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A little help from his friends

Channahon musician contributes to Glenn Symmonds album

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 9:17 p.m. CDT
(Kris Stadalsky for Shaw Media)
Channahon local artist Dustin Walker does a sound check in the sound booth where he recorded vocals on the album, "Glenn's Friends."
(Kris Stadalsky for Shaw Media)
Dustin Walker checks on equipment in his studio built in the family's basement. Walker recorded a song for his friend's album, "Glenn's Friends."

When a friend is in need, it doesn't matter if he hails from Channahon or from halfway across the states in California, his friends will come to help.

Glenn Symmonds, drummer for Eddie Money band, among other things, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. A good friend of his recorded one of Symmonds'  songs as a gift to him during that difficult time.

"I just thought that [song] was a lovely gesture," said Symmonds in a phone interview. "It really touched my heart."

The song, and the gift, became a catalyst for Symmonds' most recent album, featuring an array of famous artists; young and local talent.

The album, "Glenn's Friends," was created to help Symmonds pay off the mounting medical bills he incurred during his cancer treatment.

Some of the musicians featured on the album are Eddie Money, band members from the Doobie Brothers and Little Riverband, and Richard Bryant.

Channahon's own artist featured on the album is 18-year-old Dustin Walker, who chose Symmonds' song "I don't want to go home."

Symmonds has always written music, so he asked each of his friends and contributors to pick one of his original songs and record it in their own style.

"It's an eclectic collection of talent and artists," he said. "I am just humbled by the amazing outpouring of love."

Walker's first connection to the music scene was artist Rick Springfield. The two met during a concert at Naperville Ribfest when Walker was just 3 years old.

They kept in touch over the years, with Springfield encouraging and supporting Walker's musical talent along the way. Walker has toured with Springfield several times.

Walker also has met many more talented musicians over the years, Symmonds among them.

After returning from a tour with Springfield, which took him from New Lenox to Kansas City, Walker was contacted by Symmonds about the album.

"Glenn wrote me and asked if I could record one of his songs for the album," Walker said.

Walker and his band at the time, Through These Eyes, recorded the song in the reording studio Walker built in his family's basement. With the band being all in one spot, it was just as easy to do it that way, Walker said.

Band members featured on the album are Drew Thompson and Josh Carey, also of Channahon, and Johnny Collins of Joliet.

It was hard to pick just one of Symmonds' songs, Walker said. They scoured through them all and tried to find one that they could make their own.

"His stuff is super different than ours," he said. "We went back and forth with Glenn, then he sent us one that wasn't out on CD yet."

It turned out to be the perfect song for their band, with a more jazzy, blues feel.

"We took it and made it all metal," Walker said.

Walker's connection to famous artists like Symmonds has helped spur his career. It's one more step toward what he wants to do with his life – writing music, playing and singing for the world.

"Having friends like Glenn is something very special," Walker said.

When asked if he could pick a favorite song and artist from the new album, Symmonds said he could not.

"They are all really good," he said. "I just can't pick a favorite."

Symmonds himself recorded "A little help from my friends" by The Beatles.

"It's a way of saying 'you guys, I appreciate it,'" he said.

"Glenn's Friends" is available on iTunes and in hard copy.

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