The Franke Center in Marshall is excited to present Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner, live in concert on Saturday, May 1. Described as a “living legend” within the blues world by fans and peers, Walker’s celebrated career over half a century has taken him across the world to many of the world’s most famous Blues venues – and now, to the intimate Main Stage of the Franke Center! Tickets for the show are $30 in advance and $32 at the door. Doors and bar open at 7 PM, with pre-show music featuring Alvin Lautzenheiser in the Downstage Club. Local musician Kjell Croce will open the Main Stage show at 8 PM, followed by Joe Louis Walker and his band.
A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, Walker has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone Records announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene. He has been described by NPR Music as “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues.”
Born in 1949 in San Francisco, Walker took up the guitar at age 14. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with guitarist and composer Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk, and rock influences with his trademark blues. Through the years Walker has collaborated with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He has released twenty-five albums since 1986, including his most recent effort “Journeys to the Heart of the Blues” in 2018.
Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures than from my success. But that’s made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.’”
Part of the Michigan Stars Series, Kalamazoo-based rapper, vocalist and cellist Jordan Hamilton weaves stellar vocals and sharp, thought-provoking lyrics over hypnotic cello loops to create a unique brand of Michigan hip-hop. Cellist of Last Gasp Collective and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Jordan Hamilton merges songwriting, loop pedals, sample machines, and vocals to create a sonic landscape of experimental hip-hop, folk, soul, and classical music. The Western Michigan University graduate aims to find new ways for the cello, a traditional instrument, to relate to a modern audience where it can be found playing the music of Bach, the Beatles, or Chance the Rapper. Filled with an eclectic range of songs, Jordan’s set is sure to capture the heart and mind while reflecting on new horizons. Jordan is a Jammie Award winner and winner of the Local Spins’ Emerging Artist of the Year award for 2019.
A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, Little Shop Of Horrors has devoured the hearts of theatre goers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world.
The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, BLOOD. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent towards global domination!