Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 24 February 2020

TJ Walker: Cook-Out At A Grand Canyon Ranch Changed Musical Course For Sussex Bound Country Rock Artist

TJ Walker, who plays four dates across Sussex, in March & April, is a multi-talented Country/Americana singer, guitarist and songwriter, living on a river delta in the Deep South of... the United Kingdom!

Tom grew up as a multi-instrumentalist in a musical British family. He learned the banjo ukulele alongside his dad in a traditional jazz band from the age of six, then a year later picked up the guitar. 

By fifteen, h''d started to work with professional bands, since when as a hard-working professional musician he has performed all over the world.

A life-changing experience in the Arizona desert (on his long-postponed honeymoon!) changed TJ's course  

"At a cook-out at the Grand Canyon ranch... my wife suddenly announced, to all-and-sundry, seated around the campfire: "My husband plays. Do you mind if he has a go?" 

"I'd been a performer all my life, yet was still caught out by her request. I think she dropped me in it. 

"But do you know what? When I picked up the cowboy's guitar and I began to fingerpick those country songs, suddenly everything made sense. 

"I realised — under the flickering stars, and perhaps with a cheerful sense of relief — that I had finally found a destiny I could be content with."  

This led T J Walker to decide not to hide his talent under a bushel, to follow his long-hidden-away passion for Country music and reinvent himself as a country rock artist.

Walker has since gone on to build up a rich repertoire of original Country and Americana material, and to write and record his debut album, playing all the instruments, recording and producing the album himself in his studio at home. 

As he explains: "My debut album 'The Long Game''contains ten songs that I'm very proud of, combining the influences and funky Country grooves of The Band, Brothers Osborne and Little Feat with the stories and imagery of my favourite lyricists like Jason Isbell and Lowell George. 

"There are road songs, love songs, sentimental songs, outlaw grooves, acoustic laments; along with the stories, the guitar plays a big part - there's chicken pickin', slide guitar, pedal steel, flat-picked acoustic and even some banjo!

"I've done my best to make the songs thought-provoking, interesting and funny," he adds, "combined with exciting playing and production. I like songs to have a story or a twist, or both. 

"I think of them as a small window through which you can watch a scene play out in somebody's life: that, combined with the right musical backdrop for the scene, is what makes Country and Americana music so powerful.

"On 'The Long Game', I've played all the instruments myself, using the technology to allow me to not just layer-up parts in isolation, but playing and reacting to the other instruments as if it were a live band playing together in a room — like a time- lapsed jam-session."

Long Game, the first song being released from his album, is, TJ says, "...a story within a story: a father tells a tale of the problems he's experienced  owning a luxury car. 

"At first the song appears to be about the car, but I like a song to have a story with a twist. 

"As the story plays out, it becomes clear there's more than meets the eye. The story of luxury car ownership may be a metaphorical one, as the son's beautiful, expensive and high-maintenance fiancée enters the scene. 

"What's more, the guitar solo in this song is one of my favourites on the album."

TJ Walker plays 6th March : The Lamb, Lewes - 18th March : Black Lion, Brighton - 29th March : Tap House, Shoreham - 15th April : Black Lion, Brighton - CLICK HERE for details.

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

TJ Walker


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