By Elizabeth Eaton
EDMONTON – Since Lindsey Walker’s move to Edmonton from Winnipeg 12 years ago, she’s shifted her focus in the performing arts from theatre and acting to music and songwriting. Walker’s debut album Our Glory preceded a nomination for the “Artist to Watch” award at the Edmonton Music Awards in 2013. Her notoriety has been snowballing ever since.
“I came to a crossroads about how I wanted to focus my energy, whether promoting myself and being self-directed as an actor-performer or as a musical performer,” explains Walker. “I chose music over theatre, not to say that I don’t think of myself as a theatre performer, but I did choose to focus on music.”
The dramatic elements of her theatre background are certainly apparent in the new album this desolate bliss., which she describes as “cinematic roots rock.”
Appropriately, her music is comparable to observing a stage production with evocative emotional investment. One becomes swept up in the storytelling and the development of a seemingly tragic character. In addition to the visible heartbreak of the lyrics, the album is pulsing and magnetically resounding with a deep sense of vibrancy. The piano, synth, guitar, vocals, and stripped-down percussion exhibit a haunted, shimmering evolution in the quality of her work. She instills hopefulness alongside gloom. This is in part due to Walker’s resilient and earnest vocals. Picture a melodramatic character driving 500 kilometres on a highway, far away from a hopeless relationship, while listening to this album; honouring the desolation while steering toward a blissful freedom.
Walker is able to balance a complex chemistry of rock and folk, which lends to the album’s dark, sensual mood.
“I love rock and roll music, but I don’t really play rock and roll,” Walker admits.
“I was just listening to a lot of classical rock records. They didn’t influence the album sonically but definitely influenced me a lot as a human being, I guess. I was just listening to a lot of atmospheric music, and I really love the idea of the sounds accompanying something more than just something to listen to. The music I was creating was almost like a textural feeling with the element of the reverb or the echo, just the space that was created. And that’s really what I dove into when I was looking at it.”
So, heartache is just one road to bliss. It would also seem that distilling key elements of folk and rock within an “apocalyptic, cinematic” vibe is a road to the mainstream; this album could be resounding for many types of audiences. Walker certainly does not resonate with simply one characterization of her music.
“I am not a fan of being called a strictly roots artist or folk artist because I don’t see myself as that, but I’m starting to accept it a little more. I think that’s a normal situation for contemporary artists, unless we strive for those categorizations, we don’t usually fit in those boxes. I’m a big fan of creating those titles and terms like cinematic roots-rock.”
Walker has hired a set designer and is co-creating a theatre setup for her album debut concert at the Royal Alberta Museum.
“It will be more of a visual element than just bare stage. I have these big ideas, almost illusions of grandeur.”
Walker’s “illusions” notwithstanding, one can expect grandiosity in a very real way from this desolate bliss.
Lindsey Walker will debut of this desolate bliss October 20 at the Royal Alberta Museum (Edmonton) with Eliot Thomas and Jordan Norman. The album will also be available for download on music platforms.Eliot Thomas, Jordan Norman, Lindsey Walker, Royal Alberta Museum