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The Rides hit the road yet again

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016

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The Rides started as something of a test drive.

But it didn't take long before the all-star trio Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg realized the journey would continue -- including this week's release of the group's second album, "Pierced Arrow.".

"We had a really great time making the first record (2013's 'Can't Get Enough'), and then we went out an did a tour and that was when we knew for sure that we were gonna make a second album," Shepherd, 38, says by phone from a tour stop in Milwaukee. "We weren't a week or two into the tour before we started talking about plans for the next album. We just had so much fun, man."

"Pierced Arrow" -- which comes out Friday, May 6 -- features another 10 tracks from the trio, including covers of Willie Dixon's "My Babe" and Gladys Knight's "Use My Imagination," which Goldberg wrote. The recording was relatively straightforward, according to Shepherd -- who first met Stills about 10 years ago -- but while he and Stills continued to evolve as a guitar tandem it was the singing that really developed on the new set.

"I sing more in this band than I sing in my own band, which is kind of a baffling thought," Shepherd notes. "Stephen has really encouraged me to sing more and more, and he's really pushed me and encouraged me, and as a result I feel more comfortable singing now than I have before.

"We did this thing on (the track) 'Virtual World' where Stephen led me through this harmony part through the entire song. To hear my voice blending with his was just so magical to me, 'cause the kind of people that do that with this guy are, like, Neil Young, Graham Nash, David Crosby -- and now you add my name to that list, which I thought was pretty cool."

Shepherd and Goldberg, meanwhile, owe Crosby a kind of debt these days. Because he's at odds with Young and Nash, everybody in that musical collective has gone their own way for the moment, freeing Stills to spend more time with The Rides.

"You can never anticipate something like that happening," Shepherd says. "Bands are like family, and family members end up having conflicts at some point,and those guys are no stranger to conflict.

"But that's one thing that doesn't exist in (The Rides), at least between the three of us. Everyone leaves the drama at home, and I think that's one of the reasons we all have such a good time. We try not to take it too seriously; We want to make great music, but it's all about having fun. As long as it's fun I think we'll want to continue doing it."

The Rides

8 p.m. Friday, May 6.

The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.

Tickets are $29.50-$99.50.

Call 734-668-8397 or visit michtheater.org.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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