The Billy Walton Band release LP


The Billy Walton Band has focused its effort in Europe. 13 tours since 2007 have established them in the British Blues scene. And since 2010 Billy Walton has been a member of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, touring with them for years. This meant working alongside Little Steven and others while touring with the Jukes. A milestone in Billy’s tenure with the Jukes was when they recorded a live version of Southside’s most acclaimed release, Hearts of Stone, with Little Steven. “Hell Or Highwater” is the new single/video from the album – Soul Of A Man, on Vizztone Records.

The “Jersey Shore” has a rich history of music talent, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, the Rat Pack, Dick Clark, Chubby Checker, they all made stops on the Jersey Shore. Tony Mart’s was the club Levon Helm was playing when Dylan called. These facts and more are what surround that area and Billy Walton’s illustrious career. The band is an eight-piece with a horn section, so it’s not just all blues-rock. There’s plenty of hardcore soul and jazz to what they do. It’s an amazing combo of the elements that make up the “Jersey Shore” sound, all getting an even share of the mix.

This is not just any old band, they tour far and wide to back it, and the single “Hell Or Highwater” is not a pedestrian song and neither is their sound. It’s hot to trot stuff on every level for this hard-working band. The video is a good promotional piece with the band well edited for action. The live scenery is enhanced with visions of smoke going through the players. For those who like watching live music it’s a stunning pleaser of a clip there is no way to not appreciate. It does the chore to both promote and highly entertain at the same time. It makes you want to see the band, and that alone takes the prize.

The jazzy aspects to the Billy Walton Band are not to be missed, as it really spices up their blues-rock foundations. And the soulful sound of Walton’s voice combined with his assortment of guitar styles is what makes them defy category without losing focus on the blues, rock and soul they mainly present. You don’t get this every day anymore, it’s just not going around, so it’s time this band made a mark on the world with the music as much as the live show is doing. They love it in other parts of the world, but it’s been losing ground here because the fans don’t look for it as much. You can never blame a band when that happens.

The said jazzy end of this band is really-worth looking more into, as it sets their sound apart from the norm on the current blues circuit. I could imagine a full-on jazz album by this band, it’s that tasty for my liking and just as worth pointing out as anything else about them. But that is just one opinion out of many, it’s just that the horns are where the band make the full package and help the music shine. “Hell Or Highwater” video gives an in-depth look at the band and shows how they blend all parts together as a full ensemble to conclude they are not just a blues-rock band. They’re a unit of many proportions.


Sebastian Cole