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xA WORKING MUSICIAN SINCE THE AGE OF 13, WALKER FIRST BEGAN HONING HIS LYRICAL TALENTS AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS BELOVED GRANDFATHER. “MY GRANDDAD’S THE ONE WHO GOT ME INTO MUSIC, AND I WROTE A SONG CALLED ‘FONDLY’ IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE HOSPITAL HE WAS IN,” RECALLS WALKER, WHO WAS 19 AT THE TIME. “BACK THEN I WAS MOSTLY PLAYING ROCK AND PUNK AND BLUES AND METAL, BUT I QUICKLY REALIZED THAT THE SONGS I WAS WRITING WERE COUNTRY SONGS.” RAISED ON BLUEGRASS, HE LISTS TEXAS LEGENDS LIKE GUY CLARK AND BILLY JOE SHAVER AMONG HIS ESSENTIAL INSPIRATIONS, BUT ALSO NOTES THE UNDENIABLE INFLUENCE OF COUNTRY SUPERSTARS LIKE ALAN JACKSON AND GEORGE STRAIT (“ALL THOSE ’90S COUNTRY SONGS WERE SO HOOK-DRIVEN, THEY REALLY BORED INTO MY BRAIN,” HE SAYS). WITH THE ARRIVAL OF WISH YOU WERE HERE (AN ALBUM THAT SPENT 12 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS ON THE AMERICANA RADIO ALBUMS CHART), WALKER WON LAVISH PRAISE FROM OUTLETS LIKE NPR MUSIC AND BEGAN OPENING FOR SUCH ARTISTS AS COLTER WALL AND CHARLEY CROCKETT, IN ADDITION TO HEADLINING TOURS IN THE U.S. AND EUROPE. HAILED BY NO DEPRESSION AS “AN ALBUM THAT OUTSHINES EXPECTATIONS FOR WHAT COUNTRY MUSIC CAN, AND SHOULD, SOUND LIKE,” GLAD YOU MADE IT EARNED THE ADMIRATION OF LEADING CRITICS LIKE ANN POWERS (“A NEW VOICE WHO REALLY IMPRESSED ME”), WITH ITS SINGLES FEATURED ON SUCH COVETED PLAYLISTS AS SPOTIFY’S INDIGO AND TIDAL’S BEST OF COUNTRY 2020. OVER THE YEARS, WALKER HAS CONTINUALLY CAPTIVATED CROWDS WITH HIS MAGNETIC LIVE SHOW, A FEAT THAT FINDS HIM JOINED BY MUSICIANS LIKE BASSIST BILLY BONES AND DRUMMER TREY PENDERGRASS (BOTH OF WHOM PLAYED ON SEE YOU NEXT TIME). “I’M REALLY PROUD OF THE BAND ON THIS RECORD, AND I’M ALSO PROUD THAT I DIDN’T JUST GO OUT AND GET HIRED GUNS FROM NASHVILLE OR AUSTIN,” WALKER SAYS. “THEY’RE GUYS I’VE PLAYED WITH FOR 10 OR 15 YEARS, AND AT THIS POINT WE’RE ALL LIKE FAMILY.”

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 PRETENSION AT 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.”

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