Last night at the Double Wide, Joshua Ray Walker played to a packed room and then watched himself and his band play to the rest of the country on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
I do not have 1,000 words for you about either—Tim Rogers has a tendency to overpromise—because all you need to do is click play on the YouTube video I have embedded below. It’s terrific. Josh spends the first 30 or so seconds fighting through a smile, looking so happy to finally play this gig. (It had to be rescheduled from last month after a bandmate tested positive for COVID.)
Last night was also about something more. Two days ago, Trey Johnson, a co-founder of State Fair Records, passed away unexpectedly. In an Instagram announcing the surprise Double Wide gig, Walker wrote a brief tribute to a man he called “a mentor, a friend, a brother, a beacon of positivity, and more recently a father figure.”
“As life goes, extreme highs come with extreme lows, but not always this close together,” Walker wrote. “Yesterday we lost Trey Johnson. He was a mentor, a friend, a brother, a beacon of positivity, and more recently a father figure to me after my dad passed. I always jokingly referred to him as my ‘music dad.’ He was so many things to so many people. No one was more proud or excited about this Tonight Show appearance. I would have never gotten close to having this opportunity without him.”
So here it is, “Sexy After Dark,” accompanied by a live horn section and that voice, which is as smooth and pristine as it is on record. Watch it below, then read Jonny Auping’s terrific piece on Walker’s victory lap from last year.