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Redhead Express steppin' onto the Maryland Theatre stage

May 01, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Submitted photo The four Walker sisters  Kendra, LaRae, Alisa and Meghan  will perform as Redhead Express on Saturday, May 4, at The Maryland Theatre, accompanied by brothers Sean, Joseph and Ammon, left, and parents Brett and Apryll, far right.
Submitted photo

Apryll Walker wanted to be mom. Her husband, Brett, wanted to be an inventor.

But they both shared a love of music that they couldn’t ignore and now it’s a family passion.

For about a half-dozen years, the Walkers and their seven children have been traveling the United States, keeping hands clapping and toes tapping to the sounds of country, bluegrass and old-time mountain music.

It wasn’t the kind of life the couple pictured for themselves when they married and began a life together in Alaska.

They were content raising a family, building a house, enjoying nature and adding a little music to their lives whenever they could.

Apryll found time to teach piano lessons and she and Brett would sing at church or local nursing homes.

It wasn’t long, however, before the children got in on the act, learning to play a variety of instruments and honing their vocal skills.

Soon, a band was born.

The family began performing at local venues in 2005 “and people liked us, so we continued to pursue our music,” Apryll said.

They got their big break in 2008, when they were signed to do a show in Branson, Mo. They appeared there for two seasons.

Today, the group, known as The Walker Family, calls Columbia, Tenn., home and appears on stages across the U.S. This year, they will do about 150 shows.

And while they are pleased by their success, Apryll and Brett Walker are especially excited by the fact that their four daughters have developed a musical identity of their own.

The women are members of a band called Redhead Express, appropriately named because of their red hair, which runs through the family.

Local music fans will have an opportunity to hear Redhead Express and The Walker Family when they appear at The Maryland Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

The performance is part of this year’s Hagerstown Live on Stage, the Hagerstown Community Concert Association series.

The four Walker sisters who make up Redhead Express include Kendra, 23, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist; LaRae, 21, tenor harmony who plays banjo, Dobro and guitar; Alisa, 20, second lead and baritone singer, as well as fiddle and mandolin; and Meghan, 17, tenor harmony and bass.

While they continue to perform in shows with their parents and three younger brothers — Sean, Joseph and Ammon — they are working separately on a country music project in Nashville, Tenn., their mother said.

In 2010, Apryll said, the family met Grammy-winning record producer Paul Worley, who has fine-tuned the music of such country hitmakers as Lady Antebellum, Sara Evans, the Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride and The Band Perry.

“Since that first meeting, we’ve been developing the girls’ country sound, preparing them for the studio and country radio,” she said. “(Worley) will be producing their first solo CD this summer.”

While the family performs a variety of music, from Irish and bluegrass to tunes from the 1950s and ’60s, the girls’ original music is country roots, Apryll said.

“It’s all quite exciting,” she said.

Redhead Express also recently had the opportunity to spend some studio time with legendary drummer and producer Chad Cromwell, who has toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Dixie Chicks and has performed on albums with Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum.

Cromwell was impressed with their music and couldn’t narrow down their style, which Apryll said, “which was good, because it says we’re original.”

She said the concert at The Maryland Theatre is called “An American Roots Show” and will feature bluegrass, old-time mountain music, Irish tunes and old and new country.

“We are looking forward to our first time in your area,” Apryll noted, “and we’re excited to give y’all a high-energy, highly entertaining show.”


If you go ...       

WHAT: Redhead Express and The Walker Family

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Tickets are available the day of the show in The Maryland Theatre lobby at $25 for adults and $3 for students. 

CONTACT: To purchase tickets by telephone, call 301-582-2734 or 240-520-0174. Credit card purchases can be made on the Web at hagerstownliveonstage.com.



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