The follow up to Walker’s critically acclaimed debut “Stranger to Someone” fulfils all expectations that he is one of Australia’s finest alt country artist.
Jason Walker is not a guy that many people would once have associated with a strong work ethic. “Yeah, it’s true – I did get fired from a lot of jobs over the years,” he says, grinning ruefully. “It’s a struggle to get anything out of me. But music has always been the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do for a living.”
Given that in the last three years Walker has turned out a best selling biography of Gram Parsons – ‘God’s Own Singer’ (Helter Skelter) and released two albums ‘Stranger To Someone’ and now ‘Ashes & Wine’ (both available on Laughing Outlaw Records) as well as having toured the United States and the United Kingdom twice, it would appear that he’s being either modest or disingenuous.
‘Ashes & Wine’ reflects the time he spent travelling by himself to all kinds of places. “It’s an album of songs written while on trains and in other people’s cars – not bitching about being on the road, because I love that – but it’s about looking at things from a distance, looking at the people I love. Some people would be mortified to think I might write a song about them but I would never waste time on someone I didn’t care about.”
Having enjoyed much critical acclaim for his previous album, ‘Stranger To Someone’ and its high production values courtesy of Michael Carpenter, Walker returned to Stagefright Studios and began working on the follow-up album. Over 26 days, with a month and a half off in the middle to allow Carpenter to embark on his own UK & US tour, the pair completed the album at the beginning of August.
Consisting entirely of new songs penned by Walker, some of which came to him on his overseas tour last year, while supporting Jay Farrar of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt fame, ‘Ashes & Wine’, is a classic in waiting. The tales of lost love and frustration on this new record show an increasing depth of maturity and song-writing skill, that is quickly marking Walker as a great new talent.
With his new band backing him on record for the first time – Worth Wagers (ex-US bands The Moviegoers and Cow Lily) on guitar and sweet harmonies, Andrew Lay (ex-Golden Rough) on drums with a plethora of beats, Brian Crouch (Golden Rough) with that magic keyboard of many sounds, Dave Keys (Soap Star Joe) on bass and of course Jason Walker, with the finely crafted songs, on lead vocals and guitar, The Last Drinks are an impressive line up indeed. Jason Walker says “The Last Drinks are in great form at the moment – I am so happy by the work they did on the album – it is just sensational! Michael Carpenter as producer has helped me to reach out beyond myself and to explore new areas in my music. I think people will be surprised, and I hope happy, with the result.”
“Most of the albums I really dig are by bands or singers who can write across styles, who can handle a little country without sounding jive or who can boogie without being dumb about it. Wilco can do it, the Stones did it, the Faces, You Am I.”
Equalling in some style, the work of such inspirational figures, every song on ‘Ashes & Wine’ is different in its scope and vision, from opener ‘You’re On Your Own’s early 70s country pop vitality to the Stonesy thrust and parry of songs like ‘Dissatisfaction’ and ‘Let Down’ or the peak-period Neil Young & Crazy Horse inspired crunch of ‘Save Your Tears’.
1. You’re On Your Own
4. Listening Out For Our Song
5. Helpless Guy (Every Moment With You)
6. Last Drinks
8. Not Only Love
9. Dead Leaves
10. Drown In That River
11. Please Save Your Tears
12. Looking Out