Recommended if You Like
Bert Jansch Donovan Nick Drake

Genres You Will Love
Moods: Type: Acoustic Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Fingerstyle Easy Listening: Mood Music

By Location
UK - England - South West

Jake Walton

Jake Walton

I’ve always loved songs and singing. I was 4 years old when I got my first guitar, it was only a toy but many years later I would become the proud owner of a cherry red Gibson J-45. Since then I have never looked back.

It really started in the late 1950s; Radio Luxembourg was inspiring many would be young bands all over the country and so I started out first as a drummer before switching to guitar. During the 1960’s I remember complementing the vocalist of one band I was in (who was also writing a musical at the time) on his great Elvis impersonations. I advised him to concentrate more on his singing career, fortunately he ignored my advice and the following year ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ opened in the USA…. It turned out he was Tim Rice!

However! In the summers of the late 1960’s, I began to focus more on playing guitar and singing. I took my inspiration from the early albums of Bert Jansch and Donovan whose fingerstyle playing was so fresh and dynamic. It was then that I turned my attention to the Cornish folk scene and then later moved to London.

I've so many fond memories of those times in London, one for instance was when I was sharing a flat with John Bidwell ex C.O.B. and a member of Lazy Farmer. One night after leaving the Half Moon pub in Putney with him, Bert Jansch and some friends, I managed to walk straight into a brick wall. After taking me to an Indian restaurant just down the road, Bert poured me a large glass of wine as blood dripped from my forehead. He warned me of falling prey to some of the prevalent excesses of the time! “Never again!” I thought, but I will never forget his friendship, kindness and encouragement. Bert had just released his “Moonshine” album and the title track still remains one of my all-time favourite songs. I think he’s left us with a wonderful legacy of music.

In the early 70’s, I met Appalachian dulcimer player Roger Nicholson at the ‘Peeler’s’ folk club. This took me in a very different direction altogether because the dulcimer with its medieval looks and modal sound really caught my imagination. Roger was looking for someone to accompany him and I was happy to oblige. In a partnership that was to last for several years we toured the UK, USA and Europe, recording six LP’s together featuring Appalachian dulcimer, hurdy gurdy, guitar and vocals.

As for the hurdy gurdy! That began one night around 1975 in a Paris folk club. I was on tour with Roger and heard the gurdy (or 'vielle à roue' as the French call it) for the first time. Now I’d long been interested in the music of the 13th century troubadours and was captivated by its sound. I'd owned a symphonie for a couple of years but was determined to have a gurdy for myself. One of the gurdy players told me of a luthier, Christian Labourie who lived in the foothills of the Alps. A few months later and after a tour of Brittany with Roger, I set out in search of him. I travelled for three days in my little Citroen 2CV before I arrived and finally ordered a classical Saunier model from him. I collected it a year later and became one of the pioneers of the UK's hurdy gurdy revival. So the instrument with its thousand year history covering both middle and Eastern Europe provided the inspiration for many of my songs.

Back in 1973 I was fortunate to join legendary guitar player Wizz Jones in the band ‘Lazy Farmer’ along with his wife Sandy, Don Coging and John Bidwell. The music was primarily based around ‘Old Time’ American frailing banjo and I used the dulcimer almost exclusively with them. We only recorded one album together in Germany produced by the renowned Connie Plank; but I have fond memories of the long German tour that followed the albums release. It was wonderfully chaotic at times but definitely had its moments. That album is still available as a download to this day...

During the 1980s I went on to release two solo LPs, The Gloaming Grey and Sunlight and Shade before forming a successful partnership with Jez Lowe and recording Two A Roue which was Folk Roots #4 album of 1986. We toured extensively together throughout the UK, USA and Europe up until the end of the 1980s. I continued to play through Europe often with the Breton musician Eric Liorzou taking part in two ‘Irish festival’ tours through Germany and Switzerland (1991 and 2002) along with Altan and many others. The 1991 tour was to promote my first CD 'Songs from the Gurdy Man'. Wonderful times!..

I've continued to tour ever since, sometimes with old musical partner Jez Lowe or Eric Liorzou, but I still found time to produce an album in 2001 called Emain. This album features songs and tunes inspired by Celtic mythology, something very close to my heart. Long time ally Ralph McTell kindly wrote the leader notes and said …
“the words that most come to mind when others talk of Jake are those that speak of the purity of his intent. This is a beautifully wrought album…”

In 2013 I released Silver Muse, a compilation of songs spanning four decades. I re-recorded some of my old favourites along with some more recent compositions. These songs encompass myths and legends, the cycles of nature and our place within it and features some old colleagues and well as new friends. I have taken my inspiration from the mystic poets like W.B Yeats and George Russell (A.E) as well as others long forgotten. Take for instance the story of Tom O’ Bedlam, who was driven insane by his love for the muse who confronted the darker side of his psyche and becomes wise. Another example is the legend of Emain which echoes the Celtic people’s deep desire to seek the otherworld. These stories help me to reconnect and remember the time before we lost touch with the 'unseen'. In any event, I hope that these songs may act as a catalyst or inspiration for the listener and if nothing else may offer the chance to dream . . . . .
I hope you will enjoy it. To complement the album I have published a songbook called 'Sunlight and Shade' (Celtic Song Affairs) available from

Review of Silver Muse
Michael Moll of commented…
“Jake’s style is unique. The sound is incomparably poetic, harmonic, dreamy and full of beauty; An enchanting album well worth discovering”