VAN WALKER ‘Ghosting’

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Originally from Burnie in Tasmania, Van has been a warmly embraced & revered singer songwriter here in Melbourne for well nigh 20 years now….who we now claim as our own!  After a seriously fruitful writing & recording period, delivering five solo albums in three years this new album Ghosting took five years from when he first put pen to paper in 2015 to the recent final recordings. It’s been a long, difficult and life-changing experience for the Bush League Bard, the title of his last solo album in 2010.

“When my relationship broke down with my partner I recorded some songs, about 40 songs … I was just testing stuff out to see what was happening,” he said. “I kept touring, to make a living, but it got to a point where I was burnt out pretty badly and had to have some time off. I had to quieten down a bit.”

Melbourne’s celebrated live music scene, which has obviously fallen silent since March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions came into force, was until a few years ago the ideal location for Walker. When he wasn’t performing solo he was fronting one of several bands, including foot-to-the-floor, loud and fast rockers Swedish Magazines and more recently the Heartbrokers with fellow guitarist Jeff Lang.  Another band, powerpop group the Livingstone Daisies, released a couple of albums and became another favourite on the local scene, but as the gigs kept coming, Walker’s late-night lifestyle was unravelling. Emotionally exhausted as well as physically battered from constantly playing shows, Walker quit Melbourne and moved to Geelong for desperately needed breathing space.

“About a year had passed when I started writing more songs and a theme emerged, it was part of my recovery really, to put this record together. It’s been a long, slow, eyes-on-the-prize kind of thing. I had to climb out of a hole and that process is still happening, but I’ve made some healthy changes in my life.”

“The albums pretty stripped back and confessional, so you don’t want too many instruments, but JEFF LANG‘s on there and MATT WALKER & SHANE REILLY of LOST RAGAS,  MITCH DILLON and a dobro [resonator guitar] player DAN MUSIL (who I met at a gig, fantastic dobro player!). CHELSEA STEWART too, doing some backing vocals.”  He admits the album is a little “dark and sort of sad” in places but hopes men, in particular, might grasp the message there can be “silver linings to anything that happens” and be awake to positive change.  “As a songwriter you rely on your obsessions and your eccentricities, you write about what you know and that’s what you have to offer”.

Currently on high rotation on BD’s ‘turntable’  & we can absolutely assure you….It’s AMAZING….Van is one hell of a songwriter…and whilst not an upbeat party album…this is a supremely honest, relatable, musical hooray & homage to life’s ‘curved balls’ & how we respond to them..how we all learn from life’s experiences … & hopefully grow into our ‘better selves’.    Ably supported by his friends who just also happen to be supreme musicians…it’s not a ‘navel gazing’ album….it’s simply a GREAT ONE & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Martin Boulton

Martin Boulton is EG Editor at The Age and Shortlist Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald