JOE LOUIS WALKER IS BETWEEN A ROCK AND THE BLUES ON NEW CD FROM STONY PLAIN RECORDS
ALBUM INCLUDES SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCES BY KEVIN EUBANKS AND DUKE ROBILLARD
JOE LOUIS WALKER NOMINATED FOR 5 BLUES MUSIC AWARDS
EDMONTON, AL – Stony Plain Records announces the release of Between a Rock and the Blues, the latest album from multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award-winner Joe Louis Walker, which features guest appearances by label mate Duke Robillard and former “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” music director and guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Ten of the album’s dozen tracks were produced by Duke Robillard and feature a core band of Walker and Robillard on guitars, Bruce Katz on keyboards, Jesse Williams on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, Doug James on sax, Carl Querfurth on trombone and Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica. Stony Plain Records is distributed in the U.S. by ADA.
Joe Louis Walker wrote or co-wrote five of the dozen tracks on Between a Rock and the Blues, including one of the album’s most powerful songs, “If There’s a Heaven,” which manages to combine both blues and gospel in one amazing brew. It also features some of the nastiest guitar work Walker has recorded in his career, tearing into both electric and slide guitar, while aided and abetted by Kevin Eubanks’ accompanying crunchy fretwork. Eubanks, who co-wrote “If There’s a Heaven,” also plays on another track he had a hand in writing with Walker, “I’ve Been Down.” Both of these songs were recorded at Kevin’s home studio and produced by JLW.
As the album’s title implies, Joe Louis Walker pushes the boundaries of the blues perhaps further than he ever has, creating an exhilarating sound that has an electrifying energy, while remaining firmly rooted in his foundation of blues, soul, gospel and R&B. Some of the other cover songs on Between a Rock and the Blues include Ray Charles’ “Blackjack,” Roy Gaines’ “Big Fine Woman” and Travis Phillips’ “Eyes Like a Cat.” JLW includes more contemporary songs written by Duke Robillard (“Tell Me Why”) and a song perfect for today’s economy, “Way Too Expensive,” written by Murali Coryell, son of the jazz/rock fusion guitar great Larry Coryell.
Blues Music Awards Nominee 2010 - 31st Blues Music Awards 2010
The Blues Foundation will present the Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, TN on May 6, 2010. Performers, industry representatives and fans from around the globe will have the chance to celebrate the best in Blues recording and performance from 2009.
Among those heading the list of honorees for the 31st Blues Music Awards is Joe Louis Walker, who garnered five nominations, including Album of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, Song of the Year for "I'm Tide" from his recent release Between a Rock and the Blues, Instrumentalist-Guitar of the Year, and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year.
Witness to the Blues, released one year ago on his debut for Stony Plain and also produced by Duke Robillard, generated enormous critical acclaim and hit #1 on the Living Blues magazine radio chart. It was recently voted as the fifth best blues album of the year in the annual Down Beat Critics’ Poll. “Joe Louis Walker has established himself as one of the preeminent bluesmen of his generation, an artist who has invariably manages to keep the music fresh,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer in its review. Blues Revue called him “one of contemporary blues’ most dynamic and innovative musicians, releasing consistently exciting music. No matter what he’s singing, Walker’s churchy approach is soulful, heartfelt and spellbinding.” And Blurt summed it up by declaring Walker “a phenomenal guitarist, a singer with a warm, soulful voice, a solid songwriter and a dynamic showman.”
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.” 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. A highlight of the CD is a killer duet with Shemekia Copeland on Lover’s Holiday.
The back up players are all musicians with long experience with Robillard, including horn players Doug James and Scott Aruda, Bruce Katz on keys, Jon Ross on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums. Robillard himself adds guitar parts on five cuts.
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.
Joe Louis Walker will tour internationally in support of the release of Between a Rock and the Blues, is booked by Rick Booth at Intrepid Artists (