Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg’s new group, the Rides, go pure, electrified Chicago blues on “Honeybee.” Taken from the upcoming episode of PBS’ Front and Center, the show was filmed at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club and finds the band in an intimate, energized performance.
The Rides push Muddy Waters‘ classic number to eight minutes of unadulterated jamming. Goldberg, who in his teens played with Muddy, gets the first spotlight, experimenting with quiet and chaos on his three keyboards. Then Stills turns in a soulful guitar solo that starts smooth, only to speed up to a classic Waters-style detonation. Shepherd, the youngest member of the trio, answers with his own solo, which flirts with classic progressions but also jumps into more jagged smashing.
Although Goldberg has the Muddy Waters pedigree, it was Shepherd who suggested that the band cover the song. In a release, Shepherd stated, “This was the first cover song I brought to the table. I love it because, unlike a lot of blues which are about the troubles in life, this song is about a guy who loves his woman and is running around town on the lookout. I am attracted to old blues songs that glorify women and relationships and look at them in a positive way.”
The song closes with all three jamming, in part working off each other’s vibe, but also as a sort of competition of decades and styles. Still, because each member has a huge grin on his face for nearly the entire performance, this is more camaraderie than contest.
The Rides episode of PBS’ Front and Center airs on November 16th. The band released their debut, Can’t Get Enough, in August.