Pops has been entertaining a small but ever growing group of avid fans for some twenty years. He’s performed in various venues around the world. And has fans in Europe, Asia, Hawaii, and throughout the continental USA. He’s been part of several duos/trios, but now performs solo as a performing songwriter, with a penchant for “acoustic blues”. And while up-tempo blues is his favorite style, it’s only part of his repertoire. Listening to any of his recordings, one can hear dashes of folk, jazz, country, and a tidy little genre called Southern Fried Zen Mojo, a phrase coined just for him.
He’s a true independent artist,
and instead of joining the mainstream, he’s forged his own unique approach
to the music industry. Though he’s a member of ASCAP, he releases his
recordings independently via his own publishing company, Icknob Publishing.
He rarely, if ever, plays bars or lounges, but instead has targeted acoustic
listening rooms and the performing songwriter circuit, especially house-concerts.
Pops also hosts the Shenandoah
River Songfest, a large annual event for performing songwriters,
and The Wetlands Series, a small, intimate event that takes place about four
times a year. His CD sales come mainly from his live shows, and are augmented
by on-line sales at CDBaby.
As a rule, he doesn’t tour. Indeed, he’s turned down a couple of
offers for overseas tours. He tries to perform about twice a month, and is quite
happy with that pace.
Playing completely by ear, and with passion and power possessed by few performing songwriters, Pops Walker is something of an enigma. At his live performances, listeners who hear him for the first time are usually stunned. A typical response is, “That’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen or heard – why haven’t we heard of you before?”
The answer is simple. Until September, 2003, Walker was a paralegal, for the US Army, working in the Pentagon. It was simply a stroke of luck and karma that he wasn’t killed on 9/11/01. But that’s another story. But there’s the answer to that often posed question of “Where have you been?”
It wasn’t until 2003 that he burst onto the folk music scene. He had been laying the foundations for years for this breakout. Before then, he performed only two or three times a year, but kept perfecting his skills as a songwriter, singer and especially as a guitarist. He was waiting for the right moment to enter the music scene – and that time came the day he retired from serving his country. And indeed, the very same day that he signed out of the Army, he was the opening act for the Mountain Stage NewSong Festival. He walked out of one life and happily into another.
Since then, things have gone well for him. He’s released four more CDs, (a total of six now), and has had the privilege of playing the same venues as Leo Kotke, Kathy Mattea, John Gorka, Richie Havens, Darryl Scott, and a slew of other great songwriters and performers. And while it was the folk circuit that opened their doors to him at first, the blues lovers discovered him shortly thereafter. He’s comfortable with either audience, and can tailor his performances to fit the audience at hand.
His shows vary a bit, depending on
the audience (blues fans vs. folkies), but in either case, you can expect a
high-energy, mesmerizing performance of original songs with an old chestnut
or two included. He performs with every inch of his being
and his joy is contagious. He engages the crowd with dashes of humor,
anecdotes, and bits of background about his tunes. And he does it in such a
way that most of the audience feels that he’s talking directly with each
of them. He makes it personal. Listening to his CDs his recordings is a treat,
but watching him perform is an absolute joy.