Don't expect the music business to make a whole lot of sense, but if it did, Marin singer/songwriter John Haley-Walker would be in heavy rotation on every folk music lover's CD changer and playing to packed rooms every night. The lanky Texas transplant sings like an angel who's taken a devilish detour or two and fingerpicks a Gibson guitar the way God and Dave Van Ronk intended. Haley-Walker co-wrote the best song ever about Lorena Bobbitt's amateur amputation spree, and his stirring and lovely "The Fiddler's Tune" ranks with the best songs ever about anything. And there's plenty more where those two came from. Funny and serious and cut-to-the-bone emotional. Give his Love Again album (available at a serious spin and hear for yourself. While you're at it, the next time you see the guy's name on a club calendar turn off your goddamn TV and go soak up some of the real thing. Just because the music business gets almost everything back-asswards doesn't mean you have to.

-Mike Thomas, Pacific Sun


This is what folk music should be all about. The songs on this CD follow the credo "less is more" much to the gratification of the listener. The music is simple, the lyrics piercing (usually to the heart, occasionally to one's preconceptions). Simple truths about life and relationship, revealed by these direct and uncluttered creations. If you have ever felt touched by folk music of any type and want to feel touched again, this is definitely a CD to add to your collection.

- posted by an anonymous fan from San Rafael on


People who hear John Haley-Walker for the first time usually become fans, and his fans have been waiting literally for years to get their hands on his first CD. John's songs are personal but not cloying; they cover the gamut from touching to chilling. it's like watching 11 movies; and the production choices are excellent. Why isn't he famous? None of us can figure it out, except that, while not entirely averse to the idea, he does not exactly pursue fame. John writes original and unique tunes that quickly and easily draw the listener in; and he focuses on the art and craft and not the commercial value of the songs, although they certainly have that, too. Even the hidden bonus track, which is topical and in-your-face funny. John's humor is never far out of reach, either. A very powerful work, highly recommended.

-Marla Bodi, KPFA radio