Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Can’t Stop Now
Once I overcame my disappointment that pianist Kenny Wayne, despite being lauded as a boogie woogie man, actually performed in that style on just one number (the opening track, “Boogie Woogie Mama”), and was more interested in showing his broader interest in bluesy rock ’n’ roll, I found quite a bit to enjoy here. Two of the 64-year-old keyboardist’s main influences are Fats Domino and Johnnie Johnson, the pianist who was Chuck Berry’s main man for 28 years. Wayne has an easy-going style, which he shows off to good effect on Domino’s “You Can Pack Your Suitcase.” Tributes to Johnson include a version of his “Tanqueray” (a paean to that gin) and “Johnnie J. Was Good,” a rollicking reference to one of Berry’s biggest hits (“Johnny B. Goode”) for which Johnson was the inspiration. On the remaining eight songs—all originals—Wayne and his band (guitarist Rich McDonough enlivens the Johnson tributes while Jeff Healey guests on the ballad “You Cured My Blues”) work out on a variety of pop items that include “Raging Storm,” a critical look at the government’s response to Katrina, and the lilting “Don’t Cry,” which features a lovely sustained solo by Wayne.