First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2008, Volume 15, #1
Written by John Metzger
Tue January 22, 2008, 04:15 PM CST
On his fifth studio effort, Seth Walker doesn’t exactly reinvent the blues, but he does make the case that he’s more than just another undisciplined disciple wandering through the genre’s longstanding legacy. The four cover songs that Walker tackles — Jimmy Reed’s I Know It’s a Sin, James Hunter’s Kick It Around, Dave Bartholomew’s By the Water, and Tom Waits’ Picture in a Frame — are perfectly chosen, and they subsequently serve as the cornerstones for his eponymous endeavor. These tracks not only provide familiar focal points in which his prospective fans can find their footing, but collectively, they also lend perspective to the proceedings. What is, perhaps, most remarkable about the outing, however, is how comfortably Walker’s own material sits alongside these tunes.
It helps considerably, of course, that Walker keeps his self-titled affair interesting by jumbling the moods and textures, while trying an array of different styles on for size. During the opening cut Change My Way, for example, he smashes the ghostly clatter of John Lee Hooker into the brawling, Texas-born grit of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just as effortlessly, he slips into the graceful, easy-going rhythmic sway of So Far Gone, which, in turn, establishes the perfect entree to his Ray Charles-infused interpretation of Picture in a Frame. With some assistance from harmonica player Kim Wilson and pianist Floyd Domino, Walker makes the most of his eponymous effort by giving his songs a well-worn air. Although his travels don’t lead him to discover any unexplored terrain, he does succeed in bending the blues to his will.
Seth Walker's self-titled album is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box