Singer songwriter Don Walters began his musical journey at a young age as a student of classical piano, clarinet and voice. Inspired by the popular music of the 1960’s, Don shifted his focus to Rock and Roll and played in Rock bands throughout his teens. In the early 70’s, he was drawn to acoustic music and was influenced by artists such as Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and CSN&Y, along with the traditional and progressive Bluegrass music of the time.
Over the years, Don helped pioneer musical groups including a Folk duo in the San Francisco Bay area called “Probably Nobody”, contributing vocals and banjo, and was a founding member of “No Strings Attached”, a Washington DC-based Bluegrass band that performed regularly at venues in the DC area.
Don, then as a singer, mandolin player and guitarist, helped form the trio “Laurie Hyde and Blue Mountain” featuring Laurie's songs, including “Me and Willie”, which was later recorded by Emmylou Harris. Performing regionally and playing venues like the Birchmere, The Barns at Wolf Trap and others, this group had a significant impact on Don’s musical growth and ultimate direction in acoustic music.
More recently, Don formed a DC-based Americana/Folk Rock band called “The Druthers”, playing area clubs and outdoor festivals. It was during his time with “The Druthers” that Don’s drive to write and perform his own songs fully materialized.
The essence of Don’s songs comes from a lifetime of experiences. From his childhood as a transplant from Cleveland, OH to Richmond, VA in the early 60’s where acceptance of ‘outsiders’ was fleeting at best, to leaving home at age 17 and travelling much of the world through his mid 20’s, finally settling in the Washington, DC area and ultimately raising a family, Don’s songs are a reflection of the lessons one can only learn through the myriad of ups & downs, joys and sorrows and life challenges encountered along the way.
His music follows the path of artists such as Steve Earle, Kevin Welch, Darrell Scott, Tim O’Brien, and Gillian Welch - all fitting into the genre called “Americana” that aptly describes contemporary music that has evolved from traditional roots. Don’s style of Americana draws heavily from the Bluegrass & Celtic idioms intertwined with early 70’s Folk Rock influences. Featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin and bouzouki and using these traditional instruments as a backdrop for his present-day themes, Don has developed his own unique approach to Americana Music.
Don’s songs explore the darkness and light of the human spirit; loneliness, longings for love and harmony, celebration of unity… and finding a simple truth.
As quoted in his own song, “Wings of a Dove”, Don declares that “dreams come alive, we find our harmony”. He's finding that now, through the process of writing and sharing his life experiences through his songs.
“I feel an insatiable urge to share the joy and inspiration that I get from music. To keep it to myself would be almost as unsatisfying as not playing it at all.”
To help fuel his passion, Don hosts a monthly event at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD called Don Walters’ Americana Music Night with a different guest artist joining him each month - an ideal outlet for showcasing his originals and collaborating with other musicians. Meanwhile, Don continues to write and share his talents through other solo and ensemble performances.
“Woven together with the power of conviction and the beauty of simplicity, Don’s songs reel in the hearts of his listeners.”
Dede Wyland—Award Winning Bluegrass Musician
“Don’s singing projects a down-to-earth warmth and his guitar playing displays a sophistication that catches my attention without ever upstaging the lyrics.”
Ira Gitlin - Award Winning Bluegrass & Country Instrumentalist
“Don is a genuine and gifted Roots musician… He’s fun to work with and even more fun to listen to!”
Joe Uehlein - Roots Rock Recording Artist
There are no upcoming dates at this time.