It’s been a long time, a decade in fact, since much admired singer-songwriter Van Walker released an album under his own name. Thankfully, that’s about to change with the release of ‘Ghosting’, out August 28. From the first lines of opening track ‘Above As Below’ – you realise how great it is to hear Walker out front and centre, singing possibly his most personal songs to date in intimate, stripped back format. That warm, gruff and knowing voice is still there; along with those acclaimed songwriting chops. The master songsmith has lost none of his edge; even if life, love and other catastrophes have taken their toll on this talented artist in the past decade.
Although he’s been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Oscar Wilde, Walker referenced another literary legend in DH Lawrence while in the process of putting together the press kit for ‘Ghosting’. “…One of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.”
As Walker explains “Ghosting began around 2015 with Jeff Lang, not long after my long term relationship suddenly ended. And not long after we started the album I had what might be called a breakdown, an episode of extreme exhaustion with an immediate need for deep rest and recuperation. I’d run myself into the ground with work and self-recrimination, and although I thought I’d been through the worst of it, I eventually came to realise I hadn’t even got near the worst part.”
“So I was more profoundly wounded than I realised and I’d been self medicatingmore than usual (and not sleeping) and one night on the road it just all shut down and I couldn’t go on. I officially burnt out, and there wasn’t a light there again for a while. I mean, the actual breakdown probably only lasted a couple of weeks but the recovery took years and it wasn’t until 2019 that I finally could finish the album with Dave Walker.”
A work of stark beauty and bracing, oftentimes painful honesty, ‘Ghosting’ is a mature and cathartic collection of songs welcoming the listener into an intimate, warm-hearted and ultimately redeeming musical journey from one of Australia’s most talented singer-songwriters
Van Walker Ghosting pre-save link: www.ditto.fm/ghosting-van-walker