at The Lyric Theatre Oct 3, 2015 7:00 pm
A Jacksonville native, Walter Parks has never forgotten his roots. The veteran jazz and blues guitarist and former lead guitarist for Richie Havens brings a little Florida flair into every performance, creating a unique, swamp-inspired style of finger picking and raspy vocals. As the leader of the neo-southern rock group Swamp Cabbage, Parks takes traditional Southern rock riffs and injects them with a taste of the rhythm and blues, elevating his sound to a whole new level. This season at The Lyric Theatre, Walter Parks will give you a taste of North Florida in Swamp by Chandelier, a one-man guitar production inspired by the historic sounds of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Born and raised in Jacksonville Florida, Walter Parks first developed an interest in music in grade school, when he picked up the viola during music class. Eventually transitioning to the guitar, Parks started his first group in 1973, The Parental Tears Band. The band was short-lived however, as the aspiring musician chose to momentarily abandon his dream and enroll in business school at the University of Georgia. Realizing that his true passion was music, Walter Parks dropped out and returned to Jacksonville in the 1980s to start a fusion jazz band called The Sneakers. Destined for stardom, Parks won a talent contest in 1989 and moved to the Big Apple. By 1991, the guitarist had formed The Nudes with cellist Stephanie Winters. The group produced three albums and toured successfully through the United States, performing at colleges and folk festivals. Parks got his big break in 2001, when legendary singer-songwriter Richie Havens invited him to join the band.
Parks toured with Havens until 2011, when he broke with the group to form Swamp Cabbage, a band that blends blues and jazz with North Florida southern rock. The group has recorded three albums, and their fourth album Jive is due out soon. The name of the group comes from the delicacy made from the Sabal palm tree, which has been stewed by Creeks, Timucuans, Seminole and other native Floridians for centuries. Dedicated to his swampy roots, Walter Parks is inspired by the natural and cultural landscape of North Florida, incorporating the sound of Jacksonville into every performance. For his performance at The Lyric Theatre, Parks presents Swamp by Chandelier, a solo guitar performance that evokes the sounds of the Florida swamp. Swamp by Chandelier features an arrangement of Walter Parks’ own compositions as well as some of the guitarist’s favorite inspirations, including acoustic works by the legendary Richie Havens as well as some modernized interpretations of historic music from the Library of Congress archives.