Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

Joe Louis Walker Playing The Convent Live

The Convent, Stroud tonight makes a beautiful and gospel fused arena for Joe Louis Walker to play his stuff, his tour of England drawing to close tonight. The multiple music award winner is bringing his message of the blues to the audience in the venue and further afield, thanks to the wonderous service they provide Netgig. Joe Louis Walker is no bluesman that confirms he mixes it up as his current album Everybody Wants a Piece demonstrates. It is unsurprising that within the magnificent licks and riffs we hear homage to the British Blues revolution of the 1960’s and the myriad of greats he has played with, from Jimi Hendrix to Miles Davis, Mike Bloomfield and John Lee Hooker and the blues giants BB King and Muddy Waters. He has been there and played his guitar with passion and pride.

The band steps on the stage in front of the altar to pay homage to live music’s power and devil magic. The Drum picks up the rhythm as Joe introduces the band on bass played with the greats including Bo Diddley and Solomon Burke is Lenny Bradford. Drummer Byron Cage and laying down the rhythm organ and keys Travis Reed now a trio of sound laid down for Joe Louis who joined in with his guitar, with vocals introduced last as the groove deepens and the vibe is heating up. The Gibson sound is crystal clear and as the instruments play they are definitely not Messin’ Around this is a quartet playing tighter than tight. The business tonight is music, blues infused with roots and all that jazz. Travis moves off electric and plays The Convent’s Grand Piano as the Jazz infusion cools the licks down as the blues shuffle in with Albert Collins T-Bone Shuffle instrumental which has Joe Louis playing the Gibson into white-hot blues – he is the Satriani of the Blues with virtuoso playing. The dexterity and lightness of touch with deep tones and sharp textures are mind-blowing. A Masterclass. A change of mood with an old time foot tapping Rock n Roll song Don’t Let Go. Timing, harmonization makes every song special with its own character and beauty. Joe Louis Walker reminds me of Lucky Peterson with his relaxed fluidity and consummate professionalism mixing to entertain and delight with every note played. Now a track off his current album, Everybody Wants A Piece, One Sunny Day; he continues to dip into the album throughout the evening no hard sell just quality tracks.

Dedicated to guitarist Earl Zebedee Hooker cousin of John Lee Hooker, who played on many hits and a special slide guitar. Matching Earl is Joe Louis, slide work stingily sharp hitting the music vibrator in your spine and making hairs stand up at the back of your neck with delight. Joe Louis, making the guitar talk with crying pain then a gentle reprise to soften the hurt and anguish, leading into the spiritually up lifting, Wade In The Water from his current album. We are all wading in the delights of Joe Louis and his band tonight at The Convent. He recalls “Been a while since I played in Church but coming back now as we get back to the blues” with his own number Ain’t That Cold; the grand piano was soulful in its blues. In the inspirational In The Morning When I Rise, the guitar makes a glorious sound the beat curls around and the guitar soars up high into the Chapel as they sing ‘ I kneel Down and Pray’, the altar a perfect backdrop. The electric organ solo takes over as Joe & Lenny swing in harmony this is live music that catches deep in your solar plexus. The music has pure soul with a lightest touch of a reggae ambiance.

JoeLouisWalker_01_byMarilynStringerInto the jam add The Kinks’ You really Got Me then the riff died away and the music flowed, Joe and Lenny dancing and the piano leading the melody, music that is sassy, live and fun as they sung Too Drunk To Drive. We are definitely drunk on the glories of blues / Rock n’ Roll in the hands of the maestro that is Joe Louis Walker.

The encore is a smoking walking blues medley, Down, Down with a cheeky electric organ kick and the mesmeric, stunning virtuoso guitar from Joe Louis Walker on his Gibson. Contemporary blues at home in the vaulted Convent auditorium.

Read the Conversation with Joe Louis Walker before this show – HERE

Conversation with Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants a Piece

Everybody Wants a Piece Interview Joe Louis Walker

Everybody Wants a Piece Interview Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK SummerBD: Big thank you for taking time out of your busy UK tour to chat with Bluesdoodles. It was a real privilege when Mascot gave Bluesdoodles the opportunity to review Everybody Wants A Piece album

JLW: Happy to chat we are at the lovely venue The Convent. Had a good English breakfast and yesterday we had a day off and got to see Stonehenge. So things always work out when plans change.

 

BD: Lets start at the beginning. What were your musical influences growing up on the West Coast, in San Franciso?
JLW: There has been quite a few, music is a constant influence. My first though is definitely my Father. He was from the South and grew up in the area where lots of the old blues guys came from, ploughing in the fields with Howlin’ Wolf. From a very young age the music was just there. It was a Mum and Dad thing, they listened to music on the record player and I was the kid that gravitated to music. It was definitely Mother and Father influences that set me on the trajectory as I was attuned to the music it was a form of happiness and comfort as a kid. I wondered how music came out of the record player, how you made music. Other friends played football, I wanted a guitar to figure out how they did it and made that sound. At school we had the opportunity to borrow instruments. The guitar was always in high demand and checked-out of the loan system like the favourite book in a library! My parents couldn’t afford to buy me one, so I tried out other instruments the violin, then the accordion and the Harp. I was okay on the violin I still have one at home but the guitar captured my imagination. By the age of fourteen I was playing the guitar.

BD: Blues runs deep and you have collaborated with a diverse group of first-class artists including Buddy Guy, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Bonnie Raitt to name a few. Everyone likes to read about a good or bad experience of collaboration what are your recollections?
JLW: Wow collaboration. I have been fortunate and have collaborated with so many of the greats. The list is huge including John Lee Hooker and Herbie Hancock. I am really a student of music for my whole life learning, absorbing from the likes of Ike Turner. I was affected by BB King & Willie Dixon they shared so much learning about music and so much more. How to travel, manage pay roll taxes and conduct yourself on stage and above all simple tips like tucking shirt into underpants so it doesn’t ride up over your trousers on stage. Simple stuff but invaluable. Collaboration is the exchange of ideas and style developing your music and working together. Collaboration gives you a road map – follow the right road, not the wrong road as gospel music says.

The adversity that the old guys went through was incomprehensible but it made the blues. My Dad laughed when I was 13/14 years old at guys coming over and playing the blues and younger guys like Bo Diddley. He said about Yardbirds why white guys want to play the blues. We are trying to get away to make money it was frowned upon as this poor people music. Real Blues guys at the time were not popular. Those who really appreciated them were young English white guys they digged the blues, wanted to know the blues. For the guys who wrote the music, it wasn’t commercial. The likes of Chuck Berry would find out that his songs were number 1 all over the world, but not by you! Accepting someone else enjoying more success with your material than you, that you invented it hurts right. It is the dichotomy of the blues. Some were accepting the likes of Muddy and BB. Being bitter just eats you up inside. Better to celebrate the music that was “inclusive” speaking to the whole world. Not pure, but mixed-up, re-packaged, redone.
Music is and always will be art that speaks to the soul. Ground breakers including, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies all spoke the language we wanted to hear. Music connects us brings us all together. Reacts to politics, relationships, life all put into music.

If you put into a room every type of musician – classical, rap, hip hop, jazz and are asked to play one song I can guarantee (laughing) yes guarantee it will be the Blues. Why? It is the Common denominator the root of modern music.

BD: Tell our readers about the inspiration of the album Everybody Wants A Piece and does the title reflect how you feel?
JWL: The title is not about me but the Hi-tech world we live in. It is the observation that in the age of the internet we look at so much and feel we should have so much, should be better. Everybody wants a bit of fame, happiness riches. Everybody Wants A Piece is a trajectory of how to get to this by trying this and that to achieve success. Being successful is a huge driver, to have mega riches, mega this and mega that through mega promotions. I know people who are fabulously famous but trapped in a gilded cage. Everybody Wants A Piece of that fame. You can also superimpose the title onto lots of things it is generic making it for a songwriter a cool thing.

On the album, the band and myself played and sung everything, no out of town backing singers or extra musicians. We played in the studio and it was recorded this was the way I grew up making records. There has been recording studio battles regarding separation with the guitarist in one booth and each person separated. I was recording twenty years ago when Scotty Moore, the recording engineer who also backed Elvis Presley in the early days; I went to look where to stand behind a screen and he said “No. Stand in the middle.” I asked what about the bleeding of guitar on drums, Scotty said the bleeds we love it. Elvis, Fats Domino all did it this way with often just one microphone in the middle of the room. Mistakes, as Miles Davis said there are no mistakes. It is just jazz if there is a mistake it makes music real. If it (recorded music) is too perfect it is not human just technical. They used a pitch blender to get a single note in a sequence perfect by isolating it if too flat or sharp. Auto-tuning takes the meaning out of singing. I like my music real and that is what we achieved in the mix of styles of Everybody Wants A Piece.

BD: Tell us a bit about the band
JWL:
Played together over the years. Lenny Bradford on Bass has been with me for 7-8 years. Played with Bo Diddly, Moody Blues and many more, so brings deep bass grooves. Completing the rhythm section is drummer Byron Cage who is like a son. Then on keys on the album I had a choice of two, Phillip Young and Jimmy Smith. The band is like a rotating family we have covered a lot of space over the years. The musicians reflect the lot of variety there is in roots music. Not pure blues from the likes of Chicago /Mississippi but blues that is of my generations. Younger people growing up with wider influences rock, pop and FM radio, festivals such as Monterey when I was growing up in San Francisco. We were always discovering things. Grateful Dead lived up the road, Sly Stone. Then there were the blues guys coming out and gigs where it was a mix of styles like Jefferson Aeroplane, or James Cotton a Jazz quartet. I have been fortunate to have experienced a full dose of everything musical. All shape who I am today. I have never been a blues player, I have listened and played jazz, rock-blues. Perfect education as I listened to all styles, keep your ears, heart and mind open is how you learn. I like Peter Green as much as I like Sun Seals or George Jones almost as much as Howlin [Wolf]; John Lee Hooker as much as BB [King] and Bob Marley as much as Gil Scott-Heron and so on. I enjoy all music whether heard in Synagogue, Nashville, Mississippi it makes no difference music connects. Musicians love to meet up and discuss music across the genres.

BD: I have always been interested in the lyrics of a song. Where do you get your inspiration for your songwriting? Is it always personal?
JWL:
The guitar captured my imagination. Not everyone gets the intricacy of a musician playing. Whereas the spoken word is the first to grab your attention so lyrics are vital. The first rhythm that people hear is the drums. The chords shape the mood Majors are uplifting Minors associated with not being so happy. Chuck Berry’s Back In USA and Sweet Sixteen are in Major chords and push the blues. A sad lyric will always have a minor chord. Lyrics and the voice is how we communicate the feeling, via the message of the lyrics. Vocals communicate when softly sung or really hard you don’t learn when to use which approach overnight it is by trial and error and lots of practice. You can draw the crowds in with both harsh and soft when you get it right.
Lyrics get inspiration everywhere from sayings. In the past when in England band travelled in the van, I took the train. The Rhythm of the train, click of the wheels and conversations heard were all inspiring. Some are topical, others autobiographical. Sayings for me are interesting the little things people say like ‘Lie’. Lie your pants on fire, Inspiration can be found when you pick up the paper. So much to do and say it is about keeping your eyes, ears and mind open and let the inspiration flow in. The world is rich with so much, full of communicating. If you sing about being happy or life’s tribulations 9 out of 10 people listening will have been through it too. Anyone can then relate to the lyrics you are communicating. Two trains are running, but one ain’t going in my direction. So do what you want to do take your own road.

BD: Tell Bluesdoodles readers about Blues For Peace the grass root movement you are involved with?
JWL:
Started when my friend Michael Packer. Michael is the same generation lived through the 1960’s we had to march and demonstrate for women’s rights, interracial relationships, anti-Vietnam protests. Right now especially in the last ten years, there has been incredible divisions in society, they are harmful. Beheadings on the internet, blowing up buildings, music venues such as Bataclan in Paris, we have politicians who are incredibly narcissistic talking about dropping a nuclear bomb on Europe. It is so negative. So how can we counteract and not be negative? We can Do Blues for Peace. Then partnered by UNHCR by Unesco and UN with 200 countries linked playing Blues for Peace from Israel to China to Lebanon. The loudest voice the craziest acts get noticed with 24-hour news the biggest gets the most attention. Blues for Peace is part of a conversation to negate this every little bit helps. The majority of people in every country, from every religion, wants to live life peacefully get along with it. They do not go to bed worrying about gays marrying or refugees getting into their homes it is just certain segments of politicians and sections of religion. Blues for Peace is carrying on the message of John Lennon, Give Peace a Chance, Bob Dylan Blowing in The Wind, Jimi Hendrix Peace Sign etc.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
JWL
: Now that is a good question and a trick question what is a perfect band? It has been done putting together a bunch of stars and they suck as a band. A band is a group of musicians and personalities that work together. Now Muddy Waters first band that was something everybody playing its part. Put together greatest Rock n Roll band they would have to want to play collectively. In reality, they would argue about what the band should play, who takes the lead and the interpretation of the song. Yes for me it was Muddy Water’s first band that really shone.

JoeLouisWalker_01_byMarilynStringerThank you so much, Joe Louis, for taking the time for such and in-depth conversation about music, the world, peace and so much more.

Last night of the tour 13th June The Convent catch it live in Stroud or via Netgig wherever you are

Bluesdoodles review of Everybody Wants A Piece – HERE

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK Summer, announces a 5 date tour

Thursday 9th June – Dingwalls, London – TICKETS £22 Adv

Friday 10th June – Worthing Pier’ Southern Pavilion, Worthing – TICKETS £29.70 Adv

Saturday 11th June – The Brook, Southampton w/Cisco Bluesman –TICKETS  £15 Adv

Sunday 12th June – The Globe, Cardiff w/The Mojo Sinners –TICKETS  £16.50 Adv

Monday 13th June – The Convent, Stroud – TICKETS £11.25 Adv

 

Joe Louis Walker Adding Blues to UK SummerNEW STUDIO ALBUM ‘EVERYBODY WANTS A PIECE’ OUT NOW ON PROVOGUE/MASCOT LABEL GROUP

“album that is a powerhouse of blues that rocks, rolls and thrills” Bluesdoodles Read the rest of the review HERE

“Compelling prospect” Daily Mirror

“A stunner, powered by feel and wonderfully emotive solo after solo” The Blues

“Blues aficionados should be in heaven” Powerplay

 

 

 

Listen to Everybody Wants A Piece

Watch the Lyric Video One Sunny Day then buy a ticket

live Joe Louis Walker will stun you with thrilling Blues

 

JoeLouisWalker_01_byMarilynStringer

Following on from the release of his latest album Everybody Wants A Piece on Provogue/Mascot Label Group, Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker will be returning to the UK for 5 special shows.

His new album cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the blues.  Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures, than from my success. But that’s made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.'”

 

Always an artist deeply expressive lyrically, Walker continues to write and sing about themes that are universal.  On “Black & Blue” he talks about a love affair that’s falling apart, but there’s an effort to keep it going.  He offers, “The lyric ‘Let’s find a quiet place, A place out of town…We Need to talk this thru, Be honest & True’ says it all in trying to save the relationship.”  He cites the title track as a composition that might not have a deep meaning, but in presenting the thought, “Everybody wants a piece of your love,” offers a double entendre that speaks for itself.  With a deep history and background in gospel, Walker looks towards Wade in the Water” as an instant all-time favorite.  He reveals, “The inspirational lyric ‘The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL” is expressing my belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can’t.”

 

A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans.  Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.

 

Album Pre-order HERE

CD Review: Joe Louis Walker ~ Everybody Wants A Piece

Joe Louis WalkerJoe Louis Walker
Everybody Wants A Piece
Provogue/Mascot Label Group

 

 

 

An album that is a powerhouse of blues that rocks, rolls and thrills as the eleven tracks have real attitude but never strays from quality blues that you simply have to sit back, listen and enjoy you will be smiling by the end of the album. Joe Louis Walker sums it nicely yes Everyone Wants A Piece of this album you want not just a snippet but the whole album in your collection to listen to anytime! Anywhere! Night or day!

Opening with the title tracks the drums drive the guitar and the music swells as the Blues Hall Of Fame Joe Louis Walker sets down from the off this is blues his style! There is a buzz and attitude as he bends and shapes old style electric blues with the sweep of chords from keys and the six strings ablaze with a sting that pulls the lyrics onto centre stage. The lead breaks are crisp and just leave you wanting more timing is all in music that energises through control, there is no rest as the licks pour out this is a number that gives you a piece of blues magic. There will be no peace while listening as the tempo picks up pace with Buzz On You a drinking good time number that makes you get up and boogie.

The bass intro and slower tempo gives a darker feel to Black On Blue this is a breather and not as happy as the rest of the album, a love affair falling apart is never a good place to be. The sadness of this track moves on to Witchcraft a funky soulful laid back number that is full of the darkest voodoo blues. No blues album is complete without gospel inspired numbers and these reflect Joe Louis Walker’s deeply held beliefs with Gospel Blues an organ inspired instrumental that takes you on a deeply moving a spiritual journey with the whine of the six strings and gentle percussive feel.  Wade Into The Water continues the spiritual journey that is relevant for everyone a moment to reflect as he sings ‘The water is deep, the water is cold, it chills my body, BUT NOT MY SOUL” is expressing his belief that the spiritual will carry you through when the physical can’t. Then back to the signature feel of the albums blues that boogie with funky soul Man of Many Words celebrating the power of words. Then we are at the last two tracks Young Girls Blues and 35 Years Old as the music flows and the album fills your music soul full of blues that connects, makes you laugh, smile, think and dance what a perfect mix to enjoy yourself.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Everyone Wants A Piece
  2. Do I Love Her
  3. Buzz On You
  4. Black & Blue
  5. Witchcraft
  6. One Sunny Day
  7. Gospel Blues
  8. Wade In the Water
  9. Man Of Many Words
  10. Young Girls Blues
  11. 35 Years Old