Jake Walker
Darlington R’n’B Club 11-04-08

Jake Walker is a New York based guitarist and vocalist who began his career in the time honoured blues tradition of working 6 nights a week in sweaty dive bars, smoky clubs and small festivals on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
He located to New York in 2005 and quickly gained successful residencies in the Big Apple’s blues bars and clubs.
In 2006 he won the “Big City” r’n’b magazine’s coveted “Artist of the Week” and has performed and shared the stage with many a blues legend.
His recent trip to the UK was part of his 4th European tour that also included dates in Holland, France and Belgium, and tonight he played at Darlington R’n’B Club for a gig that was eagerly awaited after the guys who run the Club had heard Jakes’ demo cd and had wanted him to play for them for some time now.
For the UK part of the tour Jake teamed-up with Leeds based 3-piece blues band Crosscut Saw who comprised Alex Eden on guitar, harmonica and vocals, Richard Green on bass and Richard Ferdinando on drums.
The gig started with Crosscut Saw playing three of their own numbers to ‘warm the audience up’ before they introduced Jake Walker to the stage. Jake immediately launched into a number of well tried and tested covers to prove what an accomplished guitarist he really is. He’s not a bad vocalist either, with a great gravely voice that sounds like he’s been gargling Scotch whisky for years!
He has just released a new cd called “Confidence Man” on Elliot Mazer’s new record label Left Turn Music. It has a number of eminent musicians on the disc with keyboard player Mark Naftalin [ex Paul Butterfield Band] and guitarist Arthur Neilson [Shemekia Copeland Band] being probably the best known to British blues fans.
Jake then went on to play a couple of original tracks from the cd [including the title track], which went down very well with the audience. They had warmed to the four musicians for playing a great mix of covers, and Jake’s own material.
Jake plays a sort of hybrid-style incorporating influences from Freddie King, Otis Rush, Albert King and Peter Green. His Gibson Les Paul has a beautiful warm tone which Jake wrings out every drop of emotion from.
The usual ‘yardstick’ – people on the dance floor – occurred at the fourth number in, and with the exception of the ‘slow-burners,’ they didn’t leave all night. Crosscut Saw also proved that they are a great little band as well, and although they had only played one gig and two rehearsals with Jake previous to tonight’s gig, they did themselves proud - certainly a band to watch out for on the British circuit. The gig ended all too soon with Jake having endeared himself to the blues fans in Darlington. He sold quite a few copies of his cd, and if that’s also a ‘yardstick’ then the night was highly successful for all concerned!
Look out for Jake Walker’s cd, and try to catch him on his next tour to the UK - as yet unplanned.
Mike Prendergast