Wee Willie Walker

SOUL SURVIVOR - SOUL LEGEND

Willie is the winner of TWO 2016 Living Blues Music Awards! Critics' Poll - COMEBACK ARTIST OF THE YEAR and Best Blues Album of 2015 - NEW RECORDINGS / SOUTHERN SOUL for his Little Village Foundation release "If Nothing Ever Changes"

 

Willie Walker Tours Brazil!

We here at Willie Walker Headquarters are thrilled to announce that Willie will be heading to South America where he will hit the road with the Brazil-based Igor Prado Band!

A deep traditional blues and West Coast swing player, guitarist Igor Prado - along with his band - has toured internationally with such American blues luminaries as Rick Estrin, Curtis Salgado, Lynwood Slim, Mark Hummel and Junior Watson, just to name a few.

The band's recordings have landed them on more "Best Of" lists than can be counted.....

In 2012, Igor Prado launched the ambitious "Blues & Soul Sessions" which featured artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tia Carroll, JJ Jackson, Sax Gordon, Greg Wilson and Donny Nichilo among others in a real tribute to Blues and Soul music of the '60s and '70s.  Recorded live on analog tape, the album was a massive critical success despite having only been released in South America.  So powerful was this recording that it was voted "Album of the Year" by the American blues website Blues Junction and was nominated in the "Bravo" category by Blues Revue magazine alongside releases from Ben Harper, harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite and Gary Clark, Jr.!

Willie is thrilled to have this opportunity and we are hoping to keep you updated while he is off on his Brazilian adventure......stay tuned!

http://igorpradoband.com/

 

Willie Walker part of "Sights, Sounds & Soul-Twin Cities Through The Lens of Charles Chamblis" exhibit at the Minnesota History Center

From family reunions to the nightclub scene, there is no one who documented the Twin Cities Black community like Charles Chamblis. Affectionately called “The Pictureman,” he had a passion for photography and a knack for being everywhere at the right time. View more than 60 images from the 1970s and '80s, alongside artifacts including suits worn by Prince and Jellybean Johnson in the movie Purple Rain.  As an integral part of the music scene in the Twin Cities during this period, Willie is featured in several photographs in the collection.  This is a wonderful exhibit and is not to be missed!

As a young boy, Willie Walker realized that he had voice when his sister, Josephine, said, “You sound good!” At age 16, enchanted by Minnesota’s beauty, he quit his touring gospel group and Memphis. That same year (1959) a strange thing happened in a laundromat. Timothy Eason of the original Valdons just walked up to his soon-to-be bandmate and remarked, “You look like you can sing.” Audiences internationally have experienced the depth of Willie’s answer ever since.

The Exciter’s drummer Herman Jones put an otherworldly value on Willie’s charisma and Sam Cooke-like voice that caused women to “just faint!” It was like [Willie] was made out of pure, liquid gold,” he told Secret Stash in 2012. Nevertheless, beginning in the mid-1970s, Willie left the music industry and the stress of a bandleader for a nine-to-five day job.

Perhaps, moments like this brought him back after 17 years: When the first notes of “A Change is Gonna Come” sounded during his Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2013 induction performance, Willie said: “Everybody knew what I was going to do and just screamed. That was a good feeling. . . .The song is so subtle , but the meaning, the message comes through so clear.”

http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/chamblis

The exhibit runs through January 4th, 2015

Willie Records with Rick Estrin & The Nightcats and Special Guests

Willie will be recording at Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California this week!  Along the way, Willie has made many friends and this project is the result of one such encounter....harmonica great Rick Estrin of the NIghtcats will produce this session and joining Rick will be heavyweight guitarist and bandmate Kid Anderson at the helm. Backing Willie on this historic recording will be a who's who of the contemporary blues scene: Lorenzo Farrell & J Hansen of the NIghtcats, keyboardist Jimmy Pugh, bassist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds Randy Bermudes and guitarists Rusty Zinn and Bob Welsh.  Also appearing will be very special guest Curtis Salgado.....stay tuned as we launch our indiegogo campaign - we hope you will be a part of making this project happen!

Kozlak's Royal Oak to close.....

The long-running supper club in Shoreview closed for good on March 15th after 37 years. Paul & Willie spent many Sundays playing music at the restaurant's legendary brunch.  Many are sad to see the historic eatery make way for senior housing - lots of memories have been made here....... 

Long-awaited Willie Walker & Paul Metsa CD Live on Highway 55 now available!

Paul & Willie's highly anticipated Live on Highway 55 is hot off the presses!  An amazing collection of songs that take the listener on a fresh and joyful musical road trip.....a tribute to the depth of a semi-modern chapter in the American songbook.

Live on Highway 55 documents a fruitful partnership and a beautiful session that rewards repeated listening........Tom Hyslop

 

Willie Walker inducted into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame

Willie was acknowledged by the Minnesota Blue Society for his significant contribution to the Twin Cities music scene.  He was recognized with the top honor of Blues Performer of 2013.  The ceremony took place at the Minnesota Music Café, where he was honored alongside John Franken, Mojo Buford and Big Walter Smith to name a few.  For more information on the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame or to support the Blues Society, visit their website at www.mnbs.org