A cool tour is coming to town next week – part of a unique partnership between an emerging rock band and a well-established brewery. The brewery you probably know. The band, maybe not.

On Friday, September 24th, Narragansett Brewery with be hosting Walden, a rock band from Nashville who have embarked on a 50-state journey with a planned stop in Providence as part of their “Where’s Walden” tour.

Even cooler, they’ll have their own IPA by the time they hit Providence courtesy of tour sponsor Narragansett who is temporarily re-branding their Music Express IPA with a “Where’s Walden” themed label.

Of course, Narragansett has been a revered Rhode Island tradition since 1890. By the early 2000’s, the brand had lost much of its luster until it re-emerged as a hip alternative in 2005 when Mark Hellendrung purchased the company. It’s been a steady climb since then, with the company adding craft beers and building the new Providence brewery that just opened this summer at India Point Park.

Brooke Hobson, Community Manager at Narragansett, shared a little more about the partnership with Walden.

“It’s the Music Express IPA, the same 12 once can, and we’re using the ‘Where’s Waldo’ inspired poster which we’ve converted into a label for the can. It will be available here for the day of the show and Music Express IPA is also licensed in Massachusetts and Connecticut. We’re hoping to get it into those venues where the band is playing.”

The Brewery has sponsored local favorites Steve Smith and the Nakeds for years. The partnership with Walden continues the tradition of supporting live music, although the band certainly represents a younger demographic. Hobson described how the company shares Walden’s values.

“One of the more important things was finding a band that really aligns with our brand,” she explains. “So with Walden, other than the fact that they are quite talented, the tour was founded on adventure and spontaneity, going above and beyond to be creative. That’s really what we’re all about, in our history and going forward. We’re excited to see what they’re doing and excited to be a part of that.”

Meanwhile, Walden is already on the road. Their tour started on September 10th in Georgia and continues with concerts most nights. I spoke to the band as their tour bus crossed from South to North Carolina earlier this week. They were headed to the Down Yonder Farm for a show in North Carolina.

Inspired by the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Walden formed in 2012 in Athens, GA when the key members of the band were still in college. Their first show was in a Pizza Hut and they’ve since played major venues and festivals including Summerfest, Kaaboo, and two performances at Bonnaroo.

I wondered what inspired this tour.

“We just dreamed up this idea of seeing all 50 states, touring and playing shows in each of them,” said keyboardist/vocalist Eric Hangartner. “The true goal of this tour is to have fun with being a musician again, after a tough year during the pandemic. We just wanted to do what we love doing. So long as we hit that goal, no matter what, we’d be happy and thrilled about that.”

“Of course, we’d love to spread the word about this and would love for everyone in the United States to know about the ‘Where’s Walden’ tour, because we think it’s a fun idea. We’ve heard from a lot of friends, and even strangers who’ve told us that they’re really inspired by what we’re doing, that it’s helping them think more creatively and maybe get out of a rut they’re in and get excited,” Hangartner continued.

The idea of the partnership came about as the band was researching venues in the Providence area.

“When we reached out, the folks at Narragansett were not only excited about us playing, but were also excited about the tour concept. They wanted to take it a step further and create a collaborative beer, using our tour branding with their Music Express IPA, which we’ve heard is awesome and we’re excited to try.”

“That kind of out-of-the-box thinking is what we are trying to do on our end. We’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with them.”

You can check out Walden live on Friday September 24th at 8PM at the new Narragansett Brewery. Tickets available here.

Walden will also be playing O’Brien’s Pub in Boston Sunday September 26th. Tickets for the Boston show here.

For more on Walden, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.