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DBB Feature #3: Lonnie Walker

Lonnie Walker: it’s a band, not a dude. Although I suspect that in due time that will be common knowledge. The one-man act—Brian Corum playing a guitar and stomping on a bass drum—turned five-man band has really caught on among WKNC DJs and listeners, self included. There seem to me to be 2 sides to Lonnie Walker, as we’ll demonstrate with 2 of their songs.

First, let’s take a look at “Summertime,” a song you’ve definitely heard if you listened to WKNC with any regularity in 2008. It’s awfully hard not to tap your foot or dance along as they alternate between spewing clever lyrics and frantically banging away on guitar while a drum beat in what, to my untrained ear, sounds like 2/2 time moves the whole thing along at a breakneck pace. And if you’re thinking about accusing Lonnie Walker of taking themselves too seriously, consider this verse:

“And I do the best I can with this head that I got.
And it’s a mighty fine nice head, and it’s got mighty fine nice thoughts.
And if my brain had legs and it could walk around the block,
it would wear a pair of sunglasses and Coppertone sunblock.
And all the people would be jealous as they saw it walk with style,
with its spinal cord a-wagging and its neurons running wild.
But there is no need for bragging all the words that it may speak,
because there are no legs attached to the ideas that it keeps.”

Very clever and playful word use that moves along so quickly that you don’t quite realize it the first few times you hear the song.

But a look at “Wider than White” reveals their other side. From the somber keyboard intro to the overlaying chord progression to Corum’s unmistakable moan to the shredding guitar solo a mere 50 seconds into the song, the entire orchestration has a very epic feel. The lyrics that operate in the not-quite-literal world lead us to the realization that there’s another, more sober side to Lonnie Walker. I’m not sure which I like more, but I do know this: I haven’t heard a song of theirs that isn’t damn good.

They have yet to release an album, but it is reportedly in the works. Which means that you’ll just have to check them out at the Pour House on the first night of the Double Barrel Benefit 6, Friday, February 6. See you there.

In the meantime, check out their interview with Mz Kelly on WKNC from June 5, 2008:

Lonnie Walker interview

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