'The album is awesome' Roots Highway Duncan Walters started life in a town in Southern Ohio near the Kentucky border, but grew up in the Green Mountains. He picked up the guitar in grammar school and, by the time he was in high school, was focused on the works of Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark, Ray Wiley Hubbard and other Texas mavericks - years before he made Texas his home. 'I hated pop music and always have,' Walters says. 'While everyone else was listening to Led Zep I was learning tunes by Bob Wills, Jerry Jeff Walker and Waylon and Willie; before they were outlaws.' After he got out of high school, Walters traveled up and down the east coast playing the Texas music he loved in honky tonks and biker bars as a duo - Walters on acoustic guitar with a bass player. He was also writing songs, but none he considered 'keepers.' I couldn't write serious songs about life, because I didn't have any experience to draw upon. You can't write a song like [Jerry Jeff Walker¹s] 'Mr. Bo Jangles' if you haven't been in jail to meet him.' After playing music seriously for about five years, Walters went back to college, married, started a family and worked various day jobs to support them. A few years ago, a Doc Watson performance he caught at a bluegrass festival lit the fuse that led to the explosion of creativity that resulted in Northern Rain, his 2003 debut. 'I'd always wanted to make an album,' Walters recalls. 'I had to drop out of music in my 20s due to family issues, but Seeing Doc Watson made me remember how timeless a good song and good music can be.' Walters sat down with his guitar and the tunes came pouring out, almost writing themselves. 'I stopped listening to music, found my own style and wrote and recorded 11 songs in about seven months. The songs had ever been performed for anyone prior to recording them. The whole process was really spontaneous.' Northern Rain was recorded live in the studio, in glorious analogue sound, with only a few overdubs. Most of the tracks went live from the studio board to the mix down CD, with no computer intervention or editing. Walters used the same technique during the production of Guardian. 'We used computers as little as possible. Over the years, the music industry has desensitized people to the power of a good song,' Walters says. 'I'd like to help turn it around again, to use what little influence I have to get back to real music, with real feeling. Everyone I've ever met in the songwriting business always emphasizes keeping away from poetry. I try to do just the opposite. Not to be different, it's just what I like.'
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