Joshua Ray Walker will headline at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, just weeks after the release of his latest album What Is It Even?

The Manchester gig is one of five UK dates he is headlining.

The album marks a tribute to some of Joshua Ray Walkers favourite female artists and songwriters including The Cranberries, Cher, Sia and Regina Spektor.

What Is It Even? found it’s origins on the patio of the Tulsa music venue and dive bar Mercury Lounge, where he and drummer Trey Prendergrass joked about making a gospel jump blues version of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, wondering “what if the Blues Brothers covered a Whitney Houston song?”

The curiosity struck as the Dallas native was looking at how to follow up on his trio of interconnected character-driven albums and marked the beginning of the the 11-track cover album produced by John Pedigo.

“I just wanted to make something that was fun,” Walker says.  It came at a time when Joshua Ray Walker had experience a difficult few years despite the success of his albums, with the passing of his father and flooding of his home.  He wanted to get into the studio and have fund, recording something familiar to millions, but with a fresh spin.  “I realized how influential female pop records and artists have been on me as a person, even more than in a creative sense” he added.

What Is It Even? pulls tracks from across genres, reinterpreting them, and injecting a huge range of sounds.  There’s a country version of Cher’s Believe, grungy adaption of Q Lazarus’ Goodbye Horses and bluegrass twist on Beyonce’s Halo.

When does Joshua Ray Walker headline at Manchester’s Deaf Institute?

Joshua Ray Walker headlines at the Deaf Institute Manchester on 5 September 2023.  The Manchester gig is one of five UK dates he is playing:
2 September – London, Oslo Hackney
3 September – Newcastle, The Cluny 2
4 September – Glasgow, The Hug and Pint
5 September – Manchester, The Deaf Institute
6 September – Brighton, The Prince Albert

image of Joshua Ray Walker courtesy David McClister