Kicking Down Doors is mostly a band of 5-9 members and sometime a duo. The core of the band is Autumn Walden, who does songwriting and vocals, and Ernie Tokay with songwriting, vocals and guitar. Other members who always or sometimes play in the band include Brian Flanagan, bass; Steve Wheelock, guitar; Michelle Armour, vocals; Mike Slo-mo Brenner, slide guitar; Stacy Weathers, banjo; Vincent Feliciano, drums; Josh Steingard, percussionist; and Lee Schusterman, keyboards. Most of the time the band is made of up of 5-7 members: Autumn, Ernie, Brian, Steve, Michelle, Vincent, and Stacy. About 10% of the performances are the duo of Autumn and Ernie. I talked to Ernie Tokay about Kicking Down Doors and what they are doing.
Where did the name of the band come from? Autumn and I were at The Philadelphia Folk Festival in 2013. At that time we performed on the open stage and around the campground to see how our music would be received. When we got home we felt we needed a name. “Kicking Down Doors” is the name of one of our songs. After the Festival people started asking us to join, and we started putting together the band.
Autumn Walden is also a central ﬁgure in the group. Anything you’d like to say about her? Autumn is an amazing talent in her own right. She has a really great voice. Her lyrics are very compelling to me. I enjoy working with her.
Who does the songwriting? Mostly the songs are co-written. Autumn is primarily the lyricist and I’m primarily the music man.
How would you describe your music? We are certainly American roots and a bit on the multicultural side. We’d almost want to call it roots, rock, folk. Some people have said “power-folk”.
How many times has the band played at the Philadelphia Folk Festival? We’ve played there four times. We also volunteered one year at the Front Porch Stage. I also did sound at the Folk Festival from 1982 to 1999. I have a long history at the Fest.
Who has inﬂuenced some of your music? For me, I’d say all that good folk music from the late 50’s and early 60’s. Also that Laurel Canyon folk music from the West Coast in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Talk a little about your CD, “Truth”. Our CD released party was held in early July at the Philadelphia Folk Song Society. To some extent the style of this lastest recording is diﬀerent from the style we had done previously, in that it’s a little more rockin’. The concept of the record is that this is our live band and the songs that we have been writing and performing recently.
Kicking Down Doors will be playing at Steel City Coﬀeehouse on January 12th. You can learn more about Kicking Down Doors at kickingdowndoorsband.com.
Ray Naylor: email@example.com