Taj Mahal called Seth Walker a "little white Ray Charles." And according to a prominently placed quote in the press kit for the Austin musician's new Leap of Faith, no less a musical road dog than Delbert McClinton says he "was impressed like I hadn't been impressed in 30 years" after seeing Walker live. Heady words to live up to, for sure. And indeed, the 35-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist comes off here (his sixth record) like a virtual one-man melting pot of modern Americana. Walker took his act to Nashville in order to shake things up a bit and veers from good-time, sloppy drinking music ("Can't Come with You," "Dig a Little Deeper") to soul ("Rewind"), gospel ("Lay Down," the title track), chooglin' rockers ("Something Fast"), blues ("In the Dark"), country (Nick Lowe's "Lately I've Let Things Slide") and slow, smoky jazz ("I Got a Song"). It seems like the only strain of Americana he's missing is a jug-band instrumental. As they say about Houston's weather, if you don't like something on Leap of Faith, just wait a second and it will change.
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