Canadian ball-of-fire beacon of the blues scene Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is set to add to his stack of multi-award winning albums with the release of Go, Just Do It! — available June 12, 2020 via Stony Plain Records.
Fans of his internationally sold-out shows know what they’re in for: smooth, robust piano and cool, soulful vocals injected into a cannon that blasts quite the sonic sensation. With Wayne, it’s about preparing for a multi-faceted ride, as the musical terrain can shift just as quickly as the lyrical inspiration.
“I’m not looking for a different path,” the 75-year old man of the hour asserts. “I love that jump blues and boogie-woogie. That’s where my heart is at.
“I’m just trying to keep that style alive,” he adds. “That’s classic stuff, and I’m at that classic age so it all works out.”
Inducted into the Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, Kenny Wayne also lines his shelf with seven Maple Blues Awards, a JUNO Award, three Living Blues Magazine Keyboard Awards, and more.
And if that critically acclaimed 11-album catalogue resembles a swirling, savoury pot of musical gumbo, richly layered with flavours of Ray Charles and Duke Ellington, to ingredients of gospel, jazz, Latin, R&B, soul, and dashes of bebop and swing for good measure, Go, Just Do It! hits the table as his spiciest serving yet.
There are guests on Go, Just Do It! and they garnish the already greatness with finesse. Wayne’s son SeQuel — Cory Spruell — infuses rap cadence and a fresh verse into Percy Mayfield cover of “Don’t Want To Be President,” and GRAMMY Award-winner Diane Schuur helps create a show-stopping duet in “You’re In For A Big Surprise.”
There’s also former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson, powerhouse horn players Jerry Cook and Vince Mai (both mainstays with Powder Blues, Colin James, and more), plus Boogie Patrol guitarist Yuji Ihara, JUNO Award-winning former Parachute Club-er Julie Masi, award-winning Montreal vocalist Dawn Tyler Watson, Joey DiMarco on drums, and Incognito band and harp ace Sherman “Tank” Doucette.
On Go, Just Do It!, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne originals come in at 10 of the 13-song set, each artfully dovetailing soul-tinged sounds with the funkiest of sojourns.
“I was playing the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival in Longview, Texas a few years ago and we drove down to Marshall, Texas to see the train museum,” Wayne recalls about one in particular — “T & P Train 400,” and how sounds of new steam trains in that region influenced rhythms that piano players would employ in the 1920s. “Those trains carried so much history, musical or otherwise.”
An American expat by way of Spokane, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans, Wayne long credits Canada for partly shaping him into the artist he is today. “I didn’t know what I was in store for except that the people were great,” he recalls of his move decades ago. “My blues career started in Canada, and I think this country really helps people create their art — whether it’s painting, theatre, or music.
“Why would I leave?!”
Go, just listen.
Go, Just Do It! is available June 12, 2020 via Stony Plain Records.