Two blues guitar stars – Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang in their first-ever duo tour – rocked Boarding House Park at the season opener of the Lowell Summer Music Series.
I believe this was considered a true co-bill, since each performed a full 90-minute set; regardless, it was a terrific show that truly showcased their talent.
The show was introduced by Carter Alan, a Boston radio personality (I know, they are no longer called disc jockeys) specializing in the blues.
First up – as you can probably tell from the light in the photos – was Lang. This was his first show at the Series since 2011, and it was evident that he was happy to return.
He did not talk much, choosing to give the large crowd as much music as we expected. He played his heart out and was better than I have ever heard him. Incorporating elements of gospel into his music, he never lost sight of the blues.
Lang’s band supports him well; Barry Alexander from Minneapolis on drums, James Anton from Minneapolis on bass, Akil Thompson from Nashville on rhythm guitar, and Dwan Hill from Nashville on keyboards comprise the band. I especially enjoyed Dwan Hill, who delivered a wonderful funky solo late in the set.
People continuously called out requests, including his best-known hit ‘Lie to Me’. He saved that for the encore, and performed it in a fantastic manner. Lang took the stage alone with an acoustic guitar, and sang the song is a soulful style for about five minutes. Then the band came to the stage, Lang seamlessly switched to an electric guitar, and they played the song as people expected to hear it.
After a brief set break, KWS (as he is called) came to the stage. I was surprised that many people left the park after Lang’s set, which was their loss. KWS also brought his A+ game and the crowd loved him
KWS appeared at the Series in 2013 and was as well received then as he was this night. His style of the blues incorporates more elements of rock than Lang’s blues but is still heavily ensconced in the blues.
He has been playing with (I believe) the same band for many years. The band includes Noah Hunt on lead vocals and hand percussion, Chris Layton on drums, Riley Osbourn on keyboards, and Scott Nelson on bass. Noah is an excellent singer and does much to encourage the crowd to be more enthusiastic (if that is possible). Chris is a fantastic drummer who I love to watch.
KWS played the song of his I know best – ‘Blue on Black’ – and also played a cover of a B.B. King tune as a tribute to the late, great King. It was a heartwarming moment and a fitting tribute to King’s memory.
KWS did not play an encore, most likely because the show was already past curfew, but I doubt anyone was complaining. We had a gorgeous night full of terrific music and our ears and souls were full.
Posted on July 2, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged blues guitar, boston, Chris Layton, concert photos, concert review, Dwan Hill, jonny lang, kenny wayne shepherd, Lowell Summer Music Series, music, Noah Hunt. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Great photos! I’ll post your link to our Facebook page.
Peter Aucella Assistant Superintendent Lowell National Historical Park 67 Kirk Street Lowell, MA 01852 978-275-1722
Thanks Peter! They were fun to shoot!