Identifying Charles Walker’s influences doesn’t require prolonged exposure or intense examination. The Milwaukee native grew up with a love of the Blues, Funk, Pop and Motown, as evidenced by his devotion to Luther Allison, Prince and Stevie Wonder, and the sound that he’s developed with his latest outfit, appropriately tagged the Charles Walker Band. The band’s music is indicative of his broad influences as well as his innate ability to absorb, translate and transcend them.
Walker began playing the saxophone in sixth grade on the advice of his music teacher, adding keyboards to his arsenal a few years later. In college, Walker studied Classical saxophone until he realized the only Classical saxophonists were teachers. He quickly switched to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s renowned Jazz program, adding yet another facet to his musical repertoire.
Originally starting off a decade ago as the Charles Walker Blues Band, the group’s musical direction was perfectly described by its name. After a few albums, Walker dropped the “Blues” qualifier and included more Funk, R&B and Soul to the recipe, cooking up an infectious groove on the Charles Walker Band’s 2009 album Used and Defiant. Not long after the name change, Walker connected with Soul vocalist Porsche Carmon through Facebook and invited her to audition for the band. The chemistry was immediate, and Carmon has been the lead vocalist for the band ever since. Her recorded debut with the Charles Walker Band came with the live Resouled! and the studio document Relentless, both in 2012, followed by last year’s powerful five-song EP, Ghetto Prophet.
The Charles Walker Band is a Soul/Funk juggernaut, hotter than a ghost pepper colonic and funkier than the funkiest mosquito’s tweeter. Uptown Funk might give it to you, but Charles Walker and Co.’s Soul will lift your spirits, engage your head, move your ass, work you up, melt you down and mold your essence into a better version of you.
THE CHARLES WALKER BAND plays a free show Saturday at MOTR Pub. More info here .