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  • Jonathan Widran

JON PATRICK WALKER, The Rented Tuxedo & Other Songs

So if you’re a fan of musicals and their touring companies and want to know how the casts spend their down time on tour busses, look no further for musings on the matter than veteran TV/film actor and stage performer, who spent years on the road playing the quirky role of King George III in “Hamilton.”

He penned the dark, mystical, melodramatic and wildly Tarantinoesque title track to his latest indie album The Rented Tuxedo & Other Songs between Kansas City and Memphis, and weaves a colorful tale about how he ended up recording it at Sun Studio where Elvis tracked “That’s All Right.”

Listening to his low, haunting and smoothed out Lennonesque, vocal tones and dreamy, spacious and atmospheric vibes on this tune and those eight other sparklingly soulful, sometimes lonesome, sometimes romantic, always reflective and colorfully rendered gems, it’s hard to reconcile this deeper side of his artistry with the quirkiness he had to summon night after night singing the jaunty “Da-Da-Da-Dat-Da” refrain of the King George song “You’ll Be Back.”

But that’s the charm of all of Walker’s current and previous solo work – that it finds him exploring fresh cinematic personas (as in the aforementioned title track and the twangy, steel guitar romp “Auto-Tune My Love”) and his own emotions - most prominently on “Love my Everblue,” a stunning ballad he wrote for his young daughter, and, more reflectively (and hilariously) on “Lookin’ For Eggs,” about catching his parents in the act with their new significant others.

While he edges deeply philosophical on hypnotic, ethereal “The Stars, The Moon & The Sun,” sometimes Walker’s just in the mood for a lighthearted, freewheeling drive in a “Station Wagon” or a simple, jangling and bluesy acoustic love song like “Love To You.“ While there are plenty of rhythmic and stylistic twists and turns along the way, he’s always in what I called in the review of his previous album Welcome to the Edge Times, a quite glorious “green-tinted 60’s mindset.” That’s a good place to be when you’re not channeling the King of England.


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