by Courtney Malita

The members of Walking in Circles are all under 23 years old. But they have a sound that harkens back to southern rock of the 1970s and 1980s.

It sounds like “taking the classic sounds of Aerosmith, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd and throwing them into a blender,” says Blake Brouse, the band’s lead vocalist.

Walking In Circles started when Blake, lead guitarist Jake Gray and other members were in late middle school and early high school in Wadsworth. At the time, they had a completely different sound that they describe as ‘80s hair metal. They recorded an album in that style, Go, but have moved so far away from the sound that they’ve taken it down from their online store.

“Ironically, the first album was called Go, which is the last thing you wanted to continue doing while listening to this,” Blake says.

The band now consists of six members: Blake Brouse on lead vocals, Nicole Neiman on lead and background vocals, Jake Gray on lead guitar, Jake Ross (J.R.) on drums, Shane Kirvel on bass, and Zach Shelly on auxiliary percussion.

The band describes their sound as “Irish Black Stone Cherry” and a “new take on an old sound,” and Jake Gray says he thinks of their songs as “five-minute fist pumpers.”

That was definitely the takeaway from the Walking in Circles show on Nov. 9 at Jilly’s Music Room. Their powerhouse Southern rock sound, with a mix of classic ‘70s and ‘80s covers and original songs from their new album, Tall Tales And Transmissions, brought everyone to their feet.

Some Walking in Circles songs are about specific people or fictional characters. Some have a double meaning. Others are just about cars. They also like to play classic covers, like “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band.

The group has a wide array of musical influences, including Black Stone Cherry, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith. Their music offers “a glimpse back to a time when things were simpler” and captures “the aesthetic of an old car with the hood popped up and has nothing but storybooks underneath it” — which, in fact, is similar to the cover art on Tall Tales and Transmissions. The group describes their new album as “like opening up a book with many great chapters.”

Walking In Circles put out two albums before Tall Tales and Transmissions. The band feels the first album doesn’t represent who they are now, but they still play some songs from Amethyst Eyes, the second album.  

Amethyst Eyes had a lot more salvageable stuff out of it,” Jake says.

Lead guitarist Jake writes Walking in Circles’ songs. “Everything starts with a cool guitar riff,” he says. He plays the riff for the other band members, they play off of it, and go from there.

Although they are taking a small break from performing for now, Walking in Circles plans on creating more music during their down time.

In the meantime, if you want to lift your spirits with a modern, friendly rock sound, give Tall Tales and Transmissions a listen.

Courtney Malita is a senior at the University of Akron studying psychology and philosophy. She enjoys longboarding and skateboarding, art and photography.

To learn more about Walking in Circles, visit www.walkingincirclesband.com.

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