Brenda Walker plays at the 2016 Diamond Music Festival at the end of July. (Angie Boyd McDonald)

A Tune Achin’ For Words: The Music Of Brenda Walker

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Sometimes art has an incubation period. For local singer-songwriter Brenda Walker’s debut release, Goosebumps, that period was several decades in length.

Born right here in Southeast Ohio, Walker’s career(s) have driven her all over the state. After retiring in 2012, Walker found herself officially back where she grew up and the farm that her family has owned for several generations. Once returned to the area in which she grew into adulthood, Walker decided to explore her creative talents, which happened to manifest themselves in the form of songwriting.

Walker is a student of Nick Collura, owner of the Insea Sound Shop in Nelsonville, a studio and instrument emporium that has churned out more than it’s share of confident musicians.

“After a couple of months of working with me, Nick asked if I was ever going to sing,” said Walker. “And the next week I came in and I barely mumbled I was so shy.”

Slowly but surely Walker overcame her reluctance to use her voice, the result being a growing discography of songs that cover everything from loss, love and familial roots.

So far as the creation of Goosebumps, Walker said that penning the album was a gradual process.

“The songs on the album have been written over the past two years or so,” said Walker. “To me, the first one that really ‘sounded like a song’ was “Island 21,” and that one I wrote back in February 2014.”

As someone who did not start crafting songs until their later years, Walker expressed that it’s still a shock to her that she has completed any concrete musical endeavor at all.

“It’s nothing short of amazing to me that this has happened,” said Walker. “I still have to pick up the CD to prove to myself that it happened. When something like this happens to you, it changes you in many ways. Now people know me as a songwriter.”

Walker expressed that the longer that she crafts songs, the easier it becomes to create them.

“One song that I wrote early on was called “Jimmy,” and it came spending time with my nephew’s girlfriend, who came over to chat when I was first getting to know her. She was sitting at the kitchen table telling me this story about her family, and it was so good that I had to write it down,” said Walker. “I started singing it, and it worked. It just amazes me that I’ll run into people and there are songs locked in there, it’s just a matter of sitting down and jotting them down.”

She said that even though she has more than a few finished songs under her belt at this point, the act of songwriting is still somewhat mystifying.

“Songwriting kind of slows you down because once you get pulled into a song, you generally got to finish it,” said Walker. “Sometimes you come with a tune and it’s just aching for some words and sometimes you come up with words aching for a tune. The funny thing is sometimes I’ll get lyrics and then a few days later a tune comes to me and I realize they match. Right now I’ve got a tune that I was just working on with Nick (Collura) and I keep trying to figure out: ‘what is this tune trying to tell me?’ If there are ever going to be words to it, they’ll appear.”

Walker emphasized how grateful she is to Collura and the culture that surrounds the Sound Shop as a whole. She credits Collura not only with teaching her the technical aspects of songwriting, but for also instilling in her the confidence to do it at all.

Currently Walker is working on more music, and she hopes to release yet another full length soon. Goosebumps is available through contacting Walker herself and requesting a copy at or through, iTunes, Spotify, or a number of other outlets.

Brenda Walker sings at Insea Shop Shop in Nelsonville. (Nick Collura)