Walker Smith Group
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Walker Smith Group

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"Ahead To The Past"

The Walker Smith Group records as an amplified ensemble, but it's feel is distinctively country blues, due largely to the harmonica work of Jeff Vincent and grooves that are notably light on the "lump," especially considering that the artist formerly recoreded as Walter Smith Chicago Nights, is a South Side native. The easygoing style suits Smith's restrained melodic guitar work and clear smooth voice. Soul ballad " Ain't No Lovin'," the eight-bar "Flaga Ride," and Jam the Gun"(based on Robert Cray's "Right Next Door" progression) stand out. The self-released AHEAD TO THE PAST falls on the lighter side of the blues and should appeal to fans of Keb' Mo'. - Blues Revue Feb/Mar 2007


"Ahead To The Past- NEW RELEASE"

Walker Smith's guitar work is straight forward and tasteful: his lyrics bespeak an active, fertile imagination. On uptempo numbers, his vocals often sound influenced by Pride & Joy era Stevie Ray Vaughan, a feeling heightened by his penchant for upbeat, loping shuffles.....Elements of post-war Chicago shuffle blues, country honky-tonk Texas to Memphis jump, gospel-pop balladry vie for dominance over the course of this disc...and when he combines his blues-roots affectations with his penchant for folksy balladry the result can be an arresting meld of stylistic and thematic influences. - Living Blues Magazine-April 2007


"Walker Smith Group"

After a self imposed layoff from the blues scene, Walker Smith is back with a new attitude, a new band and a new CD. During his time off, one thing Walker did do was to continue to work on his song writing; Ahead to the Past is the result of that introspective time. Walker penned 10 of the 12 tunes and produced the entire disc, thereby putting his mark on his sound. I can't help but wonder how autobiographical the tunes are. Particularly, Flag A Ride. Is this how you ended up in Tampa Walker?

One thing you will notice when listening to this release is the measured tone and pace the songs take. No over top histrionics and no "look at me" extended guitar solos here, just Walker and his unassuming style. I detected a bit of Robert Cray sound in several songs, especially Jam the Gun (Bring the Sun) and All Things Must Change. This is not necessarily a bad thing due to the fact that Walker has not had his soul surgically removed. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does and it is readily apparent here. Check this one out at WalkerSmithGroup.com and be sure to be in the Skipperdome Dec 2 when he opens the SBS holiday party with Bobby Rush

Larry Lisk - SunCoast Blues Society


Discography

Cold Out and Down
Ahead to the Past

Photos

Bio

Raised on Chicago's south side by mother Glenda Allison, a gospel/jazz singer and club performer and Walter Sr. a performing guitarist, music was a mainstay in the Smith home. At a very early age, Walter took up guitar, sang and performed regularly in school programs.

As Walker grew he was schooled by great performers of the day including Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Dawkins and Jimmie Lee Robinson among others. The school bell would ring with Walter at the side of the bandstand observing every move as these greats displayed their craft. After the performance Walter could always be found talking shop with his idols. Smith has fond memories of these days. Muddy Waters told me " Always play it from your heart". Buddy guy taught me the importance of developing my own sound. Jimmy Dawkins message was not to forget about the business side of things, while Jimmie Lee Robinson conveyed the importance of living clean and not getting caught up in "the game".

Walker honed his skills through out the years with various groups of musicians, eventually forming Walter Smith and Tight Rhythm. As the sound developed and the fan base grew it was time to record the first album. Veteran producer Jim Reeves was chosen for the project with past experience with Gregg Allman and ZZ Top.

" Cold Out & Down" was recorded in Evanston, Illinois at Reeves Audio and features eight original compositions. Songs range from the deep Chicago Blues of "Cold Chills" to the radio friendly, foot tapping "Cold Out & Down" and the autobiographical ballad " Family Rob"

Walker's next project " Walter Smith's Chicago Nights" was formed in the Tampa Bay Area, which brought with it a vast performing schedule , television and festival appearances.

In 2007 Walker released his second album "Ahead to the Past". This second album was recorded in Tampa Bay. With more originals, both electric and acoustic. This CD release won "Best Self Produced CD-2007" & represented the Suncoast Blues Society of Florida in the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The band also won "Best Blues Performance Band-2007"-IBC: Tampa Bay region. The Walker Smith Group competed in & won the 2007 Beale Street Blues King Competition! This event was sponsored by the Beale Street Merchants Assn. of Memphis. This contest was an International competition with many IBC bands competing for the title "2007 Beale Street Blues Kings" which the Walker Smith Group now holds! Having emergered as one of the most promising new blues artists on the scene today Walker Smith has earned & continues to build an outstanding reputation among the fans & blues notables alike. In May of this year he showed the fire still burns with a critically acclaimed electrifying performance at the 2007 Tampa Bay Blues Festival!