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Joe Louis Walker – Powerhouse Guitar Virtuoso

Joe Louis Walker – Blues Hall of Fame 

Joe Louis Walker is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner. Above all, he celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century.  Joe Louis Walker is one of the greatest bluesmen of his generation. Known worldwide as one of the genre’s top musical trailblazers—a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist.  In 2013, when The Blues Foundation inducted award-winning blues master Joe Louis Walker into The Blues Hall Of Fame, the recognition was humbling. “I am honored to be in the company of the great artists already inducted,” Walker said at the time. “I hope to live up to the honor.” Joining the ranks of previous inductees including B.B. King, Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf and other blues greats while still at the peak of his musical powers, is, as Walker says, “a dream come true.”

His Musical Beginnings

Born on December 25, 1949, in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again.

He formed the group the Boss Talkers and merged his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock genres.  These influences and his trademark blues sensibilities shine on recordings released by Polydor/Polygram.  These albums also feature Walker’s collaborations with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.  Walker has steadily released recordings since the turn of the millennium.

Advice for Future Generations

NPR Music has calls Walker “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues.” He’s a living legend within the blues world. likewise, Walker states, “I’d really like to inspire younger musicians to carry on the legacy of blues/roots music. But play and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. There’s no right, or wrong way. Just the way you wanna express yourself.  And above all, ENJOY YOURSELF.”

His Success

Walker had released 23 albums and toured the world virtually non-stop. He has garnered four Blues Music Awards (and has been nominated a whopping 52 times).  Walker holds an international reputation as one of the blues’ most prolific and talented stars. He’s also recorded as a guest with some of the blues world’s best-known artists. Makes appearances on Grammy-winning records by B.B. King and James Cotton. His Alligator debut, Hellfire, took the blues world by storm in 2012. He receives the Living Blues Critics’ Award for “Blues Album Of The Year.” The Chicago Tribune said, “His playing is ferocious. His solos spin wilder and wilder with the kind of fierce embellishments that Jimi Hendrix might’ve conjured.” The success of the album helps land Walker and his band on TBS’s “CONAN” to perform “Ride All Night.”

Walker’s audience continues to grow, as his touring schedule continues to expand. He’s plays all over the U.S. and Canada, major European festivals including The North Sea Jazz Festival. Other stops include Glastonbury, Notodden and Montreux, as well as festivals in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Ireland, Turkey, and Brazil. Now, with Hornet’s Nest, Walker is excited about bringing even more people to his music. “Blues is a big tent,” he says, “morphing into a bigger tent. Young folks like good blues when they hear it, and I’m here to make sure they listen.”  Now with 28 albums under his belt, we think he’s doing just fine! For more information on this iconic musician, Click here:


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