With the recent passing of Robert Lockwood Jr., Cleveland blues fans learned a hard lesson firsthand: The great creators of the craft grow fewer by the day. Sure, artists who not only mastered the licks, but in many cases invented them still make it to the stage, but the time left for us to savor their skills is swiftly growing short. Luckily, blues wunderkind Kenny Wayne Shepherd has made it his business to document these remaining masters. Much like field-recording pioneer Alan Lomax, Shepherd roamed the rural South shooting what was, in some cases, the final footage of these pioneers. But unlike Lomax, Shepherd worked out alongside his subjects, dropping in the process a very tasty CD and documentary DVD titled 10 Days Out -- Blues From the Backroads
The onstage version of Shepherd's crusade is highlighted by legends who played pivotal roles in two of the most formidable bands in the blues pantheon: Guitarist Hubert Sumlin was worshiped by just about any Brit guitar god you can name for his lead work on Howlin' Wolf's records, and pianist Pinetop Perkins pounded the keys in the gold standard of Chicago outfits -- Muddy Waters' band. Shepherd's ability to blend in with -- rather than overpower -- his idols was a delight on disc and should make for a kick-ass blues bash.