Joshua Ray Walker, the Texas country songwriter known for haunting ballads like “Voices” and “Canyon,” announced that he has been diagnosed with colon cancer. In a social media post, Walker, 32, wrote that he will undergo surgery in January.
Earlier this month, Walker covered Lizzo's “Cuz I Love You” with his band on Jimmy Kimmel live!, but has canceled shows in recent weeks, including a pair this past weekend. In the fall, he played a full show opening for Killers in Reno while suffering from appendicitis and then spent five days in the hospital. Walker released a live recording of the show, which he ironically titled I opened for the Killers and all I got was appendicitis.
Walker acknowledged that his health has affected his touring schedule in a lengthy message to fans. “I've been dealing with some health issues this year that have made my quality of life on and off the road pretty brutal lately. Even though my prognosis isn't what I expected, it's a huge relief to have some answers and a course of action to move forward,” he wrote. “Basically, my doctors found cancer located in my colon and I will be undergoing surgery to remove part of my colon on January 3rd. Fortunately, we caught this early and I am likely to make a full recovery without further treatment. This is great news, but I will need to take a few months off after surgery to recover.”
Along with his diagnosis, Walker told fans that he will release the studio version of a new song at midnight called “Thank You for Listening.” He shared a video of the club's performance on Thursday – and it will destroy you. But Walker says it's not a farewell song.
“I've had the idea for 'Thank You for Listening' for a while now, but it was definitely influenced by what's been happening in my life throughout the creation process. What started as a simple 'thank you' to my fans ended up having a much deeper meaning, including my mortality, but this is by no means a goodbye,” he wrote. “I will fight with everything I have.”
Walker has one of the most interesting voices in country. He said LOL In 2020, he acquired vocal styles by listening to Slim Whitman and Dwight Yoakam. “When I was very young, I listened to Slim Whitman and he did a lot of those big voice cracks where you use your head voice. And Dwight was like the modern version of that. He really played with his voice a lot,” Walker said. “I thought that was cool, so I’m sure I imitated it here and there.”