Album Reviews

Joe Louis Walker – The Best Of The Stony Plain Years (Stony Plain)

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Joe Louis Walker Stony PlainJoe Louis Walker is one of the most prolific and consistently creative artists on today’s blues scene. Walker’s latest recordings for Alligator Records, Hellfire and Hornet’s Nest, both showcase a lean, hard-edged sound that betrays a strong rock influence, but listeners who prefer Walker’s more traditional side will enjoy the new compilation The Best of the Stony Plain Years. Culled from three different albums, the compilation features Walker performing everything from swinging shuffles to gospel-tinged soul.

Although he’s a powerhouse singer and guitarist in his own right, Walker has always been generous about sharing the spotlight with other musicians. On the high energy tunes  “Eyes Like a Cat” and “Hustlin,” keyboardist Bruce Katz is given plenty of room to stretch out. When Walker sings. “I’ve been hustlin’ baby – hustlin’ my life away,” he’s got the years and the mileage to sound like he means it. The live tracks recorded during the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise offer further evidence of Walker’s gregarious spirit. A tightly honed three piece horn section adds heft to the spirited “Slow Down GTO.” When Walker invites Johnny Winter to lend his inimitable slide guitar to “Ain’t That Cold,” you can hear the reverence in his voice.

When a musician is as active as Joe Louis Walker, fans have no shortage of recordings to choose from. A deep respect for blues tradition and joyous ensemble playing make The Best of the Stony Plain Years worth seeking out.

– Jon Kleinman

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  1. […] Joe Louis Walker is one of the most prolific and creative artists on today’s blues scene.  Throughout his decades long career, Walker’s proven adept at performing music that spans the full blues spectrum. He brings passion and a deft touch to anything he performs, be it traditional acoustic blues or hard charging blues-rock. Walker’s last few releases have leaned towards the latter style, and Everybody Wants A Piece is no exception. While Walker doesn’t shy away from rock-tinged arrangements and guitar pyrotechnics, his voice has the power and the mileage to keep up with the crunching riffs and stinging solos. […]