Don Walker, of Cold Chisel fame, has released his third solo album Hully Gully.
Don Walker, of Cold Chisel fame, has released his third solo album Hully Gully. Bleddyn Butcher - Contributed by Chrissie Vincent PR

Don Walker treats Muster fans to songwriting session

ASPIRING and experienced songwriters alike will be treated to a rare songwriting session with Cold Chisel's Don Walker at the Gympie Muster.

The man behind hits like Cheap Wine, Khe Sanh, Flame Trees and Saturday Night is taking part in a songwriting session, moderated by music journalist Noel Mengel, at The Grove on Saturday at 2.15pm.

"Jeff Chandler (Muster artist services manager) asked me to do a songwriters session, which I don't do," Walker told The Times.

"This will only be the third songwriters session I've done in my whole history. The other two were one in Darwin and one in Cairns. They were years ago, years apart and both to Aboriginal musicians."

So why has a man widely regarded as one of Australia's best songwriters, and a recent inductee into the Australian Songwriter's Hall of Fame, only done two songwriting sessions in a career spanning more than 40 years?

"You know, I don't know how much knowledge I can impart. I don't know how much knowledge I have," he said.

"I have no trouble talking my head off for an hour, but whether or not the people who are there are any closer to writing a good song, if they weren't already, I couldn't say. You'd have to ask them. Jeff is a very, very old mate. We don't owe each other favours, but if he asks me to do something I'll do it."

Walker's Saturday-night show will feature five songs from his new solo album, Hully Gully, which was released last week.

A collection of songs written over the past 10 years, Hully Gully is a rollicking collection of rockabilly tracks with an underlying sense of wry humour.

"There's a bit of that in everything we do," he said.

"There's a big element of doing it for our own fun."

Played and recorded live, Hully Gully's tracks are finely crafted but still have a sense of rawness, like Walker counting the band in at the start of The Perfect Crime.

"I love that frame of mind that you get into where it's actually happening now, where you're not doing a rehearsal. This isn't the first of 57 takes," Walker said.

"Everybody is in that frame of mind on stage every night. Nobody stops a song halfway through in the middle of a show and says 'let's do that again'. When you're doing a song in front of people it's now, your one chance to play it. There's a certain intensity in that. Why not do that in the studio too?"

Walker and his band only did a maximum of three takes on any song.

"A lot of the things you hear on the album we only did once," he said.

"Young Girls we only did it once.

"The beauty of recording together is you're reacting to what people are doing in real time. You can't do that in overdub."

Walker will also be performing with his band the SFs in the Blues & Roots Bar on Saturday at 6.30pm, The Grove on Sunday at 3.15pm and as part of the Slim Dusty Tribute on the Main Stage on Sunday at 5.45pm.