Live! In Chicago is out now. Get your copy right here, and scroll down further to watch the official for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's cover of "I'm a King Bee" off the blues-charting album.
UG: You’re taking this call while on a break during a recording session?
Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Yeah, I’m in the studio today working on my next studio album. I’ve got Tommy Shannon the bass player from Double Trouble here laying down some bass tracks. We’re hoping to have the new album out in March or April of next year. We’re about 80% done with it. So if everything goes alright, we’ll be getting it out very soon.
So, what can fans of Kenny Wayne Shepherd expect from the upcoming new album?I think the past two records such as my new live album, has a lot of traditional blues on it and the one before that, had blues stuff from the 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads documentary and that was completely traditional blues, so this album is going to be like the middle of the road. It is going to have some blues on it but it is also going to have that
hybrid of blues based rock that people would have come to expect from me. I think they’re going to be real happy with it. I have been focusing a lot, on every single instrument. And trying to make it as musical as possible and making sure that every instrument is affecting the listener in a positive way. I am also really focusing on the songwriting too and trying some new things too.On your recent album, LIVE! In Chicago, you worked with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin, two of your blues idols, what was that like?
It was a tremendous experience. I first met them when we did the 10 day project, the documentary that came out prior to the live record. We decided when that project came out, that we wanted to go out on tour in support of that. One of the things about having these guest artists on this live record is, I think, it gives the listener a unique experience. Because most live albums are just live versions of previous material but this album, half of it is live Kenny Wayne Shepherd songs and the other half is us playing with these guys. We are doing some traditional blues songs but stuff we’ve never recorded before. So, half the album is basically a new listening experience for the fans because they’re hearing a few songs that they’ve never heard us do before.
Did they impart any blues wisdom to you?
They set examples for me when they played the music that made them famous and which really inspired me to make music in the first place. My experience of actually getting to play with them personally, I took away a lot of that, just playing with those guys is a learning process. It is more or less the affirmation I get from their acceptance from playing with me and being part of what I do. It helps me feel that I’m doing the right thing.
Though you are considered a blues artist you can’t be really pigeonholed as such, since you have played everything from country to rock. Do you see yourself more of a musician than a guitarist?
That’s the way I like to think of myself. I actually leave all my options open to be able to play whatever I want to play. Over the course of my career I’ve branched out a little bit with different things. My fourth album The Place You’re In  was really a rock record than it was a blues record. I like people like Clapton or Jeff Beck, they’ve done a lot of different things in their careers. I mean Clapton did ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ which is a reggae song really. To a degree I’d like to follow that example.