Carole Walker Performing at SXSW on 3/16 – Kick Off Show at Stanley’s Pub On 3/9

Mike Breen You Can Be Yourself (Review )

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. (

Cover Story: Hanging 10

10 local artists answer 10 questions about the past 10 years of local music

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