Cincinnati native Carole Walker has performed as a solo singer songwriter, in a duet, as the lead singer of a national touring band, and as a cast member in local musical theater productions.
In the early part of her musical career, she was cast in several local musical productions such as Little Shop of Horrors, Baby, and Barnum with Sunset Players and Showboat Majestic. In 1992, she founded “Heavy Weather” with her brother/bass player Chris Walker and fronted the band with her powerful vocals. The band played an amalgamation of genres including funk, rock, soul, reggae, and pop. They opened for a number of national acts including Fishbone, Kid Rock, Merrell Saunders, MMW (Medeski, Martin and Wood), Freekbass, and Sister 7. In 1994, they were selected as the official band for the American Indian Movement Walk for Freedom national tour which began in Florida and ended with a concert on the Washington Monument in Washington DC. Heavy Weather toured extensively for 10 years receiving numerous accolades and produced three CD’s (The Difference, As My World, Live) until 2002 when they took a much deserved hiatus.
During the break, Carole developed her guitar skills and continued to write songs. Her solo work led to the creation of “The Walker Project” (the Project) -- the second collaboration with her brother. Carole describes “The Walker Project” as ‘an acoustic soul duet.’ The Project released two self –produced CDs (Trilogy, U can be Yourself). In 2003, Carole was nominated and received the Cincinnati Music award (Cammy) for best Hip-hop vocal. Carole has shared the stage with Michelle Malone, Tracy Walker, Allison Pippitone, and the late Katie Reider.
Carole Walker's songwriting goes far beyond convention. She weaves her lyrics into a tapestry of spoken word, poems, and heartfelt songs all wrapped in her warm powerful voice.
Carole is recoding new songs for a September release tentatively titled “Simple Creatures” and is currently playing on stages in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH.
Chris Verbanic - Drums
Mike Cobb - Bass
"You Can be Yourself" released 2005
"Trilogy" 3 song EP released in 2004
"The 17 Year Itch: Mating Songs of Cincinnati USA" 2004
"You Can Be Yourself"
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The long-awaited debut album from The Walker Project, You Can Be Yourself, is set for release on Sun...The long-awaited debut album from The Walker Project, You Can Be Yourself, is set for release on Sunday at Downtown's alchemize. Eric Diedrichs, DJ Empirical and Embrya also perform at the release party.
The Walker Project has always been one of the best hard-to-categorize bands in town. Formed in 2001 as a duo, singer/guitarist Carole Walker and bassist Chris Walker (brother/sister, if you didn't already know) didn't try to fit into any particular scene, instead combining their broad influences for a varied sound that touches on Pop, Folk, Funk, Blues, Jazz, Soul and Rock, but ends up in a place that is all its own. Be Yourself won't appease the pigeonholers, as the group continues to defy precise classification. Now rounded out by drummer Tim Hensley, the Walkers pulled in guitarist John Gentry and keyboardist Phil Ritchey to add some rich textures to Be Yourself. Chris Walker has earned a reputation for being one of the best bass players in town, and on Be Yourself he shows his authoritative command of the instrument, be it tasteful anchoring or his distinct ability to play "busy" without being distracting. Carole Walker has been equally lauded for her soulful, lilting vocal ability, which get its calling card with Be Yourself (she can somehow occasionally sound like Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Ani DiFranco and Erykah Badu in the span of one line).
The songwriting on the debut is structurally strong, and Carole's lyrics, while at times overly ideological, have an introspective thoughtfulness that is charmingly charismatic. On Be Yourself, the group moves fluidly from smoky-bar Soul ("Move On"), to ethereal Funk ("Bulletproof") to sensual Folk/Pop ("Impatiently") to rousing Gospel ("Life Is Beautiful") like the versatile music veterans they are. The unadulterated intimacy of You Can Be Yourself is refreshing and rare, a seemingly effortless display of innate, natural musical instinct. (thewalkerproject.net)
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Locals Only: Soul Walkers Ex-Heavy Weather founders Chris and Carole Walker make waves locally as ...Locals Only: Soul Walkers
Ex-Heavy Weather founders Chris and Carole Walker make waves locally as The Walker Project
Interview By Sean Rhiney
Chris Walker just returned from a long weekend at New Orleans' Jazzfest, the infamous two-week festival that has hundreds of local artists sharing stages with national acts. Along with enjoying some of his favorite bands during the festival, the bassist and co-founder of The Walker Project also caught a glimpse of "what could be" from a city well known for its enthusiasm for local artists and diverse musical projects.
"I got to experience what can really be accomplished when a city supports, nurtures and promotes its local artists," he recalls. "Jammin' on Main could be (Cincinnati's) Jazzfest, but it seems like it's putting a cap on the local talent. I think it's cool to see The Roots and John Mayer on those stages, (but) I would still come out to see locals like Ruby Vileos, The 4 Track All-Stars or The Hum and get my groove on."
The Crescent City's approach is something the veteran local musician hopes will catch on here as he and younger sister, Carole, explore acoustic-based Funk and Soul with their own new musical endeavor.
The siblings were founding members of Heavy Weather, a popular late '90s Soul/Funk/Rock band that had its share of festival slots and regional success. After releasing three full-length discs and embarking on several rounds of Midwestern touring, Heavy Weather decided to take an indefinite hiatus last year. The break afforded the Walkers the opportunity to explore a new project built upon Carole's acoustic-based songwriting. Their resulting approach to the typical songwriter framework is inventive and liberating, and gives some insight into why the duo chose a name that implies something that's left a bit unfinished.
"We had a few different ideas about what to call this new group but settled on The Walker Project because it represented the idea of a work in progress," Carole says.
And while the two have played the bulk of their early shows as a duo, Chris suggests that the core elements of Carole's voice, songwriting and his bass playing could always be accessorized in the future.
"Part of the 'project' aspect of this band is to try and be as fluid as possible," he says. "Although we are not actively seeking to add permanent members to the group, we are looking for ways to expand sonically and make the music stronger. We're open to experimenting."
Experimenting for now includes drummer Tim Hensley (recruited from Da Lemmings Onsombol and Heavy Weather), who joins the duo for occasional live shows and gives the group a jazzy, laid-back feel. The resulting sound is a smooth hybrid of Soul and Funk music with an acute sense of melody carried out alternately by Chris' intricately woven bass lines and Carole's impassioned vocals.
While Carole cites the soulful crooning of the late, great Nina Simone and the delicate wordplay of Joni Mitchell as inspiration, she acknowledges her true influences rarely have much to do with music.
"They usually come in acts of courage, people who stand up for what they believe, admit their mistakes and testify 'love' even when it rejects them," she says.
"Of course, Chris puts a funky groove to all my issues and rants," she laughs.
The elder Walker says his musical inspiration is much easier to pinpoint.
"My approach begins and ends with Jaco Pastorius," Chris says. "And that could be narrowed down to the period where he recorded and toured with Joni Mitchell. The way (his) bass weaves in and out of the melody and firmly holds the bottom down is what I'm all about."
The Walkers are currently putting the finishing touches on their long-awaited debut disc in the home studio of local Hip Hoppers' Animal Crackers. Until the anticipated fall release, fans can get a peek at the results from MP3s on the band's Web site (thewalkerproject.homestead.com), which includes a few live takes from the Mad Frog with Henley. Until then, the duo plans to continue honing its sound with live shows and insuring that this "work in progress" is infused with their most honest and sincere efforts.
"There is really no method to what we do. I just say what's in my heart and sometimes I put a beat to it," Carole confesses.
"I had a guy in Heavy Weather tell me once, 'Music is not magic,' " Chris adds. "He wasn't there long because the music that moves people is magical. We're just trying to capture that magic on every song, at every show."
Buzz cuts on cicada CD range from love to politics
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By Rick Bird Post staff writer • 4. "Last Call," The Walker Project. The brother sister duo ...By Rick Bird
Post staff writer
• 4. "Last Call," The Walker Project. The brother sister duo of Chris and Carole Walker revisit the sexual plight of the bug with a soulful groove and Carole's powerful vocals singing such lines as "I've been patient, I've been good, but after 17 years I'm going to lose my mind."
The Walkers put out a small plea to show a little cosmic cicada sympathy, reminding us, "God made every creature great and small and our looks didn't keep us off the list."
Publication Date: 05-06-2004
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NEWS: CICADA MUSIC YP CINCY: 17 YEAR ITCH: MATING SONGS OF CINCINNATI USA As the city prepares ...NEWS: CICADA MUSIC
YP CINCY: 17 YEAR ITCH: MATING SONGS OF CINCINNATI USA
As the city prepares for the emergence of Brood X, local musicians are having fun with what many consider a natural disaster. YP Cincy (www.ypcincy.com) and MidPoint Music Festival (www.mpmf.com) have teamed up to produce a four-song CD that contemplates the lives and times of the little pests. The CDs are now available to order at the YP Cincy site. The track list includes "They're Coming" by folksy Jake Speed and the Freddies, the jazzy "This is Our Last Call" by The Walker Project, hip-hop infused "On Wings of Sound" by Abiyah and the more straightforward rock of "Waited 17 Years to Party" by Buckra.
The walker project has a catalog of over 40 original songs and can do 1 -3 60 min sets.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.