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Joe Louis Walker

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Modern Blues Master

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Friday, Mar 7, 2014

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Joe Louis Walker

About Joe Louis Walker

Award-winning blues master and 2013 Blues Hall Of Fame inductee Joe Louis Walker released his new album, Hornet’s Nest, in February, 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. Featuring 12 songs, including nine new originals, the album 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 in 1949, 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 onstage with such disparate tutors as John Lee Hooker, Thelonious Monk, the Soul Stirrers, Steve Miller and Jimi Hendrix. And by the time he was 19 he had built a close friendship with Mike Bloomfield, his roommate for several years.

Bloomfield’s tragic early death persuaded the young Walker to change his life. He enrolled at San Francisco State University, earning degrees in music and English — 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, recording eleven albums, which provided entry 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 Center Awards, and performed on America’s most-watched late-night television shows.


What Other People Have Been Saying...

“Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty. A legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues.” – NPR Music