This is part of our weekly series titled “Columbus’ Own,” where we profile a local band every week.
The last time The Lantern caught up with The Floorwalkers, the band from Cleveland was just getting its feet on the ground in Columbus. They were performing every Wednesday at the campus bar Ruby Tuesday and working to develop a solid fan base.
Fast forward five years, and the band has released an album, has more than 10,000 likes on its Facebook page and just played last Thursday on the Market Street Stage at the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Troy, Ohio, a show that featured Mumford & Sons.
Voted best band in Columbus by readers of “(614) Magazine” three years in a row as of 2012, The Floorwalkers has honed its style and made a big name locally. The band now plays at venues all over Columbus including Newport Music Hall and the main stage atComfest.
A big factor of the band’s appeal is its diverse style, fusing blues, rock ‘n’ roll, funk and soul all into the energy of a jam band. Guitarist Theo Perry described the range of styles, naming The Beatles, My Morning Jacket, Stevie Wonder andAretha Franklin as influences.
“There is not a lot of music that hasn’t seeped into our consciousness,” he said. “We just go and we write as we feel and it comes out when we play.”
Other band members are Kerry Henderson on guitar and mandolin, Jonathon Elliott on vocals, Ben Meinhold on bass, Tom Lasky on drums and Nate Kremer on the keyboard, though they all dabble with other instruments as well.
The band is set to release the follow-up album to 2010’s debut, “The Natural Road” later this year, and they plan for it to further the band’s sound.
“The record will be more ‘true’ sounding, with less production and more feeling. It will be more of a live band sound,” Henderson said.
The album will be made “sans producer” and recorded in Columbus, as opposed to places like Nashville and Louisville where “The Natural Road” was made. It will feature new songs as well as songs fans will recognize from shows, but have yet to be recorded, Perry said.
The new album will be a testament to the city and the fans that have supported the band over the years and been integral to its success. The whole process will be fully funded by fans from show proceeds as well as via the websiteKickstarter, a program that allows fans to donate to projects they would like to support. More than $8,000 had been pledged as of May 6.
“This is an album by the fans for the fans,” Perry said.
Columbus resident Joni Foy was one of the fans happy to donate to The Floorwalkers.
“It was for sure worth donating to them,” she said. “They are hands down the best band in Columbus.”
Foy also appreciates that many Floorwalkers shows in Columbus are free, held in places like the Columbus Commons and on the Scioto River.
“I feel like it is a big ‘thank you’ to the fans,” she said. “Their shows are the kinds of concerts where if you are not having fun, then you are just not fun.”
Long-time fan Brooke Brown of Columbus agrees that the guys treat their fans with appreciation and kindness.
“I love their energy,” she said. “They are so personable and talk to everyone. They will even recognize me after a show.”
The band is scheduled to play a free show Thursday night in Columbus Commons to close the Downtown Live! Concert Series, with a fireworks display following the performance. The opening bands are Eric Dove & Green Light Go and Pett Crow. The event is set to start at 6 p.m.
Friday, the band is scheduled to head to Kentucky, followed by a Saturday trip to North Carolina.