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Index of Artists

Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne

Biography:

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Kenny Wayne sums it up in a single song, one of the highlights of Rollin’ With the Blues Boss, his second album for Stony Plain Records, the independent international roots music label:

They say what I’m doing has been done before

But that’s my reason to do it even more

I’m gonna keep on rockin’

I’m gonna keep on rollin’

Gonna keep on swingin’

Gonna keep on singing

Gonna keep on doing it ‘til my time is up

The new album was produced and recorded in Vancouver by Tom Lavin, leader of Canada’s legendary Powder Blues Band, and it features some of the city’s most creative backup players. It also features guest appearances on one track each from Stony Plain artist Eric Bibb and singer Diunna Greenleaf.

Kenny Wayne’s time certainly isn’t up yet; in fact, it seems like it’s only just starting. Resplendent in one of his many multi-hued French custom-tailored stage suits, he’s a throwback to the golden age of classic rhythm and blues.

Born in Spokane but raised in New Orleans, his powerful music recalls the era when piano players like Fats Domino, Amos Milburn and Bill Doggett worked the chitlin’ circuit on the “strolls” in dozens of American cities.

As a one-man cheering section for the days when blues and small band jazz met the roots of rock and roll, Wayne is unapologetic about the music he plays.

The back-story of a child prodigy who grew up fast

Wayne has been a traveling musician almost all his life, playing in show bands and cover bands in his youth, seeing the world from Texas to Hawaii and from Peoria to Paris.

Rediscovering his own blues roots long ago sent his career into overdrive, thanks to his fresh approach to old music, the drive and roaring good-time attitude of his live performances, and his smartly original self-penned songs.

Wayne was already a child prodigy when, at eight, he moved with his family to Los Angeles, and then to San Francisco. Encouraged by his preacher father, the Reverend Matthew Spruell, to play gospel music, the youngster was also secretly introduced to the radically more exciting boogie-woogie by an uncle.

By his early teen years, Wayne was playing dozens of shows in the early '60s — including a 1962 appearance at the Alpha Bowling Club with the great Jimmy Reed. It was an infamous gig; everything Wayne's father feared about the “devil's music.” A vicious brawl erupted in the crowded, smoky, alcohol-fueled club, and one man attacked another with a broken bottle, blood spraying everywhere. As Wayne recalls with a chuckle, “My dad grabbed my mom with one hand and ran up to the stage and yanked me off the piano bench and led us through the kitchen and out the back exit… That was pretty well the end of my blues career for over 20 years.”

Moving to Vancouver in the early ’80s (he now lives in Kelowna, British Columbia) he soon won a strong reputation on western Canada's club scene. His full transformation into 'Blues Boss' (his nickname came from the title of Amos Milburn's Motown comeback album) came following a 1994 tour of Europe. Kenny's longtime passion for boogie-woogie and blues paid off in the form of star treatment from piano-loving European music fans.

Three releases for the independent Canadian label Electro-Fi were all nominated for Juno Awards — Canada’s equivalent of the Grammies, and his 2006 release, Let it Loose was a Juno winner.

The applause continued for his Stony Plain debut, 2011’s An Old Rock on a Roll. That CD earned him a Blues Foundation nomination for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Award, and a 2012 Living Blues Awards for “best new contemporary blues recording of 2011” as well as one naming him “most outstanding keyboard musician.”

Highlights of a fresh candidate for “fun record of the year”

Of the new album’s many highlights, “Leavin’ In the Morning” kicks things off in style with a bouncy, bluesy riff that recalls B. B. King’s “Never Make Your Move Too Soon;” and “You Bring the Jungle Out Of Me,” is aided by a punchy horn section that provides the same kick on several other songs. Blues Music Award-winner Diunna Greenleaf trades lead vocals with Wayne on the soul-blues ballad, “Baby, It Ain’t You;” and another BMA winner, Eric Bibb, supplies lead vocals and an acoustic guitar solo on the rollicking “Two Sides.”

The jazzy-flavored “I Can’t Believe It” sounds like a song from an old Bill Withers session, and “Ogopogo Boogie” is a straight Crescent City classic groove from start to finish. The 'Blues Boss' closes out the set in fine style, accompanied by just a drummer and pounding the 88s into submission on the instrumental, “Out Like a Bullet.”

The new album — and his live appearances all over North America and Europe — were best summed up by a music writer who explained Wayne this way: “When a piano player’s got the four most important things — the playing, the voice, the songs and the look — he becomes the whole package.

An artist you just have to see and hear.”

Rollin' With The Blues Boss

Rollin
SPCD 1371
Genre: Blues
Released: 22 April 2014

With special guests Eric Bibb and Diuna Greenleaf, Kenny hammers out rockin' boogie woogie, deeply felt blues, and puts a fresh coat of paint on good old-fashioned roots rock and roll. A multiple award winner, he is a monster pianist, and soulful singer, who captures the essence of old school blues and boogie while sounding totally fresh and contempory.

  1. Leavin' In The Morning (3:23)
  2. You Bring The Jungle Out Of Me (3:48)
  3. Hootenanny Boogie-Woogie (4:00)
  4. Roadrunner (3:18)
  5. Baby, It Ain't You (feat. Diunna Greenleaf) (4:27)
  6. I Can't Believe It (3:25)
  7. Two Sides (feat. Eric Bibb) (3:05)
  8. Slow Down (3:45)
  9. Ogopogo Boogie (3:00)
  10. Keep On Rockin' (2:59)
  11. Out Like A Bullet (2:35)
Preorder item ($20 CDN).
Available in advance now, exclusively from Stony Plain Records.
Download on iTunes

An Old Rock On A Roll

An Old Rock On A Roll
SPCD 1355
Genre: Blues
Released: 21 June 2011

Kenny's song, "Heaven Send Me An Angel," was nominated as a finalist in the International Songwriting Contest's Blues category for 2011.

  1. Searching For My Baby (Listen to mp3 clip) (04:10)
    * free full length download *
  2. Fantasy Meets Reality (03:57)
  3. Heaven, Send Me An Angel (04:58)
  4. Devil Woman (04:50)
  5. An Old Rock On A Roll (03:47)
  6. Don't Pretend (05:22)
  7. Run Little Joe (03:06)
  8. Howlin' (03:17)
  9. Wild Turkey 101 Proof (4:05)
  10. Bring Back The Love (05:59)
  11. Way Overdue (04:11)
  12. Rocking Boogie Party (02:24)
  13. Give Thanks (03:56)

Reviews:

Crossroads Blues Society
By Mark Thompson
This one is a contender for best Blues recording of the year and should not be missed.