Joshua Ray Walker mixes high-lonesome country music with the surrealism of filmmaker David Lynch in the new video for “Voices,” the first new solo music from the Texas songwriter since the 2019 release of his debut album Wish You Were Here.
It’s a gut-punch of a ballad, with Walker yearning for some refuge from a downturn that even has him fantasizing about suicide. “I’ll put this truck in neutral/let it roll into the lake/first I’ll finish off this bottle so it looks like a mistake,” he sings, before pleading, “Lord please give me peace” in a long falsetto note.
For the video, Walker teamed up with director Josh David Jordan to create a dreamlike montage of tortured characters in a motel room. There’s a woman drinking and smoking in the room’s bathtub, a man on a bed tossing money into the air, and another committed to nursing a beer (a cameo by Nathan Mongol Wells, Walker’s bandmate in Ottoman Turks).
“This video is a snapshot of my imagination as I see it, at the time we created the new album,” Walker says. “It’s difficult to depict ever-changing characters in a timeless world. I believe we’ve found the perfect setting to bring the subjects of these songs to life. Some people say a song is never finished, only abandoned. I think the same is true for the characters it depicts, who will continue to grow as I do.”
Walker’s stark ballad “Canyon” was one of Rolling Stone‘s 25 best country and Americana songs of 2019, and the strong reviews for the song loomed large as he worked on the new “Voices.”
“It was a really wonderful experience bringing one of the more personal songs I’ve written to life. After the positive reception of ‘Canyon,’ I’ve been asked frequently if I had more songs like that in me. To be honest, I wasn’t sure, so ‘Voices’ came with great relief and gratitude,” he says. “I’m very proud of this song, the way it was captured, and the video we made to accompany it.”
Walker has two shows slated in Texas this month, and will head to Europe in August for shows in Norway, Sweden, and Germany.