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John Wright releases album ‘Walking Tracks’

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

John Wright releases album ‘Walking Tracks’, a collection of songs written by John and produced in Waihi by Liam Ryan (The Narcs)

John Wright may be best known for his cricket career - he captained the New Zealand team, and was the first kiwi to score 5000 test runs. He then went on to coach the Indian Cricket team, the New Zealand team, and the Mumbai Indians, who he currently works for.

It’s music, however, that is perhaps his first love. "On the road you have to find something to do," he says of the many hours spent on tour strumming his guitar. After growing disenchanted with his guitar skills, he started writing songs. "If I write them, at least I might be able to play them."

In April 2017, John released his debut album 'Red Skies', featuring lead single and video 'Drivin' into Mot.' The album was launched at a concert at Motueka with the Sou'westers, who John has since done several shows with (including one at The Tauranga Arts festival and a handful in Christchurch). In 2019 he recorded and released his digital EP ‘Jump the Sun’, and now, in 2021, John is releasing his second full album ‘Walking Tracks’.

All vocals and acoustic guitar tracks were recorded at John’s home studio in North Canterbury, and sent off to producer Liam Ryan (The Narcs’ keyboardist). Liam then wrangled a team of A-list session musicians to help arrange the songs in his Waihi studio. Among the players on the album are Chet O’Connell (The Midge Marsden Band), who played acoustic and electric guitars, Dean Hetherington (The Sou’Westers lead guitar) and legendary pedal steel player Paddy Long. Both contributed cameo performances.

In the midst of Covid lockdown, UK bass player Peter Stroud (John Mayall Band, Peter Green Band) found himself stuck in the Waikato, so Ryan grabbed him and had him play bass on all of John’s tracks. Renowned sax player Hayden Baird, who fled home to NZ from Europe in the middle of a World Tour with the Whitney Houston Tribute Show, also found himself in Ryan’s studio playing on the ‘Walking Tracks’ album. Tauranga-based Jeff Baker played drums.

Of the project, Liam Ryan says, "We made a call early in this project to put John’s acoustic performance front and centre - and the authenticity of his songs shine throughout this album. Recorded throughout lockdown in the Pacific winter of 2020 the ‘Walking Tracks’ album shows again that John is an astute observer, archiever and natural poet. John has really nailed some great lyrical images here from his time as an international sportsman to reflecting at his home in North Canterbury NZ in the time of covid. It was a huge privilege and pleasure to work with John on this project".

Walking Tracks digital link

Link to website

Link to FB page

Jim Mora on RNZ Sunday Morning Talks with John about the Walking Tracks Album

John’s Track Descriptions from ‘Walking Tracks album:


This came out of a visit to the D-Day beaches and the war cemeteries of Normandy, where there are countless graves of young men from many countries. A couple of years later, I attended an Anzac dawn service near my home at Kaiapoi, and reflected how lucky my generation had been. Those before us had to sacrifice everything, so young.

Thanks for the Party: Just before lockdown, as it turned out, we had a party for all the mates and bullshitters we hadn’t seen for ages. It was a beautiful Canterbury warm Nor West night. Reassuring to know people still love cheerios!

John Prine’s Gone (First Single): Early on during lockdown, my favourite songwriter died of Covid. It was sad, and pissed me off. The people who downplayed this thing in the first place have a lot to answer for.

Stranger in the Village: This one’s about an old local man walking home with his groceries, past our terraced house on a sunny Derbyshire autumn day. While we’ve only recently had the place, he’s lived in the county for his entire life.

Daydreaming: This was inspired by my mum, who had Alzheimer’s.

Crazy River: A pathetic attempt to write a song like Chuck Berry. I love his stuff.

Ordinary Days: We all have them! A long trip and too much time in hotels.

Patmos Bound: My favourite place on this planet.

Shoeshine Man: Sitting cross legged on the footpath between our hotel and the office in Mumbai is a wonderful man with a quiet dignity who shines shoes. He once shined my suede shoes so hard they turned to leather.

Uncle Albert: The true life story of Albert Higgins, a farmer from the village of Hemington in Derbyshire. He drank at our pub "The Jolly Sailor". He told us this story aged 93, and died at 94. Sadly missed.

The Team That’s Going Nowhere: Dedicated to all those who have graced and disgraced our Wednesday night basketball. It was started by Keith in 1987 and is still going! Bob’s 74.

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