Joice Walton, Vocalist
– Jazz/Blues/R&B/Rock

 

Throughout her simultaneous careers as a boldly eclectic, international-touring blues singer, and procurement agent for Silicon Valley hi-tech firms, Joice Walton has held a number of strong political views. She kept them largely to herself and her circle of friends -- until now.

 

On her new single, titled “Vegetable Soup,” the San Jose, California-based singer-songwriter addresses a number of them, from the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the prospect of building a wall along the border, but her primary focus is on the recent rash of murders by police of African American men.

 

“Where’s the justice for people of color when a cop’s raping sistas and shooting up brothas who they’re supposed to serve and protect?” Walton urgently cries out over the gospel-imbued grooves of a rhythm section led by producer Paul Smith and choir-like background vocals arranged and produced by Larry Batiste. A church-trained organist and pianist from San Jose, Smith has previously worked with Ike & Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, and Bill Withers, among others. Batiste is one of the most sought after music and vocal producers on the West Coast.

joice walton

 

“It’s been a work in progress,” she explains. “This song actually started in 2002 when I picked up a notepad and started jotting down some of my feelings. I never liked it when we invaded Iraq, took over a sovereign country and killed all these people. There was no proof that they had all those weapons of mass destruction. It had nothing to do with 9/11.”

 

“Over the years, I would pick up on events and situations that happened in the country and around the world. I’d jot a verse down and a line here and there and put it away. The events of the last year and a half to two years were what really inspired me to go ahead and make a song of it. There’s nothing new about this. With all this technology, it’s all being caught on camera and cell phones. Black people have known for years that this stuff was going on. Why kill a person because of a minor traffic violation such as broken taillight. It makes no sense.

 

Walton’s answer to ending such racist violence and other forms of bigotry and injustice is to create an environment of understanding and tolerance among people of many colors and cultures who populate the United States, and the world! “We’re all one melting pot,” she sings. “I call it vegetable soup. The bigger the variety, the better she scoop.”

 

Walton was born and raised on a farm in Central, Texas, a quiet country town with a population less than 50, most of them her kinfolk. The sixth of 9 brothers and sisters, she began singing at age 12 and soon formed a trio with her twin cousins and performed at high school pep rallies and retirement homes.

 

Downsville Girl, Walton’s debut album, was released in 1994 on the Pinnacle label in the U.S. and subsequently picked up for European distribution by Line Music in Germany. Rave reviews were followed by a performances in France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, and Hong Kong.


She has also appeared in the U.S. at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland and at such clubs as J.J.’s Blues, the Poor House Bistro in San Jose and Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco.

 

Walton’s second album, 2012’s Texas Heat, was even more eclectic than her first. Recorded primarily in Nashville, she brilliantly wove the blues, country, soul, jazz, rock, and pop strains of American vernacular styles into a multihued fabric. Like her late friend, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, who contributed his guitar and viola to two tracks of the album, Walton prefers to simply call what she does “American music.” One might also call it a vegetable soup of sounds.