Kenny Wayne Shepherd recruits Buddy Guy and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram for inaugural Backroads Blues Festival tour

Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Christone Ingram
(Image credit: Terry Wyatt / C Brandon/Redferns / Al Pereira via Getty)

Kenny Wayne Shepherd has announced the Backroads Blues Festival, a “traditional touring blues festival” for which he’s recruited fellow blues guitar titans, Buddy Guy and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.

The six-date tour – which has been envisaged as an annual event – will see the trio visit the states of Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia in August.

Shepherd’s band, comprising vocalist Noah Hunt, drummer Chris Layton, bassist Kevin McCormick, keyboardist Joe Krown, trumpet player Mark Pender and saxophonist Joe Sublet, will also be on hand to perform with Kenny during the tour. Guy and Ingram will be backed by their own bands.

The Backroads Blues Festival is an extension of Shepherd's 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads film and album project from 2007, which saw the bluesman team up with B.B. King, Etta Baker, Pinetop Perkins and more for a series of collaborations.

It’s been dubbed a celebration of “three successive generations of blues artists” that lets people see “the best of the best all in one place”, and aims to resurrect the long-lost tradition of the classic touring blues festivals.

Of the event, Shepherd commented, “These days nobody mounts a traditional touring blues festival. I conceptualized one that will give people a chance to see the best of the best all in one place. We are extremely excited that Buddy Guy will be with us for each show. He is, after all, the living king of the blues these days.  

Backroads Blues Festival poster

(Image credit: Press)

“Also worthy of great respect is Christone “Kingfish” Ingram,” he continued, “who is revitalizing the blues in a potent and powerful way. We’re featuring three successive generations of blues artists, underscoring the resonance of the genre.” 

“In the past, I really looked forward to those blues packages both as a fan and as an artist, so I decided to bring the concept back with the Backroads Blues Festival tour. Those were very special shows and once that ended there was a void. Our Backwoods Blues Festival Tour is firmly rooted in that same tradition.”

While the gigs have initially been designed as displays of each player’s electric guitar prowess, Shepherd didn’t rule out the possibility of partaking in an all-acoustic show as well, saying, “We want to be as inclusive as possible.”

“I’m excited to be part of the first annual Backroads Blues Festival,” Buddy Guy noted, “and back out with Kenny Wayne, and looking forward to jamming with Kenny and Kingfish.”

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, meanwhile, offered, “To be back touring again is really great and the opportunity to join Mr. Guy and Mr. Shepherd on stage will be electric. These tour dates will be lots of fun.”

A full list of Backroads Blues Festival tour dates can be found below:

  • August 13 – Bold Point Park, Providence
  • August 14 – Bethel Ampitheatre, Bethel
  • August 16 – Artpark, Lewiston
  • August 18 – Symphony Hall, Sprinfield
  • August 20 – Elmwood Park, Roanoke
  • August 21 – Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth

For tickets, visit Kenny Wayne Shepherd's official website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.