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Waker, Nashville’s Most Woke Band

Waker Band
Waker Band

    Meshing funk, soul, and all the feel good elements you find at any jam band concert, Waker find themselves at the hub of the jam scene in Nashville.  Formerly known as Koa, the band was formed by childhood friends Chase Bader, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Conor Kelly, electric guitar.  Along with Bader and Kelly, Koa consisted of Ryan Ladd on bass, Alex Matthews on percussion, and Ryan McClanahan on saxophone.  
    Waker’s song writing formula strays little from Koa, but the addition of Dave Czuba on keys, and David Krutcher on a full drum set adds dynamic and a fuller sound that equips the band with a broader canvas to paint their improvisations on.  With a sound that can easily be likened to Dave Matthews Band or The String Cheese Incident, Waker does not sound outdated or a throwback to the ‘90s jam scene.
    Playing their first show at a yogurt shop, the band has come a long way to play huge stages at Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Wakarusa.  Their wonderfully structured songs fuse almost any genre imaginable, stringing together simple composition with tight grooves to progressive improvisation that would please any festival crowd.  Bombarding the listener with major key, up tempo vamps one cannot help but feel the need to move, getting lost in the wah guitar heavy, organ drenched jams.  The percussive precision and ‘stuck in your head’ sax riffs meld together all the while straight forward lyrics keep the tunes grounded.
    More focused on the live performance as you would expect from a band wanting to portray a communal ‘woke’ experience, Waker has toured relentlessly since their 2015 debut EP but expect to release more studio work this year.  Until then keep an eye on the festival circuit and your local venues.

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