Wily Bo Walker has a very individual vocal style; deep dark and gravelly. E D Brayshaw is an outstanding guitarist, melodic, and clean he plays extended solos like very few around today. Put them together with Walker’s noir vision and cinematic nous and the result is something I find completely irresistible.
This latest release is described in the blurb as “Three People – Two Paths – One Story” - essentially a rock opera - and it was designed from the off to fit onto 4 sides of vinyl or 2 CDs. The quality of the production and the playing is superb and the songwriting left me with mouth agape. I am not a great lover of lyrics but I found myself listening intently to the words here as they expounded the story of Johnny & Louise on their travels to find each other and find their common path (no spoilers).
So, the music, the songs, the playing. With the exception of two tracks – Loudon Wainright III wrote ‘Motel Blues’ and Fenton Robinson wrote ‘Lend Me A Dime’ – all the tracks were written by either Walker or Brayshaw and those two also played all the instruments with vocal backing from Karena K. Walker’s vocals are perfectly suited to his noir vision and Brayshaw’s guitar adds to the depth and the sense of doomed love. As the album travels along the lovers path Walker & Brayshaw paint pictures that perfectly suit the concepts, driving the listener’s emotions and telling the tale.
Just about every track is essential but the new version of ‘Motel Blues’ really carries a sense of the desperation of the travelling musician holed up in a flea-pit motel and ‘The Ballad Of Johnny & Louise’ captures the exultant feeling of two hearts meeting a travelling together.
It is an essential listen for anyone with a love for cinema and Blues – and frankly for anyone with a love for a great story.