Joe Louis Walker
Electric Blues legend Joe Louis Walker returns to Bluesfest for the fifth time in 2018. Walker is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner. His latest acclaimed album Everybody Wants a Piece was nominated for a Grammy and cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the Blues.
Walker picked up the guitar as a child, and by the time he was 16 was regularly backing touring blues artists rolling through town as house guitarist at San Francisco’s famed musical playground, The Matrix. It was here he played with or opened shows for everyone from Lightnin’ Hopkins to Jimi Hendrix to Thelonious Monk. The Blues legends Walker accompanied shared not only musical knowledge but also their personal wisdom with the teenage up-and-comer.
Inspired by what he learned, Walker developed his own fiery, melodic, and always unpredictable guitar attack.Walker met guitarist Michael Bloomfield in 1968 and the two became fast friends. Bloomfield helped push Walker’s blues in a more rock-fueled direction, and he became the single biggest influence on Walker’s sound.
Walker has released 23 albums and toured the world virtually non-stop. He has garnered four Blues Music Awards (and has been nominated a whopping 52 times) and holds an international reputation as one of the blues’ most prolific and talented stars. He’s also recorded as a guest with some of the blues world’s best-known artists, including appearances on Grammy-winning records by B.B. King and James Cotton.
Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares "I'd really like to inspire younger musicians to carry on the legacy of blues/roots music. But play, and do it your way. Don't be afraid to mix it up. There's no right, or wrong way. Just the way you want to express yourself. And above all, ENJOY YOURSELF. We have no doubt audience members of all ages will obey this command while watching this supreme performer at the festival.
"Powerful, soul-stirring, fierce and gritty...a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues." – NPR
JOE LOUIS WALKER IS PLAYING BLUESFEST ON THURSDAY 29TH & FRIDAY 30TH MARCH