“Sorry I was at dinner with my grandma,” Walker Lukens said, apologizing for being late as I began to snap a few portraits of him outside of Mercury Lounge. He rocked an army green jumpsuit that matched well with the muted colors of the city as the sun set behind the towering buildings.
Now based in Austin, TX, it was nostalgic for Walker to be back in the city he left years ago. He talked about the time when he used to live right around the corner from Mercury Lounge, on 3rd Street and Avenue C. It was a time when he thought drinking alone at a bar would solve all his problems and, when he realized it didn’t, he wrote his song “Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone).”
The line that gets me the most is, “The clocks broken / It’s always laughing / It’s always in on the joke,” he writes, describing closing time. He creates a feeling of anxiety about being the last one in this bar by humanizing the clock as it and everything around him taunts his loneliness. His songs are full of smart, well thought out lyrics like these that could sometimes get lost in the rhythm if you don’t pay close enough attention.
I can’t quite pinpoint Walker’s sound, but somehow I don’t mind. It’s a combination of southern soul mixed with electronic/indie rock overtones. He seemingly combines his influences from both Austin and New York City. His performance that night showed off his vocal range, his ability to get lost in his own music and his capacity for multiple deeps squats to the beat.
Right now, Walker is in the middle of his spring tour coming off of a SXSW high and the release of his sophomore album, Tell It to the Judge. He will soon go on tour with the album’s producer, Jim Eno and the rest of Spoon next month – a match made in music heaven.
Article: Merissa Blitz