Seth Walker – Gotta Get Back (review)

Seth Walker – Gotta Get Back (Royal Potato Family) review

Ninth long player features family and friends

When anyone says “there’s no good music anymore,” my first example to prove them wrong is Seth Walker.  The Carolina native has released nine albums that aren’t concerned at all with what’s hip or trendy.  Instead, he’s gifted with the ability to create music that’s timeless – warm, inviting, and soulful, with lyrics that are instantly relatable.  His secret is an uncanny rhythmic sense – everything grooves, even if it’s understated.

His ninth release, Gotta Get Back, is a family affair – he enlisted his father to arrange the strings, while his mother and sister both play violin.  But, the reunions don’t end there – Walker once again brings in multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix, who not only provides drums and piano, but also wraps the entire proceedings with his earthy, upfront production.

Walker has perfected this album-making process, with his new record serving up a typically diverse song cycle – from the New Orleans’ flavored “High Time,” to the blues rocker “Fire in the Belly,”  the acoustic “Turn This Thing Around,” and the high octane “Way Past Midnight.”

His real strength is organ-infused soul numbers, and “Call My Name” is one of the best songs Walker has ever committed to tape.  The strings remind me of a classic Al Green track, while he’s joined by excellent background singing on the chorus.  “Back Again” and “Dreamer” are two more examples of this style, and are highlights of the record as well.  His voice, smooth with a little hint of grit, is perfectly suited for the genre.

Just when you think you’ve got him figured out, he delivers the goosebumps-inducing “The Sound of Your Voice.”  Opening with just Walker’s singing and guitar, he’s joined by exquisite strings on the second verse.  The track builds, adding drums and Hammond organ, before ending on an extended groove.

Art isn’t created in a bubble;  we’re influenced by those that came before us, and enriched by those surrounding us.  Seth Walker has re-connected with his roots and turned in one of his finest releases to date, Gotta Get Back.  —Tony Peters