Charles Walker Band
Official Biography (courtesy of Charles Walker Band)
Grounded in blues, the band has refined their sound into what can best be described as soul, a fusion of funk, r&b and Motown. They have been compared to a wide array of musicians (Sly and the Family Stone, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelics, James Brown), but their music retains deep gospel influences and positive lyrical messages.
Growing up, Walker was influenced by artists like Luther Allison, Stevie Wonder, and Prince. He has synthesized those influences in a bit of witchery, adding in his own ever-growing musical and personal maturity. Walker has played saxophone since the sixth grade, when a music teacher said, despite his protests, he had the perfect mouth for it. He continued his training on sax and keys throughout college, participating in the prestigious UW Eau Claire jazz program.
Though Porsche Cameron handles lead vocals, the titular Charles Walker holds court with piano chops that would make Duke Ellington envious and a sax prowess from which Coltrane could learn a thing or two. Walker, who was a stand-up comedian in a former incarnation, is known for his engaging entertainment, ensuring audiences that come for the music will stay for his charm. (Ian Roberts further backs the band with bass, while Terrence Pettigrew nails down drums.)
As a testament to their live magic, the group has opened for numerous national acts including Earth Wind & Fire, Aaron Neville, Robert Cray, BB King, Richard Marx, Eddie Shaw (Howlin Wolf’s Sax Player), Booker T, Cameo and Bernard Allison. The ensemble has been featured on Fox News, NBC “Live in the Morning,” nationally syndicated “Discover Wisconsin,” and was the featured artist on the Blues Revue (2010) and Soul Bag (2007) sampler CDs.
Counting Relentless, Charles has released seven albums, with Relentless being their largest evolution in sound. Walker says ofRelentless, released on Ehlona Records: "'Hope,' the first song on the album, just reminds people that no matter how hard things may seem, you have to keep holding on to whatever your hope is and believe that things will get better. Try and stay focused on the positive. I wrote this song after going through a divorce. Another song on the album is ‘In the Sun.’ I wanted to capture a Motown feel but still make it sound as if it's fresh and 2012. I wrote that song for my girlfriend because she is a lot like a flower. She seems to get stronger and glow in the sun."