Dallas’ Joshua Ray Walker prepares for his “Tonight Show” close-up

This is a photo of musician Joshua Ray Walker, wearing a cowboy hat, a flashy jacket and standing against a wallpapered wall.

Joshua Ray Walker Photo: Chad Windham

This year was always going to be a blockbuster for Joshua Ray Walker.

When he and I spoke late last year, the East Dallas-based singer-songwriter, fresh from the release of his third studio album in as many years, See You Next Time, reeled off a prodigious to-do list for 2022.

“I’m always writing,” Walker told me in November, “and there are quite a few backlog projects that are going to be coming out next year. I’ve done some collaborations with some local artists from Dallas and some legacy acts. I’ve got some live recordings from over the last few years, and I plan on putting out a couple singles … for charity, probably in the fall.”

It wasn’t happenstance that Walker positioned himself to capitalize on his ever-growing career momentum.

“I’m a very goal-oriented person,” Walker said. “I have a three-month, six-month, 12-month, 18-month and five-year goal list. As I attain those goals, I recreate the lists every few months.”

Safe to say, Walker has kept busy revising those lists over the last few years. One item likely somewhere on one of those lists was “perform on late night television,” which he’ll be able to cross off after Tuesday.

That’s when Walker will make his national television debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The performance was originally scheduled for Jan. 11, but was derailed by a positive COVID-19 test within Walker’s camp.

Already visible beyond the state’s borders thanks to routine appearances in the pages of national publications like Rolling Stone (which singled out See You Next Time as one of the top 25 country albums of 2021), Walker will further elevate his profile with Tuesday’s showcase. He’s also planning to hit the road for a two-month tour that will take him across the U.S., including a hometown gig at Three Links on March 12, and a visit to Fort Worth’s Magnolia Motor Lounge on March 26.

Call it a pandemic silver lining, but Walker is ready for whatever comes his way.

“I spent a lot of 2020 just cataloging and stockpiling as much stuff as I could, so that when everything opened back up, I could just keep hitting people with more and more content,” Walker said. “I love being busy, so as long as there’s a fan base there that wants it, and I have somebody that wants to put out my records, I’ll hopefully keep putting things out at this [current] rate.”