The RedHead Express consists of nine members of the Brett and Apryll Walker family, which begs the question, why not call the ensemble the Walkers or the Walker Family Singers?
“We were just beginning to perform as a band in Alaska about five years ago, and we sat in our living room one night, discussing possible band names,” recalled Apryll Walker, matriarch of the troupe. “We didn’t want to be another ‘Something Family’ band. We wanted something unique. Since most of us are redheads, the idea was suggested, we all voted, and RedHead Express won.”
Was there a second place?
“Northern Lights Band,” she answered.
The group’s journey began when the family agreed to rent out their home in Alaska for a bigger dream – to follow their love of music. The Walkers sold their belongings, bought a 38-foot RV, a 27-foot trailer, and a dog, and headed south – the only way one can go from Alaska.
Since 2008, they have performed at the Dutton Family Theater in Branson, Mo., and are currently in the midst of a 20-plus concert tour of the Midwest. The journey has provided changes in their musical repertoire as well as family dynamics, Walker said.
“Certainly the kids are growing,” she admitted. “Two have graduated and become adults since we left. I have no ‘little’ girls anymore, and the boys are so mature they are like little men.”
Even though the “kids” are maturing, Walker did not foresee any break-out acts.
“I don’t know that anyone wants to go solo, but I can see some solo projects in the future,” she acknowledged. “Kendra is our songwriter and lead singer, and our next CD project will be mostly her originals. Alisa is another lead singer, and she may want to cut an album someday. My husband, Brett, is often complimented for his beautiful voice, and he has contemplated doing a solo album as well. But, we have worked hard together for so long that you just can’t beat family harmonies.”
The family cohesiveness remains, Walker felt.
“I would say we all get along better because we are focused on the same goals and dreams,” she said. “The kids all have exceptional social skills and, of course, all the music practice and performance have shot their skills up fast. It’s fun as a parent to see the progression and growth in my children.”
The RedHead Express will come rolling into Sioux City this weekend to present its energetic, bluegrass/gospel/rock/country/old time music.
“I grew up listening to all kinds of music: From Sons of the Pioneers to the 101 Strings Orchestra to 80’s rock and country,” Walker said. “I wanted our kids to have a broad base in music, so I had them listen to all kinds as well.”
Instead of one genre, Walker encourages an appreciation of “good” music.
“It’s all acoustic, and I like to call our show ‘American Roots Music.’ That is really what it is,” she said. “I figure if I get bored with two hours of bluegrass, or two straight hours of all old-time, other folks might, too.”
Walker confessed her surprise at how positively audiences have responded to their music.
“I never dreamed we would take this music business as far as we have. I never dreamed we would be taking our headquarters to Nashville and working with one of the top producers there, honing the girls’ skills and preparing them as a national country act,” she said. “And I never dreamed the ENTIRE family would be excited about all this! We have a blessed life.”