Joe Louis Walker : Witness to the Blues

joe_louis_walker_witness.jpgJoe Louis Walker is indeed a Witness to the Blues.  It’s been said that only B.B. King has taken the blues further, and to more destinations, than Walker. With the release of Witness to the Blues, Walker proves to be just as vital as ever, continuing to redefine blues in the 21st century, just as he has throughout the past four decades.

Walker wrote the majority of the 11 tracks on Witness to the Blues, which also includes stellar takes on two traditional numbers – “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” and “Sugar Mama.” The disc also features Scott and Jo Jo Benson’s “Lover’s Holiday,” a duet with Shemekia Copeland that many listeners will consider the highlight of the CD.

Producer Duke Robillard is a major contributor to this project, bringing out the best in Walker. The result is a disc that recalls the heyday of the famed Stax label; a hard-edged collection of blues that finds Walker performing acoustic, electric and slide guitar, as well as several harmonica solos.

Backed by a band that includes Robillard on guitar, Jon Ross on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, and a horn section comprised of Doug James, Bruce Katz, and Scott Aruda, Walker once again continues to be a defining force in American blues music. While the traditional tunes may be the most instantly recognizable, Walker’s original material, such as “Midnight Train” and “I Got What You Need,” are traditional classics in the making, sure to be studied by students of the blues for many decades to come.

 Witness to the Blues is out now on Stony Plain.

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