No Rollin’ Down Highway 41; Band’s Boots Made For Walkin’

The members of the band The Walking Guys have been trekking about 15 to 20 miles a day since July, stopping only to sleep and play music.

A four-piece singer/songwriter group, the band members hike on roads and sidewalks to each tour stop, and today, the band shows up in Athens.

“I don’t think I’ll do a walking tour again,” said Benjamin Butler, the leader of the walking crew.

Walking for about 100 days straight is taxing, he said. While Butler is enjoying his time on the road, there are a few things he misses from home in Nashville, Tenn.

“I have a girlfriend of two years, so that’s definitely hard being gone this long,” Butler said.

Also, Butler misses the feeling of being home.

“When we walk, we’ll walk all day, and we meet people we stay with. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but then now it’s like we need to hang out with them and entertain them and all that. We just get exhausted. Personal time doesn’t really exist,” Butler said.

Even though time alone can be hard to find on the tour, Butler said he’s happy to have been able to meet so many new people. Butler said he thought the band would spend most nights camping, but thanks to the generosity of strangers, most nights the band sleeps on couches.

“Going into this tour, having heard about other people’s adventures, I knew people would definitely be interested in the tour and would help us out, but I had no idea it would be this consistent,” Butler said. “The people who offer to help us are from all different races and economic conditions. You’ll have rich folks that will just roll out the red carpet and have a pool and all this food, and then you’ll have a single mom who doesn’t have much, but she still offered to help.”

Almost everything about the tour has fallen into place this way – by chance. Even the band itself is a one-time collection of musicians drawn together by the chance for an adventure.

“For the first few shows we did, everyone just played different sets. Then we started learning parts to other people’s songs and just coming out for those parts. At some point we decided to do a Nashville writers round where you take turns playing your songs, but that way you’re able to tell stories together. We started learning harmonies. Now all four of us are involved with every song,” Butler said.

The band’s walking tour, which began in Maine in July, continues with a performance at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta on Thursday; and The Sanctuary in Montgomery, Alabama, on Saturday.