Renee and the Walkaways
kentucky bred, austin-inspired, nashville/new orleans-tinged americana roots



Featured Artists

Duet with Marty Balin on "In The Middle of the Night"

Duet with co-writer Al "Carnival Time" Johnson on "No Regrets"

Dr. John | Piano B3 Organ

Marcia Ball | Piano and background vocals

Lisa Morales, Elaine Foster, Lisa Foster, Rick Lawson, John Bostic, Nelson Blanchard, Ernest Walker, Big Creek Male Choir| B Vocals

Augie Meyers | Vox Continental Organ, Accordian

Ron Flynt | Piano, Guitar, Melatron

Johnny Neel | Piano, Organ, B Vocals

Carlos Alvarez, Chip Dolan | Accordian

Nelson Blanchard | Organ, Piano

Pete Anderson, Redd Volkaert, Gerry McGee, Shane Theriot, Larry Beaird, Carlos Barrientos, Nelson Blanchard, Brent Johnson, Joel Carr  | Guitar

Sam Broussard | Guitar, Mandolin, Steel Guitar, Banjo

Rich Brotherton | Mandolin, Bouzouki

Beth Patterson | Bouzouki

David Spencer | Steel Guitar

Larry Franklin, Thomas Jenkins, Ruby Jane Smith | Fiddle

Jerry Jemmott, Leon Medica, David Hyde | Bass Guitar

David Easley | Steel Guitar, Sitar

Ty Taylor | Steel Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin

Mike Broussard, Jr., Jon Smith, Jon Lyons | Tenor Sax

Bob Henderson | Alto Sax, Tenor Sax

Steve Howard | Trumpet

Lacy Blackledge | Trumpet, French Horn

Ward Smith | Baritone Sax

Chris Belleau | Trombone, Harmonica

Brad Larpenter | Penny Whistle and Bodhran

Nelson Blanchard, Karl T. Himmel, Randy Carpenter, John Bush, Bill Summers, Carlos Barrientos, Mark Gillespie, | Drums, Percussion


About Renee and the Walkaways

From a haunting lament entitled "Fool" that weaves a story from beyond the grave, to tongue-in-cheek "Your Poor Cold Heart" to the CD's moniker song, "In the Middle of the Night," Renee's musical adventure melds an Austin sound with Tex-Mex, New Orleans and Nashville overtones. 

To understand the music of Renee and the Walkaways, you need to know Renee, the voice, music and poet behind this Americana project orchestrated by world-renown bassist, composer and arranger, David Hyde.



To be honest, growing up I really couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life.   Not worrying too much about it, I've just been surfing the wave of life, trying to hang on and making it a point to enjoy every  moment I can before the ride comes to an end.

I grew up in rural northeastern Kentucky.  Music has always been a mainstay in my life.   My dad played guitar and even sang on a radio show.  My mom dearly loved listening to the radio and playing her record albums as did myself and my brother, Dale.  It was a battle over who could play their choice of music on the old stereo.  We watched American Bandstand, The Lawrence Welk Show, The Porter Wagnor Show, Hee Haw, Soul Train, and anything musical we could find on television.  My maternal grandparents were folk musicians.  My grandmother, Daisy Shelton was noted for her unusual method of picking the banjo, using only her thumb to pick out songs.  My grandfather, Wayne Shelton,  played the mandolin and a juice harp (harmonica).    Visiting my grandparents often, I was treated to special performances on the front porch.  I listened to them play old folk tunes like "Pretty Polly" and "Old Joe Clark" while waving at everyone passing by on Straight Creek Road.  I never tired of these performances and neither did they.  My uncle lived across the street and was a very talented guitar player.   I spent lots of time listening to Uncle David play his favorite Venture tunes.  It was our way of life. 

Those private concerts by my grandparents given just for me were gifts of love I cherish as precious as any gift I have ever received.  I admit I always wanted to participate and even tried learning the banjo, but being extremely shy back then, I didn't go any further with it.  I am fortunate to have cassette tapes my grandfather recorded of noted folk musicians  J.P. and Annadeene Fraley , my grandmother, himself and other musicians playing music on Saturday nights.

 Wanting to see more of the world than just rural northeastern Kentucky, I left home and moved to New Orleans in 1979.  I got married in 1983, pursued a career in real estate investing and mortgage banking and raised my son Robert.  After suffering major losses from Katrina, I became somewhat disenchanted with my chosen career path.  Here I was in one of the most creative cities in America for music and had not really taken full advantage of what it had to offer.  The city was forever changed which added to the sense of loss I felt.  I threw myself into enjoying what was left and felt a great need to give back.  Since I loved music so much, I decided I wanted to help the city's musicians.  Thus began my friendship with Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and David Hyde, my producer.  Getting to know them and amazed at their talent awakened a desire in me to participate and create my own music.  David invited me to come to the last recording session for  Bobby Charles.  Watching and talking with Bobby Charles and meeting Dr. John set off a light bulb in my head.  I now knew it was possible to create my own music even though I did not play an instrument.  I have written poems and stories all of my life and at that point I realized I wanted to write songs!  Then they just started pouring out.  Every single time I wrote a song, I would call Al and make him listen.  He was so kind and encouraging and his support gave me the confidence to continue.  I finally convinced David to listen to what I had written and somewhat surprised afterward, he suggested we go into the studio and cut some demos.  He said it wouldn't be any problem to have another artist come in to sing my songs.  Once we were in the studio, I wanted to sing my songs myself.  These were my babies and I just didn't want to give them up.  So we decided to go forward and record a full cd with me singing my own songs.  We started the project on Nelson Blanchard's couch at Techno-Sound Recording Studio in Baton Rouge.  This was the first of many countless hours to be spent on that couch over a two year period.  Pouring over the arrangement of each song, we created a wish-list of the musicians we felt could really enhance  the songs.  David's vision and ability to communicate his thoughts and the use of Nelson's multi-talented skills helped showcase my songs wonderfully.  We set out bring them to life traveling to studios between Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Tennessee to solicit the performances of a total of fifty six talented musicians plus the Big Male Creek Baptist Choir, all who were kind enough to agree to participate.  We aptly named the cd "The Walkaway Sessions" because it consists entirely of musicians who played their parts and then "walked away".  Hopefully, at some point in time, they will "walk back in"  to guest on some live performances in the near future! 

The way I look at it, recording my music allowed me to have a creative outlet and an opportunity to give my own grandson the same gift my grandparents gave me.    Wherever this journey leads, I am satisfied in that I have at least accomplished just that.   It would be wonderful if I were lucky enough to achieve some success at it because I really, really want to do some more!  My love for music is the same love my grandparents felt for music and for me...... pure, unwavering and all encompassing.   Following in their footsteps, my passion for music will be with me until the very day my ears hear no more.  I have never professionally sang, or pursued a career in music, but it has always been inside me.  Now, I'm ready to share it and better late than never I guess!  


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