7 Walkers

I always approach Grateful Dead spinoffs with a sense of trepidation. Will it work? Won't it? This one features the Grateful Dead's percussionist Bill Kreutzmann and is a winner. Kreutzmann has teamed up with singer/guitarist Papa Mali, multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard, and bassist George Porter (of Meters) to create this rootsy band. To add even more to the authenticity and Grateful Dead connection, songwriter Robert Hunter (Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead) wrote the songs.

The entire album plays like an ode to Louisiana with its bluesy, brassy, soulful, funky, and exotic sound. It is varied all the way through, but consistently good. With each member adding a nuance that makes it quite rich. Willie Nelson makes a guest appearance on "King Cotton Blues" and it is wonderful.

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