Billy Walton Band: Crank It Up Review

Kick off your summer right with the Billy Walton Band, a group who, in 2012, produced an invigorating, feel-good album with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind musical sound reminiscent to that of Hendrix, Clapton, and Bon Jovi. Crank It Up is an album that is both rejuvenating and lively while it still holds true to classic themes and wailing guitar riffs of blues music. Billy Walton, a superior guitarist with raw talent and an awe-inspiring stage presence, has created a funky jam band caught up in the blues scene and straight out of the heart of the Jersey Shore. Walton’s unique background and inspiration shine through in this album, for it is a pleasing record for a range of musical tastes that run the gamut — the blues music enthusiast, the jazz aficionado, the classic rock & roll fan. An answer to its own blues ridden confusion and misery, this album is an upbeat, spontaneous treat to blast late at night in the heat of a memorable summer.

Crank It Up opens with “Deal with the Devil,” a song that, based on its title alone, is a bluesy track with a surprising twist. Unlike most blues songs, this deal with the Devil has not yet been made and he’s made the conscious decision to avoid such a troubling bargain, for he “Won’t make no deal with the Devil / Gonna make it on my own this time.” However, a different deal was made in “The Night the Deal Went Down” a song recalling a shady, hot summer night of 1989 and vivid memories of girls, drugs, and teenage rebellion. “Blackjack Dealer” closes the album, an upbeat track that will leave the listener grooving so hard and starting the album all over again.

“Crank It Up” claims the title of the album, a song with a classic rock sound and a blues infused theme – “I’ve been working all week and I’m ready for a break / Got a pretty little girl that I wanna take.” Similarly, “One in a Million” and “Summertime Girl” revolve around unforgettable love interests who shine forever brightly in his memory; these romantic songs are as carefree and wild as the summer season. “Lifeline,” a song with a noticeable bass line and a noteworthy sax, is a desperate cry for a “helping hand” in a world that feels burdensome, for “everyday is the same old story.” In response, “Till Tomorrow,” “Night Turns Blue,” and “Hot Blues” seem to teach a lesson to the troubled soul. “Till Tomorrow” reminds the listener to “Take a wise man’s advice / Everyday you do the best you can / And then you sleep well at night / Never make it to tomorrow / When you’re hung up on yesterday.”

This album is a pure work of musical appeal and genius. Crank It Up is a perfect blend of genres, styles, and talented instrumental arrangements that would surely be pleasing for any music lover. Epic guitar solos, walking bass lines, and spontaneous breakdowns make it seem as though the recording process for this album was as lighthearted and easygoing as the record itself. The raw talent on this record is undeniably refreshing, and Walton’s band is sure to give you a summer with an unforgettable soundtrack.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Deal With the Devil
– The Night the Deal Went Down
– Till Tomorrow
– Summertime Girl
– Blackjack Dealer

The Big Hit

– Blackjack Dealer

Review by Jill Jacobs

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