The Nashville Knack: Waker

The Nashville Knack: Waker

It's time to wake up!

Waker is not your typical Belmont band. They did not sit around in a circle playing “Wonderwall” to lure in the girls that walked by. While that would be nice, Waker’s goal in music was to get people moving, dancing, and to experience music in a unique way. When you break down the band’s history, a full story unfolds. This is Waker.

Chase Bader and Conor Kelly, both childhood friends from Colorado and songwriters, started in music as a duo ready to take the world by storm. In 2012, these two put some music together, but felt that there was a missing piece or two.

The missing piece was Ryan Ladd, who is the bass player, filled in one piece of the puzzle. They jammed together on and off campus, but, again, there was something missing. Alex Matthews stepped in to play some mean saxophone after meeting Ryan in the cafeteria, by chance. The gap was temporarily closed with the addition of Ryan McClanahan on percussion. The result was Koa.

The way this band could get people from slouching in their seats, drooling, due to the opening band to dancing, jumping, and rooting the band on was a phenomenal feat on its own. Songs like “Lover” ties in the Conor’s groovy guitar riff, Alex’s lively saxophone skills, Ryan’s ability to change timing on a the drums in such a seamless transition, and Chase’s syrupy voice and John Mayer-esque acoustic guitar skills brings the light to a dark room.

The band has created such a strong foundation in their music. They took their leap of faith playing at festivals such as ACL, Hangout, SXSW, Firefly, and Wakarusa. Of course the band wanted to continue their growth. This led to their 2015 release of their latest EP, more bands members in 2016, and name change.

In the summer of 2016, Dave Czuba was added as the drummer, and David Crutcher was added as the pianist/ organist. These two guys completed the vision of Chase and Conor, but this would not come without a name change from Koa to Waker.

The name Waker represents exactly what they expect the audience to do when they enter the room, wake up. At Belmont University’s 2016 Battle Of The Bands, Waker stepped onto the stage full of energy. Chase stepped up to the microphone with his acoustic guitar two feet away from me. People started to crowd in front of the stage as the band showcased their arsenal of music.

The amount of talent that stood before me on stage took my breath away. Every note, every lyric, every knock on the drums, and every second was pure, breathtaking, and almost fanciful if it were not for the lights blinding me during song changes.

The coolest part of their show was the fact Chase’s guitar string broke, yet he was not phased compensating for what most guitarists would stop playing until their guitar was changed. Chase kept playing his heart out, and that is the symbolic reason for Waker’s success. No matter the situation, Waker rocks their heart out combining rock, jazz, soul, funk, and electric music.

There is not a doubt that Waker will continue to rise. The fire behind the band’s spirit will conquer new grounds in music. Waker will continue to tour in 2016, and they plan to release new music in 2017. “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”-Victor Hugh

Cover Image Credit: Andrea Behrends

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A Poem To Art Saving Us

Art is what you need it to be.

“Youth is wasted on the young”, I know, and I am trying. So desperately to ensure that my odyssey is a chest of memories that will never diminish.

I find myself staring at the bottom of empty coffee mugs, caught between the backwash of coffee tainted oxygen molecules and morning delays. These cells are nothing but pixilated facades.

Nietzsche says that art does not need to be truth, but isn’t that what it is all about? Is that not what makes it so raw? Making the intangible, tangible? But the only thing true of art is that art saves us. And if that means that what art is made of is not truth; that art is the outcome of a survival mechanism to compose and convince ourselves to feel something so that we do not fall into the black hole of nihilism then so be it.

Because I won’t know any other way. All I know is that I am breathing and thinking and just being.

It is kind of ironic that we depend on each other’s defense mechanisms to live, to prove that our existence isn’t just some fucked evolutionary step. We are so desperate and so in need to find ourselves, to understand that we need to be here that we also begin to see ourselves in the art works. In the brush strokes of Van Gough; in the not so irregular and not so misplaced lines of Picasso’s works. This is both comforting and scary.

Some days it is hard to differentiate yourself from all the art that is surrounding you and I; sorting through all the pieces that are spread along the sunrises, book stores or through the numb vibrations of the rain. Art does not have to be true, but it does have to be a series of releases.

We spend our whole lives breathing in and attacking notes, but we always forget that we can breathe. That in our composition of life we can add our own breath marks. It is okay to release. To breathe in and to stop your tune when needed.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The 7 Best Pieces of Drag Race Lingo Ru-vealed

Werk it, queen!

Season Three of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars" just wrapped last week, but season 10 of Drag Race is scheduled to premiere on March 22nd. You might’ve turned on your TV and thought, “what the heck are they talking about?”. Some of the lingo is confusing and unclear, so here’s a guide to just some of the key catchphrases.

1. The library/Being read

The name of the mini challenge is “Reading is Fundamental, in which queens take turns reading each other. When it’s their turn, they “enter the library”, which just means putting on goofy glasses. Reading is pretty much pointing out flaws but in a funny or over the top way.

2. Shade

Throwing shade is similar to reading someone, but I think of shade as usually more blunt, insulting and less clever.

3. Tea

Derives from the letter “T” standing for truth. Tea refers to gossip, news or information. Commonly used in the sense of “So, what’s the tea?”, which means “girl, what’s the gossip?”. It’s commonly combined with shade, as someone might say “No, tea, no shade, but…” which is a preface saying “no disrespect”. Conversely, someone might say “all tea, all shade” meaning that they know exactly how they sound and don’t care if you’re offended.

4. Fish

A queen is said to be looking fishy/serving fish when they closely resemble a woman. Some of the fishiest queens include Tatianna, Courtney Act, and Farrah Moan.

5. Back Rolls

An insult used in season 5 when Jade Jolie told Alyssa Edwards: “Girl, you had rolls all over the place in the back, it was disgusting!” To which Alyssa responded

6. Snatch Game

A parody of the 1960’s celebrity game show “The Match Game”. On the original show, contestants write in answers to questions, hoping to match the guest judge. Snatch Game operates in the same way, but the contestants have to impersonate a celebrity. This is a challenge that has taken place every season since the second one, and it’s probably the most highly anticipated. This is one of the challenges that really establishes the top queens, as they’re judged based off of likeness and humor. Celebrities that have been impersonated range from Dame Maggie Smith to Britney Spears, Judge Judy, Anna Nicole Smith, and even RuPaul.

7. Comedy vs. Pageant Queens

This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Some queens are more specialized in makeup, costumes, and overall pageantry. Others are more campy and over the top. Comedy queens are usually stronger in acting or comedy challenges, but pageant queens have the upper hand in design focused challenges.

So there ya have it, a short list of Drag Race terminology. I RuPaulogize if you got a little lost somewhere, but if you managed to make it through this article….


Cover Image Credit: Daniel Dudek-Corrigan

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