The Nathan Walton Band plays SpeakEZ Lounge tonight. Last July, the Byron Center native and singer-songwriter uncorked live renditions of songs from his impressive debut EP for Local Spins on WYCE.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This profile of Nathan Walton first was published by Local Spins in July. He and his band play the Local Spins Wednesday series at Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge on Wednesday night (Dec. 5).
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Nathan Walton was what he calls “a desk-tapper kid,” a young guy reared on classic rock who eventually took up the drums before learning how to play guitar in high school.
His first tune? A vintage gem by Tom Petty.
But it wasn’t long before the Byron Center native realized he could write his own songs. And that convinced him that this was how he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
After playing for years in the successful cover band Stone Thrown, Walton ventured out on his own, releasing his self-titled debut EP earlier this year.
“It was a lot of work, basically a year in the making,” said Walton, noting that he juggled the recording of the project with opening 5 Lakes Brewing Co. in Dorr with a friend. “It came together pretty organically. I invited everyone I knew basically (into the Dekkm Productions studio in Dorr).”
What resulted was a seven-track recording that’s “all of the basic things you would want out of a rock ’n’ roll album,” he said. “It’s me. It’s 100 percent me.”
That ranges from rootsy rock to “soul-searching bluesy jazz stuff.”
TRYING NOT TO BE ‘A MUSIC BIGOT’
Walton displayed the breadth of his music during the July 6 episode of Local Spins on WYCE, bringing with him part of a rotating cast of musicians that he calls upon for live shows. Those musicians included bassist Doug Watkins, backing singer Shelby Andenno and horn players Jace Frederick and Austin Muthyala. Watch the video of their in-studio performance of “Guilty” here and listen to the full podcast below.
VIDEO: Nathan Walton & Band, “Guilty” (Local Spins on WYCE)
And on Wednesday night (Dec. 5), the Nathan Walton Band makes its SpeakEZ Lounge debut for Local Spins Wednesday, with Grand Rapids indie-rock/emo band Cheap Emotion also on the bill. Details online here. Walton will bring with him an all-star cast: Doug Watkins on bass, Devin Weber on guitar, Mike Key & Shelby Andenno on backing vocals, Dwayne Long on percussion, Casey Demink & Caleb Elzinga on tenor saxophone, and Melain Aleis on keyboard and flute.
Walton said his music — something he describes as “soul-driven, heartfelt and stirring” — reflects tastes that have grown over the years.
“Now, my palate is like wide open and I listen to everything that comes to me and I try not to be a music bigot,” he said, noting he relishes everything from The Beatles to Childish Gambino.
“I’m listening to everything. I guess I’m inspired by what’s happening right now. Right now is what’s important.”
Walton continues to work on new music, with plans for a releasing two new singles – a jazz down-tempo tune and a hard rock song – while boosting the number of live performances in the Grand Rapids area.
LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST
The July 6 edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which showcases local and regional music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) – also featured the on-air debut of tracks by The Aquaerials, Pink Sky, Major Murphy and Jonathan Timm as well as music from Hey Marco!, Hank Mowery, Borns, Earth Radio (the musician’s pick by Walton) and Blushing Monk. Listen to the full podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (July 6, 2018)