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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2020 | Ruby Red Recordings, Inc.

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Rock - Released February 3, 2015 | Dangerbird Records

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Rock - Released September 29, 2017 | Dangerbird Records

Rock - Released August 17, 2010 | Power Ballad Recordings

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One year after California bushfires destroyed his home, Butch Walker returns to his solo career with Sycamore Meadows, a cathartic effort that mixes ballads with anthems, heartland rock & roll with power pop, and sincerity with tongue-in-cheek humor. Walker is nothing if not a multi-tasker, having spent the bulk of 2008 in the production booth with artists like P!nk and Katy Perry. Balancing those gigs with a solo career is no easy feat, and the fact that Sycamore Meadows is quite good -- solidly crafted throughout, with clever songwriting and spirited performances -- is testament to Walker's wide-ranging talent. After jumpstarting the album with "The Weight of Her," a standout tune that molds Tom Petty's influence with glammy swagger, he spends much of Sycamore Meadows talking about his various homes, from the songwriter's native Georgia to the urban enclaves of Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Hollywood becomes "a town made of glitter girls and cocaine friends," Atlanta becomes a '70s soundscape in "Ponce De Leon Ave," and "Passed Your Place, Saw Your Car, Thought of You" confines its geography to the outside of a lover's house, trading the specificities of Walker's other songs for a more universal approach. He's a thoughtful songwriter, at times intensely autobiographical -- particularly during "Going Back/Going Home," an acoustic crash course in Butch Walker's career -- but also attentive to the characters who populate everybody's lives, from the cute urban girl who works "at American Apparel, selling women's clothes to guys" to the overly stylized, disparaging hipster who "always wears a sweater even in the warmest weather." Such humor runs the risk of sounding holier than thou, but Walker's judgment is too tuneful to be condemning -- and often, he revels in the very scenes that his songs critique, training an accusatory light on himself as well as his subjects. Elsewhere, Sycamore Meadows gets personal with a number of breakup songs, the best of which -- a sad nugget of boozy blues named "Here Comes The" -- features background vocals from P!nk. "Here comes the heartache, the move out date, the excuses for my friends," the two sing in close harmony, lamenting a lover's departure while guitars swell in the background. Compare that song with "Vessels," a breakup tune that eschews inconsolability for bright key changes and high anthemic vocals, and you get the full spectrum of Walker's songwriting ability, which is as razor-sharp in 2008 as it's even been. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released July 11, 2006 | Epic - One Haven - Red Ink

Butch Walker has been doing the '70s-inspired rock thing for quite a while, and doing it quite well, though without much acclaim from the general public. The music biz has embraced him as a hot producer, though. Working with Avril Lavigne, Pink, Lindsay Lohan, and Tommy Lee as well as on the second season of Rock Star has brought Walker some connections, fame, and money. Certainly it has given him plenty to write about on his 2006 album, The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites. The lyrics trawl the seamy side of L.A. fame and are filled with drugged-out starlets, late nights, struggling actors, wild parties, and huge morning-afters with pit stops at politics and the music business. The members of his large band whip through the tunes like pros with something to prove, sounding full and tough but also a bit unhinged at times when the moment calls for it, and sensitive when Walker brings the mood down on the ballads. There is a strong Marc Bolan current running through the album, and you also get hints of classic rockers like Thin Lizzy and Badfinger, modern power poppers like the Posies and Oasis (especially on the ballads), and guys like Pete Yorn and Sam Roberts, but you never get any sense that Walker is copping riffs or attitude -- he has arrived at a sound that is informed by his influences but totally his own. Not to mention the fact that, influences aside, the record is a blast, careening from the fiery political rocker "Paid to Get Excited" to the country corn of "Rich People Die Unhappy," from the lush balladry of "This Is the Sweetest Little Song" to the champagne glass-rattling fever of should-be-a-hit-single "Hot Girls in Good Moods." Although it sounds like he might be a little sick of the big-time music biz scene and the junk that comes along with it, Walker should keep the day job if it inspires albums as much fun as this. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 26, 2016 | Dangerbird Records

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Butch Walker is a guy who wants it both ways -- he wants to write personal songs full of telling details and anecdotes, but he also wants them to sound like anthems that will fill up arenas and burst out of the radio. Walker has done more than his share of creative shape-shifting since he launched his solo career in 2004, and on 2016's Stay Gold, he sounds like this year's goal is to be Bruce Springsteen, with Keith Richards playing guitar and lending occasional melodic advice. Walker's grand scale heartland rock, seasoned with the swagger of an overgrown street kid, sounds pretty convincing on Stay Gold, though the snarky guy looking for cheap weed and good times on the title cut doesn't sound the same as the lovelorn dude wearing his heart on his sleeve on "Descending." Walker has enjoyed a successful side career as a producer and songwriter, and he and Ryan Adams (credited as "overall album concept co-conspirator") have made a record that's rollicking and slick at the same time, and if the details that are supposed to make numbers like "Mexican Coke" and "Record Store" come to life seem more forced than sincere, you can't deny that Walker has put plenty of sweat and elbow grease into this. Some songwriters sound as if they're talking to you heart to heart, while others seem to be reading you a story that they've been tinkering with for a few months. On Stay Gold, Walker falls into the latter camp, but if these songs lack a certain spontaneity, the craft is strong and Walker seems so eager to sound like a rock star that you just might mistake him for the real thing. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released July 8, 2002 | Arista

Singer/songwriter/producer and all-around rock & roll auteur Walker goes it solo for the first time, after his moderately successful fling in the Marvelous 3 and handling production for upstarts like SR-71 and Injected. He plays almost all the instruments except drums (handled by fellow Atlanta resident Kenny Cresswell), but brings in guests like Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx for a track and even Peter Searcy on cello. Although nothing here is a major departure from the snotty, riff-based '70s-styled catchy hard rock that powered the Marvelous 3, Walker acquits himself admirably with a handful of terrific songs and enough brash swagger to make the rest sound at least like quality filler. The booklet displays this album (or a non-existent vinyl version of it) strewn among various rock star-associated trash; half-eaten pizza, eight-track tapes, underwear, an old pair of headphones, and a fake Rolling Stone feature are all scattered on an orange shag rug. The photo not only typifies the music, but shows Walker's influences, which he proudly displays on these 11 frequently rockin' tracks. The album's first single and most immediately catchy tune is "My Way" (not the Sinatra song), which epitomizes Walker's crunchy guitar attack. Lyrics like "There's a right way/Then there's my way/There's a highway/If you don't like it you can take it" exemplify the artist's no-BS philosophy. At worst, although he energetically puts across a song, Walker's voice isn't particularly distinctive, and the closing track (which follows 15 minutes of silence) is a worthless goof. But when he works a hooky chorus like the Badfinger-styled "Far Away From Close," grabs onto Oasis' melodic sweep on the personal "Sober," uses subtle loops to infuse a slight contemporary feel on "Into the Black," or adds strings and female backing vocals on the punchy "Get Down," Walker walks on terra firma. With forceful playing, muscular production, and self-assured confidence, he plows through these tunes like the seasoned pro he is. It adds up to about 40 minutes of pretension-free classic rocking that never sounds dated or passé. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 15, 2004 | Epic

Back in 2002, Butch Walker made a record for Arista that placed him somewhere between '80s solo troubadours like Rick Springfield and the distortion crackle of fin de siècle alterna-rock. Walker's a talented songwriter, so he largely pulled it off. Still, it did seem kinda forced, and the thing quickly disappeared. Walker's resurfaced in 2004 on Sony, and this time around things are much more comfy. From its handwritten liners to the obvious care with which its tracks were assembled in the studio, Letters feels like a direct communication from Butch's big Rundgren and Cheap Trick-lovin' brain. Like Pete Yorn, he draws ably on the mustache rock of his youth to make this music stand out in the present -- check the clever lyrics and subtle synth processing of "Mixtape" to hear what '70s pop sounds like in a 21st century light. "#1 Summer Jam"'s cheeky power pop has a definite (and welcome) ELO quality, and "Don't Move" figures out how to cross Radiohead with creepy old 10cc. He fits in some ballads ("Best Thing You Never Had"), exuberantly cynical rockers (the anti-L.A. rant "Lights Out"), and gorgeous, vibe-toned dusk pop -- is that the ghost of a young Jackson Browne floating through "So at Last"? There's no theft here. Rather, Walker sounds like a music fan given a golden opportunity to make a private gatefold masterpiece. Sure, "Mixtape" and "Summer Jam" can and should be hits. But it's likely true that Walker doesn't care if they are. Letters' ending proves this. "Promise" is a syrupy, achy, even funny little love song done up in drippy reverb and plaintive acoustic strum, while "Thank You Note" is just Butch and a piano and a strikingly personal tribute to a fallen friend. These quieter songs ground the album's more colorful moments; they help create the cycle that's so often missing from records these days. Walker's made an album for all the mornings after. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 30, 2011 | Dangerbird Records

Rock - Released October 7, 2014 | Dangerbird Records

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Pop/Rock - Released July 13, 2004 | Epic

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Rock - Released December 29, 2017 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2020 | Ruby Red Recordings, Inc.

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Rock - Released September 17, 2013 | Dangerbird Records

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Rock - Released August 15, 2006 | Red Ink - Epic

Butch Walker has been doing the '70s-inspired rock thing for quite a while, and doing it quite well, though without much acclaim from the general public. The music biz has embraced him as a hot producer, though. Working with Avril Lavigne, Pink, Lindsay Lohan, and Tommy Lee as well as on the second season of Rock Star has brought Walker some connections, fame, and money. Certainly it has given him plenty to write about on his 2006 album, The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites. The lyrics trawl the seamy side of L.A. fame and are filled with drugged-out starlets, late nights, struggling actors, wild parties, and huge morning-afters with pit stops at politics and the music business. The members of his large band whip through the tunes like pros with something to prove, sounding full and tough but also a bit unhinged at times when the moment calls for it, and sensitive when Walker brings the mood down on the ballads. There is a strong Marc Bolan current running through the album, and you also get hints of classic rockers like Thin Lizzy and Badfinger, modern power poppers like the Posies and Oasis (especially on the ballads), and guys like Pete Yorn and Sam Roberts, but you never get any sense that Walker is copping riffs or attitude -- he has arrived at a sound that is informed by his influences but totally his own. Not to mention the fact that, influences aside, the record is a blast, careening from the fiery political rocker "Paid to Get Excited" to the country corn of "Rich People Die Unhappy," from the lush balladry of "This Is the Sweetest Little Song" to the champagne glass-rattling fever of should-be-a-hit-single "Hot Girls in Good Moods." Although it sounds like he might be a little sick of the big-time music biz scene and the junk that comes along with it, Walker should keep the day job if it inspires albums as much fun as this. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2020 | Ruby Red Recordings, Inc.

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Rock - Released April 29, 2014 | Dangerbird Records

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Pop - Released August 19, 2016 | Epic

Pop/Rock - Released November 24, 2009 | Power Ballad Recordings

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Rock - Released May 11, 2016 | Dangerbird Records