Without a doubt one of the most exciting and innovative artists gracing contemporary blues, guitarist Joe Louis Walker has glowed like a shining blue beacon over the last decade. His 1986 debut album for HighTone, Cold Is the Night, announced his arrival in stunning fashion; his subsequent output on HighTone and Verve has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading younger bluesmen on the scene. Walker traveled a circuitous route to get to where he is today. He was born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco. At age 14, he took up the guitar, playing blues (with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock) on the mushrooming San Francisco circuit. For a while, Walker roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead and taught him some very useful licks. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there.