Advertising mastermind by day, father of three beautiful boys, and husband to the sassy, sultry Susan Walker by night, Rutland G. “Rut” Walker was reared on the middle-class mean streets of L.A. (Lower Alabama) a bank president’s son. The son of a part-time Dixieland jazz coronet player, maternal grandson son of a Tennessee farmer with a love for old-time gospel music and philosophy, and paternal grandson of a classically trained pianist who once penned the alma mater for Judson College, Rut grew up in a very musical family, learning to sing harmony by osmosis during family reunion sing-a-longs on a screened-in porch.
The self-taught mandolinist doesn’t have a lick of formal training, but perfect pitch, a deep love and history with 3-part harmony, and a penchant for telling corny jokes led him to eventually fill-in on a few gigs with the DejaBlue Grass Band. The whole thing began after fate brought him to a party in 2004. “I strolled up to a shindig at JB's house one October night. JB, Mark, and I hit it off like brothers, howlin’ at the moon, and makin’ sweet music in JB's garage till 4am! We were nailing 3-part harmonies like we’d been together for a decade, and I knew right then we had something special, and I think they did, too. They already had a guitar player (JB), so I had to figure something out to keep pickin’ with’em. I had a Tacoma mandolin my wife gave me earlier that year, but I just knew enough to strum along. Soon after, we began tightening things up, and honing what has become our signature gospel-pop DejaBlueGrass sound.
“I’ve got too many musical influences to mention from Dylan to the Demopolis Harmonettes, but the biggest single musical influence on my life has always been my Uncle John Cunningham, who taught me as a youngster to appreciate the organic beauty of making 3-part harmony. Our vocals are really what we hang our hat on as a band, and most of the harmony guidance I bring, I owe to Uncle John.”