Walter Jr., The River Club (Gatortone)

Walter, Jr. has released three CDs since 2006 and every one of them has been distinctly different. Perhaps more so than previous outings, River Club showcases his depth as an inventive bluesman true to his South Louisiana roots. As evidenced by the title track and cover art, the extinct dancehall is the theme, which fits in well with the proceedings’ live, raw nature. Other aspects of Acadiana life are also covered, including indigenous cuisine and mystique of the bayou moon.

Walter explores these themes with his syncopated singing style, which leverages a multitude of emotions via vocal inflection while his use of language is street hip. In between his funky chicken guitar picking is enough space for some surprisingly wicked licks.

Such qualities indicate that he doesn’t shy away from anything; even how simple religious messages are blown out of proportion. On the provocative “Jesus Say,” a thunderous voice quotes biblical passages (“The meek shall inherit the Earth”) and then lowers the boom with the jarring “Everybody else can go to Hell.” Its intent is likely to be misunderstood, but for those who get it, voices like Walter’s are essential in these modern times.