Kenny Wayne Shepherd: ‘SRV clone’ accusations stem from “jealousy”

The blues-rock guitarist has spoken of his frustration at the shallow criticism.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Image: Ralph Notaro / Getty

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Guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has hit back against people who initially “slammed” him early in his career for ‘cloning’ Stevie Ray Vaugh’s style.

Speaking to Guitar World, Shepherd linked the accusations of unoriginality to jealousy, saying: “The people who slammed me early on because they thought I was copying Stevie Ray Vaughan were acting out of jealousy to some degree. Perhaps they wish that their own career had gone a little bit further, so they despise you for yours. I was sensitive at first, but I had the entire Double Trouble band on my second album, and their approval definitely outweighed the negative vibe some people tried to lay on me.”

It’s easy to see where he’s coming from – it’s hard to find any blues-rocker who can say they aren’t at least in part influenced by SRV, and Shepherd is certainly an accomplished musician in his own right.

He also spoke about the gear he employed on his latest record, The Traveller: “After 30 years of this, I think I’ve honed in on what works for me, which is the Strats I’ve been using for years – although there is an ES-335 on there that Gibson gave me as well. I brought in my two original Uni-Vibe pedals, one of which was allegedly originally owned by Jimi Hendrix, so that was great. As a result, there’s a lot of Uni-Vibe.”

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