Joshua Ray Walker announces new album, UK dates

Credit: David McClister

Joshua Ray Walker has been called “country’s most fascinating young songwriter” by Rolling Stone and “one of country’s most exciting storytellers” by Spin. Oh and “crikey this guy can sing” by us, crikey not being a word RS or Spin use very often. After releasing his first three albums, a trilogy of sorts that No Depression called “the country music equivalent of the great American novel,” Walker decided it was time to “just have some fun”. The result is ‘What Is It Even?’, a tribute to some of Walker’s favourite female singers and songwriters, which lands on August 4th 2023 via Soundly Music.

The genres covered and Walker’s interpretations are equal parts familiar and jarring, with an array of names you won’t normally find on these hallowed pages. There’s a country version of Cher’s ‘Believe’, a sort of grunge/country adaptation of Q Lazarus’ ‘Goodbye Horses’, a mostly straight version of Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares To You’, a Spaghetti Western-inspired take on Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’, and a type of bluegrass adaptation of Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ that builds with vocal momentum like the original. The song choices are described as making the album feel “something like an Alice In Wonderland version of your most fun-loving friend’s iPod shuffle dug out of their closet.”

You can watch his version of Lizzo’s ‘Cuz I Love You’ below – “about as close as you can get to a perfect pop record” according to Walker – and catch him in the UK from the end of next month including a spot at The Long Road Festival.

Joshua Ray Walker UK Dates 2023

August 27 – Lutterworth, UK – The Long Road
September 2 – London, UK – Oslo Hackney
September 3 – Newcastle, UK – The Cluny 2
September 4 – Glasgow, UK – The Hug and Pint
September 5 – Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute
September 6 – Brighton, UK – The Prince Albert

‘What Is It Even?’ tracklist

‘Cuz I Love You’ (Lizzo)
‘Linger’ feat Kyle Gass of Tenacious D (The Cranberries)
‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (Whitney Houston)
‘Believe’ (Cher)
‘Cheap Thrills’ (Sia)
‘Blue’ (LeAnn Rimes)
‘Goodbye Horses’ (Q Lazarus)
‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ (Sinead O’Connor)
‘Joshua’ (Dolly Parton)
‘Halo’ (Beyonce)
‘Samson’ (Regina Spektor)

About Mark Whitfield 1926 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)

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