As one of the premier bands on the impressive Boston blues scene – Walk That Walk is an east coast phenomenon, but its Midwestern roots run deep. The group’s material and performances are influenced by the fertile sounds of Detroit and Chicago, where the electric blues were ignited in the 1950s. The group has been on the scene for many years, beginning their long-standing blues testimony back in 1992.
That first year, Walk that Walk made the finals in Battle of the Blues Bands, sponsored by the Boston Blues Society. Their reputation as electrifying performers gained them entry into the finest Boston-area clubs including Harper’s Ferry, Johnny D’s Uptown Lounge, House of Blues, The Yardrock Blues Club, and others. As DeSnyder notes, “If you’re not passionate and high energy when you perform, people will head for the exits.”
These days, the only reason people are near the exits at Walk That Walk shows is because there’s nowhere else to stand.
DeSnyder founded Walk That Walk in 1992, and has served as manager, producer, front man, guitarist, and lead vocalist for the band since its inception. He has penned all of the original Walk That Walk compositions, which includes a collaboration with former band member Tim Gartland on some of the early Walk That Walk songs.
A Motown native and guitarist/vocalist, Chuck was a teen rocker, winning high school talent contests and leading successful R&B-tinged bands throughout college and for several years in New York City. But when he moved to Boston, his “blues sickness” could no longer be suppressed.
A graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ted Armstrong is a founding member of the band. He brings strong, eclectic credentials to the group. A nationally touring, in demand keyboardist for the past thirty years, his B3 organ and piano add greatly to the band’s sound.
When not holding down the keys in WTW, he has performed with the popular Boston bands Voodoo Sol, Roadside Prophet, The Instigators and King Mojo. He has shared the stage with Danny Klein from the J. Geils Band, the original members of the band Boston and New England blues artist James Montgomery. Ted is also a member of The Flutie Brothers Band, featuring Football great Doug Flutie and has recently toured with the current lineup of the 70’s super group, The Bay City Rollers, runner up of the show The Voice, Billy Gilman and Littlewolf, a band out of Lubbock, Texas.
James Waldron joined the group back in 2000, contributing vocal work and blowing a mean blues harp. A Massachusetts native and Plum Island resident, Waldron has traveled extensively and played with all varieties of musicians, from Stockholm-based jazz bands to house Reggae groups in Jamaica. Influenced early by national blues-rock artists J. Geils and Aerosmith, he eventually began emulating Chicago-style masters of the harp Little and Big Walter. Two years of study with Muddy Waters harmonica sideman, New York’s Bob Shatkin, expanded his abilities to include country and delta blues harp technique, as well as percussive rhythm-based Chicago blues.
Waldron has been fortunate to meet and sometimes accompany longtime masters of the genre, Muddy Waters, Matt Guitar Murphy, J.B.Hutto, Jerry Portnoy, Bruce Marshall, KD Bell, Toni Lynn Washington, and James Montgomery.
With a childhood listening background including Zeppelin’s blues-tinged second album and forefathers like Lightning Hopkins, the blues are in Reese’s DNA, existing in harmony with years of training in the performance of classical pipe organ literature and a love affair with hard funk. Reese feels at home in the lineage of melodic groove bassists flowing back through John Paul Jones, James Jamerson, all the way back to… J.S. Bach.
A seasoned performer, Reese is adept at three styles of music and awkwardly competent at four others. He has held bassist roles in a number of original bands in the Boston area, including two with Boston Music Award nods, and has provided bass work for a number of bands and songwriters in a myriad of styles. He went to the crossroads with a former bandmate circa 1999 where both did in fact sell their souls; shortly thereafter they doubted their decision and tried to buy them back.
His only brushes with musical fame were trying to strong-arm his way into auditions for the Black Crowes and Weezer, both of which went exactly nowhere.
Alan brings years of touring experience to the band as a drummer, always laying down the essential beat to each song. He’s worked extensively in a wide range of styles, including blues, jazz, rock, Cajun, Caribbean and African music. Throughout New England he has played and recorded with The Porchrockers, Rumbafrica, Tropical Fire and the Boston Jazz Reggae Trio. In Chicago and across the Midwest Alan has performed with Ike Reilly, the Otters, Ghanatta, C5, the I-lites and many other bands and singers.
What’s next for Walk That Walk? More of the same, only better. As DeSnyder says, the most important thing for this band to do is to “write brilliant songs and perform them like men who sold their souls at the crossroads.”