In 1913, Victrola issued a violin with piano version of Shubert’s Ave Maria. The violinist, Mischa Elman, had been a child prodigy. He studied at the St. Petersberg Conservatory, and at the time of the Victrola release, was widely considered the greatest violinist in the world. He was passionate and evocative, a genius capable of manipulating emotions through music. A Japanese teenager named Shinichi Suzuki heard Elman’s Ave Maria in 1915, and it compeled him. Suzuki’s father owned a violin factory in Nagoya, but neither Shinichi nor any of his eleven siblings played music. In fact, the Suzuki children thought the violins were only toys. Mischa Elman’s music changed that. Shinichi plucked a violin from the factory and began to mimic the sounds produced from the Shellac. In less than five years, he was learning beside the masters in Europe. As a student and then a teacher himself, Suzuki held the belief that anyone could play music. Children, he thought, learned to speak easily enough– why not begin teaching them music in the same manner?The Suzuki Method was born from the idea that beautiful music creates beautiful individuals– and that’s what Seth Walker was taught to believe.
Seth Walker grew up in North Carolina surrounded by music and love. His parents were Quakers and had decided to combine households with another family in the early 1970s. They were also classical musicians who used the play-by-ear Suzuki Method to teach 4-year-old Seth violin and cello. The father of the other family in the commune was a country music fan, and Seth absorbed the wandering tales of Waylon and Willie as well as the sonatas and suites of Bach and Beethoven. It was the blues, though, that took a teenage Seth Walker, put a guitar in his hand and put him on the path. That path led to Texas.
Austin, TX in the 1990s was a cornucopia of musical flavors. Seth Walker had arrived in the “Live Music Capital of the World” a guitar player, but soon discovered his vocal ability set him apart, created a new dynamic. He began to focus on singing, then writing. Austin was good to Seth Walker. He developed a style, a unique musical point of view. He made albums including a self-titled release in 2006 that put the next decade into motion. Seth met and began collaborationg with legendary songwriter and producer Gary Nicholson. That relationship resulted in the 2009 album Leap of Faith. Seth made Nashville his home base and continued to write, record, and tour.
In 2012, he released Time Can Change, a loungey collection of songs featuring guest appearances by Ray Benson and Raul Malo. For his next album, Seth took to the history drenched haunts of New Orleans, and with Oliver Wood at the helm, created the soul soaked Sky Still Blue. Seth Walker is smooth, effortless in his delivery. There’s no single influence detectable in his music. Instead, he’s one of Americana’s greatest enthusiasts, an artist who approaches his craft without genre distinction. Nothing exemplifies the spirit of Seth Walker more than his latest album, Gotta Get Back. In addition to guest appearances from the Wood Brothers, the album also features cello and violin arrangements from Seth’s parents and sister. It’s a record intended to feel like home.
Hear Seth Walker on 100.9 The Creek and catch him live on the Creek Stage @ The Rookery