New Zealand-born Sydney resident Jason Walker has a long history in Australian music, performing in various bands, acting as a writer, steel guitarist, singer and lead player. All-Night Ghost Town is his first solo effort, yet it’s clearly the work of a mature artist. The songs sound ripe and unhurried, the work of someone who has taken care and time to write and chosen just the right songs at the right time.
Walker’s voice is on the crooning side of country, still with an edge that means he’d be at home on rural pub stages just as much as city clubs. His songs are evocative stories of people who seem to like around the edges and in the cracks, asserting that ‘twilight is the loneliest time of day’ and that ‘love is just another word for what becomes habitual’. Yet Walker’s talk on these characters isn’t maudlin: there’s no pity there, just regard.
The album was produced by Shane Nicholson, who has taken his usual care with it and brought out the best version of the artist. As a producer, this appears to be one of his great strengths: identifying what’s unique about each artist and placing it at the core of their recorded music while making sure that everything around it works to support it.
For all that All-Night Ghost Town is the result of three decades in music, it sounds like the start of something. No doubt Walker has more songs tucked away and more stories to tell, so it probably won’t be long before we see another great album.
All-Night Ghost Town is out now through Lost Highway Australia/Universal.