van norden is a songwriter, producer and serial collaborator
Walter Van Norden is a singer/songwriter visionary, arranger and producer, fearless in crossing and cross-pollinating genre bloodlines. The Vancouver-based artist and hyperactive serial collaborator is always working with a variety of songwriters and musicians as well as filmmakers and media artists. His creative process is often random and chaotic as he ignores genre boundaries and focuses on the song as the foundation for a multi-media experience. He’s a curious challenge for radio folks looking to place him; a singer-songwriter who also revels in the delicious irony of occasionally converting acoustic songs into electronic dance music!
All despite the man's avowal that what he does is essentially folk music; and whether it’s collaborating with EDM producers or working with seasoned veterans of the Southern California roots music scene, Van Norden’s approach is the same - the foundation of every Van Norden song is a lush acoustic guitar track.
This minimalist approach has led to some immaculately arranged and multi-layered tunes in which it can be hard to discern the original acoustic guitar track. Makes sense for a guy who, at age of three, heard Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which instilled a lasting impression of the power of music and a lifelong desire to create it. Growing up in a relatively remote part of the world that was reachable only by a single MOR radio station, Van Norden grew up with a broad and eclectic range of musical influences, but gravitated to the defining folk sounds of Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
In the summer of 2015, Van Norden released an EP of dance music tracks, including “Love At First Sight”, an EDM/pop track with big vocals and a triumphant chorus. Also released was hard dance remix of the song co-produced with Los Angeles-based EDM producers An_Hero.
Naturally, these tracks were followed up by a completely acoustic version of the same song. But all of these were merely teasers for the current full-length acoustic album “The Space Between”. The songs on this disc had been in development since 2013, when Van Norden began a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Americana music veteran Aubrey Richmond and producer Ted Russell Kamp to create an album of rootsy, guitar-driven singer-songwriter material, brought vigorously to life with vocals, harmonies, violin, dobro, mandolin and pedal steel.
“The Space Between” is an eclectic mix of coffee house folk music and country roots, a little bit of downtown and a whole lot of out-of-town, with a sense of the epic about it. Fronted by the duo of Van Norden and Richmond in the tradition of Cash and Carter, Buckingham and Nicks and of course The Civil Wars, this most recent Van Norden collaboration explores the “space between” us with songs of struggle, heartache and jubilance.
Trading vocals, harmonizing and sometimes downright confronting one another vocally, the music is anchored in Walter Van Norden’s acoustic guitar rhythms and features the virtuoso country fiddle playing and heartfelt vocals of the prodigiously talented Aubrey Richmond. Special guests on the album include John Ellis on Dobro and Eric Heywood (Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders, Ray Lamontagne) on pedal steel.
Violinist and vocalist Aubrey Richmond comes from a musical family and grew up in Northeast Washington. She took up the violin at age 5. Launching her professional career in Los Angeles, she joined the country bluegrass quartet Sugar in the Gourd and began playing regular session work and live gigs. Aubrey is currently touring as a member of Calico the Band, a Los Angeles-based Americana trio. In the summer of 2015 Calico released their debut album “Rancho California”. Her musical influences include Alison Krauss, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan.
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