Breaking the Drought - By Matt Connors


Aside from a few gigs last year alongside guitar supremo Jeff Lang, it's been six long years since Don Walker last graced a Brisbane stage in his own right.
In between working on material for a forthcoming album, Walker's done us all a favour and decided to break his long Brisbane drought. Even better, he's hooked up for the occasion with old mate and pedal steel player, Charlie Owen.
"Garrett Costigan, our normal pedal steel player, can't do the gig so Charlie's going to fill in for him," Walker reiterates. "I haven't played with Charlie for about two years. In the last 12 months, Red Rivers has been playing guitar in the band and Charlie seems to be very busy working with Tex and with the Working Class Ringos."
For longtime fans of Walker, this weekend's gig will be an enticing mix of old gems and new, unheard beauties.
"About 50% of the stuff we're doing at the moment is new. I haven't made an album of my own for about 5 years now, so there's been a fair bit of writing gone in the meantime. We have a new one half-recorded... so about 50% of the set I'm doing at the moment is songs that are unreleased."
Walker is recording his new album - tentatively titled Cutting Back - with engineer/producer Phil Punch at Sydney's Electric Avenue Studio. He hopes to release it early next year.
"While we've been recording it since last November, I've actually only done about 5 days recording," Walker says. "When we get back to Sydney [after his Brisbane gig] we're going to do another 2 days recording and hopefully that'll finish off the main bones of it."
His new material also appears to be heading in an interesting direction.
"I've been mucking around with something that's half way between songs & storytelling -trying to figure out how do that over the last few years. There's been a bit of an evolution in Red's [guitar] sound... towards the electric blues end of things. The rest of the evolution is not thought out, it's just something that other people will see a lot more clearly than me."
Coinciding with the new album, Walker hopes to launch another project close to his heart.
"I've been doing a lot of writing that's not songs. It's connected with the album and some of the story songs. It doesn't necessarily look like a book, but I want to get it out in some form: maybe a spoken word CD with some musical collaboration or it might be a website."
Finally, Walker implores his fans to get along and see support band Sunday Drive, featuring his niece & nephew, Jamie & Miles Walker.
"I haven't heard any of their stuff, but reports I've had from people who are objective & not related to them are that they're pretty good."

2001 Time Off 22/8/1



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