It was Christmas day, the presents had been opened, the food eaten, and A Christmas story watched. All I needed to do now was find some live music. Ron Hummer was playing at the Grotto but when I got there I found a man on stage alone, wearing a fur trimmed Christmas dress and black stockings. He was drunkenly winding up what was left of the show. Scott Vernon was sitting at the bar laughing and informed me I just missed a hell of a show.
Back out into the cold night, I headed down the street to The Wild Rooster. The club's website promised a “Fort Worth Homecoming Blues Jam”. Lots of people had apparently come home, as the place was so packed I could barely make it within sight of the band. Sound was excellent as always, and this place is one of the more comfortable places to just come and listen to live music in town. Eventually, I managed to find a place to sit and watch the blues go down.
But it didn’t. Slide Guitarist Daniel Lawrence Walker and his band (consisting of Matt and Allen Jones on guitar and Curtis Young on drums) were on stage playing a mostly country set. Country is kind of like blues, in the same way that pot roast is kind of like BBQ.
But no matter, we got some great music anyway. They did a cover of OutKast’s Ms. Jackson, Merry Christmas From The Family by Robert Earl Keene, a first-rate version of Up On Cripple Creek by The Band, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson, and Can’t You See by the Marshall Tucker Band.
They did a mostly good version of The Weigh by The Band, but the friend they brought up to sing didn’t know the words, and the most over-played song in live music world : Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel. They redeemed themselves afterwards with a decent treatment of Life By The Drop by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Stevie Ray Vaughn covers are most often a travesty because the performer tries too hard to channel Vaughn, which invariably fails. But in this case, we got an honest rendition of the song and not an attempt to assume the man’s musical identity.
Walker resides in Nashville, and is currently playing with the Denver Colorado based roots band Oakhurst. But Walker is one of our own, a Funkytown native who returns to Fort Worth around the holidays to visit family and do an annual Christmas show that still isn’t a blues jam. Usually, this show is at the Moon, but due to the confusion surrounding the upcoming move the show turned up at the Wild Rooster this time.
Walker has a great voice, easy-going stage presence, and his acoustic slide guitar work is first rate. Although I’m not a country fan myself, I could be if more of the country acts had this sort of musical competence. The crowd was feeling it, and for most of the night the dance floor was filled with short men trying to spin taller women. Oh, and anyone who does more than one song by The Band is a friend of mine.
For more of Walker’s music, be sure to check out the Oakhurst website at: http://www.porchmusic.com/
Or Walker’s own website at http://www.daniellawrencewalker.com/