June 16, 2016
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Wheeler Walker, Jr.
Puttin' The FU In FUN!
In the great era of self-importance and awareness of every word spoken, every glance given and every move subject to discourse, like Donald Trump (who just happen to be in town campaigning on the same night) Wheeler Walker Jr is a breathe of fresh air away from the bloviated self-importance that seems to render the world useless and futile. Walker Jr in the course of one album has taken PC culture and like Trump, turned it on its head and is shaking out it's trousers looking for spare change. He might be doing it as a goof but like CW McCall did in 1975, it's fiction we don't mind hearing.
Where today's immensely popular "mall country" yodels on endlessly about painted toenails on the dashboard and dirt roads and tire tracks, Walker is singing about the "very real" lives of the down and out, the unforgiving, the trailer park destitute and well, a lot fucking. There is no innuendo with Walker and his honky tonk quartet who just happen to be vice tight; he just gets right into the bodily fluids, the drugs, the whiskey and the 69. If he wasn't so damn talented you might be offended but the guy has taken "blowing a load onto your chest" to an art form. His between song banter is first-rate comedy and for his part he sure "loves Texas, because you fuckers understand me." "Fightin', Fuckin', Fartin," crass as hell but a hoe down stomper with handclaps and a swing that Bob Wills could cut the sawdust to. The southern rock chug of ‘Eatin' Pussy/Kickin' Ass" has a Molly Hatchet verve to it along with some incredible slide playing. You'd swear you were in another dimension as the content of the songs is pure truck stop bathroom orgy but the music itself is high quality craftsmanship.
Walker's mantra of ‘Beer, Weed and Cooches" pays tribute to George Jones while sorting its way thru a haze of purple smoke and well shorn lady parts. But from the sounds of things, Walker probably likes a lot of grass on the field, runways are for prop planes hauling dope across the border, not pussy. Not one to keep rousing around in the alleyway, Walker and crew laid into some nice Waylon Jennings playing it straight down the line and proving that once the joke has worn off of his current routine that he could be an imposing country/Americana player up there with the best of them.
I won't do the give away on who WW, Jr actually is, Google can help you with that, but his producer is Dave Cobb, a Nashville uber stud who produces Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton, so there is massive pedigree in the control room helping turn these charcoals of raunch into diamonds of sexual delight. Listen no further than the clarion call off of Walker's debut, the poignant ‘Fuck You Bitch," a slow burner about faded love. Think of it as Jamey Johnson/George Strait's ‘Give It Away" but with the "real" sentiment that is involved in nasty breakups. David Allen Coe, the gauntlet has been thrown, whatcha got?
To add, the crowd was a healthy mix of straight shooters, frat guys, hipsters, long haired goat ropers and gay cowboys, basically his target audience, but plenty of women just swaying to the tunes while simultaneously laughing their asses off. Hell, even Walker's merchandise had flair to it as the XL and XXL shirts were labeled Fat Fuck on the front. With Wheeler Walker, Jr, you either get it or you need to take a night off from church.