades for this talented artist are nowhere in sight.

You can catch the exclusive limited engagement of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s Trouble Is… 25th Anniversary Tour on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at The Lincoln Center. Tickets start at just $20 and are available at or by calling 970-221-6730.

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