Alex Walsh
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Alex Walsh

San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band Rock Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"West Coast Performer Review"

Mon. Mar 1, 2004 - West Coast Performer Magazine
by Pat Johnson

Alex Walsh - Light Another Candle (Recorded at Patrick Simms Studios)

San Francisco Singer/Songwriter Alex Walsh covers all the bases on this, his second release (the first, a largely acoustic affair from 1998, was only available at live shows), veering expertly between Westerburg styled smart-guy rock and classic brit-inspired pop. This is the kind of disc that radio programmers should glom right onto. Each of these twelve tracks is well produced and, thanks to the presence of a remarkable roster of musicians, rendered eminently listenable. One would imagine that Walsh's day gig as Assistant to the President of Musicians Union Local 6 can't hurt when it comes to bringing the session talent into the studio. Amongst the twenty musicians listed in the credits find Joe Rodriguez (of Elvis Presley's Vegas band) contributing some delightful muted noodling on "Fade Away" and violinist Jeremy Cohen of Turtle Island String Quartet on the decidedly baroque "Suzanne's Got A Hoolahoop." Drummer Dana Kelly, bassist Kurt Ribak, and Walsh himself form the core of a better than functional rock band that brings to mind some of the more commercial sounding offerings heard on your local AOR station. Walsh could slip right into any play list with ease. Far from being plain vanilla FM rock, though, Walsh ups the ante by way of smart and sassy songwriting skills. The primordial masculine goofiness of "Lusty Lady" smacks of another, more famously debauched, Alex -- the Chilton of Like Flies On Sherbert, while "You'll Come Back To Me" wraps a snide message in a Kinks styled romp-along. These are pop songs with an eye on genre, true, but the original approach and generally superb musicianship make name-the-influences seem an unnecessary excercise. A lesson to be learned from Walsh and company: these 12 tracks were culled from sessions that yielded 21 songs, allowing for some discretion when it came to selecting tracks for release. In a world where people often see fit to release the entire output of an artist regardless of quality, it's refreshing and rewarding to enjoy the benefits of such restraint. - West Coast Performer Magazine


Sun. Oct 5, 2003 - Longhouse Poetry, H(ear) Music Column
by Carson Arnold


There's a party goin' on somewhere. A happening that you're not part of. You're un-invited, and the million songs cry along. "Across The Universe", "Losing My Religion", "In Dreams"-- these are all monumental sagas flung from the deprived funnel of merely existing. But then there's the other song, that crazy reverse, tethered in a world of delight, exotics, and love carnival, blended even if it isn't. The jelly of T-Rex, the waves of Donovan, all thrilled to be living as though some infinite chess game of Edward Lear. San Francisco especially has always been the town to resonate these rings, beaming of a new moon, focusing music so far behind the rest of the world that it was almost staring them in the back. What can I say? It was on my doorstep Alex Walsh's album came a-singing Light Another Candle. The package had journeyed from some apartment in Frisco, a line at the bottom reading: "Here's my CD, Carson. Thanks!" Opening it up and meeting what would be Alex Walsh resting on a couch-- harmonicas near a lamp, guitar in hand-- I wondered what sort of image the postal clerks had envisioned when coming across it. Who's trapped inside? Mine was foolish. I thought, "Well here we go again, another songwriter with the same story to tell like the one before him. It's gonna be crap. Gonna be pop junk. Gonna make me sadder than I already am." Thus it sat for weeks, its red bonnet of a cover glancing up silently, the song titles: "Fade Away", "Lusty Lady", "Liquid Feeling": exhausting me...That is, until I threw it on.

(And you'll need sun glasses...) No album smiles brighter than Light Another Candle: those divine, happy tales. It's like climbing a hill into the punch of all sound and descent possible-- the entire album, one orbit of growing, peeling heart. I'll find myself asking, "Who is this woman he loves here? Is she alive? Do we know her?" The envelope of human desire and music is fully naked here, fully mink, and fully consistent, even in the last track where Walsh drowns in what sounded like to me a Cuban-salsa hijack into the balloons of Bob Weir. Oh my god, what am I listening to?! None but the opening track-- "Purple Apple Gum"-- Walsh's guitar lumbering into the drive-- dum-dum-dum-dum-- ultra-fuzzed, cutting through all the block bullshit of how to "start", no reducing, only levitating. Soon it crouches into side-paths of cool rhythm jangle (pews of cymbals, even if they aren't, seem to be everywhere). It now vibrates like the best wizardry you ever heard off the PVC label; a charming lick of notes begin, his voice (and a mouth in a perpetual smile, no doubt) unison to this first line: You and me together and nothing lasts forever. It sorta sips back the word "groovy" into play. Almost always, his verses extend from some twilight romance caught in the crossfire of reality, protocol, and session. Sometimes I never know what he's saying, it just feels right, sounds beautiful, and keeps going.

I too bat hints of Elvis Costello that others have apparently assimilated him with. However, Elvis, let's face it-- c'mon-- is disgruntle, and subsequently drawn more inward and inward to a state of demise, even if he chronically rocks. Instead, Walsh's attitude is of a more beloved serendipity, that, even if he never wins the ace of popularity, will still be sailing the same phrases of primordial lyric. His voice moves as though out-of-sight with stunning rebounds of Beatles-esque orchestration (guided and co-written by poet 'n songster Michael Rothenberg, whose suction seems to span coast-to-coast). What hunts ya down are the tom-tom's here (yeah, I'm still on the first song)-- it's like Steely Dan sprayed with pink paint-- moments later a triumphant chorus: never growin' tired of YOU: slurred, the rolling guitar still kicking-- Walsh now surprised how blush he plays rock 'n roll pop, glowing in the vast robbery he's just illustrated. It throttles on with "I Can See You Anywhere"-- voices panned ear-to-ear-- husky, altering, shaking-- keyboards are not even keyboards-- IT'S CRAZY! And that's the spark of the record; an aquarium production of echo that shadow his fingers through tart harmonies and heavens of 80's synth, folk-rock, and the overall song-fantasy of melodic, color revival. Marc Bolan lives!! As does every boy and girl. Seriously, though, that whole dancin'-out-of-the-womb Bolan bag of trickery are a deck of wild cards with Walsh's un-hesitant force here. There's an aspect of magician, where he seems to be ample enough to tackle just about any genre given (which I hope doesn't sober), uncovered in songs like "You'll Come Back to Me", where a shu-bop of music and instrumental dimension (which I usually hate, mind you) delivers choirs of appetizing ocean-tone. Very much reminiscent to Julian Cope's pop taj-mahal (often drifting into Dylan's new-found boogie-rubber band, too), the bends of Frisco are indeed visible in cuts like "Liquid Feeling" with Walsh's cascading sun-scapes of passion, if not trippy, tabla lyric-haze...You choose the moment. I myself can't help but imagine rolling through the Golden Gate Bridge with this cranked-- staring out into the bluff of Alcatraz--- down the street-car trolley-- early mornings at Coit Tower-- outward. Not a whip of defiance jacks this record-- Walsh is of a new breed of "bungalow rockers" that rain, rain, rain the day wide.

Whoa! just realized something else-- it's vividly similar to George Harrison's buzzing All Things Must Pass, and probably the closest attempts to this rich clef of performing that I can admire since Harrison's promise. What contrasts them abreast is the "adore" of everything they both pursue-- even if showing signs of weakness, it would thus allow them (Alex) to bloom forth dozens of other indirect creations-- a distorted guitar, a freaky organ that we'd forever render with-- a heavy altitude. Although his style is, Walsh ain't your typical fly at the song-trof (involving Rothenberg and other links to poetry-- such as verses of Philip Whalen on an earlier disc-- are good hints). He acknowledges to me that his prior recordings, featuring many of Candle's cuts, have been a rough yarn of demos-- all hot dunes leading to this initial peak-- embodied after a series of critical mental breakdowns and musical celibacy during the mid-90's while trotting as a playwright. Light Another Candle sneaks the earth of a sentimental spirit to the rhino of a vast, musical, if you may (yes you may) tangerine. It's as though he reached a point, possibly one hell of an evening jam with friends-- maybe even after rehearsing that roaring opening-- where it was either: tinker around to solicit-- or-- shatter it all with kewl-luv, break on through, the whole sha-bang, the 60's, the 70's, notably the 80's, guitars, BIG vocals, John Lennon on my wall!! and wherever I was in the 90's falling madly in love, inhaling. What's amusing about Walsh, is first, the subsistence of production with not a Jesus of insecurity, and second, the partial nonsense of his lyrics and musical fooling, that in ways, by not clarifying its direction, exposes the great mystery of life...Hah! what a pretentious dolt I am. The album rules. Listen! And may you return humming Alex Walsh.

- Longhouse Poetry, H(ear) Music Column


Light Another Candle
Antique Dreams & Collectable Pleasures


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Alex Walsh makes music the old-fashioned way -- warm and witty and straight from the heart."
--Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle

Alex Walsh is intriguing rock, fleshy and nervy roots rock that defies replicas. His sound might be a little like Elvis Costello's, T. Rex's, and the Replacement's, but his own arrangements of hooky lyrics makes it lock, stock and barrel uninfringeable. A romantic rambler who relived his Paris musician songwriting experience in San Francisco, he's now fulltime at the Musicians Union Local 6, playing locally. His Bronx Summer of Love birth and move to San Francisco, consequent trailing after his dependably relocating father and experience in suburbs of New York and Mississippi, developed a seasoned playwright and songwriter. West Coast Performer Magazine raved, "Veering expertly between Westerberg styled smart-guy rock and classic Brit-inspired pop, this is the kind of disc that radio programmers should glom right onto. Each of these tracks is well produced and, thanks to a remarkable roster of musicians, rendered eminently listenable." He's not going to take you to yoga camp or church and his attitude, like a steel reinforced road weary loop track, explains why he's won Best Performance from the WCS and is one of the best songwriters to emerge out of the San Francisco songwriters scene of the 00's at Cafe Du Nord, Tongue & Groove, and Red Devil Lounge. His deliberate observant-to-a-fault posture and thump-back stack of tinted tracks about relationships as vivid illustrations of 'been there and loved it' on the most recent "Light Another Candle " are contagious.

- bio observations courtesy of Maria Halyna

"A very distinct sound. Some of it kind of George Harrison like I thought. Some totally original in that I have never heard anything quite like it..."
-- Country Joe McDonald

"Walsh is of a new breed of "bungalow rockers" that rain, rain, rain the day wide."
-- Carson Arnold (H)ear Music