Hey friends! I'm excited to announce the release date of the Rock House Project!
October 25 The Rock House Project will be available wherever digital music is sold.
Like most songwriters, Scott Walker often pens tunes addressing his environment and his experiences. But when that environment is the vast Texas landscape and those experiences include stints as a long-distance truck driver, fire safety technician, heavy equipment operator, ranch manager, welder, carpenter and farmer — not to mention recording studio designer, audio engineer and session and touring musician for top talents from Gary P. Nunn to Larry Joe Taylor — that’s some rich fodder for inspiration.
Walker poured plenty of it into the 10 songs on his new album, The Rock House Project, releasing Oct. 25, 2019. It’s named for the site where he chose to record: the Rio Grande Rock House, a former trading post in West Texas’ still-wild Big Bend country. Mexico is just across the river. Aside from mountains, high desert, critters and sky, there’s not much else as far as the eye can see. Or hear.
“I’ve always wanted to make a record at a remote location,” Walker says in the album liner notes. “For me, there’s no place more magical than the Chihuahuan Desert. The Big Bend was my stomping grounds in my 20s, when my mind was on fire with ideas and me and my compadres were wild and free.”
Walker characterizes The Rock House Project, which he coproduced with Bill Palmer, as “mostly good country songs and some good garage-band rock ‘n’ roll. Some foot stompers; some buckle shiners.”
“When you’re dancing slow and close,” he explains, “you’re shining each other’s belt buckles.”
Though it’s more midtempo than slow waltz, “The Lights Of Amarillo,” about a lonely truck driver, might allow for some buckle-buffing. But the driving beat of “I-35,” another truckin’ tune (about a guy who’s got a lady in every town), suggests that driver loves to pump his … gas pedal. Both were written, Walker says, “in the sleeper cab of a Peterbilt while I drove around America trying not to play music for a living.”
In “Glide Dyna Glide,” about his love affair with his first Harley, Walker revs his guitar-rock engines. As for the tango-textured “Déjà Vu,” if it inspires déjà vu, that’s because he first recorded it on his Wanderin’ Mind album, released in 2002. That album also includes a version of “Brother Tumbleweed,” the jaunty honky-tonk/western swing track that closes his new release.
But it was Nunn who first recorded that song, in 1996, for his Lloyd Maines-produced Under My Hat album, essentially launching Walker’s music career. (Walker actually got to play on the track, recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio.)
Walker learned to play guitar from his father as a kid growing up in Kingswood, northeast of Houston, then formed a high-school band with buddies Davin James and Paul Logan. While studying geology at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, he began writing songs and performing in a local bar.
“I did pretty good in school, until I started gigging,” Walker confesses; he refers to that period as his “wild west days.” He started playing the Texas festival campfire circuit, and eventually met Nunn. That led to gigs on the Texas/Red Dirt circuit with Nunn, Ely, James, Larry Joe Taylor, Rusty Wier, Steve Fromholtz, Chris Wall and Owen Temple.
“I got a reputation as a bass player who could learn songs fast,” he says. In 2010, he started touring with his own band, and in 2016, he decided he wanted to record some songs. So he called old pal Logan (acoustic guitar, harmonies) and brothers John and Jim Axberg, his “honky-tonk heroes” from those wild-west days, to play drums and bass respectively. Other contributors include Jon Graboff (steel and Weissenborn guitars, mandolin); John Simmons (resonator guitar, harmonica); Clayton Jones (pianos); Karina Wilson (violin); Steve Nathanson (drums and percussion); Sarah Burton and Chet O’Keefe (harmonies). Walker plays acoustic, electric and bass guitars and accordion. Palmer contributes harmonies and tambourine.
During the two weeks he and his core players spent at the Rock House, Walker fell in love again with West Texas, just as an oil pipeline was tearing through his East Texas land. He and his wife decided to leave his home of 30 years and move to Terlingua, where they’re building a recording studio and turning an historic old building, the Frontier, into a honky-tonk.
Walker touches on these changes in the harmonica-infused tune, “Find My Way.”
“Turns out this song is about me, but I didn’t know it,” he admits. “Part of me has always wanted to live in the desert, but I wrote that song before I ever dreamed I would move here. Now that I’m here, I know I’m home. I’ve always been trying to find my way back home.”
Media Contact: Heidi Labensart, 512.698.2621, Heidi@mcguckinpr.com