On a stormy night in Katmandu several strangers sought shelter at an inn. Traveling independently of one another, they shared this in common: they had all been kidnapped by insurgents and left at the foot of the city with little more than the clothes they were wearing. The innkeeper, sympathetic to their plight, offered “I would love to extend lodging to such unfortunate travelers as you, however I do not have much and count on my small earnings from lodgers. Is there something you could give, some service you could do, that would repay me?” One of the strangers noticed a collection of local folk instruments in the lobby, walked over, and began to play. Then, one by one each of the strangers picked up an instrument and joined in. Guests descended into the lobby to listen; passersby stepped in from the street. As the scene unfolded, people began to hum, clap, even dance. The innkeeper smiled.
It is nice think that Acoustic Sky began that way, and perhaps it did. At any rate...
Tucson is blessed with many fine musicians, and Wally is equally blessed to have some of them back him in many of his shows, most recently under the name Acoustic Sky as well as The Stragglers. These ensembles began after Wally arrived from New Mexico, originally named The Wally Lawder Experience. More recently, Acoustic Sky was made up of Jim Dumbauld on bass,Tom Potter on percussion, along with Suzy Ronstadt and Kathy Harris on backing vocals and Mike Markowtiz on mandoin. Early members included Stefin Zephyr on bass, Jim Lipson on percussion and Peter Altshul on lead guitar. The Stragglers are the most recent incarnation, randomly comprised of any of the above plus other talented guest artists drawn from the rich Tucson music scene.
Wally occasionally performs in various duos, trios and other ensembles as the occasion asks for, sometimes under creative names.
When in New Mexico, Wally reunites with his former bandmates (Martyn Pearson, Roger Metcalfe and others) to perform under the names Wally Lawder and the Raptured Coyotes as well as Art Rock and the Petroglyphs.