Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman  

What do Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd have in common?  Apparently, a love for classic cars, and the blues.  This unique formation along with Barry Goldberg have formed the super group, The Rides. 

The Rides cruised into Bethlehem to perform at The Sands Event Center Sunday night. Opening the show, solo performer, Hamish Anderson, set the tone with his blues compositions.  Anderson hails from Australia, and has gained quite a bit of notoriety as the future of blues music.  He also shares the honor along with Kenny Wayne Shepherd of those who have played with the late B.B. King. 

While The Rides maybe considered a newcomer band to some, they have two solid album releases under their belt, their debut, “Can’t Get Enough” released in 2013, and “Pierced Arrow” which was released earlier this month.  Giving us almost an hour and a half, the set was predominately new material that included, a soulful “By My Side”, a soft ballad, “Virtual World”, “Game On”, and “My Babe”. 

Rock pioneer, and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Stephen Stills kept the banter humorous and playful, often joking that his spot in the band should have been filled by a younger player.  But there was no mistake, his rich vocals and meaty solos in “Can’t Get Enough”, brought the house down.

In the early 90’s, Kenny Wayne Shepherd emerged onto the music scene, highly influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Shepherd rose to fame as a completely self taught guitarist and an accomplished vocalist and songwriter.  The Rides offer him the platform to let his best work shine, from the solos that softly breathe on their own, to the high fretted riffs that carry an intense punctuated scream.  Shepherd went first to draw from his catalog, “Blue on Black”, which carried a mellower vibe as time wore on from this 1997 hit song. 

Stills chimed in as he reached down deep to perform “Love The One You’re With”, as he exclaimed, “I promised I wouldn’t do those songs I’ve done for the last forty years.”  He paused. “There’s this one”.  The crowd rose to their feet, some dancing in front of  the stage. 

Barry Goldberg first got his taste of the blues growing up in Chicago, where as a teenager he played the keyboards with Muddy Waters, and Otis Rush. Goldberg provides the necessary anchor to The Rides on keyboards and piano swirling in between guitars and drums. 

There were a few surprises in store, as a few cover songs were thrown in the set, Gladys Night and The Pips hit, “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination”, started as The Rides huddled around the drum kit, then Shepherd reached out to the crowd to get the clapping started, and Goldberg matched the energy on keyboards. 

The encore closed with “Rockin’ in The Free World” and once again brought the crowd to their feet. 

The Rides are currently on tour promoting their latest album until early June.   For this super group, they are planting their roots deep in the blues, creating a new distinctive sound that truly is theirs and meant for all of us to embrace and enjoy. 

Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman  


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Learn more about Hamish Anderson


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