Inspired by a life largely spent between New Orleans and Nashville with a Havana stint somewhere in the middle, Seth Walker’s forthcoming album Are You Open? paints as broad and atmospheric a picture as its title might imply. Like much of the music of the Wood Brothers, whose drummer, Jano Rix, produced the album, Walker’s latest hones in on sinking into a distinct rhythm as much as it does telling a story. It also comes across as a personal exploration for Walker—one in which he spreads out his arms and inquires of the world what genuine openness feels like.
The work is clearly Walker’s most adventurous from a sonic perspective, as well. “Inside” riffs off of vintage blues grit beside more modern illusory manipulations to create a cool, hazy atmosphere that’s easily dance-worthy through its mystique. Walker exacts his capabilities as a frontman as he glides effortlessly across a commanding chorus, sinking into an unrelenting groove from start to finish. Animated and produced by Gary Dorsey at Pixel Peach Media, its music video is just as mystifying.
Walker tells PopMatters, “‘Inside’ was originally inspired after a trip to Havana, Cuba. I was so taken by how much soul was in the music, art, culture, and people of that country. I bought a painting from a local artist picturing a man holding an umbrella, but the figure’s silhouetted body was lined with raindrops on the inside of his body. A striking image that left a mark on me, as I feel we all battle a beast inside to some extent. The quest for that sweet inner peace has gotta come from within. This track was also inspired by a dear friend of mine who suffered from depression, and much of this message is a call to lend a hand and send that love to someone who might be struggling below the surface—on the inside. I originally wrote the demo over an iPhone voice memo, and my producer Jano Rix and I liked that vibe so much, we ended up using that as the bed for this track. It has a little ’70s Dr. John vibe to my ears. My friend Gary Dorsey with Pixel Peach completed the circle of this tune with this beautiful, dream-like and evocative video.”
Are You Open? is set to release on 15 February. It is available for pre-order now via Royal Potato Family.