Guitarist Phillip Walker is yet another Texan who’s made a career out of the famed Gulf Coast versatility. The human jukebox approach can sound forced, but Walker’s deep passion for music and the diverse heritages of his native region make it seem natural coming from his fingers. Whether romping through a multitextured New Orleans-style R & B burner or spinning a stark tale of midnight desolation in an arid moan, Walker puts his stamp on everything he does–and his sizable repertoire of original material makes his shows varied and challenging as well as rootsy. Walker’s voice is one of the more expressive in contemporary blues–gritty and powerful yet tempered by soulfulness that can caress with a tenderness reminiscent of vintage Bobby “Blue” Bland. Elegant and rakish, Walker’s music combines swinging uptown sophistication with the emotion of the true bluesman–the ghost of T-Bone Walker (no relation) hovers over everything like a brooding ancestral spirit. Friday, 9:30 PM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rick Olivier.