MATT WALKER

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BAND OF BROTHERS....ALONE

 

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

 

 

Original cover as planned

 

 

Final cover as decided by record company

 

writing

the duo feels good

history - the early days

the cognac diaries

navigational skills

america west coast

matt saved by a

honky-tonk woman

the necessary few

dave mc comb

the rainbow hotel

band of brothers...alone

ghost who walks dog

 

 

 

 

 


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