Walsher Clemons launches debut album; continues to branch out


Bridget Kingston, Courier Features Editor

When funk-pop band Walsher Clemons first spoke with the Courier this past February, they were getting ready to perform at the House of Blues, working on their debut album, and focusing on establishing themselves in the Chicagoland area. Now, less than a year later, the band has soared to new heights, and its COD student members have found themselves competing in a much bigger arena.  

“We’ve got the radio down; we’re doing the PR; we’re doing video releases, and we’re gigging every weekend,” Pat Walsh, COD student and Walsher Clemons guitarist said.

The band recently released their debut album “Dancing & Praying” in September, which has raised them up a notch in the music industry. Their PR team, Big Picture Media, Planetary Group and radio stations such as 93XRT are broadcasting and promoting the album, which has been met with much success.

The band has taken many solid offers for opening on national tour gigs, such as 38 Special, The Main Squeeze, and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. They opened for MarchFourth Marching Band’s national tour at the Castle Theatre in Bloomington, IN. this past Saturday.

Walsher Clemons has performed at the majority of prominent venues in Chicago, including The House of Blues, The Metro, Double Door and Bottom Lounge. The current focus for the six-man band is now on branching out of the Chicagoland area, and establishing themselves at distinguished venues throughout the country.

“We’ve toured outside of Chicago in the past, but we haven’t really landed big venues. Now we’re playing at solid venues, and opening for reputable bands,” Walsh said.

Walsh feels the band’s greatest accomplishment thus far has been the album, “Dancing & Praying.” They spent over a year recording and perfecting it, sometimes 15-hour sessions at a time.

“I think for where we’re at right now, the album is in a really awesome state. A solid first release. It’s a building block to the next step,” Walsh said.

The inspiration for the album was a complete collaborative effort from all the band members. Singer Riley Pettrone, drummer Mike Campo, guitarist Frank Minella, and guitarist Pat Walsh are the main writers, coming up with individual songs and then bringing them to the band for input.

“Everybody collaborates to bring their own little flair to the songs,” Walsh explains. After settling on a final format and continuously rehearsing, they present the songs live and determine which will work well for the album from there.

As for challenges, there were plenty that the band has and continues to overcome. Driving hours on end, performing empty venues, and dealing with untrustworthy people in the music industry are just a few of the bumps the band has hit along the way.

“You’ve just got to be careful,” Walsh says after explaining the band’s experience with some of the shady characters of the music industry. “We’ve built a good team around us now. We’ve got a really good attorney. We try to protect ourselves as much as possible. It’s still a challenge, though.”

Walsh, Minella, and Campo formed the band in 2008 while still in high school. Since then they have added Pettrone as the lead vocals, as well as a bass and keyboard player.

As for what’s to come for Walsher Clemons, the band has hopes of touring full time, releasing more albums, working their way up from opening gigs to headlining gigs and playing festivals.

“It’s a long mountain to climb, but we expected that. Some people think you come out with an album and you’ll be successful. In reality, it’s just so much more than that.”



Album Review: “Dancing & Praying”

Funk, jam, pop, jazz, rock- whatever you want to call it, Walsher Clemons has managed to mold their eclectic style into a solid debut album, “Dancing & Praying.” Hints of the multiple genres effortlessly weave throughout, creating a unique yet comprehensive sound.

The 12 track album features animated guitar solos, smooth saxophones, and dance-ready beats against a backdrop of funk infused pop. Singer Riley Pettrone completes the songs with energetic, Bruno Mars- esque vocals.

“Dance Like a Lunatic” kick starts the album with a punch, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The pace slows down by the eight track with mellow “Ticking,” only to be launched right up again with previously released single “Everybody Knows.”

“Dancing & Praying” is full of life and energy; you can’t help but sway back and forth as each upbeat song leads into the next. The band had unlimited time to record and perfect their work, and it definitely shows. The result is clean, creative, and entertaining for people of many different music tastes.