The musical pairing of father-daughter folk duo Bob and Una Walkenhorst is a real treat for fans of harmony-rich, socially conscious folk music. A member of The Rainmakers since 1983, Bob Walkenhorst is an accomplished musician, songwriter and painter. Una is a recognized artist in her own right, releasing her debut album Scars in 2015. The duo released their acclaimed debut album For Tomorrow in late 2018. In this interview, Una and Bob describe how their musical collaboration came about and what's ahead for them in 2019.
Una, when we first interviewed you back in 2015 you were in the middle of a self-guided tour of North America. You had just released your first album, Scars, and had set out on the road on your own as an act of musical and self discovery. Almost four years have passed since Scars. How do you feel about that album now? What did you learn from writing those songs and recording that album that helped bring shape to where you are now as an artist?
U: That first album was really a jumping off point for me. I had collected all these songs between the ages of 15 and 21 and I had absolutely no idea what to do with them. Between that and the fact that I had no training and had only played a couple of these songs live, I think Scars captures a real innocence and vulnerability in both the songwriting and the presentation. Having a fairly raw album like that showed me that even if I never became a pro at the technical stuff, I could still get a lot across with a well written song that’s honest and real. Going through that recording process with my dad also made it a little less intimidating to go back into the studio with him in 2018 since we had worked with a similar set up before.
Talk about how you both approached For Tomorrow from a songwriting perspective. What did you both learn about each other’s creative process that you didn’t know before?
B: Una and I each wrote five songs for the album, separately from each other. We had hoped to collaborate on the writing, but found that neither of our brains work that way. I think we both tend to hear the songs in our imagination, bring them into focus, and do most of the writing work without ever touching a guitar or pen.
U: We would often write songs separately, then workshop them together to fit our voices. I learned that my dad often goes for long walks when he has writers block and that he almost always starts with a title before writing a song.
How quickly did For Tomorrow come together in the studio? Were there any unforeseen challenges and how did you move through them?
U: I moved back to Kansas City from New Orleans at the end of January. At that point, I think we had maybe four or five songs. We took those to Folk Alliance in February, played them like crazy, and then continued writing and began the recording process in March. We practiced and recorded several times a week and wrapped up just about the 1st of June.
B: We rehearsed the songs very thoroughly before recording. We wanted them to sound complete with just two voices, two guitars. So when recording started, we had a pretty clear idea of what the songs should FEEL like, not just sound like. We wanted to maintain a very intimate sound, so very little was added. If I may brag, Una is such a good singer. We did two or three takes on her vocal parts. Her heartbreaking vocal on Afraid of the Rain was first and only take. Recording really was pretty easy. Going through all the technical requirements to press vinyl was the biggest challenge.
What music are you both currently raving about?
U: Some of my favorites from 2018 are:
"Bite the Hand by Boy Genius
"Childhood Goodbye" by Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
B: Leonard Cohen's final record - You Want it Darker. Geez, to be that poetic, funny, musical, imaginative at age 82.
What’s ahead for you in 2019?
All upcoming duo dates can be found at
All upcoming solo Una dates can be found at
Our album can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and wherever else music is available. We also have CDs and vinyl available at Records with Merritt, Vinyl Renaissance, and FM Music!