Lay It on Down

by: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Lay It on Down feels like an intentional retort to Goin' Home, Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 2014 back-to-the-blues platter. Although Shepherd never abandons the blues, either as a color or a sensibility, he expands his palette considerably on this 2017 album, opening himself up to soul, country, and hard rock. Working with producer Marshall Altman for the first time, Shepherd takes pains to make Lay It on Down feel like a classic rock record, recording on analog and keeping its ten tracks weighing in at a tight 41 minutes. Another old-fashioned hallmark flaunted on Lay It on Down is how the focus is on vibe, Shepherd digging into the grooves even when the song is a sepia-toned bit of folk-rock. Naturally, there is plenty of space for chops and solos, but Shepherd shows restraint, riding the rhythms of his Southern soul vamps, nocturnal riffs, backwoods picking, and gospel ballads. This variety, when melded with such tasteful execution, turns Lay It on Down into not only one of Shepherd's richest records but one of his best. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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