This will be my last show before I finish chemo treatment; can we sell out another show at The Kessler Theater to celebrate!? I’ve been getting infusions every two weeks since February, and I’ll continue to do so through early August. That means I’ve cleared my tour calendar, but I can still play shows in my hometown! So, I’ll be performing solo at The Kessler Theater on Saturday, July 20th.

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask what they can do for me during this time, and it’s very appreciated. What I could use most right now is an opportunity to do something I’m good at, and that’s play and sing for folks who want to listen. If you’re in Dallas, and you’re able, come to this show and let me sing you songs and tell you stories. In spite of the circumstances, I’m excited to share the experience of live music with you.

This has been a difficult time, but I’m glad y’all are here to cheer me on. Thank you for your continued support. See ya soon, and ‘Thank You For Listening’!

I’m halfway through chemo treatment; let’s come together for another sold out show at The Kessler Theater to celebrate! I’ve been getting infusions every two weeks since February, and I’ll continue to do so through the end of the Summer. That means I’ve cleared my tour calendar, but I can still play a show in Dallas! I’m going to perform solo at The Kessler Theater on Monday 6/3!

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask what they can do for me during this time, and it’s very appreciated. What I could use most right now is an opportunity to do something I’m good at, and that’s play and sing for folks who want to listen. If you’re in Dallas, and you’re able, come to this show and let me sing you songs and tell you stories. In spite of the circumstances, I’m excited to share the experience of live music with you.

This is going to be a difficult time, but I’m glad y’all are here to cheer me on. Thank you for your continued support. See ya soon, and ‘Thank You For Listening’!

I started chemo treatment in February, and I’ll be getting infusions every two weeks through the end of the summer. That means I had to clear my tour calendar, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play a show in Dallas! I’m going to perform solo at The Kessler Theater on Monday 4/29!

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask what they can do for me during this time, and it’s very appreciated. What I could use most right now is an opportunity to do something I’m good at, and that’s play and sing for folks who want to listen. If you’re in Dallas, and you’re able, come to this show and let me sing you songs and tell you stories. In spite of the circumstances, I’m excited to share the experience of live music with you.

This is going to be a difficult time, but I’m glad y’all are here to cheer me on. Thank you for your continued support. See ya soon, and ‘Thank You For Listening’!

“I start chemo treatment today. I’ll be getting infusions every two weeks for six months. That means I had to clear my tour calendar, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to play a show in Dallas. I’m going to perform solo at The Kessler Theater on Monday 2/26 in celebration of the release of ‘Thank You For Listening’!

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask what they can do for me during this time, and it’s very appreciated, but the truth is, I don’t know what I need yet. If you’re in Dallas, and you’re able, come to this show and let me sing you songs and tell you stories. In spite of the circumstances, I’m excited to share the experience of live music with you.

This is going to be a difficult time, but I’m glad y’all are here to cheer me on. Thank you for your continued support. See ya soon, and I hope you enjoy ‘Thank You For Listening’.

“I start chemo treatment today. I’ll be getting infusions every two weeks for six months. That means I had to clear my tour calendar, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to play a show in Dallas. I’m going to perform solo at The Kessler Theater on Monday 2/26 in celebration of the release of ‘Thank You For Listening’!

I’ve had a lot of people reach out to ask what they can do for me during this time, and it’s very appreciated, but the truth is, I don’t know what I need yet. If you’re in Dallas, and you’re able, come to this show and let me sing you songs and tell you stories. In spite of the circumstances, I’m excited to share the experience of live music with you.

This is going to be a difficult time, but I’m glad y’all are here to cheer me on. Thank you for your continued support. See ya soon, and I hope you enjoy ‘Thank You For Listening’.

Joshua Ray Walker – See You Next Time

On his new album See You Next Time, Texas-bred singer/songwriter Joshua Ray Walker shares an imagined yet truthful portrait of a brokedown honky-tonk and the misfits who call it home: barflies and wannabe cowboys, bleary-eyed dreamers and hopelessly lost souls. His third full-length in three years, the album marks the final installment in a trilogy that originated with Walker’s globally acclaimed 2019 debut Wish You Were Here and its equally lauded follow-up Glad You Made It (the #5 entry on Rolling Stone’s Best Country and Americana Albums of 2020 list).

“The whole idea with the trilogy was to use the honky-tonk as a setting where all these different characters could interact with each other,” says Walker, who drew immense inspiration from the local dive bars he first started sneaking into and gigging at as a teenager growing up in East Dallas. “In my mind, this album’s taking place on the night before the bar closes forever—the songs are just me taking snapshots of that world, and all the moments that happen in it.”

Like its predecessors, See You Next Time came to life at Audio Dallas Recording Studio with producer John Pedigo and a first-rate lineup of musicians, including the likes of pedal-steel player Adam “Ditch” Kurtz and rhythm guitarist Nathan Mongol Wells of Ottoman Turks(the country-punk outfit for which Walker sidelines as lead guitarist). The album’s immaculately crafted but timelessly vital sound provides a prime backdrop for Walker’s storytelling, an element that endlessly blurs the lines between fable-like fiction and personal revelation. “I learned a long time ago that writing from a character’s perspective lets me examine things about myself without ever feeling too self-conscious aboutit,” he points out. Closely informed by the tremendous loss he’s suffered in recent years, See You Next Time emerges as the most powerful work to date from an extraordinarily gifted songwriter, imbued with equal parts weary pragmatism and the kind of unabashedly romantic spirit that defies all cynicism.

On the album-opening “Dallas Lights,” Walker presents a potent introduction to the vast and sometimes-harrowing emotional terrain of See You Next Time. “I used to hang out in Lower Greenville, which is a neighborhood in Dallas with a lot of homeless people,” he says of the song’s origins. “One of the guys there knew someone who’d passed away and there was nobody to claim the body: no wife, no family, no kinfolk at all. I was really struck by how terrible that was, and over the years it became a song about hometown pride, and wanting to die where you lived.” Anchored by the heartrending fiddle work of Heather Stalling, “Dallas Lights” ultimately lends a bit of glory to that tragedy, its chorus lyrics unfolding as their own resolute prayer (“Lord, don’t bury me deep/Under the sycamore tree/Burn Me/Spread Me/Where the city can be seen”).

In its nuanced exploration of so many disparate moods—grief and celebration, sorrow and surrender—See You Next Time takes an entirely unexpected turn on its lead single “Sexy After Dark.” Fueled by a fiery horn section, the wildly catchy track hits a brilliant balance of bravado, soul-stirring confession, and brutally self-aware humor. “There’s a deep history of sexy-crooner country songs played by dudes who were pretty unsexy by all accounts but still had so much swagger,” says Walker. “‘Sexy After Dark’ was my attempt at writing a song like that, a fun song I’d want to crank up and party to. It all came back to wanting to really push the boundaries of what I could do on this album.”

In a stunning tonal shift, See You Next Time then delivers its most devastating moment, the intensely intimate “Flash Paper.” “My dad had a four-year battle with lung cancer and passed away in November, and before he died he gave me a cigar box full of notes and cards and lots of random little things, like a ribbon from a reading competition from when he was in elementary school,” says Walker. “He also put in a flash drive with a video he’d recorded, which he told me not to watch until Christmas. My dad was from East Texas and kind of a good-old-boy type, and the video was really vulnerable for him. Some of it was similar to things he’d said over the years, as he dealt with his illness and the two of us grew closer, but that song’s mostly about me wishing I’d heard more of those things while he was still here.”

With its untethered textures and beautifully sprawling guitar tones, “Flash Paper” bears a mesmerizing quality that magnifies its raw emotion. “That was definitely the hardest one for me to write on the album—I broke down multiple times in the process,” says Walker, whose voice slips into an achingly tender howl at the chorus. The final track recorded for See You Next Time, it’s also one of several songs that Walker penned in the dead of night, while his home was undergoing massive reconstruction following the rupture of a hot-water pipe. “Half my house was torn apart, and I was living at an extended-stay hotel, but I couldn’t get any writing done there,” he says. “I didn’t want to move back the recording sessions, so I ended up going back to my house late at night and staying up for hours to finish some songs. I remember thinking at the time that it was pretty depressing—writing at 4 a.m. in this torn-apart house with no furniture and no heat in the middle of winter—but looking back, I think it’s good that I was forced to be totally alone and just think.”

Another profoundly heavy-hearted track, “Gas Station Roses” reveals the poetic sensibilities within Walker’s songwriting. “There’s a double meaning to that song—it’s partly referring to the roses you’d find in a gas station around Valentine’s, but it’s also about how gas stations get away with selling crack pipes by hiding them in those glass tubes with the origami flowers,” he explains. Layered with bright piano melodies and Pedigo’s cascading banjo rolls, “Gas Station Roses” offers a clear-eyed meditation on the hardship of addiction (“We’re like gas station roses/You can wrap us however you’d like/If you prop us up in pretty poses/We’ll really catch the light”). “I grew up around a lot of kids who had parents with substance-abuse issues, and in high school a lot of my friends got hooked on heroin,” says Walker. “This song in particular is about crack, but the overall story is addiction leading to a loss of innocence.”

A working musician since the age of 13, Walker first began honing his lyrical talents after the death of his beloved grandfather. “My granddad’s the one who got me into music, and I wrote a song called ‘Fondly’ in the parking lot of the hospital he was in,” recalls Walker, who was 19 at the time. “Back then I was mostly playing rock and punk and blues and metal, but I quickly realized that the songs I was writing were country songs.” Raised on bluegrass, he lists Texas legends like Guy Clark and Billy Joe Shaver among his essential inspirations, but also notes the undeniable influence of country superstars like Alan Jackson and George Strait (“All those ’90s country songs were so hook-driven, they really bored into my brain,” he says). With the arrival of Wish You Were Here (an album that spent 12 consecutive weeks on the Americana radio albums chart), Walker won lavish praise from outlets like NPR Music and began opening for such artists as Colter Wall and Charley Crockett, in addition to headlining tours in the U.S. and Europe. Hailed by No Depression as “an album that outshines expectations for what country music can, and should, sound like,” Glad You Made It earned the admiration of leading critics like Ann Powers (“a new voice who really impressed me”), with its singles featured on such coveted playlists as Spotify’s Indigo and Tidal’s Best of Country 2020. Over the years, Walker has continually captivated crowds with his magnetic live show, a feat that finds him joined by musicians like bassist Billy Bones and drummer Trey Pendergrass (both of whom played on See You Next Time). “I’m really proud of the band on this record, and I’m also proud that I didn’t just go out and get hired guns from Nashville or Austin,” Walker says. “They’re guys I’ve played with for 10 or 15 years, and at this point we’re all like family.”

True to that communal spirit, See You Next Time closes out on its sing-along-ready title track: a fitting end to Walker’s trilogy and its tribute to the fleeting, yet possibly life-changing, connection to be found at your nearest honky-tonk. “There’s not a lot of pretension at a honky-tonk, and there’s much more interaction than in other bars—you see a lot less people on their phones,” says Walker. “We’re there to talk to other humans, put a song on the jukebox and dance with a stranger, get to know your bartender and tell them all your problems. I really wanted to capture that feeling on this record—I want everyone to feel like they know all these characters, and that they’re somehow better understood because these songs exist.”

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers

North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing, her voice strong and uneasy, country classic but with contemporary, earthy tension. You can hear in her voice what she’s seen; world weary, lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. She level-steady means what she says. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it’s almost startling—Sarah’s lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. The Disarmers hit all the sweet spots from Nashville’s Lower Broad to Bakersfield and take Sarah’s unflinching tales out for some late-night kicks. At times, it’s as simple and muscular as Luther Perkins’ boom-chicka-boom, or as downtown as Johnny Thunders. The Disarmers keep in the pocket, tight and tough.

Aaron Vance

Aaron Vance was born on Christmas Day in Amory, MS with undeniable gifts; a talent for writing songs and a voice with which to sing them. He got his first cowboy boots at the age of 4 and began singing in the church his father pastored by the time he was 6.

His truck-driving grandfather doted on his only grandson and Aaron remembers hearing country music sitting beside “Big Daddy” in his green and white crackerbox cab or on his tractor.

The family moved frequently when Aaron was a boy, settling in Mooreville, 6 miles East of Tupelo, when he was 13. Often the “new kid” at school, he was teased by peers for his strong country bias but believes that the experience taught him self-reliance and how to forge his own way.

Aaron graduated from Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS and spent a year at Ole Miss before striking out on his own. He worked a variety of jobs from men’s store retail to tire factory manufacturing while playing clubs and festivals around North Mississippi.

Aaron began visiting Nashville in 2012 and made the move permanent in August 2014. To date he has recorded and released three LPs, (“Talk of the Town”, 2014, “My Own Way”, 2017 and “Cabin Fever”, 2021), two EPs, (“Country DNA”, 2013 and “Shifting Gears”, 2016), the Mississippi Football anthem, “My Dawgs and My Rebels”, 2014 and “The Dark Wolf Trilogy” (“The Dark Wolf”, “Hillbilly Cat”, “Take Me As I Am”) 2020 for Windy Holler Music.

With his powerful vocal talent and strong personal charisma, Aaron Vance is a compelling musical artist, confident and comfortable in his own skin.

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Joshua Ray Walker

Once the best-kept secret of Dallas’ music scene, Joshua Ray Walker catapulted himself into the international spotlight with his 2019 debut, Wish You Were Here. An album of character-driven songwriting and golden-era Texas twang, Wish You Were Here didn’t just nod to the larger-than-life troubadours who’d inspired Walker’s craft — it brought him into their ranks, too, adding Walker’s name to the shortlist of songwriters worthy of carrying the torches of Guy Clark, John Prine, and Blaze Foley.

What may have looked like overnight success to an outsider was, in reality, the product of a decade-long climb up the industry’s ranks. A working musician since the age of 13, Walker spent years balancing his gigs as a sideman with a dizzyingly busy schedule of solo shows, regularly racking up more than 250 gigs annually. He sharpened his songwriting, too, developing a blend of autobiography and fiction that often revealed as much about the song’s creator as its characters. That prolific approach now leads Walker to 2020’s Glad You Made It, a sophomore record that both matches and magnifies the vital, vulnerable lure of his debut.

John Baumann

“I could use a shot of confidence to get a word in edgewise, I need to see that silver lining, in those dark and stormy skies, and pray I catch that feeling that I used to know back when, back when I never knew I’d ever need a second wind,” John Baumann sings on “Second Wind,” a deep cut from his forthcoming album, Country Shade. After having a conversation with the singer-songwriter, it’s evident that he tends to look at things with a glass-half-full mentality-complemented by a deeply-ingrained dose of ambition. He is curious how time passes in its unknowable and ever-interesting way, and he’s ready for what it’s bringing next for him.

“‘Second Wind’ is about digging deep and finding the next gear when you’ve lost interest or motivation,” John says about the track. “It’s about the times when I feel like nothing is moving forward, but ultimately really about anyone struggling to get up and get back on the horse.”

It’s a familiar sentiment to most anyone who’s felt like they’re teetering on the precipice of taking their next step, making their next leap out into the world. John has had a busy last few years – he’s a member of The Panhandlers, with fellow Texans Josh Abbott, William Clark Green and Cleto Cordero, and signed on with The Next Waltz, the Texas-based brainchild of legendary songwriter Bruce Robison, for management. He’s also continued to prove himself as a promising songwriter within his home state and beyond its borders, with Kenny Chesney recording “Gulf Moon” for 2018’s Songs for the Saints.

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Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It

ONCE THE BEST-KEPT SECRET OF DALLAS’ MUSIC SCENE, JOSHUA RAY WALKER CATAPULTED HIMSELF INTO THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT WITH HIS 2019 DEBUT, WISH YOU WERE HERE. AN ALBUM OF CHARACTER-DRIVEN SONGWRITING AND GOLDEN-ERA TEXAS TWANG, WISH YOU WERE HERE DIDN’T JUST NOD TO THE LARGER-THAN-LIFE TROUBADOURS WHO’D INSPIRED WALKER’S CRAFT — IT BROUGHT HIM INTO THEIR RANKS, TOO, ADDING WALKER’S NAME TO THE SHORTLIST OF SONGWRITERS WORTHY OF CARRYING THE TORCHES OF GUY CLARK, JOHN PRINE, AND BLAZE FOLEY.

WHAT MAY HAVE LOOKED LIKE OVERNIGHT SUCCESS TO AN OUTSIDER WAS, IN REALITY, THE PRODUCT OF A DECADE-LONG CLIMB UP THE INDUSTRY’S RANKS. A WORKING MUSICIAN SINCE THE AGE OF 13, WALKER SPENT YEARS BALANCING HIS GIGS AS A SIDEMAN WITH A DIZZYINGLY BUSY SCHEDULE OF SOLO SHOWS, REGULARLY RACKING UP MORE THAN 250 GIGS ANNUALLY. HE SHARPENED HIS SONGWRITING, TOO, DEVELOPING A BLEND OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND FICTION THAT OFTEN REVEALED AS MUCH ABOUT THE SONG’S CREATOR AS ITS CHARACTERS. THAT PROLIFIC APPROACH NOW LEADS WALKER TO 2020’S GLAD YOU MADE IT, A SOPHOMORE RECORD THAT BOTH MATCHES AND MAGNIFIES THE VITAL, VULNERABLE LURE OF HIS DEBUT.

FROM “VOICES” — A SHOWCASE FOR WALKER’S VOICE, WITH A HIGH-LONESOME YODEL WORTHY OF DWIGHT YOAKAM — TO THE ALBUM’S HAUNTING, HARD-ROCKING CLOSER, “D.B. COOPER,” GLAD YOU MADE IT PRESENTS AN INTERPRETATION OF COUNTRY MUSIC THAT’S GREASY ONE MOMENT AND GUT-PUNCHING THE NEXT. A TRUE TEXAS STORYTELLER, WALKER WRITES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF DOWN-AND-OUT CHARACTERS WHO HAUNT THE DARKER CORNERS OF THE LONE STAR STATE. THERE’S THE FAKE-TANNED BEAUTY WHO SELLS BASS BOATS IN THE BITTERSWEET, ACCORDION-FILLED “BOAT SHOW GIRL.” THE ADDICT WHO’S READY TO GIVE INTO TEMPTATION DURING THE HONKY-TONK RAGER “USER.” THE PROCRASTINATOR LOSING TRACK OF TIME IN “CUPBOARD,” A SONG WHOSE FIRST-RATE GUITAR WORK EVOKES DIRE STRAITS PLAYING COWBOY MUSIC IN A TEXAS DANCEHALL.

“EVEN IF I’M WRITING ABOUT A BOAT SHOW GIRL — A WOMAN STANDING IN A BIKINI, TRYING TO SELL BUD LIGHT — I’M EXAMINING SOMETHING ABOUT MYSELF THROUGH THESE CHARACTERS,” SAYS WALKER, WHO BEGAN PICKING HIS FIRST SONGS IN HIS GRANDFATHER’S WORKSHOP IN EAST DALLAS. “THEY’RE PART FICTIONAL AND PART AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO’RE RUNNING OUT OF LUCK, BUT THAT’S NOT GOING TO STOP THEM. EVERYONE’S DOING WHAT THEY’VE GOTTA DO TO GET BY, AND I LOVE MEETING CHARACTERS LIKE THAT. I TAKE BITS OF THOSE REAL-LIFE PEOPLE AND COMBINE THEM TOGETHER TO CREATE THE SUBJECTS OF MY SONGS.”

THE LYRICS MAY BE DOWNCAST, BUT GLAD YOU MADE IT REMAINS DYNAMIC AND DEFIANTLY UPBEAT, A RESULT OF LESSONS LEARNED DURING WALKER’S TOUR IN SUPPORT OF WISH YOU WERE HERE. AS THAT ALBUM EARNED WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM FROM OUTLETS LIKE ROLLING STONE, NPR MUSIC AND THE BOOT, AND SPENT TWELVE STRAIGHT WEEKS ON THE AMERICANA RADIO ALBUMS CHART, WALKER BOUNCED BETWEEN HEADLINING PERFORMANCES OF HIS OWN AND OPENING SLOTS FOR COLTER WALL, CHARLEY CROCKETT, AND AMERICAN AQUARIUM. WALKER EVEN FLEW ON A PLANE FOR THE FIRST TIME SO HE COULD HEAD TO EUROPE FOR A FALL 2019 HEADLINING TOUR. THOSE HIGH-PROFILE SHOWS — OFTEN PLAYED TO FULL ROOMS, WITH AUDIENCES EAGER TO TWO-STEP — INSPIRED HIM TO FOCUS ON DANCEABLE MUSIC THAT SHONE A LIGHT NOT ONLY ON HIS SONGWRITING, BUT ALSO HIS STRENGTH AS AN INSTRUMENTALIST, DRAWING ON THE CHOPS HE’D BUILT UP DURING HIS SIDE HUSTLE AS LEAD GUITARIST FOR THE COUNTRY-PUNK CULT FAVORITES OTTOMAN TURKS.

THE TOE-TAPPING TEMPOS OF GLAD YOU MADE IT ALSO ALLOWED WALKER AND PRODUCER JOHN PEDIGO TO MAKE USE OF AN EXPANDED STUDIO BAND. THEY KICKED OFF THE TRACKING SESSIONS AT AUDIO DALLAS, CAPTURING EVERYTHING ON TWO-INCH REEL-TO-REEL TAPE AND WORKING WITH THE SAME MUSICIANS WHO APPEARED ON WISH YOU WERE HERE. FROM THERE, THEY HEADED EAST TO NASHVILLE, WHERE THEY SET UP A MAKESHIFT STUDIO IN AN AIRBNB AND FINISHED THE ALBUM WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM NUMEROUS ROOTS-ROCK ROAD WARRIORS, INCLUDING PEDAL STEEL PLAYER ADAM “DITCH” KURTZ, SINGER/SONGWRITER MALLORY EAGLE, SLIDE GUITARIST WADE COFER, AND BLUEGRASS STAPLE GAVEN LARGENT.

“WE TOLD PEOPLE TO JUST COME OVER AND HANG OUT,” WALKER REMEMBERS. “THERE WAS BEER AND FOOD IN THE FRIDGE. I WANTED IT TO FEEL LIKE A PARTY AND HAVE THIS LOOSE, FUN ENERGY. EVEN IF THE LYRICS WERE DARK, WE DIDN’T WANT THE SONGS TO SOUND DEPRESSING. WE ALMOST WANTED TO TRICK PEOPLE INTO DANCING TO THEM.”

IT’S THAT INTERSECTION — THE PUSH-AND-PULL BETWEEN EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED, SOUL-BARING STORYTELLING AND BRIGHT, BUOYANT ARRANGEMENTS — THAT MAKES GLAD YOU MADE IT A MODERN CLASSIC. LIKE THE TEXAS TITANS BEFORE HIM, JOSHUA RAY WALKER CONFIDENTLY BLURS THE LINES BETWEEN THE PERSONAL AND THE UNIVERSAL, BETWEEN FACT AND FICTION, BETWEEN COUNTRY MUSIC AND THE SUNDRY SOUNDS THAT ORBIT THE GENRE. WITH GLAD YOU MADE IT, HE LAYS ANOTHER BRICK IN THE PATHWAY HE’S BEEN CONSTRUCTING FOR YEARS, POINTING HIS WAY TOWARD A DESTINATION THAT’S UNIQUE AND UTTERLY COMPELLING.

Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here 

A good night out drinking can find us making best friends out of people we’ve just met, but the  best nights out are the ones that catch us unexpectedly sharing our innermost feelings and secrets  with a complete stranger. Those uninhibited moments of truth and vulnerability are the same  ones mined by Dallas singer-songwriter Joshua Ray Walker on his debut full-length Wish You  Were Here. Through his incisive songwriting, Walker faithfully captures both the highs and lows  of working class living. 

In 2018, Walker opened for several of Texas’ favorite acts, such as Old 97’s, Eleven Hundred  Springs, Two Tons of Steel, Vandoliers and James Hand at legendary venues like The Blue Light  in Lubbock, Stubbs in Austin and The Dance Hall at Luckenbach. For an average of 250 nights a  year, Dallas’ classic country torchbearer shares pieces of himself with an effortless sincerity that  has brought his audience to both tears and laughter – often at the same time. Told through a  melodic, character-driven writing style that’s honest to a fault, Walker depicts a cast of subjects  on his debut that are down but never out. 

There’s the portrait of a 13-year-old lady of the streets painted in his lead single “Working Girl,”  which melds an up-tempo melody with clever wordplay projecting the strengths and struggles of  a young woman just “doing what she’s gotta do to get by.”  

“I often unintentionally write from the perspective of characters that I dream up,” says Walker.  “I can usually attribute a character to a person I’ve met, or people that I’ve known, combined  with similar traits I find in myself. If it’s by poor decisions or circumstances beyond their  control, I find inspiration from the downtrodden and destitute. I see myself in these characters. I  use these characters to explore things about myself in songs I’d otherwise be too self-conscious  to write about.” 

But Wish You Were Here’s best moments come when Walker sets aside the pretense of his  characters, letting down his guard on tracks like the second single, “Canyon,” to reveal his own  fears, biggest insecurities and insatiable longing felt throughout his father’s ongoing battle  against Stage 4 lung cancer. 

“I’m a big, big man,” he sings in its gut-wrenching chorus. “Not just in size or in stature, but in  terms of space that can’t be filled. I’m a bottomless canyon without a drop to spill.” 

Raised on the sounds of the Smoky Mountains, Walker has been playing music since he was a  small child, walking next door to his grandfather’s house — an avid bluegrass fan and novice  musician himself — every day after school to listen to records together. He also learned his first 

banjo and guitar tunes in his grandfather’s workshop. It wasn’t long before Walker grew into a  well-seasoned multi-instrumentalist by grade-school and a working musician since the age of 13.  

After playing in bands throughout his teens, Walker wrote his first country song, “Fondly,” in the  early morning, on Christmas Eve, 2009 — just hours after his grandfather passed away from lung  cancer that had only been diagnosed two weeks prior.  

“Death and disease in loved ones seems to be a common theme in my life,” Walker admits. “I  think it’s given me an intense understanding of the brevity of life. Sometimes that’s what drives  me to create something worthwhile, and sometimes it’s just the motivation behind my anxiety,  but either way it plays a large role in my life and music.” 

That’s not to say Wish You Were Here is comprised of nothing but tear-jerkers. For every  “Canyon,” that lays itself bare at your feet, there’s the wry, self-deprecating humor of a “Last  Call,” that jokes about it being better, at the end of the night, to just get out of the bar before the  lights come on. For every “Keep,” where the discovery of an ex’s old trinkets sends the narrator  over the proverbial cliff, there’s a “Love Songs,” that gives a lighthearted kiss-off to lovers past. 

Recorded by John Pedigo of The O’s (Old 97’s, Vandoliers) at Dallas Audio (where Willie  Nelson recorded Red Headed Stranger) and Studio B at Modern Electric Sound Recorders,  Joshua Ray Walker’s debut instantly earmarks him as one of Texas’ most gifted lyricists and  musicians and a major force in the songwriting community moving forward. 

“Life is about timing I guess,” Walker says. “I haven’t changed my approach or work ethic in  years, but people are starting to pay attention. I’m glad it took this long. If it had been possible to  make my record any sooner, it wouldn’t be this record that I’m very proud we made.”

Join us for a special night welcoming Dallas’s own Joshua Ray Walker back from his first tour in Europe PLUS celebrating his birthday!  His friends Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner & Frankie Leonie open the evening.

A good night out drinking can find us making best friends out of people we’ve just met, but the best nights out are the ones that catch us unexpectedly sharing our innermost feelings and secrets with a complete stranger. Those uninhibited moments of truth and vulnerability are the same ones mined by Dallas singer-songwriter Joshua Ray Walker on his debut full-length Wish You Were Here. Through his incisive songwriting, Walker faithfully captures both the highs and lows of working class living. 

In 2018, Walker opened for several of Texas’ favorite acts, such as Old 97’s, Eleven Hundred Springs, Two Tons of Steel, Vandoliers and James Hand at legendary venues like The Blue Light in Lubbock, Stubbs in Austin and The Dance Hall at Luckenbach. For an average of 250 nights a year, Dallas’ classic country torchbearer shares pieces of himself with an effortless sincerity that has brought his audience to both tears and laughter – often at the same time. Told through a melodic, character-driven writing style that’s honest to a fault, Walker depicts a cast of subjects on his debut that are down but never out. 

There’s the portrait of a 13-year-old lady of the streets painted in his lead single “Working Girl,” which melds an up-tempo melody with clever wordplay projecting the strengths and struggles of a young woman just “doing what she’s gotta do to get by.” 

“I often unintentionally write from the perspective of characters that I dream up,” says Walker. “I can usually attribute a character to a person I’ve met, or people that I’ve known, combined with similar traits I find in myself. If it’s by poor decisions or circumstances beyond their control, I find inspiration from the downtrodden and destitute. I see myself in these characters. I use these characters to explore things about myself in songs I’d otherwise be too self-conscious to write about.” 

But Wish You Were Here’s best moments come when Walker sets aside the pretense of his characters, letting down his guard on tracks like the second single, “Canyon,” to reveal his own fears, biggest insecurities and insatiable longing felt throughout his father’s ongoing battle against Stage 4 lung cancer. 

“I’m a big, big man,” he sings in its gut-wrenching chorus. “Not just in size or in stature, but in terms of space that can’t be filled. I’m a bottomless canyon without a drop to spill.” 

Raised on the sounds of the Smoky Mountains, Walker has been playing music since he was a small child, walking next door to his grandfather’s house — an avid bluegrass fan and novice musician himself — every day after school to listen to records together. He also learned his first 

banjo and guitar tunes in his grandfather’s workshop. It wasn’t long before Walker grew into a well-seasoned multi-instrumentalist by grade-school and a working musician since the age of 13. 

After playing in bands throughout his teens, Walker wrote his first country song, “Fondly,” in the early morning, on Christmas Eve, 2009 — just hours after his grandfather passed away from lung cancer that had only been diagnosed two weeks prior. 

“Death and disease in loved ones seems to be a common theme in my life,” Walker admits. “I think it’s given me an intense understanding of the brevity of life. Sometimes that’s what drives me to create something worthwhile, and sometimes it’s just the motivation behind my anxiety, but either way it plays a large role in my life and music.” 

That’s not to say Wish You Were Here is comprised of nothing but tear-jerkers. For every “Canyon,” that lays itself bare at your feet, there’s the wry, self-deprecating humor of a “Last Call,” that jokes about it being better, at the end of the night, to just get out of the bar before the lights come on. For every “Keep,” where the discovery of an ex’s old trinkets sends the narrator over the proverbial cliff, there’s a “Love Songs,” that gives a lighthearted kiss-off to lovers past. 

Recorded by John Pedigo of The O’s (Old 97’s, Vandoliers) at Dallas Audio (where Willie Nelson recorded Red Headed Stranger) and Studio B at Modern Electric Sound Recorders, Joshua Ray Walker’s debut instantly earmarks him as one of Texas’ most gifted lyricists and musicians and a major force in the songwriting community moving forward. 

“Life is about timing I guess,” Walker says. “I haven’t changed my approach or work ethic in years, but people are starting to pay attention. I’m glad it took this long. If it had been possible to make my record any sooner, it wouldn’t be this record that I’m very proud we made.”