The Jersey Shore has always been a hot spot for the best in American music. Many local players have learned their tricks going to shows and emulating their heroes. Billy Walton is no different. Since the first time he snuck into a blues jam as a young teenager, he’s been pursuing his craft and perfecting his masterful tone on the guitar. Billy’s talent was recognized by none other than Southside Johnny, the Jersey legend who was one of the founding fathers of the Asbury Park music scene. Billy spent several years playing guitar with the Asbury Jukes. During this time he toured the US and Europe regularily. Of course, Billy was no stranger to the UK blues scene. Before joining Southside, Billy’s music was already being played on the BBC by respected DJ Paul Jones. Since 2007 the Billy Walton Band has been making regular appearances in England, Scotland, Wales, and Germany.
With four other releases under their belt, 2014 saw the band connect with award winning producer Tony Braunagel (Phantom Blues Band, Eric Burdon, Trampled Under Foot). Tony jumped at the opportunity to work with the road tested band. Tony saw the veteran leadership of Walton and bassist William Paris blending perfectly with the youthful exuberance of drummer Johnny D’Angelo, sax player Sean Marks, and trombonist Ian Gray. One of the first calls Tony made was to bring in the extraordinary keyboard skills of Mike Finnigan. The title track contains all the elements you’d hope to hear in a swaggering blues rock band… screaming guitar, horns, groove… and Mike’s biting organ which takes the track to the next level. “True Loving Man” finds Billy strumming the classic Fender Stratocaster and extracting the sounds the axe is so famous for. This recording would not have been complete without a guest appearance by Billy’s former employer… Southside Johnny! South blows a beautiful harp solo on the accoustic track “Blues Comes A Knockin.” Billy leads the band seamlessly through his take of the Asbury Park sound in rocker “It Don’t Matter”, a groovy take on the Rascals’ “Come On Up”, and the guitar-heavy “Mountain”. “Forgive and Forget” features some strong horn work, “Hudson County Star” gives the listener a little insight into the NJ “political culture”, and the band takes a left turn on the psychedelic “Change.” Billy’s soulful vocal tracks and biting guitar work are the glue that holds together the soul, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll.
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