Walt Cronin’s release of California I Gotta Run, his third album, follows 2005’s The Gousters and 2008’s somewhat redundantly titled Walt Cronin – The Gousters. As with the previous records, California I Gotta Run features a spectrum of Americana/folk influences: Walt proudly emulates the tradition of his heroes such as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, John Prine and Steve Earle. As an artist, Walt came into his own at the tender age of 50. A lifetime of experiences (including a stint as a medic during the Vietnam War and a subsequent semi-nomadic life) provide ample inspiration for subject matter in the numerous songs in his repertoire.
Walt spent over a year writing and crafting songs for California I Gotta Run before bringing them to his producer, Martin Beal of The Racket Room in Santa Ana, CA. Walt and Martin spent several months on and off in the studio fine tuning and enhancing the 13 songs. Walt’s goal was to reflect the sincerity of folk music history while placing the songs in a contemporary setting. The collaborators achieved their aims with Martin providing detailed arrangements and a fine editing ear while playing a myriad of instruments (guitars, keyboards, bass, mandolin, melodica, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, percussion, as well as performing all drum programming).
The songs on the new album deal with a range of very personal, introspective issues, some dark and troubled (relationships tainted by substance abuse), some benevolent and almost fatherly (respectful, heartfelt advice to today’s returning war veterans from someone who has been there), some whimsical (a 1950s-flavored teenage love story). Overall, the album is largely formed by the hope Walt has found by facing the persistent demons from his wartime experience.“Awake In A Dream” is an ethereal voyage of the mind and heart, soaring the listener into an almost transcendental state. Walt’s long time love for his wife shows in other beautiful songs such as “Together We’ll Be,” and “Shining Through.” “Angel Wings” is inspired by his Grandfather’s philosophy of life. “A Boy Of Purest Wonder” is the story of a young man reaching for his dreams in a time long past. “California I Gotta Run” is about fulfilling a dream of rural simplicity. All the songs, whether whimsical, heartfelt or laced with grim regret, are woven with the care of Walt’s quality story-telling and songwriting and are beautifully arranged and produced with friend Martin Beal. Listeners will be entranced listening to Walt’s stories on California I Gotta Run.
“The success of my first CD, The Gousters, as an independent release was incredibly gratifying.” says Walt. Walt made all 13 songs on The Gousters available for free downloading on www.thegousters.com. It has remained a favorite on the independent folk radio circuit with songs such as “Make Me A Kinder Man” and “Only Eighteen”, a memoir of his time in Vietnam. The Gousters remained in the top 50 for 60 weeks on Roots Music Report.
Walt’s second album, Walt Cronin - The Gousters, garnered flattering reviews from Beeb Ashcroft of Indie-music.com and Sharon Lunsford of The Back Porch News. “Tender and introspective songs with the kind of realness and authenticity that is becoming quite rare.” said Ashcroft.
Walt’s third independent release shows a significant growth in Walt’s songwriting gifts. “ I think this is my best work yet, ” quotes Walt. “I hope you’ll feel the same,” he adds.