As a renowned hot-rodder and speed-freak, perhaps it’s apt that Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s musical career has no reverse gear. Awards, acclaim and platinum album sales flash by in a blur. No doubt, Lay It On Down is an of-the-moment album that invites the listener into Shepherd’s headspace as he reaches the age of 40. Yet on songs like Louisiana Rain – saluting the home-state where Shepherd came up as the music-obsessed son of a radio station magnate – this fascinating album also joins the dots to the formative events that led him here. “That song is personal,” he nods. “It’s written from my experience. Because no matter where I go in the world, there’s always something that brings me back to Louisiana. That place will always be my home.” In January 2017, when Shepherd and his band entered the Echophone Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana, the mission statement was nothing if not ambitious. The greatest songs of Shepherd’s career. No more. No less. “The point of this album,” he says, “was that I wanted to put a heavy emphasis on the songs themselves and the writing behind them. I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words.” True to the brief, Lay It On Down is a tracklisting that runs the musical gamut, with songs that will be embraced by Shepherd’s long-standing fans, alongside moments that strike out in fresh directions.