A Day Without Love is the musical nom de plume of Philly-born singer and songwriter, Brian Walker. Now based in Boston, Walker’s latest album, A Stranger That You Met Before, is an emotionally rich love letter to the independent music scene and the camaraderie found within it. As ambitious as it is heartfelt, Walker’s punky, baroque-folk songs practically glow with wit and insightful observations on the nature of community and the music scene.
The album opens with “House”, a bittersweet song about the simple yet powerful joy of playing house shows. Surrounded by a small, dramatic string arrangement, Walker dryly makes a pitch in an attempt to book a gig: “I wanna play in your house…let’s pretend that we’re friends, so I don’t have to be alone.” “Diy or Die” is a funny take on the distinction between music made for love and music for money. While the concept of “DIY vs corporate” ignores the nuances of art and commerce, Walker’s dry humor sells the sentiment, with brutally cavalier lines like, “I sing in houses and you sing for corporate/ I know that one of us sucks”. “Make It Count” kicks the energy up for a rocking ode to the ins and outs of touring. Over a bouncy, midtempo groove, Walker posits touring and performance itself as an outlet through which one can express their truest self. Walker’s lyrics here are as direct as ever, stating the song’s mission statement with utmost sincerity: “I want to go on tour/ Share my words and feel seen and heard.”
Friendship is a core theme that runs throughout A Stranger That You Met Before. On songs like “Show Friends” and “Good Friends are Hard to Find,” Walker addresses the complicated nature of friendship and socializing within the music ecosystem. In the world of gigs, tours, and performances, friendship can be fleeting, conditional, transactional and, sometimes, genuine. Despite all this, the real relationships still matter, and music can often be the ultimate social lubricant, allowing performers and listeners alike to share and connect deeply, and without pretense.