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'Straight Jacket Vacation'
(AOR Heaven)
Release date: 2nd September 2013

Liz Medhurst

liz medhurst

brett walker

Brett Walker signed a new deal with AOR Heaven for the release of his solo album 'Straight Jacket Vacation' and then on 8th July, shortly before its release, he died suddenly and unexpectedly.

From working as a "hired gun" musician in LA through to performing at Disneyland, writing for big AOR names such as Jimi Jamison and having his music heard on TV shows such as CSI Miami and Sex And The City, the majority of his work came to prominence under someone else's name. This album, recorded at Panic Room Records in Laguna Beach, is firmly his own offering and identity and is being released with the blessing of his family.

It's always tricky listening to art for the first time after hearing the artist has just died. Whether intended or not, it's automatic to start treating it as an epitaph. So when songs such as 'More Than I' start with the words "I wanna live, I wanna try to really reach the other side" and 'Someday I'm Gonna Be Famous' talks about the possibility to "end up like Kurt Cobain" it does add an extra poignancy that may not have been picked up on when listening in happier circumstances.

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Getting away from this aspect though, what we are left with is an album that is classic in the sense that it has all of the components of its genre, solid enough in the songwriting and performance, but there isn't really anything outstanding or different enough to be viewed as a classic album in the future. It's all rather nice and respectful – nothing wrong with that of course, in its place.

This is firmly AOR and melodic rock on the lighter side of the scale in production, and the songs are certainly stable enough. Brett himself provides the majority of the vocals and instrumentation, bringing in session players for drums and occasional guitar and keyboard duties. When these are the calibre of Mugs Cain, (Sammy Hagar, Legendary) and Timothy Drury (Whitesnake) you know that you are going to be in safe hands and hear some tight performances.

There are some very good tracks here - 'What About You' is a classic ballad, underpinned by a good beat. 'Waiting For Love' is his own version of the song which he wrote for Atlas in 1991 and became a Top 10 international hit. 'I'm Gonna Fly' is the best of the lot – it has a great structure and would work brilliantly if it were to hang up its AOR jacket and go off to play with someone like Airborne who could rock it up and show it a good time.

brett walker

Throughout, Brett's voice is suitably gravelly and varied in tone and he sings like he means it and doesn't get lost in the mix. This is a confident singer-songwriter who knows what he is doing and it is clear that if he had stayed longer there would have been plenty more to come.

According to an update on his Facebook page Brett Walker died peacefully in his sleep – he wasn't ill, it was just his time to go. He has left behind a large and respected body of work in the laid back, singer-songwriter, Americana field. This final album is a fitting epitaph and legacy – RIP Brett.

Track Listing:
01 Reaching For The Stars
02 What About You
03 Better Than Goodbye
04 Streetlights Burning 
05 I'll Bet It Hurts 
06 More Than I
07 Good Enough 
08 Waiting For Love
  09 I'm Gonna Fly
10 So Happy I'm Cryin
11 (Lady) Unlucky At Love
  12 Someday I'm Gonna Be Famous

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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