Seth Walker felt like a member of the Music City Roots family from the first time we met. Tipped off by the fandom of major soul songwriter Gary Nicholson, Seth found his way to the Roots stage, where he blew us away. But even before that, we met him and got to find out what a solid guy he is. Dudes in Nashville, and I suppose elsewhere, are prone to calling other dudes “brother” upon meeting and man-shake-clutch-half-hugging. I’ve found myself dropping the b-bomb more frequently recently and wondering if it feels affected, but it actually stems from a pretty deep feeling that this community is a remarkably tight-knit family that looks out for one another. And in that context, I know we all are pleased to call him Brother Seth.
He’s part of the interesting Austin-Nashville axis, along which music people have flowed constantly for decades, for short or long stays, to take in the best of two great music scenes. In Seth’s case, he’s made the relatively rare move TO Nashville after more than ten years with an Austin base. To which we say: Great! What took you so long?
Walker was introduced to Nashville partly through his collaborations with Nicholson. Their co-writes became the backbone of Seth’s current album, a phenomenal blues/swing/roots project called Leap Of Faith. It’s quite amazing. AllMusic.com raved about it and called Walker’s songwriting “professional in the old sense of the word.” Then on top of these exquisitely composed songs and lyrics, he sings with a velvet voice and strums a cool, blues-drenched guitar. Tuneful, tasteful and tied to tradition, he’s the quintessence of a Music City Roots artist.
The first half of our show this week features a scion, which is a cool word for ‘inheritor of a very big deal legacy.’ John Carter Cash is the only child born to the most important couple in the history of country music. June Carter was the daughter of Cousin Maybelle Carter, an icon of song and guitar. Johnny Cash was, well, Johnny Cash. Their marriage makes today’s celebrity couples look like frothy trivia.
Anyway, John Carter has embraced and nurtured their incredible legacy through preservation, production and stewardship. It is in the studio that he’s made his greatest mark, producing Grammy winning projects and nurturing emerging roots music talent. One of his masterpieces was June Carter’s “Wildwood Flower” late in her life. He’s also worked with Marty Stuart, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Loretta Lynn, Mavis Staples and a long, long list of greats. But he is also a sometime-performer and recording artist who released just the second album of his career last fall. “The Family Secret” sounds like it might be a Cash/Carter tribute or something, but it’s actually an eclectic, rangy collection of self-written songs and a few interesting covers, packaged in an unlikely 1970s-looking album jacket design.
So this should be most interesting. I haven’t heard Cash on stage, so I can’t wait to hear him and I darn sure can’t wait to talk to him. He might have to prepare himself for me continuing our interview backstage after our paltry five minutes in the chat room is up.