4/17: Hal Walker at Kent Stage


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Leading a dual life, local singer-songwriter Hal Walker teaches the importance of music to students during the day, then writes, records and performs as a folk bard at night. On first listen, his new album, Home in Ohio, smacks of cheesy local pride set to overly wholesome music, made for moms, kids and Columbus Day. But give it a chance and the radiant warmth of these 14 narratives will surprise you. Song like “Many Colors” and “Water Cycles” are hypnotic visions of harmony and diversity that sound like the sun-drenched country roads of Eric Andersen rolling past the ripe golden fields of Gordon Lightfoot, right into “Walker-ville,” where they’re singing about blue-collar dreams, rust-belt beauty and your neighbor. Walker tries to illuminate local culture with genuine emotion, and it’s working. His music has been used by GroundWorks DanceTheater as well as the Summit Choral Society, for whom he penned “Father Abraham” in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, sung by 200 children who at one point break out 200 harmonicas. He’s been commissioned to create a choir for the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve in October. He plays the Kent Stage (175 East Main St., Kent, 330.677.5005) at 7 tonight. Tickets: $5. — Keith Gribbins


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