Ethan Askey is an emerging singer-songwriter in the roots, blues and soul music landscape. Having served a long apprenticeship as studio session player and sideman to all sorts of projects, he has played literally from coast to coast to coast in Canada and is best known (as Shorty) in his adoptive Calgary music community in the RocknRoll Mountains.
“Shorty” also has played stages in Chicago and in Memphis, but he’s more familiar with the MacKenzie River delta in the Arctic coastal lowlands than with the Mississippi delta. He was practically born with a paddle in one hand, and a harmonica in the other. And no matter whether he’s camped along a northern river or in the depths of the Grand Canyon or having a hang in the salsa Caribbean or bohemian Czech Republic, he’s rarely without his chosen instruments. He makes music in unlikely places with friends old and new.
An explorer of places wonderful and wild, this nature boy recently has pulled together some of his friends to raise the roof with him in giving voice to songs in the key of his life.
Walk When You Wanna Run is the title of his new release, a collection of songs that one might categorize as modern blues. The title track recounts a visit he made to the south side Chicago home of Junior Wells (“godfather of blues”, bandmate of Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters), years after making his acquaintance at Calgary’s infamous King Eddy. Singing of stray bullets, fish delivery and bear country, he shares a pivotal experience in his personal journey as a musician and offers a fresh take on the funky urban electric blues that Junior Wells was known for.
“Soulful grooves and dirty blues that really get under your skin… one of those albums that, once you lend an ear, really get under your skin” 5/5
— John Kerieff, The Rock Doctor (Hot Wax album reviews)