William Walter
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William Walter

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | SELF
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Best Singer Songwriter 2010
Best Musical Group 2010 - Cville


William Walter & Co. - The Story so Far Review
By Ashleigh Hill

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William Walter & Co.: Drums on the Steering Wheel Music

The brand of music that transcends "good" and earns the title of "original" (in a flattering context), is usually music that is a suitable mix of genres. Aiming for this blend is quite a feat, and falling short is not uncommon. However, when a band hits their mark, the experience is that much more enjoyable. William Walter & Co. attempts this task and eases their way into the driver's seat of a fine jazz, rock, and bluegrass combination; and they take us with them.

The Story so Far begins with the quintessential first track, a position that can make or break a listener's interest. The hooker, "Concertina", makes it. With a catchy, but not sugary tune, and resonating lyrics ("I was busy paving this road to hell / with the sound, the feel / the touch, the smell"), the opener proves to get stuck in your head. This will probably improve your day in more ways than one. Walter succeeds in drawing the listener along with an impressive mix of guitars and bass, showcasing his ranging, yet consistent vocals throughout The Story so Far.

The true test for any kind of band has got to be the execution of the love song. Failing at this has the authority to blacklist you for a long time, or at least until females of the music loving persuasion forgive you. Walter's "Happy Times" is hopeful and affectionate, impressively using the phrase "adjust your halo" in a practical, not tacky, way. Following with the equally adoring Without My Clothes, Walter knows they have passed the love song test, and can boldly sing, "The element of chance has a risk that every lover knows / but I'm standing outside / I'll be freezing here without my clothes," without negatively shocking their audience.

Coming out of two sentimental pieces, William Walter puts the edge back in his voice and tackles "We All Want", a song showing his quick vocal diversity. If the last two songs mellowed you out, this one will pick you up and dance you around the room. Paired with "Border Crosser" and "Broken Windows" The Story so Far has already hooked fans of the Black Crowes and, dare I say, Dave Matthews. If you respond more to the sweet and slow side of music, "When I Leave for California", "Mischa", "Alright" and the aforementioned "Happy Times" will promisingly draw you into constant repeat mode. "When I Leave for California" shows the band's taste for simplicity in its soothing and genuine mix of serenading guitar and sad lyric.

The only negatives of The Story so Far would be slight, if any at all. A few of Walter's songs promote no real outstanding feature, lagging behind the rest of an outstanding album. Neither "Alright" nor "Consider the Price" prove to be terribly interesting, despite their well-written lyrics, and end without the hook the rest of the songs promise. Pairing a whispering voice and a quiet guitar "Hey" is a little bit too long to be constantly and completely so soft, and the length, not content, may be one of the only other reduced points to this album.

The Story so Far ends as suitably as it begins, with the religiously themed and thought-provoking "Bottom Root" and the instrumental "Angel Dust". "Bottom Root" is not as musically unique, but this fact draws appropriate attention to the songs lyrics. The short and to the point "Angel Dust", at the very end of the album, finishes it off fittingly, letting the listener know what the band is all about. Their music.

The music introduced by William Walter & Co. is so first-rate you may, at first, glaze over the lyrics, a trick some bands use to hide their lack of a literary edge. However, Walter William plays both games rather well, serving both musical and lyrical pay-offs. Dispatch, Sister Hazel, Blues Traveler, and the occasional John Mellencamp fans should pick up The Story so Far immediately, because you've been missing out. Bottom line: William Walter & Co. merges everything-will-probably-be-alright music, with no-maybe-it-won't lyrics. Wholesome, drums-on-the-steering-wheel-music. Thank God. - Anti Music By Ashleigh Hill




The Magic of William Walter and Co.

Charlottesville - Since the Magazine33 team headed downtown to the Southern on October 15 to see William Walter and Co., I am impressed to discover that I am still at a loss for words to describe what it meant to be a part of the event. This is rare for a writer, and I only hope this review justifies my truest feelings. As Hans Christian Andersen appropriately stated, “Where words fail, music speaks.” This quote cuts to the inner core of my opinion about both performances of the evening, which were Jackass Flats and William Walter and Co. As well as my initial exposure to William Walter and Co., Jackass Flats emerged as the opening act that kicked off the evening with heartfelt recitations, William Walter and Co by MPonzinithrusting the night into a layered tier of musical intricacies and enlightened rhythms that have left me somewhat surprised and stunted. With the collection of exceptional musical in this area, it is nothing short of amazing how I continue to experience unbelievable musicians who compose great music, while leaving marked inspiration. Jackass Flats and William Walter and Co. were awe-inspiring to a degree that was eerie to behold.

Jackass Flats, composed of Stephen Kuester (guitar, pedal steel), Travis Rinehart (banjo, guitar), Eddie Carlton (bass fiddle), Cory Potrafka (keys, harmonica), and Scott Lewis (drums) opened the Saturday night with an appropriate, carefree attitude. Traveling from Richmond, William Walter and Co by MPonziniJackass Flats displayed a modern twist on a bluegrass/Americana recipe wh ere their enthusiasm shone through the crowd, paving the way for a night of rock ‘n’ roll splashed with a little country twang. During their performance, it crossed my mind that “Kick Ass Flats,” would be just as fitting a name.

William Walter and Co. followed, taking the stage ferociously as a collected fanbase anxiously awaited for them to begin. The band includes William Walter (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Tucker Rogers (electric guitar), Stuart Holme (bass), Adam Silvers (keys), and Nate Brown (drums). With four completed albums - 5 Live (2009), Late Night Solitaire (2008), Rough Around the Edges (2007), and The Story So Far (2006) - it is apparent William Walter and Co. is on a rolling train moving fast along a destined path. In 2008, William Walter and Co by MPonziniWilliam Walter was voted “Best Emerging Artist,” at FloydFest. In 2009, his song “When I Leave for California” received national radio play, as well as a nomination for the international songwriting competition. In 2010, he was voted “Best of C-Ville.” With these notable accomplishments, it is not surprising the band’s momentum is gathering continued experience, thrusting their progress and familiarity.

As their first set blasted forth the band's talents molded together, creating an incredibly tight formation of insightful instrumentation. The rhythmic beats, along with the harmonic accents and perceptive lyrics wove their song construction together in beautiful allure, leaving you pining for the next rendition. William Walters’s vocals stem from experience, and you feel it as he echoes his lyrical story. Combined with his control over his guitar as he stomps out the beat, it is evident to all that he loves playing and singing, as well as feeding off his other band members and the dancing crowd. When paired with William Walter and Co by MPonziniTucker Roger’s mean electrical guitar, it was overwhelming how well these two complimented each other. At one point in their performance, it was as if Roger’s electrical insane guitar riffs shot through me and demanded the attention of everyone there. I was left with a feeling of wonder, a feeling that persisted throughout the performance of William Walter and Co.

As I stated in a previous review, my ears tend to capture the beat within a performance first. For some reason, I continue to be drawn to the drums and how the bass plays off the drums, almost like a dueling battle of rhythmic opponents. As Stuart Holme and Nate Brown played, I observed their intense control within the core beat. The beat was clear and strong, never losing its buoyancy, twisting and turning, yet never getting off track in the process. As I talked to Holme afterwards, I asked him how long he had been playing. When he responded, “Probably for about 30 years,” it was evident in his complex arrangements that there was no coincidence in the sounds coming from that deep and dirty bass. William Walter and Co by MPonziniDuring each movement, it seemed as if each member became deeply entranced as they welcomed the music’s resolute direction.

Lastly, Adam Silvers provided sweet, harmonic accents upon the keys, that synchronized beautifully with William Walter’s bluesy harmonica. Silvers would intermittently provide different influences, such as ragtime and gospel. As his background in classical training dictate - Magazine 33


William Walter and Co. is a soulful acoustic trio, boasting high energy folk/funk music that will surely please anyone in the mood for bluegrass and toe-tappin good times. This self-titled EP is a nice taste of what this band has to offer. The draw of this Virginian group will appeal to those who find comfort in the sounds of Ben Harper or Dave Matthews, and they will keep you captivated from beginning to end.

The album draws up images of long summer evenings sipping beers and relaxing on the porch. The vocals of Walter are nothing shy of lovely. His voice flows, thick and gritty, making it hard to turn away. Heartfelt lyrics fill each track, delivering thoughts of hope and good things to come.

The lovely layers of piano, guitar and drums are woven to create a beautiful tapestry of sound. The music is high energy and cheerful. With an uplifting spirit, William Walter and Co. has put together an album that has an undeniable appeal and style. Everything is expertly created to warm the coldest of hearts and lowest of spirits. If youre a fan of bluegrass folk music, this is definitely a band for you to check out. - Left of the Dial


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Performing solo, William Walter’s music is an experience to be shared. Vocally, he draws comparisons to Dave Matthews, John Mayer or Sting. His lyrics tender like a bouquet of flowers. Take a second to listen and you’ll soon understand why Willie was voted CVille Weekly’s ”Best Singer/Songwriter” and how his full band WW&Co won the “Best Musical Group” category for 2010.