7 Walkers: Fire on the Mountain, Fire on the Bayou
Kreutzmann describes the growth of the 7 Walkers’ song catalog and repertoire as entirely natural.
“Things just seem to come to us,” he says. “We haven’t had to make things happen. I love these [7 Walkers] songs because they’re all different. I put on records and I’m happy if there are two songs I like. I like this whole album. For me, the most interesting music isn’t played at the same volume or intensity—be it soft, slow, loud or hard. The best music is a combination of all of those different motifs and colors. I feel like Bob [Hunter] is writing Dead-esque songs for us, very much in the vein of ‘Loser’ and ‘Wharf Rat.’”
As the band tours, it’s been tackling many signature tunes from the members’ collective résumés, diving into Grateful Dead chestnuts like “Bertha,” “Wharf Rat” and “The Other One,” New Orleans staples such as “Hey Pocky Way” and “Iko Iko” along with choice pieces of Papa’s rich catalog. The group approaches each with an aggressive attitude that insists on originality even in the most familiar terrain.
“We’re all finding new ways to express these tunes, and I think Billy is largely responsible for that,” says Papa. “His drumming style is so unique that even if we launch into a New Orleans classic like ‘Junco Partner,’ Billy’s gonna bring his own feel to it, his own thing. He also encourages all of us to be very free, to move freely within the boundaries of the song form. It’s really an amazing thing.”
The drummer says much of the same of the group’s song catalog. “The old songs are gems and when you get to play with different musicians, all you need is commitment from everyone involved that they’ll play them the best that they can,” Kreutzmann says. “You’re playing the song, playing the changes, playing the groove, but because players are approaching it differently, new versions emerge. You never want to do a great song and not do it wonderfully. It makes these songs fresher playing them with 7 Walkers.”
Playing with a funk legend like Porter also offers Kreutzmann new musical landscapes to explore. “Being in the Grateful Dead, I never got to play the funk side of things much, so this is a treat,” he says. “I’ve always loved New Orleans music and always wanted to play more of it. In the Grateful Dead, we basically did three songs—that funny song ‘Man Smart/Woman Smarter,’ ‘Iko Iko’ and ‘Hey Pocky Way.’ But that was a teeny little piece and 7 Walkers is an opportunity to finally do more.
“With George, I can play anything,” Kreutzmann continues. “It’s a blessing that he and I play wonderfully together. He can live in the pocket and still be loose as can be. He’s always got the groove somewhere in his playing.”
By spending a few minutes around any of the Walkers, you can sense their excitement about the band is palpable. They rhapsodize about what’s coming next and exude an energy that lets you know that this is merely the first step of the journey.
“Initially, I insisted we lock ourselves in the studio and just play let the tape roll until we found a groove we locked into and we all agreed had something,” recalls Papa. “Next time around, it’s going to be different because we’ve road-tested our material and we know how to move together.”
The stage is where the band sees its immediate future. “That’s the priority right now,” confirms Kreutzmann. “What’s important about touring is it makes the band better. Musically, you get a lot stronger and you learn to abbreviate things that are often hard in life. If I get to travel around and play music with people that are making audiences happy, well, I’m happy.
“The whole idea is to get out of yourself and let the music transport you,” he says. “That’s what I’m doing when I’m playing with 7 Walkers, and hopefully, that’s what’s happening in the audience, too.”
While Papa agrees with Kreutzmann, he’s quick to underscore the enjoyment of the project. “The fun factor is so high for all of us and that’s important,” he says. “There are many things we could be doing but when we come together, it’s a profound reminder of how great it is to play music with people who really enjoy it. I think we found a chemistry we all want to settle into and explore.”
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
- First Look: Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s Blue Note Debut Lickety Split
- The Rolling Stones with Dave Grohl (Gallery and Clip)
- Lotus "Age of Inexperience" (Official Video)
- Morning Teleporation Share "People On My Floor"
- The National at Public Assembly and on Colbert (Gallery and Clips)
- John Fogerty and Dawes "Someday Never Comes" on Letterman
- Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers "Little Too Late" Live at the Hangout
- John Fogerty: Wrote A Song For Everyone
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll