Seth Walker Talks New Album & Bayou District Blues Night
Jun 22 2017

Seth Walker Discusses New Album & Bayou District Blues Night

By: Steve Hatley

This Saturday at The Civic Theatre, local musician Seth Walker will perform at Bayou District Blues Night in support of Educare New Orleans. Also appearing at the event will be Louisiana native Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Chicago-based blues musician Lurrie Bell. You can find tickets to the special event here.

Walker released his ninth studio album, Gotta Get Back, late last year. The record was produced by Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers. The family affair features Walker's sister and parents on the record's string parts, which his father arranged. The album made its debut at number six on the Billboard Blues Album Chart and reached the Top 10 on the Americana Radio Chart.

In preparation for the event, Where Y’at ([email protected]) interviewed Seth Walker (SW) to get some insights into the event and the artist himself.


[email protected]: How did you get involved with Bayou District Blues Night? 

SW: My friend Lisa McCaffety is spearheading this wonderful event and asked me to be a part of it. I raised my hand quickly, as I had the pleasure of going to the Educare School here in New Orleans to get a firsthand look at the great work they are doing for these kids. This is a great cause and it will be a stellar event. 

[email protected]: Being a blues musician from New Orleans must carry certain expectations. Do you think you fit that mold, or are you an outlier? Explain.

SW: I suppose I am kind of an outlier as I don't really play traditional blues, per se. I am a songwriter in more of the Americana idiom, but I am heavily influenced by blues and jazz—much of it originating right here in New Orleans. All of this is to say that one of the greatest things about New Orleans is that it is open, which is what you need when you are trying to brew your own blend. Rules don't apply in many cases here, which makes for good, old-fashioned ART. 

[email protected]: Who were/are your musical influences? How did New Orleans musicians play into those influences? 

SW: The list is long indeed: Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits, Snooks Eaglin, Allen Toussaint, BB King, Nina Simone, to name a few. It seems the New Orleans sound has always been threading through my music. I have always loved the jazz side of American music. Maybe it's the harmony or the improvisational element. The push and pull. It was only a matter of time before I put down stakes here. 

Seth Walker Talks New Album & Bayou District Blues Night

[email protected]: Do you think the festival culture of Louisiana is a curse or a blessing? 

SW: It's a blessing until you gotta get around one! I love and admire how steeped it all is—prideful folks down here who aren't afraid to express themselves. As an artist, it's fertile ground that never goes dry. 

[email protected]: Gotta Get Back is your ninth studio album and the title reflects the mindset you were having going into recording. How did you prepare and what led to this revolution?

SW: The songs seemed to organically come together and all possessed a cohesive vibe and message. They all stemmed thematically from the longing to get back to the reason I started playing music in the first place. Part of that was reuniting with my family, who are all string players and creative spirits. My father wrote the string arrangements and played the cello, along with my mother and sister on violin; a first for us and very special to all of us. 

[email protected] - How would you rank this album among your others? I do realize that is an unintentionally loaded question, but was wondering where you would rank the new material versus your older stuff.

SW: I am probably not the guy to ask on this front! I am close to all of them, but I would rank it as my best all-around work as a complete album. I feel we captured a feeling first and foremost with a wide pallet of vibes—sonically, thematically, and musically. My producer Jano Rix was very instrumental in the birth of all of that. 

[email protected]: Do you have any surprises on hand for the Civic show? 

SW: Yes, but that wouldn't be a surprise! Let's just say we are going to have a little special guest action ... and I do mean little. 

[email protected]: Anything else you'd like to add? 

SW: I am really looking forward to this event. It feels good to support and believe in something much bigger than yourself.

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