Skip

Bradley Walker
April 14, 2009 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Perhaps the greatest country baritone since George Jones is confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy and has a day job at a nuclear power plant.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bradley Walker. But it ain't all slow mournful stuff like "When I'm Hurtin'" -- Bradley can straight-up tear it up, too. Here's the video for the single "A Little Change" off Walker's excellent 2008 release "Highway of Dreams" (link goes to NPR audio review). Here's Bradley covering Merle Haggard's "Back to the Barrooms". And here's a somewhat mawkish video bio put together by his record company.

WARNING: This post contains unapologetic, unironic, heartfelt country music that may contain sentiments about Jesus, patriotism, and other topics that may run counter to prevailing MetaFilter opinions. It also features poor audio quality, shaky amateur video, and blatant boosterism for a performing artist that I like. I am aware that almost everything I like does, in fact, suck.
posted by BitterOldPunk (29 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
It would be awesome if he called his band The Lords of the Underworld.
posted by snofoam at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


what's the opposite of eponysterical?
posted by klanawa at 2:28 PM on April 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else made unapologetic statements about patriotism?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2009


wow.
posted by gnutron at 2:33 PM on April 14, 2009


.
posted by Megami at 2:47 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, he's good.
posted by Iron Rat at 2:49 PM on April 14, 2009


Is it just the YouTube/video camera that's giving that weird auto-tune sound to his vocals? When he holds a note, it gets totally robotic.
posted by klangklangston at 3:03 PM on April 14, 2009


Is it just the YouTube/video camera that's giving that weird auto-tune sound to his vocals? When he holds a note, it gets totally robotic.

The ability to sing: it's nature's Auto-Tune!

(Actually, I know what you mean, but that flat, steady tone is a hallmark of a certain style of country singing. Cf. Merle Haggard, though Merle uses a bit more vibrato and a bit less melisma.)
posted by DaDaDaDave at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great post, BOP!

And I love your WARNING disclaimer.

The ability to sing: it's nature's Auto-Tune!

Flagged as funny.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2009


Oh wow. His voice is just fantastic. Warm and craggy and surprisingly flexible.
posted by minervous at 3:38 PM on April 14, 2009


"(Actually, I know what you mean, but that flat, steady tone is a hallmark of a certain style of country singing. Cf. Merle Haggard, though Merle uses a bit more vibrato and a bit less melisma.)"

No, actually, I think the problem is a mix of performance venue, mixing and YouTube compression (and probably my own speaker set-up). Merle's only giving it to me briefly on attacks, especially where he's shifting up a note, but it's not lasting into the sustains. Walker's giving that sound much more on the slow notes, and I think that's in part because there's an echo that's coming through on that stage that's a bit off and flat, and it's worse on the harmonies. Add that to a mix that's dropping off what seems like a lot of the low end of his voice and the audio compression for streaming and it's getting to my ear a lot like the intentional distortion you get when you set auto tune's delay too low.

Am I the only one hearing that? Am I just articulating it poorly?
posted by klangklangston at 3:44 PM on April 14, 2009


Yeah, while the samples on his page won't load, I just tried previewing through iTunes, and that wax-paper hum isn't there.
posted by klangklangston at 3:50 PM on April 14, 2009


He's a natural for the slide guitar. He could use it as a prop, like some singers do with a guitar. I'll bet he really could play, though.

He's tearing it up just fine in the When I'm Hurtin' link.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:11 PM on April 14, 2009


> He's a natural for the slide guitar.

...

oh no you did not.
posted by wreckingball at 4:22 PM on April 14, 2009


I've never heard of him, BOP, thanks for this.
posted by HopperFan at 4:40 PM on April 14, 2009


This is his MySpace page. I hate linking to MySpace, but the streaming audio quality is much better than the posted YouTube clips, and it has my favorite of his songs, "He Carried Her Memory", a real whiskey-soaked tear-jerker. Also check out "Lost at Sea" and listen to him hit those low notes. Damn, but this guy can SING.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:31 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This post contains unapologetic, unironic, heartfelt country music that may contain sentiments about Jesus

That requires a qualifier. Are we talking about the Jesus of Luke The Drifter and Johnny Cash, or the Jebus of Keith Urban and Toby Keith?
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:42 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for the CMA's, when Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton unite for a new number with Bradley Walker, and in the finale of the song, they rest their breasts on his shoulders.

Prediction!
posted by parmanparman at 6:05 PM on April 14, 2009


When I read this, I thought, "Vic Chestnutt got a day job at a nuclear power plant?" But this guy is good, too! Great post, BOP.
posted by billysumday at 6:17 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome. Thanks for this.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:59 PM on April 14, 2009


That requires a qualifier. Are we talking about the Jesus of Luke The Drifter and Johnny Cash, or the Jebus of Keith Urban and Toby Keith?

Pretty sure everyone gets the same Jesus.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 PM on April 14, 2009


Pretty sure everyone gets the same Jesus.

Surely not? If this were true, why would he keep doling out so much conflicting advice?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:07 PM on April 14, 2009


Pretty sure everyone gets the same Jesus.

Surely not? If this were true, why would he keep doling out so much conflicting advice?


Because people are different.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:44 PM on April 14, 2009


Is it just the YouTube/video camera that's giving that weird auto-tune sound to his vocals? When he holds a note, it gets totally robotic.

i think people are actually being influenced by that kind of singing, even people who don't need auto tune - there's just a certain envelope to the vowels and it seems like people are adapting it as natural

it's odd and i hear it more and more
posted by pyramid termite at 8:54 PM on April 14, 2009


Just out of curiosity, who else have you heard it from?

I know what you're talking about with the envelope of the vowels, though that wasn't so much what I was hearing here (which I think I articulated above, more an auto-corder sound—what you get when you do auto-tune way wrong), and I think that'd be a really interesting essay about how pop sounds work.

As a side note, I kinda wish that T-Bone Burnett would get ahold of Walker, since I think Burnett's got a good ear for the kind of arrangements that would really complement Walker's voice.
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 PM on April 14, 2009


Absolutely incredible. Man, I need more Possum in my life. Time to put on some G. Jones...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:10 AM on April 15, 2009


My my, he is the real deal. Thanks, BOP.
posted by melissa may at 7:10 AM on April 15, 2009


He's fucking great, thanks man.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:57 AM on April 15, 2009


*what's the opposite of eponysterical?*

eponyronic?
posted by fogovonslack at 5:38 PM on April 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


« Older Susan Boyle stuns them all on Britain's Got Talent   |   Nothing In My hands Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post