Asbury Park, New Jersey is home to the Billy Walton Band, a dynamic live and recording group whose sound melds hard, urban blues with the soulfulness of vintage R&B and roots rock.
They tour constantly across Europe and the United States.
Walton got his professional start at 15. His proving ground was Long Beach Island. There he was chaperoned from gig to gig by his mom. He later joined Asbury Park stalwarts Boccigalupe & the Bad Boys, which featured Tony Amato, a veteran of that scene since the '70s. During his time with Boccigalupe, Walton (nicknamed "Wonder Boy") played guitar on their lone album, 2004's It's My Turn Now, performed countless gigs, and sat in with numerous rock luminaries including Bruce Springsteen, Gary "U.S." Bonds, and Stevie Ray Vaughan's backing band, Double Trouble.
Walton formed his own band in 2006, and by 2007 was already working in Europe. The group became stalwarts on the British blues scene and regularly played gigs at places like Ronnie Scott's. In 2010, Walton was asked to join Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. For years he did double duty, touring and recording with the Jukes while playing with his own group. A high point in his tenure with the Jukes was recording a live version of their most acclaimed release, Hearts of Stone. The band also included Steven Van Zandt (who was the band's original creative force, writing and arranging much of its material).
The Billy Walton Band's recorded debut was 2009's The Billy Walton Band, followed by 2010's Neon City; these titles were only sold at gigs or directly from the band's website. 2012's Crank It Up! a raw quartet offering, received positive press in Europe and on the East Coast of the United States, paving the way for the group to tour more in the states. 2015's Wish for What You Want on Vizztone was produced by Tony Braunagel, it showcased an expanded octet lineup complete with Hammond B-3 and a full complement of horns. Their brand of crunchy, hard-rocking blues, tempered by wooly soul and R&B in the grand Asbury Park tradition, was underscored by a wildly exciting live show. It took the European press and radio by storm, guaranteeing the group a slot at virtually every continental blues festival. Exhaustive touring and regular Asbury Park showcases were not only the band's bread and butter, but offered them opportunities to work on new material on the fly. The Billy Walton Band (now a sextet) and Vizztone undertook a Pledge Music campaign for the group's fifth full-length, Soul of a Man, issued in January of 2018. Preceded by promo video single of the title track and followed by the single "Hell or High Water," the album received more positive press and radio play than their entire catalog combined. After playing some shows along the East Coast, they once more headed for European shores. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi