Charles Walker Band
Grounded in blues, the band refined their unique sound into what can best be described as soul, a fusion of funk, r&b and Motown. Though compared to an array of musicians (Sly and the Family Stone, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelics, James Brown), their music retains deep gospel influences and positive lyrical messages.
Growing up, Walker was influenced by Luther Allison, Stevie Wonder, and Prince. He has synthesized those influences while contributing his own ever-growing musical and personal maturity into the CWB sound. 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.
Charles Walker’s musical versatility is demonstrated through his strong, passionate vocals, monstrous saxophone leads and funky keyboard parts. 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. (Jacob Brenwell lays rhythms on guitar, Luther Tate backs the band on bass, while Demetris Vance nails down drums.)
As a testament to their live magic, the group has opened for 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 and has been nominated three years in a row for best soul/r&b act in Wisconsin by WAMI, winning the award in 2013.
Counting Ghetto Prophet, Charles has released eight albums, with Relentless being their largest evolution in sound. Walker says of Ghetto Prophet, released on Ehlona Records: "'One in a Million,' where the title of the album comes from, tells the story we know can happen. That of the child who grows up impoverished and becomes something great. In this album, I again departed further in funk and Motown while remembering it’s 2014.”