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Hear Kenny Wayne Shepherd “play his butt off” on Ann Wilson’s new single, Missionary Man

Ann Wilson and Kenny Wayne Shepherd
(Image credit: Ethan Miller / C Brandon / Getty)

Ann Wilson is gearing up for the release of her new album, Fierce Bliss, and has now debuted the second single from the sessions, Missionary Man.

The track is one of two from the album to feature Kenny Wayne Shepherd on lead guitar. The resulting collaboration is a fuzzy, '70s rock stomper complete with a full choir (The Rev Nathan Young Singers) and a vocal melody that recalls one of Wilson’s finest Heart hits, Barracuda.

Some clever mixing of Shepherd’s scuzzy, wah-heavy lead work bounces harmonics around the stereo field and you can feel the guitarist enthusiastically grasping the retro rock bit between his teeth.

Wilson says Missionary Man was one of the first signs that she was on to something in the sessions. 

“I had originally intended to go in, record a few songs and see what I had, but it just took on this life,” says the singer. “[Then] at Sound Stage in Nashville, Kenny Wayne Shepherd came in and played on a couple songs. He was a whole other influence coming in. He just played his butt off, and with the gospel singers and everything else coming together, the whole project just started to grow.”

The single follows debut track Greed which, like Missionary Man, also features a backing band of session aces, including Tom Bukovac.

Elsewhere on the album, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is reported to have contributed lead work on the track Bridge of Sighs, while Gov’t Mule man Warren Haynes guests on Gladiator and Angel’s Blues.

Fierce Bliss is set for release on April 29. Head to Ann Wilson’s official site (opens in new tab) for more information.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.