Samuel has always been influenced by the sonic innovations of Jimi Hendrix, late 60’s British rock, and the horrendously underrated Chris Whitley, so the idea of exploring untouched musical ground with Van Walk was not difficult to realize. The duo’s early collaborations were grounded in acoustic orthodoxy: intimate guitar and snare drum brushwork, highly expressive but sonically restrained.
However, Samuel’s fascination with electricity as an integral component of his instrumental trademark assured that the acoustic guitar would eventually be played through a phalanx of effects in addition to it’s purely acoustic tonality. This would seem an act of treason that could surely annoy genre-specific music purists. However, the allure of Samuel and Van Walk’s musical collaboration is its mélange of colors, timbres and moods; at times earthy and gritty, invoking America’s folk and blues roots, then suddenly teetering off balance with tension and suspense, only to skyrocket into a funk stratosphere set up by Van Walk’s booty-shaking backbeats, then to conclude with venue-rattling power chords.
This is music that tells stories and takes risks, utilizing whatever sonic palettes necessary to express heart, soul and truth. More recently the production artistry of musician/producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno has left an indelible influence of experimentation upon Samuel and Van Walk’s musicality, leading to the creation of new songs and updated arrangements of older ones through the sonic layering of loops, samples and production effects.
The duo has set about exploring this newfound music in the studio and on stage performing with an almost effortless, unspoken musical communication and interplay, relying more upon improvisational intuition than rehearsed perfection, an attribute the jazz-influenced Van Walk has found particularly satisfying. Audiences have consumed the sound with a voracious appetite of curiosity, perplexed and amazed that such sound emanates from only two musicians.
The New Sound of Soulcraft