Whether you’ve heard Jon Patrick Walker’s previous albums The Guilty Party (2013) or People Going Somewhere (2016) or not, you can’t help but be compelled by this prominent performers multi-fisted approach to expression. A highly respected stage actor (on Broadway and beyond) for a quarter century, he’s played stage versions of his heroes Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon and most recently earned raves playing King George in a national tour of Hamilton.
From hip-hopping in costume onstage to exploring his deeper musical loves via quirky acoustic indie pop/rock, Walker – who recorded some of these new tracks on the road with Hamilton - showcases the depths of his musical artistry once again on the cleverly titled Welcome to the Edge Times – a raw, alternately gentle/ hypnotic and feisty and yep, edgy 12 track collection that is a wanderlusting feast for fans of 70’s styled singing and songwriting.
When I reviewed the melancholy and deeply introspective lead single “Luv U Girl,” I was charmed by the way Walker used hypnotic keyboards to underscore his unrequited passion. Turns out this is just one of his musical modes, as tracks like the title track, “We Won the War” and “Whatchoo Gonna Do” have a socially conscious, stripped down coffeehouse folk sensibility.
With its dreamy vocal harmonies and fuzzy guitars, “The Crystal Palace Park” takes us back into a green tinted 60’s mindset quite gloriously. While the grittiness of his acoustic guitar centered vibe (also apparent on “Like A Rose”) is appealing on a visceral level, Walker nicely complements these tunes with a few lush keyboard centered tunes, including the colorful, lyrical narrative song “The Ballad of Gregory Jim,” the folk/soul gem “Blues For My Baby” (dig that Dylanesque harmonica!) and the reflective, gospel tinged closer “Happy Xmas (In The Edge Times).” To paraphrase a classic riff from “Hamilton,” when it comes to his solo music career, Walker’s he’s not throwing away his shot.