Charles Walker Band

The World and Things

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All things considered, there are probably a couple of thousand bands around the country, in every corner bar that still books live music, doing what the Charles Walker Band does: playing the blues. But that takes nothing away from the Charles Walker Band, a quintet whose chops are strong, whose command of the genre is certifiable, and who generate excitement at every turn. Walker is the nominal leader, a saxophonist and keyboardist who's learned from the best (his organ work in particular is spellbindingly tasty). But Walker's true calling is as bandleader, and he's put together a solid unit here. In particular, lead vocalist Shanna Jackson is a powerhouse, a gritty belter who's often a bit on the raw side but who uses that coarseness to her advantage, exuding a realness all too often missing in many of today's by-the-books neo-blues outfits. Lead guitarist Misha Siegfried, bassist Kent Hamele, and drummer Joey B. Banks click together superbly, fleshing out Walker's compositions so that they sound like age-old classics. Yes, you've heard it all before, but you probably haven't heard it done this well in a while.

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