Little Village Foundation Presents Wee Willie Walker, Aki Kumar, Aireene Espiritu, John Blues Boyd, Mariachi Mestizo – Featuring the LVF All Stars: Kid Andersen, Vance Ehlers, D’Mar, Lisa Leuschner Andersen & Jim Pugh – with Special Guest Appearances From: Curtis Salgado, Tracy Nelson, Maurice Tani
Under-recognized classic blues/soul singer Wee Willie Walker (1941-2019) of Minneapolis, Minnesota, achieved belated but well-deserved acclaim with If Nothing Ever Changes on Little Village Foundation. The Memphis native had a few obscure hit singles in the 1960s for Goldwax and Chess Records before meeting singer/harmonica player Rick Estrin, who realized that Walker’s was the powerful voice he remembered hearing on some old records in his collection. The album brings Willie Walker to the forefront at last with the support of some marquee names of West Coast blues and soul serving as his backing band.
Dynamic frontman and harp player Aki Kumar is a rising star among the next generation of SF Bay Area blues artists. A master of the amplified Chicago blues sound, Kumar inherits his style from the harp legends of the 1950s and ’60s. Aki has a unique voice in the blues, blending elements of blues harmonica pioneers of yesteryear with a signature sound of his own.
Aireene is a singer/songwriter based in Oakland, California, playing mostly original songs accompanied by Latin/African rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music—a mix of stompin’, swayin’, and timeless Americana.
A retired roofer and migrant farmworker from Greenwood, Mississippi, John Blues Boyd has a big voice with hints of Ray Charles, BB King and Big Joe Turner.
“The youthful Mariachi Mestizo, mentored by the seasoned mariachi master Juan Morales, dips deep into the well of tradition to make mariachi music their own. A special bonus is the recording technique used, an inviting story unto itself.”—Daniel Sheehy, Ph.D., Director and Curator, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings