What: Joe Louis Walker in concert, part of the Soul’d Out Music Festival.
When: 8 p.m. April 17.
Where: Jimmy Mak’s, 221 N.W. 10th Ave., Portland.
Cost: $13 to $17 for 21 and older through Ticket Tomato, 503-432-9477 or http://tickettomato.com.
Information: 503-295-6542 or http://jimmymaks.com.
Joe Louis Walker knows the blues and not just how to play and sing it. The newly minted Blues Hall of Famer has clearly thought deeply about the music he’s played for 50 years and speaks eloquently about it, starting with its power that can’t be contained by borders of any kind.
“You can take somebody from Des Moines, Iowa, from Texas, from Birmingham, England, from Tokyo, Japan, from Germany and put them in a room and play something, it could be as low down as ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ and they’ll all be tapping their feet and they all know the words,” Walker said in a mid-March phone interview. “When it’s over, they can’t talk to each other because they don’t have the same language. That’s some power, brother. That’s some serious power.”
The blues and its power, Walker says from experience, is transmitted in just one way that nothing to do with black or white, Texas or Chicago, young or old. And for Walker, the blues is more than the 1-4-5 chord progression.
It’s a philosophy.
“I don’t consider the blues just the music,” he said. “I consider it a social study in human survivability. It was the same for Keith Richards as it was Michael Bloomfield. They didn’t want to be Frank Sinatra, no disrespect, they wanted to be Muddy Waters. The music was vilified. Now those kids with the long hair are all icons.