Big Walter Smith celebrates life after achieving 55 years as a lead vocalist and band leader in the music business. Blues, R&B, soul, rock, country and reggae is what he sings about these days.
Big Walter’s music career began long before he landed in Minnesota. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1930. He moved to Kansas City, MO. where he met and helped a struggling Albert Collins becoming a life-long friend. He also worked parties with Albert King during the 1960s becoming a life-long friend with him also. He has shared stages with his other favorite’s B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland, whom Big Walter cites as his chief early influences.
Big Walter moved to Minneapolis in 1970 at the invitation of his friend and past band mate Damon Lee. He met his wife and band manager, Shirley, two months later and they’ve been together ever since. Big Walter sang in Damon’s band The Antares for nearly two years at Papa Joe’s Northern Supper Club in Minneapolis. Big Walter has had several other bands, Cross Roads, Big Walter Smith’s Blues revue, and Brass Magic, before settling on the Groove Merchants in 1985.