Joe Louis Walker
Award-winning blues master, Blues Hall Of Fame member and Alligator recording artist Joe Louis Walker will release his new album, Hornet's Nest, on February 25, 2014.
Walker is among the greatest bluesmen of his generation. He is known worldwide as one of the genre's top musical trailblazers - a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist. On his dynamic new CD, Walker's music is equal parts rock ‘n' roll fire and blistering, passionate blues.
Hornet's Nest was recorded in Nashville and produced by songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (producer of James Cotton's Grammy-nominated "Cotton Mouth Man", Buddy Guy's Grammy-winning CDs "Skin Deep" and "Living Proof", as well as albums for Susan Tedeschi, George Thorogood and Walker's previous CD, "Hellfire"). Hornet's Nest -- featuring 12 songs, including nine new originals -- blends Walker's boundless energy and his myriad influences into a contemporary blues tour-de-force. His always-inventive guitar playing is matched note-for-note by his fervent vocals.
From menacing, hard rocking electric blues to cool Memphis funk to R&B rave-ups to Sunday morning gospel, Walker's blues-fierce and untamed, adventurous and fun -- continue to define the genre.
In many ways, Walker’s story is unusual.
Born in San Francisco (on Christmas Day 1949 and now based in Westchester, New York, he was part of the Bay area blues scene in his early teens, and by the time he was 16 he had soaked up the sounds of the likes of T-Bone Walker, Amos Milburn, and boogie woogie pioneers Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson. As he grew up, he found himself on stage with such disparate tutors as John Lee Hooker, Thelonius Monk, the Soul Stirrers, Steve Miller and Jimi Hendrix. And by the time he was 19 he had built a close friendship — they were roommates for many years — with Mike Bloomfield.
Bloomfield’s tragic early death persuaded the young Walker to change his life. He enrolled at San Francisco State University, earning music and English degrees — and performing regularly with a gospel group, The Spiritual Corinthians.
In 1985, he came back to the blues, fronting a new band he called The Bosstalkers, ands making the first of five albums for the Hightone label, before signing to PolyGram’s Verve/Gitanes label, for who he recorded another six albums.
These records served as an entrée into the European market. Sterling appearances at major festivals throughout Europe (North Sea Jazz, Glastonbury, Nottoden and Montreux among them) led to further tours and festivals in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Ireland, Turkey and Brazil.
Along the way he played President George Bush’s inauguration, helped President Bill Clinton induct B.B. King into the Kennedy Centre Awards, and performed on America’s most-watched late-night television shows.
Joe Louis Walker is a walking encyclopedia of blues history, and blues vocal and guitar styles. In fact, one of the very few who can match his eclectic tastes in music is Duke Robillard, the veteran guitarist who founded Roomful of Blues when he was a teenager, and who has made a dozen albums for Stony Plain.
Holger Petersen, who heads the Canadian-based roots label, was delighted by the choice of Robillard as producer for Witness for the Blues (2008). And for Robillard, the sessions were a joy. “There’s a lot of diversity on this CD, yet it hangs together really well.”
The material — more than half the 11 tracks were written by Walker — includes two traditional blues pieces (Sugar Mama and Rollin’ and Tumblin’) which he completely transforms.
In 2012 he featured Hellfire the debut album with Alligator Record. Produced by songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge Hellfire burns with rock energy and intense blues feeling. Walker, who wrote or co-wrote seven of the CD’s eleven tracks, says it’s the hardest rocking and most deeply soulful album of his career.
Both vocally and instrumentally, Joe Louis Walker is indeed a witness for the blues, and the creative, sometimes startling approach to America’s most significant music holds a bright lantern for others to follow.
"Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty. A legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues."
"Fine and fierce...gritty gutbucket blues, joyous Stones-style rock and aching R&B."
"Commanding and wide-ranging blues-rock...sheer passion and defiant authenticity."
official website: joelouiswalker.com/
Joe Louis WLAKER - guitar, lead vocal
Todd SHARPVILLE - guitar
Mark MONDESIR - drums
Matthew GEST - hammond, keyboard
Scott WIBER - bass
To know more: Read Joe Louis Walker's article and reviews
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