Review: Billy Walton Band – Neon City

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009



“Neon City”


From the shores of New Jersey come the Billy Walton Band – a trio who have absorbed the classic rock blues sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but also taken on board the influence of local giants such as Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and definitely, vocal wise, Jon Bon Jovi.

Led by the dynamite guitar and vocals of Billy Walton, the rhythm section comprise of William Paris (bass) and Marcus Croan (drums) – their “Neon City” release comprises of eight songs written by the band, and just two covers – a heady mix of funky, rocky blues and a definite soul edge to some.

The opening “Radio” blasts out of the speakers with a guitar barrage from Walton, in a driving Hendrix mode, with the title cut of “Neon City” the first to have that Jersey shore soul feel, with, for me, some Jon Bon Jovi stylings on his vocal. “Hypnotized” rides on a funky, almost reggae groove, before the excellent “Soul Song” – just dripping with that local feel, which Walton has absorbed by playing in the area since he was 15 – an aching vocal, with shades of those local stalwarts, the superb Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.

“Set Backs” sees the band rocking out, with incendiary guitar solo from Walton, before a cover of Roy Head’s “Treat Her Right” – a faithful cover of this blues classic. On “Spreading The Blues” they drop into a heavy psychedelic blues feel, with the following “Distorted Views” taking the pace down – a nice rock ballad, which you could see attracting radio play.

“Jersey Devil”, unsurprisingly has them back on home turf, some touches of ‘The Boss’, Bruce Springsteen, on this – nice strummed acoustic guitar to shadow Billy Walton’s power chords, and an album highlight. The album closes with The Temptations “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” – a great version, complete with funky wah-wah guitar and sterling work from the rhythm section of Marcus Croan and William Paris, who are tight behind Walton on all the songs.

Its always nice to hear music from a new name, and the Billy Walton Band don’t disappoint . . . . a nice mix, with his guitar never outstaying its welcome, and a fine singer . . . check it out!


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