With their mix of uplifting folk, pop, and quirky experimentation, Canadian band Walk Off the Earth were already five years into their career when their ambitious cover of Gotye's "Someone That I Used to Know" became a viral YouTube sensation. Quickly snatched up by Columbia, they found chart success with 2013's gold-certified R.E.V.O. and its 2015 follow-up, Sing It All Away, which won them a Group of the Year Juno Award. Over the next several years, the band kept a busy international touring calendar while issuing a handful of EPs and singles.
Walk Off the Earth were formed in 2006 in Burlington, Ontario by multi-instrumentalists Ryan Marshall, Gianni Luminati, Mike Taylor, Joel Cassady, and Sarah Nicole Blackwood. They initially became known for their innovative cover songs, which often featured the group members trading instruments with one another mid-song or doing elaborate one-take performances where the song was built piece by piece by a single member playing every instrument. Although they released two independent albums in 2007's Smooth Like Stone on a Beach and 2010's My Rock, Walk Off the Earth's real success came by way of YouTube, where the band steadily built up a fan base with covers of Adele, B.o.B, and fellow internet celebrities the Gregory Brothers. They started to take off in 2012 after their cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," performed by all the bandmembers simultaneously playing one guitar, received 70 million views in two months, earning Walk Off the Earth not only praise from the original artist, but a contract with Columbia, which released R.E.V.O. (an acronym of the band's motto, "Realize Every Victory Outright") early in 2013. Its lead single "Red Hands" hit the Top Ten in Canada, while the album reached number seven on the country's albums chart and earned the band Juno Award nominations for Pop Album of the Year and Group of the Year. After touring on and off throughout North America and Europe over the next two years, and a holiday EP titled A Walk Off the Earth Christmas in late 2014, the stadium-friendly Sing It All Away arrived in mid-2015. Thanks to its success, Walk Off the Earth won their first Juno Award for Group of the Year in 2016. The following year, a handful of smaller, band-related releases popped up in the form of the solo piano outings Walk Off the Earth Presents: Beard Ballads, Vol. 1 and Holiday Beard Ballads, Vol. 1, which were played by keyboardist Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor. Tragically, Taylor unexpectedly passed away from natural causes in November 2018. His bandmates honored him with a free 2019 memorial concert in downtown Burlington and released the single "Mike's Song." Later that year, they issued the uplifting single "I'll Be There" in advance of their next album. ~ Gregory Heaney