Deliciously Stanky. Dynamically Funky. Recklessly Hopeful. Grounded in soul, the Charles Walker Band has been compared to Prince, Bruno Mars, The Brand New Heavys, 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 having to stoop the entire time. Surprisingly, at the band’s shows, there are no fans. There is only family. The question posed at the beginning of the first song is, Are we family or not? The band evokes positive energy to their family members, who say they always feel better than when they arrived. The Charles Walker Band is Deliciously Stanky. Dynamically Funky. Recklessly Hopeful.
Charles grew up literally in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by dairy farms and apple orchards, the closest town ten miles away, he found music in six grade. After being presented with various instruments, he desperately wanted to play trombone. However, his music teacher declared he had the perfect mouth for saxophone, and his career was started. Walker, now also keyboardist and vocalist in the band, started the Charles Walker Band 15 years ago, initially as a blues band. When Porsche Carmon joined, a Columbus, OH native and female vocalist, bassist, and hand percussionist in the band, the sound begin to shift towards funk. Eventually, Charles and Porsche became a couple, and together laugh, cry, and argue about how best to plan shows that compete with cell phones and tablets. As a testament to their ability to create an engaging show, 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 core of the Charles Walker Band is a three piece band. Besides Charles and Porsche, Paris Howard nails down the drums.
The group has opened 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, being 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, where the album’s title originates, tells the story of an impoverished child becoming a success. This child ignores his circumstances because his vision is strong. He holds onto the belief that his dream is possible. That he could be that one in a million. Ultimately he represents the greatness in us all.”