Walter's been living music since he played viola in the sixth grade school orchestra. That was a tough time for a kid playing classical music because Jimi Hendrix was all the rage. So the guitar, being the cool cultural icon of the original hippie era, beckoned Walter as it did other kids. Restlessness with the requisite garage band phase inspired an interest in the harmonic complexities of jazz so Walter studied for three years with LA based jazz guitarist Robert Conti.
Since May of 2001, Walter has been playing with Richie Havens as a lead acoustic guitarist in his trio. He currently tours with Richie playing concerts in the US, Europe and Canada.
Walter has written with Robert Lamm of the group Chicago and has also supported jazz artist Leni Stern and David Wilcox in a side-man guitarist role. Additionally, HBO has used two of his song Lady and Gentlemen (The Nudes) and Early in the Morning (The Nudes) as background music for the popular special Real Sex.
Walter's new group Swamp Cabbage has released its first cd Honk and its now available through CD Baby . The sound pays well deserved homage to his swampified roots in the Jacksonville, Florida area where he grew up. Walter is enjoying using banjo finger picking styles with a gnarly old Guild Starfire electric guitar.
Cincy Groove: How did you end up playing with Richie full time?
Walter Parks: Well Stephanie Winters (Richie's cello player) and I have been playing together for 17 years. We had a group called The Nudes (formed in March of 1991) and we played all over the country. We used to be Richie's support act in various venues around the country. We both got our spots with Richie at different times but thats how he knew about us.
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