Edmonton powerhouse vocalist Lindsey Walker releases her second album
Lindsey Walker’s artistry could be considered an oxymoron. Her vocals like a hot-buttered rum and her lyrics like a cold flash of pain, Walker doesn’t sugarcoat her words. Yet, she knows how to wrap you up in a warm blanket of music on a chilly fall day.
With a background and education in theatre and film from Winnipeg, Walker loved singing and writing, but didn’t take herself seriously until she was bet to sing at a karaoke bar.
After realizing her voice’s gravitas that night, Walker enrolled herself into MacEwan’s music program in 2005.
Being a mature student at the time, Walker’s experience there was much different than the rest of her slightly younger peers. She quickly found herself working on projects with professors and seeking outside ventures.
Her uproarious sense of humour and striking humility stand out when talking with her, something that isn’t as easily seen in her music, where she conveys her deepest feelings and experiences. Though she takes every opportunity to laugh at herself and make a joke at her own expense, her endearing qualities abound.
“I think I’m a very late bloomer,” she laughs. “I like to take my time with things and I idolize people that do more later in life than do a lot when they’re younger. For me, my twenties were just a mess of me figuring out things.”
Having been nominated for an Edmonton Music Award as an Artist to Watch, she’s only bloomed since her first album, Our Glory, was released in 2013.
Deciding to go solo was reaffirming for Walker. After graduating, she quickly realized she needed to put her full self into the music she was making—namely, writing her own lyrics.
“It takes a lot out of me to create it,” she says. “To perform it is another thing, I can compartmentalize my emotions. But writing it, I get very heavily involved in whatever it is.”
Our Glory was named after her aunt, who had disappeared in the ‘90s from Vancouver’s notorious east side while the Pickton murders were being discovered. Upon hearing the story of her mother’s sister, Walker realized she needed to burn off some troubled emotions that had arisen. The result was the title track, “Our Glory.”
Since 2013, Walker has undergone major evolutions in her music, including a switch in her sound. Heavily inspired by Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell, Walker moved from all acoustic, to electric most of the time—matching her increasing musical edge.
Often compared to folk, Walker instead deliberately calls her music “cinematic roots-rock,” perhaps inspired by her theatrical origins. She often talks about the visuals in her music, comparing her newest album to a day similar to when we chatted: dreary, with a biting cold wind, “but there’s still something beautiful about it,” she says.
As we sit in her house sipping tea and chuckling at her two cats, Walker suddenly becomes noticeably more serious and begins to discuss some of the deeper emotions that influenced her newest album, this desolate bliss., to be released later this month.
After going through a dark time following a family tragedy, Walker says she was left in a certain mindframe that ended up influencing many of the tracks.
“A lot of those songs, there is a darkness or a depth that comes from that place,” she says. “There’s always the love and loss and that kind of stuff, but inadequacy is a word that comes to mind with these songs.”
After going to a darker place, she quickly cracks a modest joke and continues on with a smile.
“It’s almost like it’s a five-step program for me,” she laughs. “I have to live with it, and I’m a very emotional person just in my day-to-day life.”
Getting out of the studio in August 2016, she’s held onto the finished album for about a year, mentioning that she often has to process her songs and live with them for a time, “almost to de-intensify them,” she says. When she eventually performs them, the emotions aren’t quite as raw.
These performances are fast on the horizon as she plans to tour this desolate bliss. early next year.
Fri., Oct. 20 (7 pm)
Lindsey Walker album release
Royal Alberta Museum Theatre, $20