One year ago, Rhett Walker took to the stage at the University of South Carolina Aiken Convention Center to play a CD release concert for his debut studio album, Come to the River.
The single When Mercy Found Me was climbing the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart, and a hometown crowd came out to support the Aiken County native on the cusp of national acclaim.
The Rhett Walker Band comes home next Thursday in a concert at Aiken’s Milbrook Baptist Church.
This stop on the Come to the River Tour features Rush of Fools and introduces All Things New.
“We’ve been out. We’ve seen a lot of stuff. We’ve been a lot of places and we’ve met a lot of people,” said Walker, who lives in Nashville, Tenn. “This tour is a celebration of this record and a thank you to all of our fans who bought it.”
In the year since his 2012 release party, Walker has traveled throughout the country, playing his brand of Southern Christian rock at churches and arenas, large and small.
The music has racked up award nominations, including Walker’s first Grammy nomination. In December, he was nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for co-writing When Mercy Found Me.
The band, with drummer Kenny Davis and guitarist Joe Kane, also received three Dove Award nominations – for New Artist of the Year, Rock Contemporary Album and Rock Contemporary Song – and released a four-track EP, The Other Sides.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been a year,” Walker said. “We’ve been on the road. It’s gone by fast.”
Walker said he’s humbled by the success of the band’s first album.
“A year ago, I was just happy my mom and dad bought it,” he said with a laugh. “I’m getting to go to a lot of different places I never thought I’d go, mostly above the Mason-Dixon Line.”
Through his travels, Walker says he has learned “there are rednecks everywhere who love Southern rock.”
The band returns to the studio this fall. They’re already at work on several new songs. Many, Walker said, are inspired by family.
“Our music and the reason Rhett Walker Band exists is faith, family, country,” he said. “There’s a lot of hopeless stuff going on. Every night, we talk about faith, family and this country, about standing up as a man and for what you believe in.”
Look for a new single by early next year.