NORM WALKER - ORIGINAL & TRADITIONAL MUSIC
Norm Walker doesn't call himself a storyteller but rather a "story-singer". Even so, the storytelling communities, locally and nationally, have embraced what he does as within the realm of what they call "storytelling". Some call him a "contemporary folk singer". Whatever you call him, at the very least he is an "entertainer" who uses music and stories as his main vehicles, often with tongue in cheek.
Norm receives much of his inspiration from folk tales, urban legends, true stories and even internet office jokes. He then tries to find the balance of poetic lyrics best suited to an appropriate melody and style based on the musical influences that have most touched him. Those musical influences cover a broad range of styles: British and Irish traditional, old-time, American, western, cowboy, swing and old popular songs (from 78 records). As a result, he is a bit difficult to pigeon-hole in terms of describing his style of music. Generally, horizons are broadened as the songs he writes are sometimes ... unusual.
Norm’s approach to music is predominantly acoustic, and he has an uncanny ability to marry words with music to sing true stories, recount folk tales and spin yarns. His ability to weave stories with humour leaves audiences chuckling and humming punch lines long after the concert is over. His songs cover a variety of themes, including urban legends, electrical theory, the Saskatchewan Prairie, gardening, apostrophe abuse, politics, and community. Some of these songs are serious; others are not. The result is that "seldom is heard a discouraging word" and if you can't at least smile at some of these story-songs, there's probably something wrong with your face.
Norm Walker is no stranger to folk music. Not only has he had a long-time association with organizing folk music and storytelling concerts and festivals in Regina and area, but he has also been a performing singer, songwriter and musician, accompanying himself and others on guitar, mandolin and more recently the Strumstick (he calls it the anorectic dulcimer). He has been a featured guest on CBC Radio's Basic Black (with Arthur Black) and also Disc Drive (with Jurgen Goth) and performed from coast to coast but mostly in western Canada.
Over the years, Norm has been a member of various Regina-based Celtic music groups. He has performed solo and with other musician friends at numerous coffeehouses, benefits, political events, restaurants, nursing homes, concerts and events. If you’re ever in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on a Friday night in September or October, you’ll likely find him and one of his music partners, Ken Dormer, strolling from table to table as the Ye Olde Wandering Minstrels at Hopkins’ Dining Palour for the medieval feast nights where anything can happen musically, from very old to the very new.
He released his debut recording in 2002, "T" Time - Time Tested Tales, Tall and True which is mostly a collection of original story-oriented songs, many of which are based on urban legends and folk tales. Penguin Eggs magazine describes him as a "songwriter somewhat in the tradition of a Canadian Tom Lehrer". Since that time he has written many songs (some unrecorded as of yet) expanding on the approaches he began with the "T" Time recording.
2011 brought the release of a new CD, Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts, 16 songs and close to 67 minutes of an eclectic collection of stylistically varied and mostly (all but one) original songs. There’s country humour, urban legends, true stories, thoughtful reflection, politics, reverence and a bit of irreverence too.
Norm, an electrician by trade, currently teaches in the Electrician Apprenticeship Training Program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.