“When the Rooster Crows” sets a bold pace with the opening track “50 Years Too Late,” a statement about who Walden is living in the 21st century with old fashioned values, cloaked in the homespun pride of his upbringing. From there you get a first class tour through all the sinuous sounds the album has to offer as it meanders through Walden’s personal come-full-circle wisdom. The bitterness of divorce is a full-bodied taste on “Dark Days” and the chain gang mood of “Chains And Shackles.” At this point you are introduced to one of the most striking characteristics of the album with the addition of horns brought to the forefront adding to the album’s soulful style. The prominent bass pulse is a tangible pleasure that can be felt under the floor and up through the body, which is the hallmark of this release. By the end you are deep in Walden’s perfect world in “Big Sky Country,” the theme of the album, and as a whole, its requisite closure.
📷 Amanda Rene Photography
Robbie, can you share a brief biography for our readers?
I’m a former US Army Infantry and Special Operations Veteran. I’ve always considered myself a musician in an athlete’s body and mind set, as I was one of the top wrestlers in the country. I was an MMA fighter, and one of the top strength athletes in the world. I have been playing music most of my life, but I didn’t take it seriously until I retired from competing after the death of my older brother Jesse Marunde, who took second in the World’s Strongest Man. He was my training partner, and best friend. After that I didn’t want to train. I went through some depression, and music was my outlet. I love hunting, working out, and spending time with my family. I’m extremely hyper (ADHD), lol, and I love people. Although, the older I get, the more I find myself wanting to be a little more recluse.
What made you realize that music was your path?
After the sudden death of my older brother Jesse Marunde, I didn’t want to train anymore. I had already been doing music as a hobby, playing cafés and bars here and there, pretty much whoever would have me. When he died, I wrote a song for his him and his wife Callie called, “How Do I Sleep Alone”, and played it at the funeral. Mind you, there was also about a thousand people there, so this was the largest crowd I had ever played in front of, and it all just struck a chord in my heart, and I just knew what I was supposed to be doing, music. So, compile that with the depression I was going through, and music became my outlet. I started writing in a new manner with more meaning, and music just kind of took off fast from that point on.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Country and lots of storytelling. I write more often from a first-person perspective, so my songs are typically very personal. I wear my heart on my sleeve per se. I also love lots of harmonies, chicken pick’n and horns. Then when you add the rest of the band to it, it molds to what we are as a unit, and on the records.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
The Band, Don Williams, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jerry Reed, Charlie Rich, and Waylon Jennings. I love Marty Stewart and Ricky Skaggs. As far as artists in the last twenty years that have had an impact and influence on me as well, I would have to say Jason Eady, Jason Boland, Randy Rogers, Jackson Taylor, and Shooter Jennings. I do think Jason Eady, Jason Isbell and Ryan Adams are the best writers out there today, and they’ve all been doing it a long time.
📷 Amanda Rene Photography
What makes your music unique? On your latest, is it in part the addition of the horns?
I think the fact that we stick to our values as a band. How we sound live is how we sound on an album because we play live in studio, that’s what makes us unique. I consider myself a showman/entertainer, but as a whole, this band believes in letting the music and musicianship do the talking. Yes, I do believe the horns play a role in making us unique, but more because we do it a little different than others. We also don’t use set lists during shows. I want it authentic, as every night and every show are different than the last. So, I treat it like I am the captain of a boat (the band), my drummer is my rudder, and the crowd is our sea.
“When the Rooster Crows” is deeply personal, but relatable on so many levels. What message would you tell someone who is struggling as you once did?
You never have to lay in the bed you made. You can remake the bed as many times as you want!
Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of?
This album. I poured everything I have and everything I am into this record.
What’s next for you?
Well, hopefully, if all goes as planned, it looks like Jason Eady and I will be working together on the next record. So, fingers crossed we wrap that up, as I think he is the bee’s knees, lol.
The Robbie Walden Band is Robbie Walden (vocals, baritone guitar), Gabe Burdett (drums, backing vocals), John Coker (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dan Tyack (pedal steel), and Blake Flemming (bass)
Horns: Diego Ruiz (sax, trumpet), Austin Long (sax), Jacob Herring (trombone) and Colby Sander (utility player)
Connect to the band: