Jon Patrick Walker has been working as an actor for over 25 years, appearing in numerous films, television shows and Broadway productions -- he's currently receiving rave reviews for his role as King George in the current national run of "Hamilton." But Walker also harbors another passion: music. And since 2013, when he released his debut record, "The Guilty Party," he's been allowing these two infatuations to co-mingle and influence one another. Walker followed that up with his sophomore release "People Going Somewhere" in 2016, a collection of songs which were shaped by his fascination with '60s and '70s rock and folk music. The resulting brew of inspirations was noticeably full of rambling melodies and folksy rhythms but also propelled by the beats of a rockier musical heart.
Walker will be self-releasing his latest record, a 6-song EP called "You & I," on May 11. Co-produced with Josh Kaufman (Josh Ritter, Craig Finn, Bob Weir) and recorded in Brooklyn, it was mixed by Patrick Dillett (They Might Be Giants) and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in New York. The EP also features a duet with his wife, actress Hope Davis.
On recent single, "I Won't Sit Around and Cry," Walker bemoans the passing of a relationship but vows to move on, never allowing himself to wallow in despair or regret. The song possesses a rural pop fluidity, the kind of dusky movements you might expect from Ryan Adams or Jason Isbell but is wholly of Walker's own making. His spry acoustic guitar lines rumble and shutter while a slide guitar trembles and shakes off its problems for just a few minutes. There's an optimism here, but it's not born from a lack of pained history. Rather, it's the direct result of heartache and those dark feelings that come from living and learning your way through life. That's where true optimism arises, from having seen the darkness and then experienced the light that eventually follows.
In the accompanying video -- featuring photography by Paul Kaup and editing by Kirby Sybert -- Walker is seen going about his day, getting dressed and listening to records (Pete Townshend, the Byrds and Frank Sinatra all make an appearance). He also has a large print of Jaro Hess' "The Land of Make Believe Map" hanging on his wall, which makes several appearances. In parallel to the themes of the song, these scenes work perfectly to show Walker moving on despite hardships and greeting the day with a smirk, a nice vest and a guitar in his hand.