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Jason Walker and The Last Drinks | Ashes & Wine (Laughing Outlaw)
In which Jason Walker, one-time member of Aussie troubadours Golden Rough, becomes - just for one night only, Matthew - Mick Jagger's younger brother on the (appropriately titled) Dissatisfaction. 'Ashes & Wine' is the album where Walker exercises his love of Ryan Adams and Gram Parsons, and then some. This album has muscle; songs like You're On Your Own and Listening Out For Our Song grab you by the throat and demand to be heard while Helpless Guy cranks up the lacrymose content with its big men do cry harmonies and pedal steel that gives it classic country tale status. 'Ashes & Wine' - mixed, produced and engineered by the ubiquitous Michael Carpenter - ups the ante from Walker's previous album, 'Stranger To Someone'. For a start Walker has written, or co-written with Carpenter, all the songs, where previously he had penned only four. The difference is threefold: Walker sounds more confident, the band behind him is tight and powerful, and the overall sound has more punch and drama. Occasionally, you get the feeling Walker is doing just a little too much to make his point, but in the main it works: 'Ashes & Wine' has a gritty rawness that should elevate Walker onto the same level as the people he so obviously admires.

John Stacey
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003