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Knuckleheads
2715 Rochester Ave. Kansas City, MO 64120
(816) 483-1456
knuckleheadskc@gmail.com

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Joshua Ray Walker - Album Release Tour

Joshua Ray Walker - Album Release Tour
Under 21 with Guardian

On his new album See You Next Time, Texas-bred singer/songwriter Joshua Ray Walker shares an imagined yet
truthful portrait of a brokedown honky-tonk and themisfits who call it home: barflies and wannabe cowboys,
bleary-eyed dreamers and hopelessly lost souls. His third full-length in three years, the album marks the final
installment in a trilogy that originated with Walker’s globally acclaimed 2019 debut Wish You Were Here and its
equally lauded follow-up Glad You Made It (the #5 entry on Rolling Stone’s Best Country and Americana
Albums of 2020 list).

“The whole idea with the trilogy was to use the honky-tonk as a setting where all these different characters
could interact with each other,” says Walker, who drew immense inspiration from the local dive bars he first
started sneaking into and gigging at as a teenager growing up in East Dallas. “In my mind, this album’s taking
place on the night before the bar closes forever—the songs are just me taking snapshots of that world, and all
the moments that happen in it.”

In its nuanced exploration of so many disparate moods—grief and celebration, sorrow and surrender—See
You Next Time takes an entirely unexpected turn on its lead single “Sexy After Dark.” Fueled by a fiery horn
section, the wildly catchy track hits a brilliant balance of bravado, soul-stirring confession, andbrutally
self-aware humor. “There’s a deep history of sexy-crooner country songs played by dudes who were pretty
unsexy by all accounts but still had so much swagger,” says Walker. “‘Sexy After Dark’ was my attempt at
writing a song like that, a fun song I’d want to crank up and party to. It all came back to wanting to really
push the boundaries of what I could do on this album.”

With its untethered textures and beautifully sprawling guitar tones, “Flash Paper” bears a mesmerizing quality
that magnifies its raw emotion. “That was definitely the hardest one for me to write on the album—I broke
down multiple times in the process,” says Walker, whose voice slips into an achingly tender howl at the
chorus. The final track recorded for See You Next Time, it’s also one of several songs that Walker pennedin the
dead of night, while his home was undergoing massive reconstruction following the rupture of a hot-water
pipe. “Half my house was torn apart, and I was living at an extended-stay hotel, but I couldn’t get any writing
done there,” he says. “I didn’t want to move back the recording sessions, so I ended up going back to my
house late at night and staying up for hours to finish some songs. I remember thinking at the time that it was
pretty depressing—writing at 4 a.m. in this torn-apart house with no furniture and no heat in the middle of
winter—but looking back, I think it’s good that I was forced to be totally alone and just think.”

Another profoundly heavy-hearted track, “Gas Station Roses” reveals the poetic sensibilities within Walker’s
songwriting. “There’s a double meaning to that song—it’s partly referring to the roses you’d find in a gas
station around Valentine’s, but it’s also about how gas stations get away with selling crack pipes by hiding
them in those glass tubes with the origami flowers,” he explains. Layered with bright piano melodies and
Pedigo’s cascading banjo rolls, “Gas Station Roses” offers a clear-eyed meditation on the hardship of
addiction (“We’re like gas station roses/You can wrap us however you’d like/If you prop us up in pretty
poses/We’ll really catch the light”). “I grew up around a lot of kids who had parents with substance-abuse
issues, and in high school a lot of my friends gothooked on heroin,” says Walker. “This song in particular is
about crack, but the overall story is addiction leading to a loss of innocence.”

True to that communal spirit, See You Next Time closes out on its sing-along-ready title track: a fitting end to
Walker’s trilogy and its tribute to the fleeting, yet possibly life-changing, connection to be found at your
nearest honky-tonk. “There’s not a lot of pretensionat a honky-tonk, and there’s much more interaction than
in other bars—you see a lot less people on their phones,” says Walker. “We’re there to talk to other humans,
put a song on the jukebox and dance with a stranger, get to know your bartender and tell them all your
problems. I really wanted to capture that feeling on this record—I want everyone to feel like they know all
these characters, and that they’re somehow better understood because these songs exist.”

http://www.joshuaraywalker.com/
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