Once the best-kept secret of Dallas’ music scene, Joshua Ray Walker catapulted himself into the international spotlight with his 2019 debut, Wish You Were Here. An album of character-driven songwriting and golden-era Texas twang, Wish You Were Here didn’t just nod to the larger-than-life troubadours who’d inspired Walker’s craft — it brought him into their ranks, too, adding Walker’s name to the shortlist of songwriters worthy of carrying the torches of Guy Clark, John Prine, and Blaze Foley.
What may have looked like overnight success to an outsider was, in reality, the product of a decade-long climb up the industry’s ranks. A working musician since the age of 13, Walker spent years balancing his gigs as a sideman with a dizzyingly busy schedule of solo shows, regularly racking up more than 250 gigs annually. He sharpened his songwriting, too, developing a blend of autobiography and fiction that often revealed as much about the song’s creator as its characters. That prolific approach now leads Walker to 2020’s Glad You Made It, a sophomore record that both matches and magnifies the vital, vulnerable lure of his debut.