Toby Walker is a local blues legend who grew up in Brentwood. Since he started playing guitar at the ago of 14, Walker has played and recorded with famous musicians such as Bob Margolin, Jay Unger, Molly Mason and Albert Castiglia. He has played gigs all over the United States, and on Friday afternoon, he gave a special performance for eighth-grade music students at Stimson Middle School.
Walker played a variety of different instruments, including an electric guitar, steel guitar, banjo, harmonica and a monochord. While playing, Walker shared stories of the South that was once years ago. He told stories of prisoners working on railroads, and how they sung 'work songs' such as "I'll Be So Glad When The Sun Goes Down." "They sung these songs to keep the rhythm of their work consistent," Walker said to the students.
He also told the stories of how he traveled down to Mississippi to meet blues legends James 'Son' Thomas and Jack Owens. He then recounted a personal account of racism that Owens shared with him when they met. The emotions ran high, and the students walked away with an education and inspiration to create music on their own.
Walker's musical abilities were impressive to witness, as he mastered the instruments he played so well, that he could share stories and create images through sound all at once. Capturing a performance by 3-4 people into one, Walker's explosive energy and lifetime experience was truly remarkable. After he concluded, he signed autographs for students and took a picture with all of them.
"I wanted to give the students the shock of what went on in the South years ago, and how it inspired people to make music," Toby said. He will be traveling to England this autumn to play shows, and has a new album coming out that is strictly blues. For more information on Walker, visit his website: www.littletobywalker.com