(photo credit: Courtesy)
His gentle voice and the soft features on his youthful face hearken back to the
deeply personal singer/songwriter genre of the 1970s. Artists like James Taylor,
Joni Mitchell and Harry Chapin brought the sensibilities they acquired during
the Peace and Love years of the 1960s into the next decade.
By the time
Brandon Walker was born, the 1960s and ’70s had already faded into history. But
the soulfully intense young man, the product of a Jewish upbringing, was
determined to make his mark.
“I grew up around Baltimore and started
getting into music when my parents inherited an old upright piano from an uncle
who had passed away. They invested in piano lessons, and I took to it pretty
keenly. I joined a few bands over the years and continued to cultivate my chops
in rock, blues, funk and jam band styles,” Walker explains.
how creative he could be when, in his first songwriting class, he was assigned
to write a Christmas song. “I knew that most good songs have to come from an
honest place in order to resonate with people, so I wrote about my Christmas
The result was “Chinese Food on Christmas,” a humorous
number in which Walker reflects on how Jews in the US might spend Christmas Day
when the rest of the country shuts down. The accompanying video made quite a
splash on YouTube and is now a Yuletide staple on Shalom TV, a Jewish network
available on American cable systems.
One year after this first song, he
had another Jewish- based inspiration. “Someone from birthright Israel got in
touch with me and asked if I’d be interested in creating a Pessah video for
them,” he recounts. “Of course I was thrilled to do it, and soon after that, my
friend Matt Leavey and I came up with the concept of a bad-ass Moses who goes
around town parting things. As it turned out, the Moses character I developed in
the video rode around on a little girl’s bicycle and lived with his mom. But he
did it all with confidence, and confidence is the essence of cool, I think.
Still trying to figure that one out.”
The resulting video, Get Down with
, has scored nearly 100,000 YouTube hits.
“Judaism influences me
musically in that I still bust out into some songs from synagogue every now and
then, nearly always jokingly. But it goes to show how catchy some of those
melodies are. It’s been a long, long time since I learned those songs in Hebrew
school, but they definitely stuck with me. Catchy melodies are crucial to
writing pop music, which is what I do.”
And now Walker offers One Step
, his first CD.
It’s simply produced and features only six tracks.
But these lovely, heartfelt tunes stay with you. Walker, who wrote most of the
material, performs vocally and on keyboard. The opener, “Foggy Window,” is a
haunting romantic ballad. It’s followed by the even more romantic title tune.
Then comes “Puzzle,” an upbeat, somewhat humorous muse on lust.
self-produced disc has an impressive technical polish.
It is refreshing,
in this techno era, to hear a young, fresh vocalist who speaks and sings from
“For the most part, when I write, I draw less from my
experiences as a Jew and mostly from those universal experiences like love. Love
is such a broad, yet hard-hitting subject. There are so many types of love songs
that can be written. If you look at the charts, 90 percent of the hit songs out
there are about love.”
What comes next for Brandon Walker? “Lately, I’ve
been writing, recording and pitching some of my popular songs to music
publishers. I’m playing some shows at coffee houses and recording.”For
more information on Brandon Walker’s One Step Behind, visit