Sideman Spotlight: Kevin Post of Blake Shelton’s Band

Kevin Post has one of the most coveted gigs in all of country music. As a guitarist and steel player in Blake Shelton’s band, he has had the opportunity to play some of the biggest arenas in the world. He’s jammed onstage with his musical heroes, and it’s not uncommon to find him performing for millions of people on television.

But there’s far more to this Texan than just a gunslinger behind country’s biggest superstar. Post, who is working on a follow-up to his debut solo album, also loves his boutique guitar gear and is passionate about a player’s connection to their instrument. And he just may be the most die-hard Stevie Ray Vaughan fan in Nashville.

Reverb got the chance to chat with Post from his home studio about what got him to where he is today, his love for all things SRV, and of course, what it’s like playing for one of the most popular singers in America today.

Tell me a little about where you’re from. Are you from a musical family?

Well, I’m from San Antonio, Texas and I did not have a musical family. But I distinctly remember the Stratocaster. Not only were Stevie Ray and Eddie Van Halen both playing different versions of the Stratocaster, but my neighbor had one and I just thought it was really cool. I started mowing lawns one summer to get a Stratocaster, which I did. And somehow I ended up in Nashville playing country music.

What got you into playing the pedal steel?

If you wanted to play professionally in south Texas, you got with a country band. So I got with a band that was all young guys, and we wanted a steel guitar player. So I just said, “hey, I’ll go buy a steel guitar and I’ll play it,” having no idea how hard it would be. So I went out and bought one.

How did you end up moving to Nashville? Did you make the trek alone?

Yes I did. The Texas music scene had not taken off yet. Nashville was booming. To me it looked like, if a guy wants to make a living as a musician, you go where music’s being made. And that was a thousand-mile drive up to Guitar Town in a Ford ranger with a busted out window. I played with whoever would have me for about 10 months. Then I got an audition with Terri Clark, and I got that job. And she of course took off and became a multi-platinum artist.

How long have you been playing with Blake Shelton, and how did that all start?

Seven years. I was playing with Terri Clark and we did a show with Blake. So I just introduced myself and said, "If you guys need any of my help, call me." It took a year before he called. They gave me an audition and it went well.

Seven years later you're still with Blake, and he’s at the top of the game right now.

Yeah. When I got the gig with Blake, his career was on a launch pad about to go into orbit. I had no idea. I just knew that I like his music, and he has a way with the crowd that not very many people have. Of course, what I didn't realize is how much that would translate on The Voice.

How has that affected your career?

I do get to fly out to Los Angeles and play steel guitar with “The Voice” house band, which is amazing. I actually got the opportunity last month to play with Ricky Skaggs with the house band. We got to rip some solos on the actual season finale. It was in front of 13 million people. Yeah, at 160 beats a minute. Totally live without a net. That’s some experience.

You released your first solo album Intoxicated & Broken Hearted a few years back. Do you plan to do anymore solo work?

I’m actually in my project studio at my house doing pre-production right now. This one will be more towards that type of production and singing style that might let me rip out some Stevie Ray on guitar. I literally have several Stratocasters that are setup specifically to get the Stevie Ray Vaughan sound. The day he died I was driving and I was listening to 99.5 Kiss, the rock station in San Antonio. When I got the news, I had to pull the truck over. I sat there in the parking lot at Central Park Mall and just cried.

What guitars do you tour with?

I’ve got this 1981, ’57 reissue Fender Stratocaster that’s amazing. It’s heavily modified, but it is a blues machine. I use 13 to 52 gauge strings. I've also got a ‘68 Telecaster. I've got two Gretsch 5620 Sparkles.

Fender '57 Stratocaster Reissue

Fender '57 Stratocaster Reissue

Fender '68 Telecaster

Fender '68 Telecaster

Gretsch 5620 Sparkle

Gretsch 5620 Sparkle

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top

Gibson Les Paul Gold Top

Gibson Les Paul with Bigsby

Gibson Les Paul with Bigsby

Fender Cabronita Telecaster

Fender Cabronita Telecaster

Collings D3

Collings D3

Martin d-28

Martin d-28

Banjitar

Banjitar

Do they have a Bigsby?

Of course. It's not a Gretsch without a Bigsby. One of my Teles that I love is one with a Warmoth neck. To me, the most important tone changer of a guitar is the neck. It defines the sound of the guitar more than anything.

Emmons LeGrande II

Emmons LeGrande II

What about your steel?

I have always played ZumSteel. They're the best steel guitars. They're not made anymore. The value's going through the roof. I also play an Emmons Le Grande II. That's my fly guitar. It’s a single neck that’s 30 pounds lighter.

And amplifiers?

I use two different amps for guitar primarily. One is Vintage Sound, which is a recreation of a Deluxe black face. But they make it in the head cabinet version which I like better. I also use a ValveTrain. They make a 30-watt amp called a Bennington that I really like. Some shows I use the Vintage Sound and some shows I use the ValveTrain. It's funny how some guitars sound better through one or the other amp. But it’s not necessarily the amp. It’s the relationship the player has with that guitar that counts the most. My focus has always been more on instruments than amps. Mostly because of watching Stevie Ray.

Vintage Sound Amp

Vintage Sound Amp

Valvetrain Bennington

Valvetrain Bennington

What's your pedalboard set-up?

I've been using a Vintage Sound 80-watt amp with the steel. The only effect I use is delay, and I don't even use much of that. With guitar I use several different overdrive pedals that I like. One pedal that sounds great is called a Twin Tube. That's a pretty cool pedal. I've got a Tube Screamer TS9. I've got a Timmy. That's one of my favorite overdrives for sure. And I use a Line 6 M9 as a delay pedal. I have a couple other pedals on there, but they don't get used very much.

Seymour Duncan Twin Tube

Seymour Duncan Twin Tube

Paul Cochrane Timmy

Paul Cochrane Timmy

Line 6 M9

Line 6 M9

Do you have any advice for aspiring guitarists that want to do what you've done?

Yes. I would say part of the most important thing you can ever do as a young musician is to get in a band and get gigs. That's the best way to get good at it. And being good at it is the best way to be successful at it.

If I told you 10 years ago that you would have the life you do now, what would you have said?

Bring it on!

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