I have decided to split this into a 2 part article do to the fact I am getting so many heart felt responses from Chris Walker’s friends about what he means to them and the music community. Look for part two in the next few days.
Just to update whoever doesn’t know Chris Walker (like that is possible unless you have been living under a rock) , Chris was in a serious car accident on Sept 14, 2007 on his way to a gig leaving him paralyzed from the chest down with limited movement in his arms.
Chris plays in what seems like almost every band in the city. Bands Chris currently plays with or has played with in the past: Heavy Weather, The Walker Project, Is What?, Knotty Pines, Conrail Saints, Big Whiskey, Holly Spears, Whitney Barricklow, Derrick Sanderson Soul Expression, Venus Mission, Kelly Evans Trio and The Naked Redheads. I’m sure I am forgetting a few, but thats what I remember off the top of my head.
I had a chance to chat with Carole Walker (Heavy Weather, The Walker Project), and asked her how everything is going in the Walker clan.
Cincy Groove:So how is the Walker family holding up since the accident?
Carole Walker:I can say under the circumstances we are good. We realize how very lucky we are to have Chris with us and It has made us allot more appreciative of the friends and family that we have. We have or bad days just like anyone else but we know that we can lean on each other.
Cincy Groove:How is Chris and his recovery going?
Carole Walker:Recovery is a day by day minute by minute process. It’s a marathon. Chris is one of the most stubborn people i have ever met, he is really pushing himself. He pushes us also, to stay positive. It was scary in the beginning for everyone,you just never know what to expect with a new place and things seem to be going so slow. Now I think everyone has found the rhythm and Chris is able to talk and be more active and he let us know what he needs It really helped move things along.
Cincy Groove:Tell me about “Friends for Chris Walker”
Carole Walker:Chris had been such a rock in the Cincinnati music scene for years but for most of the time he had always worked a day job. Earlier this year he had finally gotten things in a place were he can just play music for a living, that being said ,he didn’t have health insurance. This would be the test of even the best insurance plan but without any …..it’s unimaginable. Friends for Chris Walker will be setting up a series of benefit concerts and events to raise funds towards helping with the financial burden that has come from these circumstance. (medical/therapy/living/transportation/accessible equipment…etc.)
Cincy Groove:Where can people make a donation to help Chris?
Carole Walker:Three ways to Donate(1) A donation can be made at any US BANK to: FRIENDS FOR CHRIS WALKER (2) Friends for Chris Walker web page 3) any benefit next one 12/29 Southgatehouse!!
Cincy Groove:What does Chris think about all the outpouring of support he is receiving?
Carole Walker:He’s touched by the outpour and overwhelmed. He loves that so much music is being made,that musicians are coming together and the people coming out to see some good shows. If things were reversed he would be the first artist on the bill.
I also asked some of Chris’ friends what he means to them and the Cincinnati music community:
Mark Szabo: I met Chris in 2001. Right then he was playing with his sister, Carole, as the Walker Project. I was immediately taken aback by his proficiency on the bass – at a level I had not seen before in Cincinnati. I soon found out how many acts he played with, and eventually wound up playing in an act (The Whitney Barricklow Band) with him myself.
What strikes me as unique about Chris is his humble nature – despite the fact that his musicality is at a level far beyond my own, I’m always made to feel comfortable playing with him. Chris’ natural melodic sense on the bass and his rock-solid rhythm held me to a higher standard and made me into a better player.
I’ve seen this attitude of his prevail in all of the acts he’s played with over the years – Chris’ natural positive outlook on music, and life in general, is infectious and contributes in a big way to the positive feel of everything he’s touched musically. Chris’ nature continues to affect us now – we’re still working on mixing Whitney Barricklow’s long-awaited record, and I depend on his wisdom to finish this project up.
Elle Crash: Chris Walker is a musicians musician. A gentleman’s musician. Old school in the best possible way. He comes from a creative time when you know your instrument so well, you can walk into any situation and make it do anything from stand out to be the perfect supportive voice. And Chris has the wisdom and creativity to know which to do when. He knows that although the spectacle may draw folks in…the sound makes them stay.
He plays…he just plays. He plays every f king chance he gets, because that’s who he is and what he does. He doesn’t talk about it or bitch about it or moan the scene or debate it or downplay it. He just plays. He’s deceptively simple. Yet does exactly the right thing at the right time.
And the man knows how to bring the party. That’s a good part of what playing is all about…it’s a celebration of that energy that comes out of you, whether you are slapping the bass or downing a shot of tequila, the folks around you will go home feeling a little better than when they walked in. And every good musician knows that that is the ultimate state of grace and show of their connectedness to the universe.. It’s church in a bar. And we are all that much richer because of it.
Whitney Barricklow: Chris has a work ethic when it comes to music that is incredible. He is one that you can always depend on. He is a legend in the music scene mostly because of his amazing talent/musical mind, but also for being an awesome person to hang with. He’s positive, fun, and inspirational to be around.
To stay up to date on Chris’ condition visit the Friends for Chris Walker website
Upcoming Chris Walker Benefit shows:
12/29/07 – Friends for Chris Walker Benefit Show
Homunculus, Rays Music Exchange, Worldwide, The Hiders,Selector, Jason Dennie and Walker Project
Newport, KY, 41071
A raffle will be held offering exciting prizes. All proceeds from admission, raffle and merchandise will be donated to the Friends for Chris Walker Fund. *****
Chris Walker Benefit (being organized by Rivertown Music Club/Kelly Thomas)
The Blue Note
Lineup so far:
The Tammy Whynots
The Rubber Knife Gang
Kelly Thomas and The Fabulous Pickups