Joice Walton

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Joice Walton

Although Joice Walton is known as a Jazz and Blues artist to fans in the U.S. and Europe, her music really defies categorization. On her acclaimed debut CD, 1994's Downsville Girl, and even more so on the forthcoming follow-up album called Texas Heat, the San Jose, California-based vocalist puts together blues, soul, jazz, rock and pop strains of American vernacular music in a seamless, multihued fabric. Like her friend (the late) Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who contributes his guitar and viola prowess to two tracks of her new album, Walton prefers to simply call what she does "American Music".

Released in the Fall of 2012, Texas Heat was primarily cut in Nashville with a crack studio rhythm session engineered by Jamie Whiting, augmented by guitarist Tony Baker and pianist Walter Bankovitch, both from Walton’s working band.

Production/collaboration was performed by long-time friend and musical muse Jack Fischer. Additional recording was done in New Orleans, Sausalito, Berkeley and San Francisco, California. "With that clean Nashville sound, I came back to the S.F. Bay Area and sprinkled some good soul feelings on top," Walton explains.

Walton was born and raised on a farm in Downsville, Texas, a quiet country town outside Waco with a population of 50, most of them her kin folk. She grew up singing Gospel hymns in the Mt. Olive Baptist Church choir and Amazing Grace down by the Brazos River. The sixth of ten brothers and sister's she began singing at age seven, and soon formed a trio with twin cousins Loretta and Floretta, modeled on Diana Ross and the Supremes, finding opportunities to get on stage at assisted living homes and high school pep rallies.

In 1990 Walton formed her first band, Joice Walton and Sweet Scandal, which soon became Joice Walton and Blackout, and began appearing at leading night clubs and music festivals throughout Northern California, Oregon and Nevada. In 1994, her debut album, Downsville Girl was released on Pinnacle Records. It was subsequently picked up for distribution by Line Music in Germany for European distribution. Rave reviews and offers to tour followed. Walton obliged with a three month tour based in Paris, France with performances at blues festivals in Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Ansneir's Theatre in Paris, and weekly performances at the popular Parisian Jazz and Blues spot, Quai Du Blues Club on the River Seine. She’s also performed in Hong Kong, Italy, and Greece.

The film Lady Sings the Blues based upon the life of Billie Holiday and not unlike many other aspiring singers, greatly impacted Joice's decision to move from top forty materials towards the world of Jazz and Blues (thanks Billie for inspiring another young lady to carry on the rich culture and tradition). Since the eighties, Joice has absorbed and studied continuously the works of her idols. Her favorites for inspiration are many, but to name a few: Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Barbra Streisand, Ernestine Anderson. Joice also gleans ideas from great talents like Patti Labelle, Diane Shuur, Al Jarreau, Marvin Gay, Bobby Womack, Robert Cray, Willie Nelson, Anita Baker, Keb' Mo, and John Legend. From listening to and studying these talented artists', Joice has developed a very strong sense of personal style, phrasing and overall delivery of her own as is evidenced in her debut cd recording.

It was at the Peer Belgium Rhythm and Blues festival where Walton met and formed a lasting relationship with the legendary and (late) Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown that led to his work on her second CD, titled Texas Heat. Listener's who've had the good fortune to listen to her first album, Downsville Girl and experience her show stopping performances know Joice Walton to be a decidedly different, refreshingly eclectic song stylist.

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