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Everybody get ready because Walter Mooney will be playing live at the Listening Room!

You may know him as The Listening Room’s MC, or maybe even as “that kooky guy Walter!”, but after June 17th, you’ll know him as a guitar pickin’, toe-tapping, bluegrass star.

Born a late-BOOMER in the summer of 1956, the namesake of a Portage la Praire barber with a Montreal Francophone, Irish-Catholic background, Walter Jr. and his seven surviving siblings also proudly carry the Birch River, Manitoba farm heritage of their beloved Mom.

Their long week-day walk across town for school presented opportunities for the young Mooney kids to test their catechism lessons against the challenges of the mean streets of their North-End neighbourhood. In his pre-teens, Walter regularly perfected the art of seamless transition from devoted altar-boy to a party animal, surviving dangerous adolescence to mellow somewhat by the time he left home.  Those experiences showed up later in the songs he wrote.

The Senior Walter, a pleasantly tuneful shower-singer of country standards,  and older brother Ronnie, who could chord along once he had a drink or two in him, were the first live musical influences Walter recollects.  Later on, when most of his contemporaries were rocking to heavy metal, Walter’s record collection was a mixed bag of folk, blues and soft rock – the most prized among these being his Stompin’ Tom LP.  He was never ashamed to be seen as uncool, or shy to show it – and isn’t to this day.

Luckily Portage has enjoyed the long-time distinction of producing outstanding musical talent – and Walter has been fortunate enough to share social circles with many of those local artists. Those golden opportunities expanded significantly upon his career relocation to the Lac du Bonnet area, another hot-bed of rich and accessible grassroots entertainment.  One mentor Walter particularly credits for his progress on the guitar is his musically-gifted Son Bairn, who for years made the time to share regular weekend practices together, and made it fun in the process.

Walter is largely a self-taught guitarist who has – with some limited help from professionals after buying his first instrument – made a continuous, hard-disciplined effort to master his most favourite selections, old and new.  As retirement age from employment approached, he ventured into writing his own music, resulting in the creation of a popular hand-made CD of work-related songs.  His gift of storytelling his life experiences with humour had found a home.

Walter’s involvement as a volunteer with the annual local music festival, Fire and Water Music Festival, continues to bring him into close contact with some of Canada’s best. His exclusive CD collection has expanded accordingly, giving him a steady supply of new material to power his routine practice sessions.  He began to accept invitations to play at public, and social events, which have occasionally included his family band “Son, Moon and Stars” (with Son Bairn, two Grandsons Everette and Oliver, and Sister Sharon).  A recent highlight was sharing a stage with two established local professional singer/song-writers – Paul McIntosh and Ken Kansas – for the grand opening of Lac du Bonnet’s new “Listening Room” project.  Modest about his abilities, Walter is humbled when he plays alongside such proven talents, but his raw enthusiasm together with his natural confidence and his unique humour gives him a strong presence that always brings a smile, and is earning him some fans of his own.

These days Walter never turns down a request to give other fledgling guitar players a free music lesson, as he doesn’t forget the days when getting to any sense of proficiency felt far-off, maybe even impossible.  Finally, because he stuck with it through so many frustrating hours, his bloody fingertips finally calloused over.  There would be no stopping him.   And then along came the dreamed-of rewards – the pure joy of playing with others, of just being part of a jam session, of having something to offer that you made yourself, as an actual artist, getting that respect from people you admired.

Sounds like a story Walter would write a song about.

Tickets are $10 each for V.I.P. Members and Advanced ticket purchases. $15.00 at the door.

Doors open at 6:30 PM.

Show starts at 7:00 PM.

Reserve Your Tickets Today and pay $10 at the door!