Walter Parks
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Walter Parks

Jersey City, NJ | Established. Jan 01, 1988 | INDIE

Jersey City, NJ | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1988
Solo Alternative Blues

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Mar
08
Walter Parks @ Great Aunt Stella Center

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Feb
24
Walter Parks @ Averitt Center for the Arts

Statesboro, Georgia, United States

Statesboro, Georgia, United States

Feb
08
Walter Parks @ Grace Church Van Vorst

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jan
31
Walter Parks @ City Winery

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Dec
14
Walter Parks @ House Concert

Buckingham, Virginia, United States

Buckingham, Virginia, United States

Dec
08
Walter Parks @ Mount Dora Brewery

Mount Dora, Florida, United States

Mount Dora, Florida, United States

Dec
07
Walter Parks @ Mudville Music Room

Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Dec
06
Walter Parks @ Service Brewing Co.

Savannah, Georgia, United States

Savannah, Georgia, United States

Nov
18
Walter Parks @ Ironwood Stage & Grill

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Nov
17
Walter Parks @ Festival Place

Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada

Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada

Oct
12
Walter Parks @ Blue Jay Listening Room

Jacksonville Beach, Florida, United States

Jacksonville Beach, Florida, United States

Oct
11
Walter Parks @ Heartwood Soundstage

Gainesville, Florida, United States

Gainesville, Florida, United States

Aug
10
Walter Parks @ The Cary Theater

Cary, North Carolina, United States

Cary, North Carolina, United States

Jun
09
Walter Parks @ Riverview Jazz Festival

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Apr
21
Walter Parks @ Downtown Savannah

Savannah, Georgia, United States

Savannah, Georgia, United States

Apr
14
Walter Parks @ Lyric Theatre

Stuart, Florida, United States

Stuart, Florida, United States

Aug
03
Walter Parks @ Fox & Crow

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Aug
03
Walter Parks @ J. Owen Grundy Park

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jul
29
Walter Parks @ Ski Butternut

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States

Jul
28
Walter Parks @ Plan B

Suffern, New York, United States

Suffern, New York, United States

Jul
27
Walter Parks @ The Brightside Tavern

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

Mar
11
Walter Parks @ Lyric Theatre

Stuart, Florida, United States

Stuart, Florida, United States

Jun
25
Walter Parks @ City Winery

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Jun
18
Walter Parks @ Le Barn @ Egremont Village Inn

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States

Jun
17
Walter Parks @ Downtown Barn

Liberty, New York, United States

Liberty, New York, United States

Music

Press


"WNYC Gig Alert: Walter Parks (01/02/2012)"

In a sense you could say it took veteran musician Walter Park nearly 30 years to complete his first album. The seasoned performer -- who is also folk legend Richie Havens’ lead guitarist, half of the folk-acoustic duo The Nudes and singer-leader of the southern funk rock outfit Swamp Cabbage — released his solo debut just last year after more than two decades in music.

A listen to Parks’ soulful Americana rock is to be immersed in warm guitar melodies, smoky vocals and troubadour narratives that gather strength with age. Download his wistful single “So Bad So Good” above or check out a live performance of the tune below. - By Monika Fabian


"WNYC Gig Alert: Walter Parks (01/02/2012)"

In a sense you could say it took veteran musician Walter Park nearly 30 years to complete his first album. The seasoned performer -- who is also folk legend Richie Havens’ lead guitarist, half of the folk-acoustic duo The Nudes and singer-leader of the southern funk rock outfit Swamp Cabbage — released his solo debut just last year after more than two decades in music.

A listen to Parks’ soulful Americana rock is to be immersed in warm guitar melodies, smoky vocals and troubadour narratives that gather strength with age. Download his wistful single “So Bad So Good” above or check out a live performance of the tune below. - By Monika Fabian


"CAC brings Parks' 'swamp style' to Omnova state (Feb 10 2012)"

It's fair to say Walter Parks has worn a few hats in the music world. As lead guitarist for Woodstock legend Richie
Havens for most of the last decade, he's played some prestigious venues, like Carnegie Hall and Madison Square
Garden.
As half of the alternative-folk duo The Nudes with cellist Stephanie Winters before that, he released three albums
and created music Billboard magazine described as unlike "anything else on the airwaves."
In 2011, he worked with the Florida Ballet on a joint project which debuted in October. And if you attended the
Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Ala., this past fall, you may have seen him with his low country band,
Swamp Cabbage.
But, with the recent release of Park's self-titled solo album on Judy Collins' Wildflower Records, the music man
comes into his own. He'll share his style of "north Florida swamp music" with a Golden Triangle audience Friday,
Feb. 17. The Columbus Arts Council presents Parks in concert in the Omnova Theater of the Rosenzweig Arts
Center at 7 p.m.
Roots
"There's a lot of Southern atmosphere, Southern influence, to my music," said Parks Thursday, by phone from his
home in Savannah, Ga. "I'm very proud of that and sort of parade it around the country as I travel to different
regions."
At times introspective and beautiful, at times sultry, Parks' signature music moves from acoustic to electric guitar as
the mood calls.
"And some of it's just 'good time.' I'm a Libra, so have to kind of balance out my pensive side with my primal side,"
he quietly laughed.
Parks is eager for a return visit to Mississippi. He has a soft spot for the Magnolia State.
"I played in a big downtown festival in Jackson with Richie. ... I remember he and I went out front in the audience
and listened to the Isley Brothers. That was one of my most memorable moments of playing on the road with Richie
-- being in that sea of people and enjoying the wonderful music of the Isley Brothers in downtown Jackson," he
reflected.
"I'm really looking forward to coming to Columbus; I've never been there before," he went on. " ... I'm always very
inspired by the land where I am. There's something about certain areas of the country, they just hand me musical
ideas."
Parks recently returned from touring in Spain with Swamp Cabbage.
"It's so great to come back and to come to Mississippi, where the blues and some of the jazz sounds originated,
because in Spain and in Europe, they crave what came out of Mississippi; they crave it. In a certain way, I think it's a
shame artists have to go to Europe to get that degree of appreciation for American music."
Parks is currently recording some of his favorite cover songs, but only when he can do them his way.
"I'm very much inspired by what I heard Richie Havens do with cover songs. ... I'm really putting a lot of time in
trying to come up with unique arrangements." Some of these pieces will be included in the Columbus show.
How to go
Tickets are $10 in advance at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St.; or $12 at the door. For more information or
tickets, contact the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-2787 - The Dispatch


"CAC brings Parks' 'swamp style' to Omnova state (Feb 10 2012)"

It's fair to say Walter Parks has worn a few hats in the music world. As lead guitarist for Woodstock legend Richie
Havens for most of the last decade, he's played some prestigious venues, like Carnegie Hall and Madison Square
Garden.
As half of the alternative-folk duo The Nudes with cellist Stephanie Winters before that, he released three albums
and created music Billboard magazine described as unlike "anything else on the airwaves."
In 2011, he worked with the Florida Ballet on a joint project which debuted in October. And if you attended the
Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Ala., this past fall, you may have seen him with his low country band,
Swamp Cabbage.
But, with the recent release of Park's self-titled solo album on Judy Collins' Wildflower Records, the music man
comes into his own. He'll share his style of "north Florida swamp music" with a Golden Triangle audience Friday,
Feb. 17. The Columbus Arts Council presents Parks in concert in the Omnova Theater of the Rosenzweig Arts
Center at 7 p.m.
Roots
"There's a lot of Southern atmosphere, Southern influence, to my music," said Parks Thursday, by phone from his
home in Savannah, Ga. "I'm very proud of that and sort of parade it around the country as I travel to different
regions."
At times introspective and beautiful, at times sultry, Parks' signature music moves from acoustic to electric guitar as
the mood calls.
"And some of it's just 'good time.' I'm a Libra, so have to kind of balance out my pensive side with my primal side,"
he quietly laughed.
Parks is eager for a return visit to Mississippi. He has a soft spot for the Magnolia State.
"I played in a big downtown festival in Jackson with Richie. ... I remember he and I went out front in the audience
and listened to the Isley Brothers. That was one of my most memorable moments of playing on the road with Richie
-- being in that sea of people and enjoying the wonderful music of the Isley Brothers in downtown Jackson," he
reflected.
"I'm really looking forward to coming to Columbus; I've never been there before," he went on. " ... I'm always very
inspired by the land where I am. There's something about certain areas of the country, they just hand me musical
ideas."
Parks recently returned from touring in Spain with Swamp Cabbage.
"It's so great to come back and to come to Mississippi, where the blues and some of the jazz sounds originated,
because in Spain and in Europe, they crave what came out of Mississippi; they crave it. In a certain way, I think it's a
shame artists have to go to Europe to get that degree of appreciation for American music."
Parks is currently recording some of his favorite cover songs, but only when he can do them his way.
"I'm very much inspired by what I heard Richie Havens do with cover songs. ... I'm really putting a lot of time in
trying to come up with unique arrangements." Some of these pieces will be included in the Columbus show.
How to go
Tickets are $10 in advance at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St.; or $12 at the door. For more information or
tickets, contact the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-2787 - The Dispatch


"Walter Parks - Review of Walter Parks CD (March 2012)"

Hij begon zijn carrière als gitarist achter Richie Havens en wat later als de helft van het folkduo The Nudes, maar hij kwam pas in ons vizier toen we het uitstekende debuut "Honk"van de swamp-blues formatie Swamp Cabbage toegeschoven kregen, een pracht van een plaat die we nog regelmatig met veel plezier beluisteren, net als zijn opvolger "Squeal".

We waren dan ook aangenaam verrast toen we zijn naam plus dat herkenbare snorretje en sik zagen prijken op een nieuwe, titelloze cd die we ter bespreking toegestuurd kregen. Zou Parks ons verrassen met een compleet ander geluid op deze solo-cd, of zou het in het verlengde liggen van zijn werk bij Swamp Cabbage? Moest dit laatste het geval zijn, zou het ons zeker niet ontgoochelen, want we genoten met volle teugen van beide releases van zijn band.

Er is wel degelijk een verschil, en wat voor een, dat blijkt zo gauw we de cd in onze speler mikken. Deze cd luistert als een pure, mooi opgebouwde en sfeervolle Americana soundtrack. Parks' prachtige stem krijgt alle ruimte en de swampy riffs en ritmes van Swamp Cabbage ontbreken zo goed als volledig. De cd werd opgenomen in Kaleidoscope Sound een tot studio omgebouwde oude fabriek in New Jersey met de hulp van Salvatore Mormando, rechterhand van Richie Havens, die trouwens ook meespeelt op een aantal tracks. De mixing was in handen van James De Vito, die voorheen al samenwerkte met JJ Grey & Mofro en Donavon Frankenreiter. Hij gebruikte hiervoor heel wat vintage studiomateriaal, wat volledig past bij Parks, want ook hij bespeelt steeds vintage gitaren.

Zoals gezegd vormt de cd een rustig, mooi doorlopend en samenhangend geheel, maar de nummers die er uitspringen zijn het prachtige "New Mexico" en "Troubadour" waar duidelijk wordt dat Walter Parks een uitstekende zanger is, met een heel flexible stem, hetgeen wat verloren gaat bij Swamp Cabbage. Een drietal maal, in het begin, bij het einde en middenin de cd zijn er mooie instrumentale verbindingstracks zoals "Conestoga" die dat soundtrack gevoel van het geheel nog meer verhogen.

Deze eerste solo uitstap is voor 200% geslaagd, een welkome afwisseling in geluid, die ons een heel andere Parks laat horen. We weten dat ook Swamp Cabbage nog steeds doorgaat, dus kunnen we in de toekomst dubbel genieten: Walter Parks als troubadour én als rocker... zalig!

(RON)

English Translation:
He began its career as a gitarist behind Richie Harbors and a little later than the half of the folkduo The Nudes, but he came "Limped" pushed across got just we in our sight then the sticking out debut of the swamp-blues formation Swamp Cabbage, a beauty of a plate, that we listen to yet regularly with many plezier, neat as its successor "Squeal".

We were then also pleasant surprised then we be name plus that recognizable mustache crack and sik saw be displayed on a new, title lynx cd that we to discussion sent got. Would us surprise Parks with a complete other sound on these solo-cd, or it would lie in the extended from its work by Swamp Cabbage? Must this last the case be, would disillusion the us certainly not, for we enjoyments with full gulps of both releases of its tie.

There is well reliable a difference, and what kind of a, that appeared as soon as we the cd in our player aim. This cd listens as a pure, beautiful built up and sfeervolle Americana soundtrack. Parks' beautiful voice all space and the swampy riffs and rhythms of Swamp Cabbage gets be missing as good as complete. The cd was taken up in Kaleidoscope Sound a till studio converted old factory in New Jersey with the help of Salvatore Mormando, right hand of Richie Harbors, that joins in besides also on a number tracks. The mixing was in hands of James De Vito that worked together formerly already with JJ Grey & Mofro and Donavon Frankenreiter. He used for this a lot of vintage studio material, what complete most level by Parks, for also he town vintage guitars plays on.

As said forms the cd a calm, beautiful doorlopend and been connected whole, but the numbers that it stand out become the beautiful "New Mexico" and "Troubadour" where clear that Walter Parks an excellent singer is, with a whole flexible vote, what what lost goes by Swamp Cabbage. A threesome grind, in the beginning, by the end and in the Middle the cd are there beautiful instrumentale verbindingstracks as "Conestoga" that that soundtrack feel of the completely yet more raise.

This first solo outing has been succeeded for 200%, a welcome alternation in sound that us want to hear a whole other Parks. We know that also Swamp Cabbage still continues, thus can we in the future double enjoy: Walter Parks as a troubadour én as rocker... gloriously!

(RON)

- Rootstime.be


"Walter Parks - Review of Walter Parks CD (March 2012)"

Hij begon zijn carrière als gitarist achter Richie Havens en wat later als de helft van het folkduo The Nudes, maar hij kwam pas in ons vizier toen we het uitstekende debuut "Honk"van de swamp-blues formatie Swamp Cabbage toegeschoven kregen, een pracht van een plaat die we nog regelmatig met veel plezier beluisteren, net als zijn opvolger "Squeal".

We waren dan ook aangenaam verrast toen we zijn naam plus dat herkenbare snorretje en sik zagen prijken op een nieuwe, titelloze cd die we ter bespreking toegestuurd kregen. Zou Parks ons verrassen met een compleet ander geluid op deze solo-cd, of zou het in het verlengde liggen van zijn werk bij Swamp Cabbage? Moest dit laatste het geval zijn, zou het ons zeker niet ontgoochelen, want we genoten met volle teugen van beide releases van zijn band.

Er is wel degelijk een verschil, en wat voor een, dat blijkt zo gauw we de cd in onze speler mikken. Deze cd luistert als een pure, mooi opgebouwde en sfeervolle Americana soundtrack. Parks' prachtige stem krijgt alle ruimte en de swampy riffs en ritmes van Swamp Cabbage ontbreken zo goed als volledig. De cd werd opgenomen in Kaleidoscope Sound een tot studio omgebouwde oude fabriek in New Jersey met de hulp van Salvatore Mormando, rechterhand van Richie Havens, die trouwens ook meespeelt op een aantal tracks. De mixing was in handen van James De Vito, die voorheen al samenwerkte met JJ Grey & Mofro en Donavon Frankenreiter. Hij gebruikte hiervoor heel wat vintage studiomateriaal, wat volledig past bij Parks, want ook hij bespeelt steeds vintage gitaren.

Zoals gezegd vormt de cd een rustig, mooi doorlopend en samenhangend geheel, maar de nummers die er uitspringen zijn het prachtige "New Mexico" en "Troubadour" waar duidelijk wordt dat Walter Parks een uitstekende zanger is, met een heel flexible stem, hetgeen wat verloren gaat bij Swamp Cabbage. Een drietal maal, in het begin, bij het einde en middenin de cd zijn er mooie instrumentale verbindingstracks zoals "Conestoga" die dat soundtrack gevoel van het geheel nog meer verhogen.

Deze eerste solo uitstap is voor 200% geslaagd, een welkome afwisseling in geluid, die ons een heel andere Parks laat horen. We weten dat ook Swamp Cabbage nog steeds doorgaat, dus kunnen we in de toekomst dubbel genieten: Walter Parks als troubadour én als rocker... zalig!

(RON)

English Translation:
He began its career as a gitarist behind Richie Harbors and a little later than the half of the folkduo The Nudes, but he came "Limped" pushed across got just we in our sight then the sticking out debut of the swamp-blues formation Swamp Cabbage, a beauty of a plate, that we listen to yet regularly with many plezier, neat as its successor "Squeal".

We were then also pleasant surprised then we be name plus that recognizable mustache crack and sik saw be displayed on a new, title lynx cd that we to discussion sent got. Would us surprise Parks with a complete other sound on these solo-cd, or it would lie in the extended from its work by Swamp Cabbage? Must this last the case be, would disillusion the us certainly not, for we enjoyments with full gulps of both releases of its tie.

There is well reliable a difference, and what kind of a, that appeared as soon as we the cd in our player aim. This cd listens as a pure, beautiful built up and sfeervolle Americana soundtrack. Parks' beautiful voice all space and the swampy riffs and rhythms of Swamp Cabbage gets be missing as good as complete. The cd was taken up in Kaleidoscope Sound a till studio converted old factory in New Jersey with the help of Salvatore Mormando, right hand of Richie Harbors, that joins in besides also on a number tracks. The mixing was in hands of James De Vito that worked together formerly already with JJ Grey & Mofro and Donavon Frankenreiter. He used for this a lot of vintage studio material, what complete most level by Parks, for also he town vintage guitars plays on.

As said forms the cd a calm, beautiful doorlopend and been connected whole, but the numbers that it stand out become the beautiful "New Mexico" and "Troubadour" where clear that Walter Parks an excellent singer is, with a whole flexible vote, what what lost goes by Swamp Cabbage. A threesome grind, in the beginning, by the end and in the Middle the cd are there beautiful instrumentale verbindingstracks as "Conestoga" that that soundtrack feel of the completely yet more raise.

This first solo outing has been succeeded for 200%, a welcome alternation in sound that us want to hear a whole other Parks. We know that also Swamp Cabbage still continues, thus can we in the future double enjoy: Walter Parks as a troubadour én as rocker... gloriously!

(RON)

- Rootstime.be


"Featured Artist of the Week 01/31/12"

Walter Parks rips pages from an A list rappers note book of phrases in creating “So Bad So Good”. The music bed is a gauzy dream land with note patterns that pop like little flashes of light. Talk of a night out dancing with a tempting seductress and breezing through the VIP line sets the scene, but the real story is a boiling hot tale of love that seems to glide as it smolders across a committed merging of lonesome guitar notes, heavy bottom beats and tonal jazz chords. Warning, the song stands as a spoiler for the self-titled Walter Parks release. Walter Parks use of guitar to create mood and textures is so present on the album you might tend to take his mastery for granted. He occupies a musical echoed territory that makes great use of soundscape like a Daniel Lanois album and production. Three instrumentals flavor the album, including the opener, which dials in the fact that Walter Parks is first and foremost a guitar man. His low register voice cracks in perfect counterpoint to the fluidity of his fret work. Thirty years into a career that has seen him as lead guitarist for Richie Havens, half of the folk duo The Nudes and leader of the swampy blues band Swamp Cabbage, ‘Walter Parks’ is a debut effort. - The Alternate Root


"Review: Walter Parks Dec 17, 2011"

Walter Parks, has been a contender on the guitar for the past three decades. He has regaled international crowds as the lead guitarist for Woodstock-famed Richie Havens, as half of the folk-duo The Nudes and also as the leader of swamp blues band Swamp Cabbage. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida he has settled in Savannah, Georgia. Parks has 6 previous albums under his belt and with his self-titled solo album weighing in at a strong number 7. Released in October 2011 by Wildflower Records, this album is exactly that. A well put-together solo album from a bluesy rock conquistador. His raspy baritone (not unlike a watered-down Waits-style groan) is balanced perfectly by his pristine falsetto (check “Heed the Call”). These swoon over his mature guitar playing that lays the groundwork for this album.

Parks shows his deep knowledge and range throughout this album. In “Vestibule” he plucks along about sun, travel and waiting in an Eddie Vedder affinity (circa the Into the Wild soundtrack). But out of left-field the drums slows the tempo and Parks trills in a sexy, seductive Prince-like ballad on “So Bad So Good”. Just when you think you’ve got the idea right about this album, Parks pulls out an Americana twang on the aptly-named “New Mexico”. And finally, showcasing his talent Parks lets the music speak for itself in the first and last songs, wrapping up the album in two beautiful instrumentals “Epiphany” and “Requiem”.

If his credentials doesn’t prove it, then this solo album will attest to Walter Parks talent and strength as an under the radar rock warrior. - Everything But Urban


"Musician Walter Parks Wows Episcopal Students"

Episcopal students welcomed renowned musician Walter Parks Monday morning for a performance and Master Class focusing on
music, songwriting, and the creative process. Episcopal music instructor Jeff Tippins has known and played music with Mr. Parks
since 1981. The two performed together for students in the Berg Gallery in the Munnerlyn.
Mr. Parks and Mr. Tippins played (Mr. Tippins on the drums) songs from Coldplay and The Who. Students also enjoyed Mr. Parks’
own music, including “Sugar House,” which he played on a 1967 guitar.
“I wanted our students to have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of someone that is actively involved in writing and
performing music throughout the world,” said Mr. Tippins. “This is an invaluable experience for our students to hear and be able to
speak to this world-renowned artist.”
Mr. Parks has performed internationally as a solo artist, as a leader of his own groups, and for the last decade as guitarist for Richie
Havens. He currently performs solo or with his group, Swamp Cabbage.
Mr. Parks took student questions relating to the songwriting and creative process, and offered students insights into the reality of a
sustained career in the performing arts.
He shared his desire as a young musician living in New York City to leave his Jacksonville roots behind, only to have a “swampy”
sound in his playing become his signature, which he knew stemmed directly from his growing up in this area.
“Never think where you come from is not legitimate – you need to market it – bring that into your art, that is what will make you
different,” Mr. Parks said.
Mr. Parks, who grew up in Jacksonville but now resides in Savannah, is in Jacksonville this week to perform at the Florida Ballet
annual fundraiser, where he will accompany dances choreographed to his original compositions. His website is www.walterparks.com.
This unique opportunity for Episcopal students was graciously underwritten by F.A.N.S. (Fine Arts Nurturing Students).
- Episcopal School of Jacksonville


"Musician Walter Parks Wows Episcopal Students"

Episcopal students welcomed renowned musician Walter Parks Monday morning for a performance and Master Class focusing on
music, songwriting, and the creative process. Episcopal music instructor Jeff Tippins has known and played music with Mr. Parks
since 1981. The two performed together for students in the Berg Gallery in the Munnerlyn.
Mr. Parks and Mr. Tippins played (Mr. Tippins on the drums) songs from Coldplay and The Who. Students also enjoyed Mr. Parks’
own music, including “Sugar House,” which he played on a 1967 guitar.
“I wanted our students to have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of someone that is actively involved in writing and
performing music throughout the world,” said Mr. Tippins. “This is an invaluable experience for our students to hear and be able to
speak to this world-renowned artist.”
Mr. Parks has performed internationally as a solo artist, as a leader of his own groups, and for the last decade as guitarist for Richie
Havens. He currently performs solo or with his group, Swamp Cabbage.
Mr. Parks took student questions relating to the songwriting and creative process, and offered students insights into the reality of a
sustained career in the performing arts.
He shared his desire as a young musician living in New York City to leave his Jacksonville roots behind, only to have a “swampy”
sound in his playing become his signature, which he knew stemmed directly from his growing up in this area.
“Never think where you come from is not legitimate – you need to market it – bring that into your art, that is what will make you
different,” Mr. Parks said.
Mr. Parks, who grew up in Jacksonville but now resides in Savannah, is in Jacksonville this week to perform at the Florida Ballet
annual fundraiser, where he will accompany dances choreographed to his original compositions. His website is www.walterparks.com.
This unique opportunity for Episcopal students was graciously underwritten by F.A.N.S. (Fine Arts Nurturing Students).
- Episcopal School of Jacksonville


"Jesus Tone Video Link"

In this song Walter describes how he gets that unique sound out of his instrument. With Dean Sharp on drums - video by Anthony Pepitone at The Living Room in NYC. - Walter Parks Music


"Jesus Tone Video Link"

In this song Walter describes how he gets that unique sound out of his instrument. With Dean Sharp on drums - video by Anthony Pepitone at The Living Room in NYC. - Walter Parks Music


"So Bad So Good Video Link"

Walter performs another original tune at The Living Room in NYC - Dean Sharp on drums - video by Anthony Pepitone. - Walter Parks Music


"So Bad So Good Video Link"

Walter performs another original tune at The Living Room in NYC - Dean Sharp on drums - video by Anthony Pepitone. - Walter Parks Music


"Walter Parks and James Nave at the White Horse this Saturday"

by Alli Marshall on 03/23/2011

So how’s this for synchronicity: I woke up this morning with an overwhelming urge to listen to Swamp Cabbage, a great North Florida outfit fronted by Walter Parks, the longtime guitarist for iconic folk singer Richie Havens.

But Swamp Cabbage doesn’t sounds much like Havens. Instead, thanks to Parks’ gritty snarl and grungy blues guitar, they sound like something delightfully nasty just issued forth from the cypress bogs. It’s possible that Parks could make “Somewhere over the Rainbow” sound raunchy. (Check him out performing “Tallahassee” at the Living Room in New York City, where he now lives.)

Anyway, I listened to a couple of tracks from Swamp Cabbage’s seminal 2006 album, Honk (they came through Asheville half-a-decade ago touring that album). And then I looked around for videos of the band. Finding none, I googled Parks’ solo website and then, on a lark, checked his schedule just in case he might get a wild hair and come back to Asheville some day.

Here’s the synchronicity part: Parks will perform at The White Horse this Saturday, March 26 (8 p.m., $10).

Oddly/interestingly/fortuitously/adventurously that performance is a cobill with poet James Nave (above). Nave co-founded Poetry Alive! and, according to his bio, “has performed internationally, working in public radio and competing nationally in the Poetry Slam in the United States. With Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, James has co-produced and co-taught the Artist’s Way Creativity Camp in Taos, NM. He currently leads The Imaginative Storm creativity retreats and writing workshops with fellow writer, Allegra Huston.”

According to White Horse, “Nave is a world renown poet and Walter is an equally renown musician. They’ll perform together and separately. A great show.”

I’m hoping for slam poetry and nasty blues rock. And (in case you’re reading this, Mr. Parks) a solo rendition of “If A Thing Feels Right.”
- Mountain XPress


"Video Link"

Walter performs J.J. Cale's "Sensitive Kind" at The Living Room in NYC with Dean Sharp on drums. Video by Anthony Pepitone.
- The Sensitive Kind


"Video Link"

Walter performs J.J. Cale's "Sensitive Kind" at The Living Room in NYC with Dean Sharp on drums. Video by Anthony Pepitone.
- The Sensitive Kind


"WALTER PARKS Jacksonville-native, Richie Havens’ guitarist plays Café Eleven"

Walter Parks is a busy guy. When he’s not touring and playing guitar for Richie Havens’, he’s a member of Swamp Cabbage, a Southern-influenced trio consisting of Scott Joplin and Jerry Reed.

He’s spent nearly a decade with both gigs and about three in the industry. So why after all this time has he finally decided to release a solo debut? It was time to get in the driver’s seat.

Compass caught up with Parks in Phoenix, Ariz. in the midst of a solo tour to chat about his upcoming (and very first time) gig at Café 11. Here’s a bit of our conversation:

Compass: You were in your early thirties when you left Northeast Florida, do you still consider it home?

Walter Parks: I spent a good part of my youth and early adult years in Jacksonville. So ya, it’s my hometown. I told people that last night, you know, I constantly refer to it [Jacksonville] as my hometown. I don’t live there anymore. Now I live in Savannah.

Compass: In press material you say, “I’m as comfortable with rural culture as I am with so called ‘high society.’” Do you think being a dichotomy has helped you in the music industry?

W.P.: Absolutely. Absolutely. The most important way that it’s helped me is it’s helped me to make a living. For instance, the show that I did last night in Phoenix, I was playing for people who had found out about me on my website ... there were older people in the audience and there were younger people. There were people who go to the Bonnaroo Festival, people who go to Coachella Festival and then there were people who had gone to Woodstock and were Richie Havens’ fans. So being able to play ... a lot of different musical genres, yet present it in my own Southern swampy foundation I think is dire for just staying alive in this business.

Compass: Your unnamed solo debut will be released in September. Tell me about that.

W.P.: I’ve done many records since about the late ‘80s and they were all group-oriented things. They were all sort of democratic processes — me putting forth visions of my songs and then asking for the contributions of all of the band members to come up with the sound. But this particular situation, I was able to say, “This is what I want played here.” I was really clearly the leader of the project and it was the first record that I had the opportunity to play some solo material on. Just pure solo pieces — solo guitar and so on. It was a blast. The record was recorded in New York and mixed in St. Augustine at Retrophonics Recording Studios.

Compass: Why did you choose to release your album on Judy Collins’ label, Wildflower Records?

W.P.: I wanted to release a record that was a little bit mellower and sort of more true to the vibe that I have when I perform with Richie (Havens). Judy Collins heard me play and she liked what I did and I think it just went from there. She has a tremendous voice — still — and she’s an ultimate professional. She has a fantastic, well-run organization. And I thought that the record deserved to be on a serious music label.

Walter Parks performs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11 at Café 11. Tickets are $10.Call 460-9311 or go to www.cafeeleven.com. - Compass


"WALTER PARKS Jacksonville-native, Richie Havens’ guitarist plays Café Eleven"

Walter Parks is a busy guy. When he’s not touring and playing guitar for Richie Havens’, he’s a member of Swamp Cabbage, a Southern-influenced trio consisting of Scott Joplin and Jerry Reed.

He’s spent nearly a decade with both gigs and about three in the industry. So why after all this time has he finally decided to release a solo debut? It was time to get in the driver’s seat.

Compass caught up with Parks in Phoenix, Ariz. in the midst of a solo tour to chat about his upcoming (and very first time) gig at Café 11. Here’s a bit of our conversation:

Compass: You were in your early thirties when you left Northeast Florida, do you still consider it home?

Walter Parks: I spent a good part of my youth and early adult years in Jacksonville. So ya, it’s my hometown. I told people that last night, you know, I constantly refer to it [Jacksonville] as my hometown. I don’t live there anymore. Now I live in Savannah.

Compass: In press material you say, “I’m as comfortable with rural culture as I am with so called ‘high society.’” Do you think being a dichotomy has helped you in the music industry?

W.P.: Absolutely. Absolutely. The most important way that it’s helped me is it’s helped me to make a living. For instance, the show that I did last night in Phoenix, I was playing for people who had found out about me on my website ... there were older people in the audience and there were younger people. There were people who go to the Bonnaroo Festival, people who go to Coachella Festival and then there were people who had gone to Woodstock and were Richie Havens’ fans. So being able to play ... a lot of different musical genres, yet present it in my own Southern swampy foundation I think is dire for just staying alive in this business.

Compass: Your unnamed solo debut will be released in September. Tell me about that.

W.P.: I’ve done many records since about the late ‘80s and they were all group-oriented things. They were all sort of democratic processes — me putting forth visions of my songs and then asking for the contributions of all of the band members to come up with the sound. But this particular situation, I was able to say, “This is what I want played here.” I was really clearly the leader of the project and it was the first record that I had the opportunity to play some solo material on. Just pure solo pieces — solo guitar and so on. It was a blast. The record was recorded in New York and mixed in St. Augustine at Retrophonics Recording Studios.

Compass: Why did you choose to release your album on Judy Collins’ label, Wildflower Records?

W.P.: I wanted to release a record that was a little bit mellower and sort of more true to the vibe that I have when I perform with Richie (Havens). Judy Collins heard me play and she liked what I did and I think it just went from there. She has a tremendous voice — still — and she’s an ultimate professional. She has a fantastic, well-run organization. And I thought that the record deserved to be on a serious music label.

Walter Parks performs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11 at Café 11. Tickets are $10.Call 460-9311 or go to www.cafeeleven.com. - Compass


"Jacksonville native Walter Parks performs at Suwannee Springfest"

The way Walter Parks tells it, he spent much of his musical life trying to get away from here. Then one day he was noodling around on the guitar, and Leni Stern, a German jazz guitarist whom he admired, told him there was always a bit of swamp in his playing.

That's when it hit him.

"I'd been sort of denying and running from my personal roots," Parks said. "I was playing this sophisticated music, trying to get North Florida and Jacksonville out of my sound."

Parks, who grew up in Jacksonville but now lives just outside New York, is back in North Florida this weekend, and he's playing with both of his bands at Suwannee Springfest.

He's lead guitarist for Richie Havens, who is almost a legend in folk music.

He's one of the headliners of the more than 40 performers who are scheduled to play in this year's four-day event at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park near Live Oak.

And he's bringing Swamp Cabbage, the band he formed when he realized how deep the whole swamp thing went. He doesn't get to do that too much. He and Havens play about 125 gigs a year, and that's all around the world. It doesn't leave much time for the swamp.

Growing up on Jacksonville's Westside and Venetia neighborhoods, he formed his first band, like so many others, in high school. And, again like others, the musicians' parents weren't really happy with it. So they named the band Parental Tears.

He eventually moved on to Sneakers, a fusion group that held court at the old Applejacks every Monday night in the late '70s. The Wing Tips, a party band, followed.

Then it was Dear John, an alt-rock band that took him all the way to New York. The band fell apart, but he stayed in the city.

He formed The Nudes, an acoustic duo, for a very practical reason.

"I couldn't afford to rehearse a band in New York," he said. "Growing up in Jacksonville, I never had to pay for rehearsal space. So I wanted a group I could rehearse in an apartment."

He put an ad in the Village Voice looking for a cellist, Stephanie Winters responded and The Nudes were born. They started off playing Grand Central Station for tips and eventually traveled the country playing major venues. But eight years ago, as bands are wont to do, it broke up, too.

That's when Parks started playing with Havens, and about the time he discovered his inner swamp.

Swamp Cabbage played Thursday night to open Springfest, but has two more sets today and Saturday afternoon. He and Havens play at 8:30 tonight on the main amphitheater stage.

This will be the first time that Havens has played Springfest, now in its 13th year. But many of the performers are regulars: Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson, The Duhks, Donna the Buffalo and Jim Lauderdale.

Five stages, most of them outside. About 7,000 people, most of them camping, with as much music going in the campgrounds as there is onstage. - The Florida Times-Union


"Jacksonville native Walter Parks performs at Suwannee Springfest"

The way Walter Parks tells it, he spent much of his musical life trying to get away from here. Then one day he was noodling around on the guitar, and Leni Stern, a German jazz guitarist whom he admired, told him there was always a bit of swamp in his playing.

That's when it hit him.

"I'd been sort of denying and running from my personal roots," Parks said. "I was playing this sophisticated music, trying to get North Florida and Jacksonville out of my sound."

Parks, who grew up in Jacksonville but now lives just outside New York, is back in North Florida this weekend, and he's playing with both of his bands at Suwannee Springfest.

He's lead guitarist for Richie Havens, who is almost a legend in folk music.

He's one of the headliners of the more than 40 performers who are scheduled to play in this year's four-day event at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park near Live Oak.

And he's bringing Swamp Cabbage, the band he formed when he realized how deep the whole swamp thing went. He doesn't get to do that too much. He and Havens play about 125 gigs a year, and that's all around the world. It doesn't leave much time for the swamp.

Growing up on Jacksonville's Westside and Venetia neighborhoods, he formed his first band, like so many others, in high school. And, again like others, the musicians' parents weren't really happy with it. So they named the band Parental Tears.

He eventually moved on to Sneakers, a fusion group that held court at the old Applejacks every Monday night in the late '70s. The Wing Tips, a party band, followed.

Then it was Dear John, an alt-rock band that took him all the way to New York. The band fell apart, but he stayed in the city.

He formed The Nudes, an acoustic duo, for a very practical reason.

"I couldn't afford to rehearse a band in New York," he said. "Growing up in Jacksonville, I never had to pay for rehearsal space. So I wanted a group I could rehearse in an apartment."

He put an ad in the Village Voice looking for a cellist, Stephanie Winters responded and The Nudes were born. They started off playing Grand Central Station for tips and eventually traveled the country playing major venues. But eight years ago, as bands are wont to do, it broke up, too.

That's when Parks started playing with Havens, and about the time he discovered his inner swamp.

Swamp Cabbage played Thursday night to open Springfest, but has two more sets today and Saturday afternoon. He and Havens play at 8:30 tonight on the main amphitheater stage.

This will be the first time that Havens has played Springfest, now in its 13th year. But many of the performers are regulars: Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson, The Duhks, Donna the Buffalo and Jim Lauderdale.

Five stages, most of them outside. About 7,000 people, most of them camping, with as much music going in the campgrounds as there is onstage. - The Florida Times-Union


"Walter Parks, Richie Havens guitarist, performs in Chatham"

Where: Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township, 240 Southern Blvd., ChathamWhen: Saturday, 11/28 at 8 p.m.How much$30. Call (973) 376-4946 or visit SanctuaryConcerts.org.

Walter Parks has been playing guitar for folk icon Richie Havens for almost nine years. He has learned a lot, he says — starting with the initial audition.

“He said, ‘Just play whatever you feel,’” says Parks, who will both open for Havens and accompany him tomorrow night at the Sanctuary Concerts series in Chatham. “Then he went into ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ which is what he normally opens his shows with.
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And he was like 150 percent, if that’s possible. He was, like, high gear. And there was no audience!

“I was later to learn that he doesn’t differentiate in intensity. If he’s sitting there in the dressing room, he plays with the same fervor as when he’s playing for an audience. And I learned from that that you should never govern your performance intensity. If you’re going to have a guitar in your hand, do it full out.”

A Jacksonville native who now splits his time between that city and Jersey City, Parks also fronts the band Swamp Cabbage, and formerly played in the acoustic duo the Nudes. He first got to know Havens while with the Nudes; the duo often opened for the '60s icon.

Parks also has just released his debut solo album, titled “Walter Parks,” and will play songs from it during Saturday’s opening set in Chatham.

In all his years playing with Havens, Parks has only opened for him a few times before, serving as a last-minute replacement when the scheduled opening acts were unable to make it.

“Walter Parks” is a pensive, moody album, very different in tone from Swamp Cabbage’s upbeat blues-rock, or Havens’ vibrant folk. It’s also, sonically, a lush album, recorded on vintage equipment.

“I love the sound of old electric guitars and old amplifiers,” says Parks. “I got to play with a tremolo, and in a real vibe-y, sultry way. I don’t do that with Richie: We try to keep it pure and almost completely acoustic.”

Havens contributes backing vocals on one of the album’s songs, “Heed the Call.” Parks says he had the chords for the song for a couple of years, but no melody or words. One day Havens casually improvised a melody for it, and the words came to Parks. Parks later asked Havens if he would help him sing it on the album, and Havens agreed.

Don’t expect Havens to reproduce the duet in Chatham, although the two men performed it together at a concert once before.

“He surprised me one time,” says Parks. “I think we were in Montreal, and it was after his encore. He says, ‘Now Walter’s going to do a song.’ So I played that song, and he sang on it. But I can’t promise that again.” - The Star-Ledger


"Walter Parks, Richie Havens guitarist, performs in Chatham"

Where: Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township, 240 Southern Blvd., ChathamWhen: Saturday, 11/28 at 8 p.m.How much$30. Call (973) 376-4946 or visit SanctuaryConcerts.org.

Walter Parks has been playing guitar for folk icon Richie Havens for almost nine years. He has learned a lot, he says — starting with the initial audition.

“He said, ‘Just play whatever you feel,’” says Parks, who will both open for Havens and accompany him tomorrow night at the Sanctuary Concerts series in Chatham. “Then he went into ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ which is what he normally opens his shows with.
0Share
0 Comments

And he was like 150 percent, if that’s possible. He was, like, high gear. And there was no audience!

“I was later to learn that he doesn’t differentiate in intensity. If he’s sitting there in the dressing room, he plays with the same fervor as when he’s playing for an audience. And I learned from that that you should never govern your performance intensity. If you’re going to have a guitar in your hand, do it full out.”

A Jacksonville native who now splits his time between that city and Jersey City, Parks also fronts the band Swamp Cabbage, and formerly played in the acoustic duo the Nudes. He first got to know Havens while with the Nudes; the duo often opened for the '60s icon.

Parks also has just released his debut solo album, titled “Walter Parks,” and will play songs from it during Saturday’s opening set in Chatham.

In all his years playing with Havens, Parks has only opened for him a few times before, serving as a last-minute replacement when the scheduled opening acts were unable to make it.

“Walter Parks” is a pensive, moody album, very different in tone from Swamp Cabbage’s upbeat blues-rock, or Havens’ vibrant folk. It’s also, sonically, a lush album, recorded on vintage equipment.

“I love the sound of old electric guitars and old amplifiers,” says Parks. “I got to play with a tremolo, and in a real vibe-y, sultry way. I don’t do that with Richie: We try to keep it pure and almost completely acoustic.”

Havens contributes backing vocals on one of the album’s songs, “Heed the Call.” Parks says he had the chords for the song for a couple of years, but no melody or words. One day Havens casually improvised a melody for it, and the words came to Parks. Parks later asked Havens if he would help him sing it on the album, and Havens agreed.

Don’t expect Havens to reproduce the duet in Chatham, although the two men performed it together at a concert once before.

“He surprised me one time,” says Parks. “I think we were in Montreal, and it was after his encore. He says, ‘Now Walter’s going to do a song.’ So I played that song, and he sang on it. But I can’t promise that again.” - The Star-Ledger


"Interview with Walter Parks from Swamp Cabbage and Richie Havens"

Walter's been living music since he played viola in the sixth grade school orchestra. That was a tough time for a kid playing classical music because Jimi Hendrix was all the rage. So the guitar, being the cool cultural icon of the original hippie era, beckoned Walter as it did other kids. Restlessness with the requisite garage band phase inspired an interest in the harmonic complexities of jazz so Walter studied for three years with LA based jazz guitarist Robert Conti.

Since May of 2001, Walter has been playing with Richie Havens as a lead acoustic guitarist in his trio. He currently tours with Richie playing concerts in the US, Europe and Canada.

Walter has written with Robert Lamm of the group Chicago and has also supported jazz artist Leni Stern and David Wilcox in a side-man guitarist role. Additionally, HBO has used two of his song Lady and Gentlemen (The Nudes) and Early in the Morning (The Nudes) as background music for the popular special Real Sex.

Walter's new group Swamp Cabbage has released its first cd Honk and its now available through CD Baby . The sound pays well deserved homage to his swampified roots in the Jacksonville, Florida area where he grew up. Walter is enjoying using banjo finger picking styles with a gnarly old Guild Starfire electric guitar.

Cincy Groove: How did you end up playing with Richie full time?

Walter Parks: Well Stephanie Winters (Richie's cello player) and I have been playing together for 17 years. We had a group called The Nudes (formed in March of 1991) and we played all over the country. We used to be Richie's support act in various venues around the country. We both got our spots with Richie at different times but thats how he knew about us.

Cincy Groove: So I also see your in the band Swamp Cabbage.

Walter Parks: Yeah thats my group. At some point I thought I needed to be in New York for music, as I had outgrown the south. I needed to experience a different kind of energy. I have a certain thing in my playing thats different from a lot of the guys in New York City, a real southern influence. I sort of embraced it after while rather than run from it. When I embraced it I started writing all these tunes that had this north Florida vibe to them. Its quite unique, its not quite Nashville style, its not bluegrass. If its similar to anything, its like Tony White or early ZZ Top.

swamp cabbage, walter parks

Swamp Cabbage

Cincy Groove: How long have you been playing with Swamp Cabbage?

Walter Parks: As long as I have been playing with Richie, which is going on 7 years. We don't tour as often as I would like because I am very dedicated to playing with Richie. We have done tours from New York City to Key West. Thats kind of our territory, we are starting to reach out to the mid west a little. There are some good folks out in Kansas City that are playing Swamp Cabbage on the radio. We just did a gig there around Christmas time that was a packed house.

Cincy Groove: What do you like to do when your not playing music?

Walter Parks: I love to work on my house, do construction. My wife and I bought a small building in Jersey City right across from New York City. I took about 2 years to remodel it and build it myself. My dad was an architect and my grandfather was an engineer so I was always around construction. I also study French. I know its a weird combination. Not too many redneck types speak French (laughing).

walter parks, cincy grooveCincy Groove: Are you working on any new projects?

Walter Parks: I am recording my first solo record this year. This is the first record I have done thats not associated with a band. I hope to be able to put that music to a soundtrack of some sort. One of my goals/dreams is to do music for movies. This particular recording will be perfect for it. Richie Havens sang a song on the cd which was really nice. The cd is largely instrumental and is very much keeping to the way I play with Richie. Stephanie Winters and I are going to begin work on a cd as well. It's probably going to be the two of us. But of course if Richie is nice enough to sing a song on the cd that would be great.

Cincy Groove: Are there any groups that impress you?

Walter Parks: I like Medeski, Martin, and Wood. I really dig what they did with John Scofield. I like The Black Keys, Xavier Rudd, Radio Head. I also like Groove Armada over there in England. I friends with the guys in MOFRO, they are from Jacksonville, Florida as I am. We record at the same studio in St. Augustine called Retro Phonics. The guy who records us both is a genius, his name is Jim Devito. He is really a master of using old electronics and old gear.

Cincy Groove: What does it mean to you to play with Richie?

Walter Parks: To play with Richie Havens is an honor. I knew who he was when I was a kid. When I was a kid I knew about Woodstock but I was too young to go. Richie was this wild guy playing acoustic guitar (laughing). I loved his sense of melody - Cincy Groove Magazine


"Interview with Walter Parks from Swamp Cabbage and Richie Havens"

Walter's been living music since he played viola in the sixth grade school orchestra. That was a tough time for a kid playing classical music because Jimi Hendrix was all the rage. So the guitar, being the cool cultural icon of the original hippie era, beckoned Walter as it did other kids. Restlessness with the requisite garage band phase inspired an interest in the harmonic complexities of jazz so Walter studied for three years with LA based jazz guitarist Robert Conti.

Since May of 2001, Walter has been playing with Richie Havens as a lead acoustic guitarist in his trio. He currently tours with Richie playing concerts in the US, Europe and Canada.

Walter has written with Robert Lamm of the group Chicago and has also supported jazz artist Leni Stern and David Wilcox in a side-man guitarist role. Additionally, HBO has used two of his song Lady and Gentlemen (The Nudes) and Early in the Morning (The Nudes) as background music for the popular special Real Sex.

Walter's new group Swamp Cabbage has released its first cd Honk and its now available through CD Baby . The sound pays well deserved homage to his swampified roots in the Jacksonville, Florida area where he grew up. Walter is enjoying using banjo finger picking styles with a gnarly old Guild Starfire electric guitar.

Cincy Groove: How did you end up playing with Richie full time?

Walter Parks: Well Stephanie Winters (Richie's cello player) and I have been playing together for 17 years. We had a group called The Nudes (formed in March of 1991) and we played all over the country. We used to be Richie's support act in various venues around the country. We both got our spots with Richie at different times but thats how he knew about us.

Cincy Groove: So I also see your in the band Swamp Cabbage.

Walter Parks: Yeah thats my group. At some point I thought I needed to be in New York for music, as I had outgrown the south. I needed to experience a different kind of energy. I have a certain thing in my playing thats different from a lot of the guys in New York City, a real southern influence. I sort of embraced it after while rather than run from it. When I embraced it I started writing all these tunes that had this north Florida vibe to them. Its quite unique, its not quite Nashville style, its not bluegrass. If its similar to anything, its like Tony White or early ZZ Top.

swamp cabbage, walter parks

Swamp Cabbage

Cincy Groove: How long have you been playing with Swamp Cabbage?

Walter Parks: As long as I have been playing with Richie, which is going on 7 years. We don't tour as often as I would like because I am very dedicated to playing with Richie. We have done tours from New York City to Key West. Thats kind of our territory, we are starting to reach out to the mid west a little. There are some good folks out in Kansas City that are playing Swamp Cabbage on the radio. We just did a gig there around Christmas time that was a packed house.

Cincy Groove: What do you like to do when your not playing music?

Walter Parks: I love to work on my house, do construction. My wife and I bought a small building in Jersey City right across from New York City. I took about 2 years to remodel it and build it myself. My dad was an architect and my grandfather was an engineer so I was always around construction. I also study French. I know its a weird combination. Not too many redneck types speak French (laughing).

walter parks, cincy grooveCincy Groove: Are you working on any new projects?

Walter Parks: I am recording my first solo record this year. This is the first record I have done thats not associated with a band. I hope to be able to put that music to a soundtrack of some sort. One of my goals/dreams is to do music for movies. This particular recording will be perfect for it. Richie Havens sang a song on the cd which was really nice. The cd is largely instrumental and is very much keeping to the way I play with Richie. Stephanie Winters and I are going to begin work on a cd as well. It's probably going to be the two of us. But of course if Richie is nice enough to sing a song on the cd that would be great.

Cincy Groove: Are there any groups that impress you?

Walter Parks: I like Medeski, Martin, and Wood. I really dig what they did with John Scofield. I like The Black Keys, Xavier Rudd, Radio Head. I also like Groove Armada over there in England. I friends with the guys in MOFRO, they are from Jacksonville, Florida as I am. We record at the same studio in St. Augustine called Retro Phonics. The guy who records us both is a genius, his name is Jim Devito. He is really a master of using old electronics and old gear.

Cincy Groove: What does it mean to you to play with Richie?

Walter Parks: To play with Richie Havens is an honor. I knew who he was when I was a kid. When I was a kid I knew about Woodstock but I was too young to go. Richie was this wild guy playing acoustic guitar (laughing). I loved his sense of melody - Cincy Groove Magazine


"Swampy musician Walter Parks to play at Acoustic Night"

Swampy musician Walter Parks returns to the Bama Theatre for an Acoustic Night performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Greensboro Room. Tickets are $15, and as with all Acoustic Night shows, all proceeds go to the musician.

Parks has been pegged as a blues or jazz guitarist, while playing with fusion group Sneakers, or as sideman to the legendary Richie Havens. He's even been deemed a folkie, as half of the duo The Nudes, with cellist Stephanie Winters. Add in undertones from the church and the roadhouse, and don't forget the classical study of viola before guitar.

Circling out and back from his Jacksonville, Fla., home, what he and others have settled on is this descriptor: swampy music.

“ ... The swamp has sort of a beautiful, foggy underbelly, and it also has this constantly forboding edge to it,” Parks said in an older interview with Tusk.

“There's imminent danger to the swamp, as well as a soothing quality to it. That's what I try to do with my music: I love using the electric guitar in a beautiful way, occasionally, and I also love putting a bit of edge and a slight distortion as well.

“Those qualities ... outside of the fact that I was just born around swamps. That's as close as I can come to validating that metaphor.”

His shows can include everything from original, instrumental tunes to songs ranging from growl to falsetto, to Parksed-up covers, such as The Who's “Won't Get Fooled Again.”

“If you get out in a canoe and just paddle a ways, it's as calm and peaceful as being in the middle of a desert. But god forbid something goes wrong in the swamp. Rattlesnakes

everywhere, gators everywhere ... That's why my music sounds the way it does. I really believe that the land and the place you grow up, it provides the inspiration for your art, whatever your art might be.” - Tuscaloosa News


"Life Music: Walter Parks on Interesting Sounds, Averageness and Sucking It Up"

"Tell the world through your art where you were raised and tell it in dialect." -- Walter Parks

American, Southern, uplifting, funky, gnarly, rootsy, loud, poetic and honest. In five to 10 words, that's how Walter Parks described his musical style to me.

But don't mistake his honesty for naivety -- Parks is no rookie. A veteran blues guitarist, Parks has built an international career as the lead guitarist for Woodstock legend Richie Havens, half of the folk-duo the Nudes, and leader of the southern swamp-blues group Swamp Cabbage. After 30 years in the music industry, he marked his debut as a solo artist with the release of his self-titled album in December 2011.

From his organic musical inspirations to his brutally honest outlook of a difficult industry to break through, Parks shares a unique perspective on how he developed his voice and style and grew his business -- lessons he offers aspiring musicians. His detailed perspective offers all artists a well-rounded view on art as a life's work that requires rigorous study, observation and intimacy with the fabric of your audience.

Laura Cococcia: What motivated you to create a career as a musician?

Walter Parks: Sounds-interesting sounds. As a child I could not and even now I cannot separate images from sound. In the mid '60s I could see the cavernous rooms where the strings were recorded in the classic James Bond movies. I could see the cat gut strings on Segovia's and Montoya's flamenco guitars. I could see the bow powder on the violas, violins and cellos of Bach Quartets. From an early age I was entranced by subtle technical aspects of great records. I was acutely aware of timbre in different instruments and I could hear the microphone placement used to capture textures and create dimension. Only the best producers know how to evoke the sonic fantasy that most listeners take for granted.

I appreciated Jimmy Page as much for his production role as for his guitar playing, yet it was Robin Trower, and not Hendrix, who made me fall in love with the traditional trio rock format of guitar, bass and drums. Everybody has a record that they wore out. Bridge of Sighs was that record for me. Neither the promise of money nor sex (as it is for most) was a career motivator for me early on. I had and still have a drive to realize an original sound that I'd like to share with many people and be recognized for. This is not a desire for stardom yet it's a desire to connect with and inspire people, admitting of course the self-serving good feeling that ensues in so doing! Averageness is deplorable. I am perplexed by un-outstanding people.

LC: What makes you (or inspires you to) write?

WP: In general I write around guitar riffs that I happen upon by noodling about on the instrument or by melodies that "come to me." This cracks open a valuable component of the creative process for me in that I can't write if my mind is not open. Multi-tasking, preoccupation and a wondering what a situation can do for me, rather than the reverse is the antithesis of the creative state. What physically surrounds me at any point often gifts me with song ideas. Vice versa, as mentioned before, recorded music presents mental "visual" images. Because I'm always writing in my head, background music bothers me as does the buzz of a fly's wings. I absolutely cannot read or write if background music is present.

LC: What established artist made you want to perform (make music, write songs, etc.) and why?

WP: Bassist, Jaco Pastorious created a lead/marquee role for the electric bass guitar. His unique and aggressive delivery of beautiful musical ideas on an erstwhile subordinate instrument dethroned all other instruments with whom he recorded and shared the bandstand.

Guitarist and composer Daniel Lanois because he makes beautiful music with raw and sometimes abrasive textures. Lanois' playing toggles between giving me the feeling of expanse and containment, freedom and constriction.

Billy Gibbons inspired me to use southern imagery and to be content when the lyrics don't go too deep.

Guitarist John Scofield helped me to hear the beauty and functionality of playing concurrent half-steps or in quick succession. On the guitar these intervals are more difficult to attain than they are on the piano, but I am blessed with long fingers.

LC: Art, in all of its forms, has the unique ability to unify people across cultures, geographies and communities. How do you see music playing a role in changing the way we look at the world (or, do you have a personal example of how you've seen music impact communities/society in positive ways)?

WP: I was brought up in the south during the '60s. The scene was fertile training ground to turn me into a racist. I still struggle to expunge a hateful reflex that lingers in my being. At this point in my life I do not find it relevant nor useful to group people by skin color, nor religion nor ancestral origin. However, I do find it useful to filter people by index of passion and competency. All said, I love the South. We mustn't forget that the South produced the blues, jazz and bluegrass-three unique sonic ambassadors exemplifying worldwide America's greatness.

LC: What's the biggest challenge you currently face in your professional career?

WP: It is very expensive to tour and record the band.

LC: What advice do you have for anyone looking to start in today's music industry (whether musician, singer, songwriter, etc.) based on your experience?

WP: Some aspects of a music career are going to feel like work. Suck it up. Be an adult and join the rest of the working world -- that is your audience. The upside (if one is needed) is that in general you will be guided by what feels good to you throughout a large chunk of your career during your creative process -- during your writing. If you truly want to know your audiences, dabble as a temp in a desk job. There are many good people in those towers, some content, but most don't feel they have the power to change their situations.

Learn music. Learn harmony. Whether or not you like jazz, study basic jazz harmony, even, for instance, if you play folk music. Jazz harmony is not complicated yet knowledge of it provides a cushion of peer respect and it improves your writing.

Accept that you will make money in art when you connect with audiences and with people who can help sponsor you. No amount of money can insure that you will connect. Be willing to change your art (possibly only slightly) if you are not connecting, provided that you don't feel polluted by the change. Simplify the way you travel and create so that you can do both often. Extinguish preciousness. Wear to the stage what you wear all day. Stage clothes are for major acts which you are not with wardrobe flight cases which you don't have.

Do business often. The business part of your day is "the work." "Work" often. Work the phones, social media, the post office etc. Never sell. Selling is bullshit. Selling is manipulation. Selling is the act of convincing. Selling is a lie and everybody knows it. Instead, share, offer, present. The market, your audience, will decide how easily you can meet expenses. This is capitalism. Be at peace with capitalism. I say this because capitalism will work for your art if you produce quality, are industrious and are unwilling to take no for an answer. Our country ascended because of the creativity of a proportionate few forceful risk-taking idealists, inventors, and politicians. Aspire to be in that club. Proudly be unaverage. Have fun being different but don't fake it. There are two kinds of people: source people and service people. Be source. You as an American artist are actually an important American patriot; not necessarily by virtue of your politics but by creating unique quality art. Only you can create and market uniquely American art because you were brought up in this vast and diverse country. Tell the world through your art where you were raised and tell it in dialect. Be proud of your regionality because the Internet is eroding boundaries. Our regionality is especially novel in other countries.

Accept that some people can be disappointing and prepare yourself for those who earn revenue to potentially exploit you as long as you'll let them. Learn business law. Learn contract law. It's "work" but it's not all that hard. Nothing is non-negotiable. That said, it's strategically prudent to give yourself away a little on the front end as long as the loss leader philosophy doesn't go on too long. Once you have a line out the door at your gigs, you'll have leverage which will inspire more compromise from the people who are presenting you.

Until you have leverage, be willing to compromise as long as doing so doesn't feel dirty. Make too many demands too early and you'll find yourself playing venues only once.

Force yourself to learn the ways of people. Look people in the eyes. If you don't care about people you're in the wrong profession. Talk to strangers and learn from them. Offer to them. When you feel depressed, get your ass out of your apartment and do something for somebody else. Time is proving that a good artist can work many years so don't trash your body -- as it is your tool, as is your instrument.

Learn to delegate. Don't micro-manage yet don't trust that anything is being done correctly unless someone's been working for you for a long time. Use Skype, conference calls and all resources to hold regular meetings with people who help you. Trouble yourself to become informed if even peripherally about the tasks that you've delegated. Incompetency cannot be tolerated. - Huffington Post/Laura Cococcia


Discography

Walter Parks
Walter Parks - Cathedral, live solo acoustic  (ChickenHead Knob 2016)
Walter Parks - self titled (Acoustic America 2011)
Tribute to JJ Cale Vol 2 - 2010 (ZOHO)
- 3 Walter Parks: Sensitive Kind


Singles:
- "Fly Me to the Moon" featuring special guest Dayna Kurtz
- "Comin' Home Holler"

Swamp Cabbage
Jive (2016)
DRUM ROLL PLEASE (2012)
Tribute to JJ Cale Vol 1 + 2 - 2010 (ZOHO)
- 1 JJ Grey & Swamp Cabbage Money Talks
- 2 Jimmy Hall & Swamp Cabbage: Don't Cry Sister
- 3 Jimmy Hall & Swamp Cabbage: Sensitive Kind* v1
- 4 Swamp Cabbage: Cajun Moon
- 5 Swamp Cabbage: Same Old Blues
Live on the In Tune (2010)
SQUEAL (Zoho Roots 2008)
HONK (Acoustic America 2004)

The Nudes
Boomerang (Acoustic America 1998)
Arizona (Acoustic America 1996)
The Nudes (Acoustic America 1993)

You can also hear Walter's Music on
"American Guns" Theme Song (Discovery Channel reality show - Airing Fall 2011), Beer Diaries (webtv), When Patrick Met Kylie, Real Sex (HBO), My Big Redneck Wedding, Man Vs. Food, Emeril Green, Extreme Pig Outs, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Roadtrip Nation (PBS), Samantha Brown Passport, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Chasing Classic Cars and more.

http://www.artistdirect.com/artist/walter-parks/647954


Photos

Bio

“Walter Parks is an extraordinary singer whose songs can break
your heart as well as get you dancing. Lyrical and political, personal
and otherworldly at the same time, transcendent as well as down to
earth, Walter is a musical treasure, an artist of the highest caliber.
To hear him is to be lifted into a mystical sphere. I adore him.” – Judy
Collins

For ten years, musician and writer Walter Parks toured
the world and recorded as sideman/guitarist to Woodstock legend Richie
Havens. Parks, a Florida native, presents a creative mix of swamp blues,
folk and jazz delivered sometimes in an ambient style and sometime in a
gritty-rootsy style. Parks’ repertoire is half originals and half
covers that he performs on acoustic and electric guitars. As a solo
artist Walter played the U.S., Canada, Germany and Spain. As guitarist
for Mr. Havens, Parks played the entire world with notable concerts at
Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and The Glastonbury Festival in
England. In 2014, Walter performed at Lincoln Center with Judy Collins
for the Pete Seeger tribute concert. For fans of Tom Waits and Leonard
Cohen this would be a recommended show.

Band Members