MATT WALKER

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Unknown Country

Broderick Smith

 

 

Producer: Matt Walker

Engineer: Dave Manton

Studio: the 8-Track Shack

Mixed: by Dave Manton and Matt Walker at Red Rocket Studio, Hawthorn

Mastered: by Adam Dempsey at Jack the Bear's Deluxe Mastering, Brunswick

 

Song sample: click here (6.44MB)

 

More Information: click here

 

Pre-order the album at discount price: click here

 

Brod writes ...

I've known Matt since he was 18.
He was one of the rare ones that you stumble upon over the years.
The ones who know who they are and play accordingly.
Most folks take a lifetime to find their voice but Matt seems to have found his from the beginning.
I won't compare him to anybody like you normally do with most musicians because he's an original and I've heard some young players from the States who emulate him!

This album took a long time as most of mine do.
Life got in the way for both of us but we finally got it done.
We didn't spend too  much time on making it but a lot on talking and waiting for folks to be available.
What you hear are based pretty much on first takes with the original vocal and guitar track.
"The Ring  for example is one take. That's it. Just Matt n' me.
As usual with albums there were friendly arguments about parts, production values etc.
On one side you had me, a battered old hand who'd done 10 albums as a solo, six in a band and countless sessions, and somewhat crazy. A manager's nightmare.

On the other side you had Matt with albums to his credit, as an artist and a producer, an understanding of the world,  a strong vision and the habit of trying to win arguments by continuously talking at you with no break so you couldn't get a word in.
Obviously you wait until the end and put in a quick " No."
Most times Matt won.

I enjoy working with Matt because we think alike a lot (not always...Matt told me he likes Pink ) Hah hah.

And also I consider his family to be my family.

Broderick Smith

 

Words from Matt

 

The beginnings of Unknown Country were a collection of demos I had written with Brod around 2006. A handful of songs that seemed to be a departure from his previous work, they kept calling me back…wondering when their potential would be further investigated. Bad Star and Walk into my Soul showed a depth and imagery that reminded me why I love working with Brod so much. He is his own man.

It seemed obvious to me that the album needed to focus on Brod’s story-telling and his turn of phrase. The voice needed to be featured…It needed to be taking up a lot of the sonic space…The Johnny Cash albums produced by Rick Rubin were a huge inspiration to me and that’s how I wanted to approach Unknown Country.

So a couple of years go by, as they do and Brod and I start getting serious. “Let’s do this!” In 2008 in the space of a couple of months we wrote the majority of the album. For something that was sitting on the shelf for so long, it finally came together in a very short time. I called in Dave Manton to engineer the sessions and we recorded the album in the 8-Track Shack over five days.

I went over the songs with Shannon Bourne, who had been gigging with Brod. Shannon slotted in perfectly, his dexterity providing a foil for my lack of it. Grant Cummerford helped out on a few tracks playing bass. We played the songs mostly live with Brod in the room. Tapping into the lyrics we headed into “unknown country” with acoustic guitars, pump organ and harmonica.

I had written the music to the title track just after reading The Road by Cormack McCarthy and the weight of the song seemed to bleed into the whole recording. Brod wandered from place to place within the tracks, but all the time we were a band of brothers…alone.

As is the way of recording, there were a couple of songs that teetered from side to side as they found their strength and focus. The powerful ode to boxing titled The Ring came together as Brod spat the words out and I slammed an old Les Paul. The contrasts and scope of this album became more apparent the further we delved.

Around this time Brod and I talked about the idea of asking Garth Hudson to play on some tracks. They had worked together many moons ago and through the internet had kept in touch. So after some kind assistance from Vic Rocks we were able to include Garth on this album. He plays some atmospheres on the title track and Bad Star, while on Jack Napoleon from Cape Grim and What Goes Down Garth gets loose on the accordion.

The album was now frighteningly close! Being careful not to over-ice the cake, we asked Laurie Ernst to play some percussion and add some harmonies. That done, it was then off to Red Rocket Studio for the final mix.

Well, now it’s completed. The album I’ve wanted to make for some time is now finished. I thank Brod for the trust he gave me and the opportunity to produce this album for him.

Matt Walker

 

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