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Published on Jul 14, 2016
Grounded in soul, the Charles Walker Band has refined their unique sound into Neo-Funk, a fusion of funk, R&B and soul infused with melodic pop influences. Though compared to an array of musicians (Prince, Bruno Mars, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, George Clinton, and 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 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, once a stand-up and improvisational comedian, is known for his spontaneous, engaging banter. Walker also spends hours planning and rehearsing the band’s show so it is musically tight AND visually engaging. One fan said, “I had to go to the bathroom for two hours but held it because I didn’t want to miss a minute!” Porsche Carmon shares the lead vocal role as well as performing on congas, which adds another dimension and excitement to the performance. (Nathan P lays rhythms on guitar, Brian Kennedy backs the band on bass, while Josh McHatten 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 four 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, each album an evolution in their 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 of a child who grows up impoverished and becomes something great. In this album, I again departed further in funk and Motown while remembering it’s 2016.”