Title - 'Everybody Wants A Piece'
Artist - Joe Louis Walker
Joe Louis Walker, also known as JLW, is an American musician, best known as an electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer. His knowledge of blues history is revealed by his use of older material and playing styles, of which he has been thrilling audiences around the world with for a lifetime. Indeed, NPR Music described him as "Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty...a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues."
A mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist, Walker was inducted into The Blues Hall Of Fame in 2013. Having now released his brand new album, the blues funk of Everybody Wants A Piece, this very month via Provogue Records, just one listen (although, in truth, you're gonna want to hit repeat a fair few time,s trust me) reveals to us that Walker believes that, while the 11 tracks present a new aspect to his work, it still contains the nuts and bolts of his trademark approach.
He opens with the blues funk of the title track itself, 'Everybody Wants A Piece,' which then flows into the the powerhaus, Harmonica-driven 'Do I Love Her.' The playful piano bar fun of 'Buzz On You' is next, and that's backed by both the hard blues stomp of 'Black & Blue' and then the down south hipsway of 'Witchcraft.'
Walker himself has said that, "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." Here on Everybody Wants A Piece, it's clearly evident that Walker has created songs that are influenced by his past. Ergo, you would have assumed that this album would have concentrated more on those very same aforementioned lows, but the highs, the childhood belief in all things solid, good, nurturing come to the fore on a trio of songs next: 'One Sunny Day,' the one-man-and-his-guitar, gentle twangin' of 'Gospel Blues' and the lush 'Wade In The Water.'
Walker has earned a stunning total of 48 W.C Handy/Blues Music Award nominations on his way to four wins, and was even chosen by President Bill Clinton and Hilary Rodham Clinton to induct the legendary B.B. King into the Kennedy Centre Awards. This album shows why he is so admired, both with his adoring worldwide fans, and those within The Whitehouse. Taking the blues for a walk on the lighter, poppier side of the tracks, we next get 'Man of Many Words,' before the album is brought to a close with both the lite, flirty romp of 'Young Girls Blues,' and then, finally, a track that actually allows his guitar to answer his questions for him, '35 Years.'
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk