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Newly formed band debuts




One hour is comprised of 60 minutes, or 3,600 seconds.

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One hour is comprised of 60 minutes, or 3,600 seconds.

That doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it was all the time the band Walker needed.

Well, maybe that and a what the band said was a little bit of luck -- or close to it.

"I wouldn't say all luck," Cameron Shoemaker said.

"It was pretty close," Max Walker said with a laugh.

The members who make up the group Walker hadn't formed too long before its performance at the High Plains Showcase in March.

"An hour before our audition," said Walker, lead singer of the band. "That is when we originally formed up, all of us."

While Max originally wanted to enter the showcase as a solo artist, it required a minimum of three people. But when the original lineup fell through, he reached out to fellow musicians and friends to step in the day of the performance.

"I got there in time for the sound check," said Shoemaker, bass player for the band.

What the group didn't plan on was taking first at the showcase. The win means they will play during the Smoky Hill River Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday on the Eric Stein Stage.

"All the other bands were metal, which they were good, but we were definitely outcasts, stylistically," Shoemaker said.

While many of the bands were rock, that's not Walker's sound.

"It's a little more chill, laid back," Shoemaker said.

Travis Wright, who plays guitar and also sings harmonies, describes the band as "more of an acoustic sound."

That acoustic, laid back sound is a combination of the sounds created by Shoemaker, Wright, Kevin Pham and Max's lyrics.

"Honestly, when I write lyrics, I don't write about specific things," Walker said. "Or, at least I don't notice I do until I write them. I feel if you sit down and start writing, that is what will have the most meaning. ... If you think about it too much, you're going to stumble on words. ... That's how I end up writing most of my stuff."

Walker said he always had an interest in music, which began with the drums and later progressed to writing and more.

"I hope to pursue it as a career," he said. "I figured if that's what I like doing, why not push it as far as I can go?"

Shoemaker began with the drums and moved to the rhythm guitar, bass guitar, piano and also sings.

Wright started out with the saxophone in the fourth grade, began to sing in musicals and also began playing the guitar a little more than two years ago.

Pham picked up his drumsticks 10 years ago.

"They were fun; they were there," Pham said. "I wanted to do it."

What began as a hobby for the members has turned into a passion.

"We all just enjoy doing it. It's always something we have done throughout our lives, and it's just interesting to get together to see what sounds we can make and bring to the group," Walker said. "It's Cameron's skills on the bass, and Travis is good with the harmonies. He's a good guitar player, too. It's kind of interesting to bring all that together. ... We just like to perform."

To prepare for the upcoming show on Festival Sunday, the band tries to meet once a week to work on their set list to fill the 45-minute slot.

"It was kind of funny because after the competition, we were like, 'OK, we actually have to practice now,' " Wright said. "So, we just got a schedule together."

For some members, like Pham, playing at the festival will be the first live show outside of activities tied to Fort Hays State University.

"That'll be fun," Pham said.

Shoemaker also will be a newcomer to the festival.

"I've never been to the river festival," he said. "But stage time is stage time."