Once upon a time, I said “half of the time, I’d rather be posting about Peter Gabriel instead of some of the features that I throw up on here.” Well, if there’s no new Peter Gabriel, the next best thing is featuring someone who appreciates his music as much as I do. I’ve wondered for the longest time, how come you never hear of any bands sourcing Peter Gabriel as a major inspiration? The man influenced so many different styles of music, I find it hard to believe that nobody ever follows in his footsteps. Sure, Francis and the Lights have been compared to him, but as much as I like their music, I think it’s a bit of a stretch. I believe Carlton Walker is the man who has truly embraced Peter Gabriel’s music. For example, The Tribe combines elements of Peter Gabriel’s work with world music, Afro Celt Sound System comes to mind, and Come Talk to Me off of the Us album, along with hints of Mercy Street heard on So. Carlton Walker is no copycat, though. His own unique style shines through the prog influenced pieces heard throughout the Going Off the Map EP. Carlton’s songs are inspired by some of his own personal travels, along with a mythical journey along the legendary Silk Road. The outcome is a magical collection of tracks that inspire adventure and exploration.
Back in 2007, Carlton Walker released a concept album titled, Avery. The idea for Avery is so creative and original, that I don’t want to leave any of the story out. I’ll just go ahead and post it up word for word:
Avery is the story of Avery Mann, a musician and composer who writes a rock opera based on the medieval morality play Everyman. When a major record label drops him and the rock opera is shelved, Avery heads off for a rainforest trek in Belize, a tiny Caribbean nation in Central America. Just as he receives word that an independent record label is willing to release his rock opera, things take an existential turn when Guatemala invades Belize and Avery is caught behind the lines. It’s eco-tourism with a twist!
Although described as a rock opera for simplicity’s sake, Avery actually surveys a broader musical landscape. It shifts from rock to prog rock at random, with acoustic songs providing a buffer zone. And, like a play within a play, there’s even a rock opera within a rock opera. Ultimately, Avery is a triumph of the human spirit with underlying parables on globalization, free speech, and the environment—all that in about an hour and fifteen minutes.