Joshua Ray Walker pulled the brim of his hat down and braved the cold winds of Dallas as he performed two of his songs, “Working Girl” and “Canyon,” at an otherwise silent strip mall. Browning leaves swirled around his feet as they found a new place to gather, before Walker too moved to different ground in Lakewood Landing, downing a shot to speed up the warmth the bar provided.
Walker takes us back to the beginning of his stage career, and the influences in his own family that inspired his passion for playing music at such an early age. His focus is piercing as he remembers those formative years, eyes unbothered by the lights making patterns off the lenses in his frames. Sitting on the patio of Lakewood Landing, the still-hanging sun making the usual haunt look unfamiliar without the sheet of darkness to accompany it, Walker talks about his new album, Wish You Were Here, due to release Jan. 25 on State Fair Records.
Walker’s mixture of country and folk has the stripped-down autobiographical honesty that celebrates the working class without talking down to them. As he sings “Canyon,” a song about his father and their relationship, Walker presses play on an aging home movie you can see perfectly in your head. As he reaches the lyrics, “Are you proud of me, you proud of what I do,” you feel everything Walker is feeling because his vulnerability inspires yours.
Watch Walker busk with Globe Trek Productions in the video above.
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Walker plays The Kessler tonight as part of Eric Nadel's book release. Tickets start at $20.