Seth Walker (Hyena)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Jan. 18, 2008
Making his debut on Hyena Records, co-founded by late Atlantic Records producer Joel Dorn and also home to Dale Watson, Seth Walker's reissued fifth album highlights the local bluesman's versatility. Opener "Change My Way" drives a solid blues boogie, but slices of smooth R&B sway "Steady" and the aching take of Dave Bartholomew's "By the Water," Walker channeling Ray Charles in his supple, steady range. Devastating Katrina ode "2 Inches Left to the Ceiling" serves as the poignant centerpiece, floodwaters rising with Ephraim Owens' trembling trumpet as Walker grits, "The GI Bill and Jesus both split for higher ground, and I can't find my way to the door." Kim Wilson lays harmonica on Jimmy Reed's "I Know It's a Sin," and Walker covers Tom Waits effectively with "Picture in a Frame," though it's originals like "Sun Down" that shine with their own promise.