Charles Walker Band
Deliciously Stanky. Dynamically Funky. Recklessly Hopeful. Grounded in soul, the Charles Walker Band has been compared to Prince, Bruno Mars, Chaka Khan, and James Brown. The Milwaukee based band has refined their sound into Neo-Funk, a fusion of funk infused rhythms with pop melodies. The three-piece band rehearses tirelessly in Charles’ basement, amidst couches and low ceilings, Charles stooping the entire time. At show time, surprisingly, there are no fans. There is only family. The question posed at the beginning of the show is, Are we family or not? The Charles Walker Band is Deliciously Stanky. Dynamically Funky. Recklessly Hopeful.
Charles literally grew up in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by dairy farms, apple orchards and no children, his ex military father and homemaking mother developed his love of family. With little else to do, Charles turned to music in fifth grade. Though he was presented with various instruments, his music teacher declared he had the perfect mouth for saxophone. Walker, now also keyboardist and vocalist in the band, formed the Charles Walker Band 15 years ago, initially as a blues band. As the band evolved, Charles began to instill family (a global community) into every show. He believes the global family forms as everyone sees that love, music and fun unite humanity.
When Porsche Carmon joined, a vocalist, bassist, and hand percussionist, the group’s sound shifted towards funk. She immediately clicked with the band because of her upbringing in Columbus, OH. Raised by a single mother who was often at work, she and her four sisters developed their own sense of family through caring for each other.
Eventually, Charles and Porsche became a couple, and together laugh, cry, and argue about how to develop shows that foster family in an era of electronic disconnection. As a testament to their engaging shows, one of the band’s family said at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, “I had to go to the bathroom for two hours but held it because I didn’t want to miss a minute!”
The band’s core is a three piece. Besides Charles and Porsche, Robert Gates nails down the drums. However, their small size hasn’t stopped them from opening for national acts including Earth Wind & Fire, the Commodores, BB King, Cameo, Aaron Neville, and Richard Marx. They have been featured on Fox News, NBC Live in the Morning, The Morning Blend, Discover Wisconsin, were the featured artist on the Blues Review and Soul Bag sampler CD’s, and have been nominated five years in a row for best soul/R&B act by WAMI, winning in 2013.
Counting Ghetto Prophet, the band has released eight albums, each an evolution of sound while retaining roots in positivity. Walker says of Ghetto Prophet, released on Ehlona Records, “One in a Million tells the story of an impoverished child becoming a success. This child ignores his circumstances through his strong vision. He believes his dream is possible. That he could be that one in a million. Ultimately he represents the greatness in every member of our family.”