Johnny Walker
Location: Valencia, CA, USA
Description: After years of gigging in the Los Angeles area as leader of the Johnny Walker Band, singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny Walker woodshedded in his home studio for what must have seemed like an eternity to his fan base and emerged with nothing short of a landmark solo effort to show for it. PRIMROSE GARDENS is jammed with enough hooky tunes, sweet vocal harmonies (make no mistake about it, this guy is a harmonizing nutbag) and economically soulful guitar lines to make you wonder how Walker managed to avoid the glaring spotlight of stardom all these years. The best explanation this reporter can come up with is that Walker must have been too busy riding shotgun with Jackson Browne documenting the salad days as The Pretender wandered from his ex-girlfriend's apartment to the beach at daybreak and then back again, all the while with MEET THE BEATLES wafting from the VW's 8-track. My only beef about this breakthrough album is that Walker chose to go it alone in the studio rather than put the arm on his numerous compadres in the music biz. But when you're as talented as this guy is, you may as well roll the dice and go for broke. In this case, the result is an engaging, lyrically insightful collection of home-spun, acoustic-oriented tunes that inspire from top to bottom. Also noteworthy is Zachary Leener's art direction, which serves to capture Walker's sometimes-brooding lost-love landscape through his use of muted colors and an oddly interconnected collection of period-piece photos.
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