ST. PETERSBURG — Wheeler Walker Jr. is on the road in support of his new album “Sex, Drugs & Country Music.” The tour will bring him to the Tampa Bay area Sunday, June 26, for a concert at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg.
Gates will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 in advance and $35 at the door. Call 727-565-0550 or visit www.jannuslive.com.
Wheeler Walker Jr. is the stage name for Ben Hoffman, an American comedian, actor, writer and musician. Hoffman created the Walker persona as a satirical country musician. As Walker, he has released four albums since his 2016 debut. “Sex, Drugs & Country Music,” his most recent album, was released in April and was produced by Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A. It is his first album since 2018’s “WW III.” All four albums are intentionally loaded with profanity and sexually explicit lyrics.
Despite the fact that his songs get virtually no FM radio play, Hoffman’s experiment in free speech was a success from the beginning. “Redneck S—t,” Walker’s debut album, debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and No. 1 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. “Ol’ Wheeler,” released in 2017, peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. “WW III” also reached the top of the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. “Sex, Drugs & Country Music” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart.
Walker said he only found success after he had a “Howard Beale moment” after a decade of failure in country music.
“Who says you can’t curse on a country album,” he reasoned.
Walker contacted Grammy Award winner Dave Cobb, who agreed to let Walker record his music
the way he wanted to.
Rolling Stone described Walker’s debut as “unfathomably obscene and undeniably offensive,” adding that it is funny, more than a novelty, and features “some expert country music played by a cast of ace musicians.” Assuming correctly that no label in Nashville would release his debut album, Walker created his own label and distributed the album through Nashville’s Thirty Tigers.
With the release of “Sex, Drugs & Country Music,” Walker makes it quite clear that he hasn’t lost his satirical edge.
“I haven’t become the hottest thing in Nashville because everybody else here sucks,” Walker said on his website. “They do, and that certainly helps. But I’ve become the biggest name in country music because I’m the best one doing it. I used to be the best, and now I’m even better. Which even I didn’t think was possible.”