7 Walkers feat Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzmann
Grateful Dead timekeeper Bill Kreutzmann and Crescent City funkster Papa Mali, along with Matt Hubbard and Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) have joined together for a new project billed as 7 Walkers. Currently working on a new cd, the sessions have been made up almost entirely of new material that has been co-written by Robert Hunter and Papa Mali. Drummer Bill Kreutzmann, best known as the steadfast heartbeat of the Grateful Dead from 1965 to 1995, has devoted his life to stretching and surpassing the percussive limits of music. Armed with his signature dynamic rhythm and uncanny subtly, Kreutzmann’s lifetime pursuit has garnered him the reputation as an unequivocal, if enigmatic, backbeat. Enigmatic because, during his four decade career with the Grateful Dead, and even since then, Kreutzmann has let his sweet rhythm and undeniable musical charisma do the talking. And that’s right where he’s most comfortable. Kreutzmann performed with the Grateful Dead until its dissolution following the passing of Garcia in 1995, making him one of four members to play at every one of the band’s 3,500 shows, along with Garcia, Weir and Lesh. Malcolm Wellborn’s personification “PAPA MALI” is a salute to his home territory of north Louisiana. Malcolm was raised in Shreveport, where absorbing the blues along Bayou Pierre was just as much a matter of course as chasing the mosquito fogging truck with friends — and equally intoxicating. He spent his summers with grandparents in New Orleans digging that city’s rhythm (and blues) and after hearing the Wild Tchoupitoulas and the Meters on the streets of New Orleans at age eleven, he developed an early and ongoing attachment to Crescent City funk. Papa Mali’s much acclaimed second album, Do Your Thing, was released in 2007. More than a follow-up to his legendary debut Thunder Chicken (which Zigaboo Modeliste claims to have listened to over and over on one particular Christmas day), the latest record marks a Louisiana native’s long overdue homecoming. Although he himself has been playing the clubs of New Orleans for over 20 years, this recording makes the connection to his musical roots more obvious. Featured guests for the journey are representatives from three of the Crescent City’s deepest traditions — Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, Henry Butler, and Kirk Joseph — as well as Victoria Williams (also a Shreveport native) and Chuck Prophet.