Don Walker – Creativity & Blues

Arguably one of Australia’s most accomplished songwriters, Don Walker will be gracing the Blues on Broadbeach stage this May!

Born in Ayr North Queensland, Don began his music career as a member of and main songwriter for Cold Chisel between 1973 to 1983. From “Saturday Night” to “Cheap Wine”, “Khe Sahn” and “Flame Trees”, Don’s song writing credits are endless, and in 2012 he was officially inducted into the Australian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Whether it’s as a solo artist or as part of Cold Chisel, Catfish, and Tex, Don and Charlie, Don’s five-decade long career is certainly one of the greats in Australian music. To discuss his impressive resume, we had a chat with Don about song writing and blues.


How would you describe your ideal creative space? Somewhere peaceful in a quiet studio or maybe a cafe or pub? Or can inspiration strike anywhere for you?

Anywhere can be a creative space. Ian Moss has just recorded a beautiful performance of a song I wrote while inspecting an apartment for rent in Randwick one day in 2013. The shower’s a common flashpoint. Long-form dreaming can happen driving, especially at night. If I drink it’s almost always with other people, so that’s not much good for writing. Coffee is good. So is nicotine.


What song from your catalogue has taken on a new life or direction when performed live?

Harry was a Bad Bugger. I recorded this in 2005 with Charlie Owen and Jim White and Shane Walsh. Charlie played it as a dark acoustic ballad. When I brought it to my band Roy Payne backed the story with an electric baritone, which deepened things and added a lot of power.  Quite different.


What does blues music mean to you?

For a lot of people blues music is guitar solos. For me it’s always been singing, from a time in life when hope is extinguished, from those in the African descended culture of the US who lived through the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties of the last century. “My baby bought a ticket, long as my right arm”. Guitars are the accompaniment. My favourite blues guitar player is Hubert Sumlin, and that’s how he plays. My favourite male singer, of blues or anything else, is Howling Wolf.


Don will be releasing his fourth solo album “Lightning in a Clear Blue Sky” on Friday 5 May, before arriving at Broadbeach from 18-21 May. Check out the first single from the album called “You’ve Got To Move” below and start your countdowns for Blues on Broadbeach!

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