The Lineup

Lonnie Walker

Raleigh, N.C.

Lonnie Walker on Hopscotch? That's almost intuitive. The band represents so many things that not only Raleigh music, but the North Carolina scene as a whole, is doing right. They aren't reinventing the wheel when it comes to indie-folk; they're just making obvious improvements that, for some reason, many other bands never considered.

This act got its start in the same semi-legal Greenville underground that spawned Future Islands and Valient Thorr. Songwriter Brian Corum (no, no one in the band is named Lonnie) played solo under the handle before accumulating a band and moving to Raleigh, where his quintet rapidly became a mainstay in local venues and on area airwaves.

Lonnie Walker takes a familiar-enough foundation—the Southern story-song—and builds in wild, occasionally spastic directions. Huck Finn and Woody Guthrie walk into a bar, and this is what the jukebox is playing. There's rollicking punch with ample precision. This surprisingly technical indie/ country/ pop band dodges giddily around classifications, like Abbie Hoffman on a sugar high. And here's the thing: They make it look so easy.

Central to Americana, which this probably is more than anything, is the telling of a familiar story in a way that makes it feel fresh. "Teenage Poem" approaches young love for all its carnal naiveté, while "Compass Comforts" hits on wanderlust. Yet in addressing these stories in a novel way, we're reminded of why they come up again and again in western art and literature—these are things we all live through at one point. And, honestly, here's a band we can trust to write about humanity's many inelegant foibles without making us feel self-conscious. Lonnie Walker headlines its own curated show at Hopscotch. —Corbie Hill