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Interview:
Joe Louis Walker continues to explore the blues -- and beyond
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Being inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame last year was, not surprisingly, "very, very, very, very, very flattering for Joe Louis Walker.

"It was very emotional considering one of my mentors was inducted at the same time I was," says Walker, 64, referencing Chicago blues guitarist Earl Hooker, cousin of John Lee Hooker. "(Hooker) was oen of the greatest players known to mankind and someone who meant a lot to me.

"So it was emotional becuase ther were a lot of guys who put a lot of ineergy into me being able to become a better musician and a better songwriter and performer, and a lot of them are in the Blues Hall of Fame, too. A lot of them aren't hear any more, so I feel like this kind of validates their belief in me."

The San Francisco-born Walker, cut his musicla teeth in the city's Fillmore District and mixed his blues and gospel roots with rock and funk influences -- heard on 2012's Blues Music Award-nominated "Hellfire" and on his brand new "Hornet's Nest." And Walker says the hall of fame honor just fires him up to keep playing nad exploring rather than resting on his laurels.

"I've never been the kind of guy that just likes to stand pat with music, because music is art and art has to keep moving forward," explains Walker, who lived in Detroit during 1969-70 when he was opening up for Muddy Waters in the MIdwest and Canada. "It's one thing to pay homage to the past, but you can't make your name playing Elmore James' 'Dust My Broom,' you know. I don't criticize anybody who does that, but it's just not something I choose to do.

"I look at it like a long distance run. It ain't a sprint. So I keep pushing msyelf to go as far of a distance as I can, and I hope I'm a long way from finished."

Joe Louis Walker performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $25 and $30. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.



Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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