MORRISTOWN, NJ - Toby Walker, winner of the International Blues Challenge Award presented by the Blues Foundation, and a 2014 inductee into the New York Blues Hall of Fame, will present A Personal History of the Blues at 8:00 pm on Friday, June 26, at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown NJ. 
 
The performance is part of The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series, sponsored by The Folk Project each Friday evening at the Fellowship.  Admission is $9.00 per adult at the door. Children 12 and under are free.  For further information, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.folkproject.org.  A Toby Walker music sample is available on the Folk Project website.
 
 
Through humorous stories, soul stirring songs and a visual slide show, Toby Walker will take you on a tour of the Deep South, where he personally learned the Blues from the old time musicians who lived, breathed and played this music.  You'll see Etta Baker, who at 80 years of age not only was still a master of finger picking guitar but had just finished shingling the roof of her house!  The 68 year old Blues musician James 'Son' Thomas, who despite having a recent gunshot wound in his side, was still managing to entertain two girlfriends less than half his age!  These are but two of the many musicians who taught Toby the songs he will play for you during this show.  Additionally, Toby will be using numerous instruments such as a one string diddley bow, National steel guitars, harmonicas and even a cigar box guitar.  Eugene Powell of Greenville, Mississippi brought a tear to Toby's eye when he said, “I want you to carry these Blues on for me.”  In this unique presentation, Toby Walker will do just that.
 
Toby Walker says a chance encounter when he was 15 changed his life.  “I was carrying my guitar down the street, this guy yelled out 'Hey, what do you play?'  I said, 'Blues. ' I thought I did, but I didn't know what I was talking about.  I tried to sound cool.  'So who do you play?' he asked me.  He got me there.  He took me to his basement and showed me more albums than I had ever seen:  Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Robert Johnson.  I just absolutely flipped out, and I spent a better part of the summer in that basement.”  Soon his thirst for knowledge had him traveling down Highway 61 to the Mississippi Delta to find obscure blues players, underdogs, or “guys who missed the boat,” he said.  His search and his talent have taken Toby Walker from the Mississippi Delta to concert halls and festivals throughout the US,  England and Europe.  He has been featured in The N.Y. Times, London Sunday Times, Downbeat and Blues Revue,among many others.  His mastery of the blues was recognized in Memphis in 2006, when he won the International Blues Challenge Award.  He has recorded eleven albums. The latest, What You See Is What You Get, was released in 2013.  In 2014, Toby was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame.
 
“As a blues guitar player, I am stunned and in awe of Toby Walker's pickin'!  Add to that his fine songs and singing and friendly presentation, and it's obvious that Toby Walker is one of the most enjoyable artists in today's Blues World.”  … Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, guitarist for the late Muddy Waters.
 
The Folk Project is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation whose mission is to present high caliber folk music performances and instructional workshops for the public and members; to encourage development of musicianship and performance skills in the northern New Jersey area; and to provide interesting social and learning activities relating to traditional and participatory folk music and dance.
 
 Funding has been made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.