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Rockford Rocked. Ryley Walker in a unique live experience at the Coronado

By Todd Houston 

ROCKFORD — Friday, Feb. 23, critically acclaimed artist Ryley Walker comes to the Coronado for a unique show, allowing guests to be on stage with him as part of the American Music Series.

Todd Houston of Rockford Rocked Interviews caught up with Ryley this week.

RRI: You are originally from Rockford?

RW: Indeed I am.

RRI: How did you end up in Chicago playing music?

RW: Moved to Chicago at age 18. Tried school for a bit. Certainly the wrong choice. Ended up meeting a lot of like-minded folks and found a supportive group of music pals. Went from dabbling to saying, “Yeah, I’m gonna make this happen,”

RRI: Who were some musical influences when you first started out? I understand you were into the punk scene early on.

RW: Well, in my teenage years the place to see gigs was the now-shuttered P.I.T. skatepark. Egan’s Rats was the band my friends and I all gravitated towards. They were older than us but gave us kids a real good time and encouraged (us) being weirdos. The lead singer, Keelan, had a great knowledge of music and was always dropping new bands on me that warped my young brain. I love him for that.

RRI: It sounds like you’ve also spent some time listening to folk guys like Jake Holmes, Roy Harper and Bert Jansch? Were you ever a Led Zeppelin fan?

RW: Absolutely! Zeppelin was and is my favorite band of all time.

RRI: I just finished listening to “On The Banks Of Old Kishwaukee—Live In Paris” and was blown away. Just when I think I’ve pigeonholed you into a certain category you throw in something different. Is that intentional?

RW: I like to shake things up! Especially the live gigs. Really dig making it a new experience each night

RRI: It looks like you have quite a tour coming up. How do you prepare yourself mentally for that?

RW: Pray for the best.

RRI: Tell us what we can expect Feb. 23 at Rockford’s Coronado Theater.

RW: I am playing a lot of songs from each of my records, going to be accompanied by my friend Bill Mackay on second guitar. Growing up in Rockford and attending the Coronado many times in my youth, it’s a real treat to be on the stage. I’m super excited! R.

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