Shane Theriot In Driver's Seat On Highway 90

Neville Brothers guitarist steps out with debut solo album.

Shane Theriot's guitar prowess has often been eclipsed by the projects he's participated in.

Not to say that his gig laying guitar grooves beneath the Neville Brothers' blend of world beats and N'awlins funk wasn't a fantastic opportunity to share the stage with musical royalty — and to travel the world. But with his solo debut, Highway 90 (Shose), Theriot (pronounced Terry-o) steps into the spotlight.

"I wanted to make a recording reflecting influences that I grew up around," the Louisiana native said. "Think John Scofield, or better, Jeff Beck, if he grew up in New Orleans. That was the sound I was going for."

Theriot pulled together a stellar crew to flesh out his tunes: Art Neville and drummer "Mean" Willie Green on loan from the Nevilles, accordionist Jo-El Sonnier, bassists Kim Stone and Victor Wooten, Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers) on organ and former Neville guitarist Eric Struthers as co-engineer and producer.

Highway 90 is a blend of rock grooves at the foundation, heavily laden with jazz and fusion overtones and peppered with second-line grooves — from the swinging "It Ain't My Fault" (RealAudio excerpt) that kicks off the disc, to the

straight-ahead "1321 N. Las Palmas." Tunes such as the aptly-named "Trashy" (RealAudio excerpt), "Bayou Chicken" and "Stampy" are perfect vehicles for Theriot's fiery tone and seductive phrasings.

Other standouts include the soft 'n' sultry "Shiho," written for Theriot's wife, and Sonnier's accordion riffin' on the title track. They even breath new life into Quincy Jones' "The Street Beater," better known as the TV theme to "Sanford & Son."

Prior to gigging with the Nevilles, Theriot spent time living and playing around the Los Angeles area. He relocated to Atlanta to teach at the Atlanta Music school, and eventually settled in Nashville. These days he splits his time between Nashville and New Orleans, juggling touring with the Nevilles and his own band and doing session work.

In a short in-store set at the Louisiana Music Factory during Jazz Fest, the trio — pulled together especially for the in-store and composed of Green on drums and Neville bandmate David Johnson on bass — showcased tunes from the new disc for a receptive audience. Theriot was on hand to promote not only the recording but also an instructional guitar book/CD he authored titled "New Orleans Funk Guitar Styles" (Warner Bros. Publications).