Willie's Latest Release - "If Nothing Ever Changes"
On his most recent release, If Nothing Ever Changes, Willie exhibits his mastery of the soul idiom. Opening with the catchy Miami soul song, “Read Between The Lines,” Walker can be an all-seeing spirited sage and then become the rogue in the Bobby Rush number, “I’ve Been Watching You.” Willie then comes back and interprets, “Not That I Care” a classic country song written by the great Cindy Walker, and makes one wonder why Ray Charles didn’t put it on either of his “Modern Sounds In Country & Western” LPs. Producer Rick Estrin’s “Is That It,” slides Willie into an uptown groove, which Walker handles with ease. His derision in that number is as believable as his heartache in the Cindy Walker song. His ability to convey the nuances of attitude and emotion between those two compositions are an example of Willie’s prowess as a soul singer.
Willie and the band take their stab on the bent, “Funky Way,” a lesser-known gem by Georgia born Calvin Arnold. Once again, Willie is acting as an ambassador of the South, spreading the honey. Walker reaches further east than Georgia, crossing the ocean and taking on the Beatles’ “Help” with the aid of west coaster Curtis Salgado. Back in 1967, Willie cut “Ticket To Ride” for Goldwax, so this isn’t really uncharted territory.But where Walker is really in the pocket are on the two Eddie Hinton songs, “Everybody Meets Mr. Blue,” and “Hymn for Lonely Hearts.” Hinton too was drenched in southern soul. The pairing of Eddie’s songs and Willie’s voice go together like biscuits and gravy.
(by Mike Elias, Barely Brothers Records. St. Paul, Minnesota)
Recently Released - Live on Highway 55 (Paul Metsa & Willie Walker)
Here's what you've got: two industry vets who've racked up more miles than a fleet of gypsy cabs; a batch of songs that have been etched into the collective consciousness as seminal hits, and then diminished by overexposure and karaoke indiginty; and cover art that evokes the nostalgia of getting kicks on Route 66........Walker & Metsa alchemize these elements into an entirely fresh and joyful road trip......
Live on Highway 55 press release Maximum Folk 1035/2013