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Recently on Southern Songs and Stories: Reinvigorating Country with Joshua Ray Walker

Joshua Ray Walker at WNCW
Brenda Craig
Joshua Ray Walker on guitar and Billy Law on bass during their live session on WNCW 02-21-22

For someone who is admittedly not a fan of reading books, Joshua Ray Walker conveys emotion and portrays characters so well that his songwriting presents what at first would seem like a kind of striking incongruity. Add to that the fact that he did not begin writing lyrics until he was already a number of years into his career, and the hint of inconsistency with habit and result grows louder. It is answered, however, in the fact that Walker is a keen observer of everyone in his orbit, and is gifted with an incredibly rare ability to create striking scenes with characters whom you might want to alternately embrace or avoid at all cost, but will surely not forget. And that is to say nothing of the expansive and innovative instrumentation, arrangement and good old-fashioned hooks that he employs at every turn. Plus, his voice ranges from clear as crystal to nearly a snarl, always garnished with a delicious Texas twang. Simply put, Joshua Ray Walker is setting the bar for what country music can and should be: a home for immediately relatable songs packed with the full range of human emotions that take from the template set down by its pantheon of iconic artists, and make it new again with every riff and turn of phrase.

Joshua Ray Walker in WNCW Studio B
Brenda Craig
Joshua Ray Walker in WNCW's Studio B

In this episode, Joshua Ray Walker talks about how his family influenced his career and his songs, how he approaches writing lyrics, the rich music scene of his East Dallas home (with an aside about this study which gave it a surprisingly very poor rating), and a lot more. Woven throughout is music from his live session on public radio WNCW where he played several songs from his third solo album See You Next Time. We also bring in a member of Joshua’s other longstanding project Ottoman Turks with a conversation with their bassist and vocalist Billy Law, who has an impressive new solo album of his own titled Alone Somewhere.

Songs heard in this episode:

“Sexy After Dark” by Joshua Ray Walker, live on WNCW

“Cowboy” by Joshua Ray Walker, live on WNCW, excerpt

“Flash Paper” by Joshua Ray Walker, from See You Next Time, excerpt

“Vaquero” by Ottoman Turks, from Ottoman Turks II, excerpt

“Dallas Lights” by Joshua Ray Walker, from See You Next Time, excerpt

“Three Strikes” by Joshua Ray Walker, live on WNCW

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.