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Joe Louis Walker tops Apple Blossom lineup

  • San Francisco native Joe Louis Walker, also known as JLW (born December 25, 1949)[1] is an American musician, best known as an electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer.[2] His knowledge of blues history is revealed by his use of older material and playing styles.[3]

Talk about getting the right guy for the job.

For the second year, Sebastopol's annual Apple Blossom Festival is devoting one of its two days and one of its two stages to a blues festival.

The overall festival runs April 12-13, with the blues lineup running the second day, and the headliner this time is a big name in blues with a long Bay Area history.

Joe Louis Walker, born on Christmas Day in San Francisco almost 65 years ago, has been playing and singing the blues since 1965, working with many of the greats in not only blues, but rock, jazz and gospel music as well.

Last year, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis; and earlier this year, he came out with his 25th album, "Hornet's Nest," recorded in Nashville on the Alligator label.

"I've played all kinds of music, with everybody from Bobby Weir (Grateful Dead) to Johnny Winter, and from John Lee Hooker to Mississippi Fred McDowell," Walker said by phone from his New York home.

He has covered a wide range of blues styles, from his acoustic album, "Silvertone Blues," in 1999 to his two most recent releases, this year's "Hornet's Nest" and 2012's "Hellfire."

"'Hornet's Nest' and 'Hellfire' are guitar-based, with a harder rock edge, which I like," he said. "That's part of Joe Louis Walker."

But he remains deeply rooted in classic blues and soul music.

"I made two albums with B.B. King, a few with James Cotton, and I've worked with all kinds of people: G.E. Smith, T-Bone Walker, Memphis Horns, Tower of Power — you name it," Walker said.


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