On the evening of August 16, 2017, Blues Hall of Famer Joe Louis Walker graced the Photo City Improv stage in Rochester, NY. Joe Louis Walker has been playing the blues since the 1960’s and is still rocking both classic and contemporary styles. Earlier this year, Joe Louis Walker’s new album, “Everybody Wants A Piece” received a nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 59th annual Grammy’s.
Before their show at Photo City Improv, NYS Music had the humbling opportunity to sit down with Joe Louis Walker’s drummer, a Syracuse NY native, Byron Cage. Here are some bite size nuggets of knowledge, quoted directly from Cage:
On Working With Joe Louis Walker:
I’ve been playing with Joe Louis Walker almost four years. It’s been a wonderful four years. I am learning and growing as a musician, and as a young man. Joe is my mentor. He’s a complete mentor. He’s a great guy onstage and off stage.
Joe has taught me to be proud of who you are and be proud of what you do. To be able to share the blues with the world is privilege. It’s a cultural experience, and you want to represent yourself well.
We try to keep our music authentic and stay true to the roots of the blues. There is nothing wrong with new age experimenting or adding new things… A lot of spontaneous things happen every night. But, when traditional blues is called for, that’s what we play. When it’s time for electric or rockin’ blues, we can do that too. It’s fun to exercise all these different music muscles in one night. We work together as a team; we are a real band. Our chemistry off stage shows on stage. We all genuinely care for each other as people and musicians. This is represented in our live performance, and everything else we do.
On Live Music:
When you play music, the sky is the limit. You don’t level out unless you want to. You can keep growing and growing as long as you push for it. There’s always something new to learn. There is always something new to experience and explore musically. That’s what we want to do. Keep it fresh.
Music is a universal language. No matter where we go, from Australia, to Asia, to Europe, to Brazil, we connect through the feeling of the music. We vibe together. I believe that is what life’s about.
At the end of the day, the goal is to share something positive. There is so much crazy stuff happening in our world. People are dying senselessly. We are experiencing a whole new wave of hate. What better way to fight against that hate than to pull everybody together to enjoy some music- to smile and laugh with one another. Then, we shake hands at the end of the night, and create good memories. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m happy to be a part of it.
Photo Gallery by Meg Borruso: