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Martin Walker now performs as   A R T   S C H O P

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photographs by teddy maki, video by john bosch

“I don’t like myself much sometimes…” so says Martin Walker, and which of us hasn’t felt that way from time to time? This line strikes up the chorus to an unlikely love song recounting Walker’s reaction to his wife’s post-partum depression. Whereas you or I may tell no one about our self-loathing, Walker unflinchingly turns it into art. “I was afraid that you might do / what a part of me hoped you might do,” Walker confesses, but with such exquisite honesty and melodic beauty that the listener feels this truth as something uplifting and supportive. Walker relieves us of some of our existential load; it’s OK to feel worthless now and then, he tells us.

Walker’s deft melodies and direct, sophisticated lyrics are hallmarks of his songwriting. Always surprising, Walker takes us on journeys that are at once entirely personal and universal. The Death of Socrates, another cut from his new album – nylon – is, on one level, a song about the last few minutes of the philosopher Socrates’ life, right before he drinks down the poison. But it is so much more; while Socrates evidently felt no anguish at the prospect of his death, calling for the poison earlier than the allotted time, “I’m in no rush” Walker wryly reflects “got some things I’d like to do before I’m belly up.” (His interest in things philosophical comes as little surprise when one learns that Walker has published a book of practical philosophy – LIFE! Why We Exist… And What We Must Do to Survive.)

Walker draws from many styles and genres; nylon is cut from coherent sonic cloth but one hears the influences of British and American folk, alternative rock, classical piano and film noir. Walker now lives in New York having left his home country of England, and he can be found playing in the city’s downtown clubs on a regular basis. Although New York is his physical home, musically, whichever way he heads next, one can anticipate that he will take a new direction. In Walker’s words again: “So I moved myself out / left a suitcase / in which neatly I folded / my mortal remains.”

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