Joice Walton

Joice WaltonThroughout her simultaneous careers as a boldly eclectic, international-touring blues singer, and procurement agent for Silicon Valley hi-tech firms, Joice Walton has held a number of strong political views. She kept them largely to herself and her circle of friends — until now. On her new single, titled “Vegetable Soup,” the San Jose, California-based singer-songwriter addresses a number of them, from the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the prospect of building a wall along the border, but her primary focus is on the recent rash of murders by police of African American men. “Where’s the justice for people of color when a cop’s raping sistas and shooting up brothas who they’re supposed to serve and protect?” Walton urgently cries out over the gospel-imbued grooves of a rhythm section led by producer Paul Smith and choir-like background vocals arranged and produced by Larry Batiste. A church-trained organist and pianist from San Jose, Smith has previously worked with Ike & Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, and Bill Withers, among others. Batiste is one of the most sought after music and vocal producers on the West Coast. Throughout her simultaneous careers as a boldly eclectic, international-touring blues singer, and procurement agent for Silicon Valley hi-tech firms, Joice Walton has held a number of strong political views. She kept them largely to herself and her circle of friends — until now. On her new single, titled “Vegetable Soup,” the San Jose, California-based singer-songwriter addresses a number of them, from the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the prospect of building a wall along the border, but her primary focus is on the recent rash of murders by police of African American men. “Where’s the justice for people of color when a cop’s raping sistas and shooting up brothas who they’re supposed to serve and protect?” Walton urgently cries out over the gospel-imbued grooves of a rhythm section led by producer Paul Smith and choir-like background vocals arranged and produced by Larry Batiste. A church-trained organist and pianist from San Jose, Smith has previously worked with Ike & Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, and Bill Withers, among others. Batiste is one of the most sought after music and vocal producers on the West Coast. She has also appeared in the U.S. at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland and at such clubs as J.J.’s Blues, the Poor House Bistro in San Jose and Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco. Walton’s second album, 2012’s Texas Heat, was even more eclectic than her first. Recorded primarily in Nashville, she brilliantly wove the blues, country, soul, jazz, rock, and pop strains of American vernacular styles into a multihued fabric. Like her late friend, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, who contributed his guitar and viola to two tracks of the album, Walton prefers to simply call what she does “American music.” One might also call it a vegetable soup of sounds.

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