Name game

T. Lee Walker & D. Lennon

Danny Lennon and Tony Walker play the songs they like.

Danny Lennon and Tony Walker play the songs they like.

Photo By Fil Corbitt

T. Lee Walker & D. Lennon perform at Lincoln Lounge, 306 E. Fourth St., on Saturday, September 28 at 9 p.m.

Tony Walker has a lot of names. For poetry, it’s Talik Talluah. For hip-hop, his name is Locus. His artist handle? Doodles. And now, he has a new one for the list: T. Lee Walker, his moniker for the soulful two-piece acoustic project, T. Lee Walker & D. Lennon. In other words, T. Lee Walker is his singing name.

“I feel like Reno still doesn’t know I sing,” Walker says, sitting at the center of an unpacked room in the Old Southwest. “I mean, I’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been rapping, so it’s time to have a project for singing.”

But Walker’s pile of personas doesn’t necessarily point to a scattered artist. Instead, they seem to compartmentalize a handful of mediums in which he is equally invested.

“It helps me keep organized,” he says, claiming the separation between projects helps him promote one at a time without having to subject his fans in one medium to the group of people more interested in another.

The new project, T. Lee Walker & D. Lennon, is comprised of Walker on vocals and Danny Lennon on acoustic guitar. It’s a simple lineup that allows for an easy-to-establish dynamic.

The soul and blues project replaced a similar group Walker started early this year named Oddly Enough. That group was launched to a fast buzz fueled by Walker’s promotional prowess, but he dissolved the band just months later due to directional differences.

He hopes that T. Lee can be the gigging project he was looking to start originally.

Musically speaking, Walker and Lennon are mainly playing covers for the time being, but they already have a few originals and plan to let their own content take a much larger role in their set. The duo was formed to play a specific show, so they learned 36 songs in the first week.

“I think the biggest challenge is taking a lot of these electric songs and making them acoustic without losing the feeling of it,” says Lennon.

They cover a few songs whose original versions are drum and synth heavy, but translate them to a stripped-down format. They later play a version of the Black Keys’ “I Got Mine,” and the song sounds completely comfortable in an acoustic environment.

They don’t pick songs based on what can be easily translated.

“We just play songs we like,” says Lennon.

The nice thing about such a simple line-up, Walker adds as Lennon tunes his guitar, is that it allows the two of them to really get to know each other.

“Yeah, we’ve gone on trips together … rock climbing or whatever … I mean, it’s important to really know who you’re playing with both on and off stage.”

And with that, Lennon starts playing a bluesy riff that Walker introduces as their own, and belts out a low, smoky verse.

He slides from that register to high notes with ease, and the two play off each other as if they had been playing together for much longer than a month or two.

Halfway through the second chorus, Walker’s son, who had been sitting on the living room floor throughout the interview, gets up and starts darting around. Walker doesn’t miss a note as he picks up a pillow and starts roughhousing with him.

It might be a stretch to draw a parallel between this kind of multitasking and the multitasking Walker does between his dozen or so projects, but that’s exactly what he’s usually doing—20 things at once and doing his best not to compromise on any of them.

“Performing is my true passion,” he says. “If I’m in a project … I’m really in it.”

And as for this project, he’s definitely serious. Serious enough at least to take on a new name.