Joshua Ray Walker is one of the greatest singers, and one of the greatest songwriters of the new generation of country music performers, full stop. The command and control he exhibits with his voice includes a dramatic range that leaves most of his peers in the dust, and his yodel is as crisp as a December morning. His songs are so good, he won the Saving Country Music Song of the Year in 2020 with “Voices,” and had another song “Cowboy” nominated in 2021.
Throughout 2023 though, Joshua Ray Walker has been suffering through some health issues. Saving Country Music was tipped off to this previously, but asked to keep quiet. One issue came to light in a very obvious way through the release of his recent live album I Opened For The Killers And All I Got Was Appendicitis (read review). A pretty killer live album, it illustrates why Walker is such a musical treasure.
But that is just the beginning of it. In a note posted on social media on Thursday (12-14), Joshua Ray Walker reveled that he has been diagnosed with colon Cancer. He will have to cancel many of his upcoming shows, and will be receiving treatment in the new year.
“I have been dealing with some health issues this year that have made my quality of life on the road and off pretty brutal lately. Even though my prognosis isn’t what I would have hoped for, it is a huge relief to have some answers and a course of action moving forward,” Walker says.
He continues, “Basically, my doctors have found a localized cancer in my colon, and I will be undergoing surgery to remove part of my colon on January, 3rd. Luckily, we found it early, and it’s likely I’ll make a full recovery without further treatment. This is great news, but I will need to take a few months off after the surgery to recover.”
As part of the news, Walker has released a new song called “Thank You For Listening” that he says will be part of a new acoustic project where he will perform some of his old songs and perhaps some other stuff coming in 2024. Though Walker says it wasn’t planned like this, the new song addresses his own mortality, and how if he stopped tomorrow, he would be happy that he’s fulfilled what he set out to accomplish, giving his fans credit for helping to make it all happen.
“I would have written songs and continued to play them to empty bar rooms forever, but because of you I’ve been able to accomplish more than I ever could have dreamed. I still can’t believe that people want to hear my songs. So ‘Thank You For Listening,’ and we’ll get through this together. This song is for you. Love y’all!”
This news comes as Joshua Ray Walker’s career continues to take off and sees big opportunities. Opening for The Killers was one of them. Another was his recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live promoting his recent covers album What Is It Even?
The obvious concern that some will address is that Joshua Ray Walker is a bigger individual. Nobody knows the specific struggles certain individuals go though with their weight, from thyroid problems and other endocrine issues, to other things out of their control. Hopefully this whole episode results in a more whole health solution for Joshua Ray Walker moving forward.
What is clear is that Walker is a highly valued member of the country music community who we’ve been lucky to have around for the last few years, and we all hope to have around for many many more.