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Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Release Date: 01/18/01
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 10 - Jan. 2001
JC-16KWS (Kenny Wayne Shepherd)

Martin honors blues phenomenon Kenny Wayne Shepherd with the introduction of the JC-16KWS Signature Edition. The JC-16KWS combines Martin’s jumbo body size with a rounded cutaway and onboard electronics, but it’s the "blue on black" appointments that make this guitar stand out in a crowd. The soundboard is finished with translucent gloss blue lacquer, while the back and sides are finished in polished gloss black. Each guitar will be numbered in sequence and personally signed by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and C.F. Martin IV. Kenny Wayne Shepherd "Blue On Black"

"...Blue on black, tears on a river..." — blues phenomenon Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s 1998 hit "Blue On Black" is filled with colorful imagery. Martin draws on that imagery in its new Kenny Wayne Shepherd Limited Edition Signature model JC-16KWS, creating a guitar as distinctive as the musician himself.

In five short years in the spotlight, Shepherd has demonstrated his guitar mastery on everything from Delta slide to Texas blues/rock. The results have been singles and albums that have crossed over to become mainstream hits. Already among the hottest young musicians around at age 23, he may just be getting started.

Shepherd has been working towards musical stardom most of his life. Exposed to a wide variety of music as a child, he found his calling at age seven, when he attended a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert. He got his first guitar soon after, and his passion for the blues and natural talent for playing quickly became apparent. He made his stage debut as a 13-year-old: guest appearances and jams with blues royalty soon made him a local legend.

With formation of the band that bears his name and release of his first album, "Ledbetter Heights," in 1995, Shepherd hit the big time. Three singles reached the "top 10" on the rock charts and the album remained No. 1 on the Billboard Magazine blues chart for five months. His playing moved from clubs to stadium gigs, opening for the Eagles and Bob Dylan.

"Trouble Is...," Shepherd’s second album, remained atop the Billboard Magazine blues chart for two years and yielded three No. 1 radio singles, including "Blue on Black," which became one of the most played songs of 1998. The song "Trouble Is..." also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1999. His "Live On" album, released late in 1999, has continued Shepherd’s hot streak, with the single "Last Goodbye" becoming a major hit in 2000.

Shepherd continues to hone his live act on tour, playing more than 200 shows a year. His work ethic, guitar chops and increasingly confident songwriting mark Kenny Wayne Shepherd as a major force on the blues scene for years to come.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Limited Edition Signature model JC-16KWS combines distinctive design and tonewoods with unique appointments. The rich, full tone of the jumbo cutaway shape is enhanced by solid tonewoods throughout; sapele back and sides for clarity and projection, Sitka spruce top for warmth. Martin’s patented "A-frame X" scalloped bracing enhances this unique voice. The genuine mahogany neck features standard 1-11/16th inch width and modified low oval profile for easy playing. But it’s the "blue on black" appointments that make this guitar stand out in a crowd. Black Boltaron® top and back bindings frame unique blue and black purfling on the top, back, and sides. The black Boltaron® endpiece is similarly framed. The soundhole rosette features an inlay of vibrant blue Paua shell, flanked by Style 45 inlay lines accentuated with blue fiber.

The black African ebony fingerboard also reflects the "blue on black" theme. Fretted with jumbo frets, it shines with position marker inlays of blue lapis "teardrops," each bordered with a thin band of pearl. Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s signature is inlaid between the 18th and 20th frets. The polished black African ebony headstock overlay highlights a contrasting silver foil Martin logo and Waverly® nickel-plated tuners with butterbean knobs. The black African ebony belly bridge is fitted with Style 42 black bridge pins with abalone dots. Both the nut and compensated saddle are crafted from genuine bone.

Perhaps the most stunning visual element is the finish: the soundboard of the JC-16KWS is finished with translucent gloss blue lacquer, while the back and sides are finished with polished gloss black lacquer. A polished and beveled black pickguard protects the top. Martin’s Thinline® Gold Plus Natural II electronics are installed in each guitar for impressive sound enhancement.

The interior label on each instrument is personally signed by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence. A hardshell case is included with each guitar. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Limited Edition Signature model will be donated to Providence House, a Shreveport, Louisiana shelter and development program for homeless families with children.

Orders for the JC-16KWS Kenny Wayne Shepherd Limited Edition Signature model will be accepted by Martin dealers and distributors for a limited time only. The size of the edition plus a list of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website at:

This information will also be available from Martin customer service at (800) 633-2060 (USA calls only) or at (610) 759-2837.

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