"As real and raw as Sunday"
Shaun Garth Walker has had the same experience. In addition to being the part-time bandleader at the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor on Platt, he plays solo "four solid nights a week--the South Lyon Hotel Mondays and then [Thursdays and] weekends at Lu and Carl's in Brighton. And there's been some who come from the gigs to the church--and some who come from the church to the bar. I don't dig the divide between the church and the bars. I'm just as holy in the bar as I am in church. Some people find it a strange combination, but I think it's pretty cool."
Walker's predecessor, English blues aficionado Mike Brooks, brought the Vineyard band from well-meaning to inspired. But Brooks was full-time--and with the recession, the church had to lay him off last August. Walker, who'd been at Hope Community Church in Ypsilanti, came in and changed the musical direction. "Mike is more of a bluesy kind of dude, but much as I love the blues, I've got no skills for that," he says. "Now it's more generally pop-rock style, plus I have an affinity for the Ramones and Green Day, plus alt-country is in my DNA--Ryan Adams, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo. The weirder the better for me, but not so weird that people don't enjoy it."
Walker has no complaints about his split musical life--now. "It's what's allowed me to put diapers on my babies' butts. But my kids are five and three, and the long-term goal is to work full-time at the church so I can be around at night when they get older."