Thank Folk It’s Friday – 27th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Gretta Ziller released her new video “Some Kind of Habit”. Details here

– The National Folk Festival added Daniel Ho as their final exclusive headliner for 2015. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Brian Campeau revealed details of his new solo album. Details here

– Indie-folk duo Betty & Oswald released their new single “King of Bohemia”. Details here

– UK nu-folk band Stornoway released their new video “Get Low”. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Lucie Thorne released her new single “The Rushing Dark”. Details here

Michael Kiwanuka covered Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Year’s Gone” for Mojo Magazine. Details here

William Fitzsimmons released his new single “Pittsburgh”. Details here

Emily Barker released her new video “Little Deaths”. Details here

Ruby Boots released her new single “Wrap Me In A Fever”. Details here

– Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers and singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield have released a tribute album to Elliott Smith. Details here

– UK singer-songwriter Blair Dunlop released his new single “Fifty Shades of Blue”. Details here

Bill Jackson released his new Double A side “Try/Somebody’s Darlin'” online. Details here

– Irish music legend Paul Brady will be releasing his new live album Paul Brady: The Vicar Street Sessions Volume 1 featuring collaborations with the like of Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Sinead O’Connor and many more. Details here

Interviews

“I am definitely writing more about my experiences in America. There is a few place name drops in there. And that’s kind of a weird thing at first – it feels like a betrayal or something – and I’m just trying to work out what to do with that. These are songs that are in the very early stages. But coming back here right now there’s still a whole lot of stories that I’ve only half told in my head about Australia and that’s what I love doing when I’m in America with American audiences”Jordie Lane chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Details here

“For me as a young person writing music in this genre in Australia [Paul Kelly’s] the best at it. Writing songs that evoke some kind of feeling about being Australian and it’s very genuine and sincere so it resonates with me just as a person in Australia. And as a musician I admire him for doing something that I’m trying to do as well. And why these two albums? Because I like bluegrass better than I like pop music”The Morrisons chat to Gareth Hugh Evans ahead of their Paul Kelly tribute show tonight. Interview here

“All the playing that we’ve done together over the past year and a half as a trio has led us to approach this new project with a whole lot more experience of arranging together and of telling stories together”Lucy Wise chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“After recording the three albums just with us three – Graham [McLeod], Holly [Downes] and I – we really felt like we spent a lot of years and time and effort growing together musically. Learning a lot from each other. Coming from different backgrounds – Holly classical, me folk and Graham rock and pop – we had a huge amount of ground to cover to be as good as each other at various elements of music making. We had a lot of material to work with and a lot of growth and over those three albums we really felt like we did that. We sort of got to a point where we felt like significantly we could move into each other’s territory, hold our own and make that work. We had so much fun really developing and growing and struggling – actually being really inspired and forced to learn and grow – that we kind of looked around for something for our next project that would continue that direction for all of us, so that we wouldn’t stagnate and make the same album again” – Chris Stone from The String Contingent chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“The [Alice Springs] folk club, there’s nothing like it. There’s nothing to compare with it now in any way whatsoever. You could write a song in a week and go and perform it in front of people and get feedback as to what they thought it was like. You can’t do that anymore hence the reason it takes me a long time to write songs” – Dave Oakes chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Reviews

Gigs

“The Blue Mountains Music Festival seems to have found the perfect balance. Wedging itself between the Port Fairy and National Folk Festival/Bluesfest guarantees a high calibre of artists not normally seen at a small town event. And its proximity to Sydney makes it easy for day trippers or weekend getaways from the big city. But it still feels like an intimate, community focused event, probably because it’s mostly set on the grounds of a school and the local volunteers are front and centre”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews the Blue Mountains Music Festival. Details here

Releases This Week

Brad Butcher
JamestownBrad Butcher
iTunes

Short Movie
Short MovieLaura Marling
iTunes

The Wild
The WildRoscoe James Irwin
iTunes

Seasick Steve
Sonic Soul SurferSeasick Steve
iTunes

Radium Death
Radium DeathWilliam Elliot Whitmore
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Morrisons play Paul Kelly

The Morrisons

Tonight Sydney pickers The Morrisons take on the bluegrass albums of Paul Kelly, Smoke and Foggy Highway, in a very special one off show

Friday 27th March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Alabama Shakes
Thursday 2nd April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

All Our Exes Live In Texas
Friday 27th March – Spiegeltent, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Bluesfest
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – Byron Bay, NSW

Brad Butcher
Friday 27th March – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 28th March – Currumbin Creek Tavern, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 29th March – TAPS, Mooloolooba, QLD

Candelo Village Festival
Saturday 28th March – Candelo, NSW

Darren Hanlon
Saturday 28th March – Candelo Festival, NSW
Sunday 29th March – Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 2nd April – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Friday 3rd April – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC

David Gray
Wednesday 1st April – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 2nd April -State Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Elwood Myre
Saturday 28th March – Cast Off! Festival, Woy Woy, NSW

Festival of Small Halls feat. Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Siskin River
Tuesday 31st March – Coramba Community Hall, Coramba, NSW
Wednesday 1st April – Bayldon Community Centre, Toormina, NSW
Friday 3rd to Monday 6th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Heartstring Quartet
Friday 27th March – Southern Folk Club, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 28th March – Fowlers Live, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 1st to Monday 6th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Hozier
Saturday 28th March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 30th March – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Jake Shimabukuro
Thursday 2nd April – Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD

Jack Carty
Saturday 28th March – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW (Early Show)
Saturday 28th March – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 29th March – The Porch Sessions, Adelaide, SA

Jordie Lane
Friday 27th March – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th March – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Josh Rennie-Hynes, Liam Gerner, Caitlin Harnett
Friday 27th March – The Jive, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 28th March – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA

Justin Townes Earle
Thursday 2nd April – Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 3rd April – Boogie, Tallarook, VIC

Kim Richey
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Lisa Mitchell
Friday 27th March – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 2nd April – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Lucie Thorne
Friday 27th March – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemain, VIC
Saturday 28th March – The Velvet Room, Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Lucy Wise Trio
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – The National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

National Folk Festival
Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th April – Canberra, ACT

Nuala Kennedy
Saturday 28th March – Candelo Village Festival, Candelo, NSW
Friday 3rd to Monday 8th April – The National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Packwood
Saturday 28th March – Vinyl, Adelaide, SA

Paolo Nutini
Tuesday 31st March – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 1st April – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Rowena Wise
Friday 27th March – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th March – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Sam Buckingham
Saturday 28th March – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Skyscraper Stan And The Commission Flats
Friday 27th March – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Saturday 28th March – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Solar Saturday Lounge Party
Saturday 28th March – Heidelberg Heights, Melbourne, VIC

Taryn La Fauci
Friday 27th March – The Bunker Room at Coogee Diggers, Sydney, NSW

The Morrisons play Paul Kelly
Friday 27th March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

The Pigs
Friday 27th March – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC
Saturday 28th March – Mallee Fire Recovery Festival, Rainbow, VIC

The Seals
Saturday 28th March – Quarry Amphitheatre, Perth, WA

Timberwolf
Friday 27th March – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 28th March – The Hills Are Alive, VIC
Friday 3rd April – Blenheim Camping and Music Festival, SA

Vance Joy
Friday 27th March – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th March – Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW

Winterbourne
Friday 27th March – Rad, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 28th March – The Front Gallery & Café, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 2nd April – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 27th March – HQ Complex, Adelaide. SA
Sunday 29th March – West Coast Blues & Roots, Fremantle, WA

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Wrote & The Writ” – Laura Marling

Remember that time Laura Marling used the triple j Like A Version segment to sing her mate Johnny Flynn’s song “The Wrote and The Writ”? Awesome.

Paul Brady Announces New Collaborative Live Album Paul Brady: The Vicar Street Sessions Volume 1

Paul Brady
Image Courtesy of Paul Brady

Paul Brady is well and truly a legend of the Irish music scene having performed his music at home and all over the world since the late 60s. In 2001 Brady put on a series of 23 concerts at the legendary Dublin venue Vicar Street where he asked artists who has sung his songs over the years to come and play with him including Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Sinead O’Connor and many more.

“At times I was a spectator in my own show as my guests, my friends, took the roof off Vicar Street,” Paul Brady says of the shows. “I knew then we’d captured something special.”

On the 27th April Paul Brady will be releasing Paul Brady: The Vicar Street Sessions Volume 1 featuring performances from the 2001 shows. Check out the full track listing below:

1. I Want You To Want Me
2. Baloney Again (feat. Mark Knopfler)
3. The Soul Commotion
4. Nobody Knows (feat. Gavin Friday and Maurice Seltzer)
5. Believe In Me
6. In This Heart (feat. Sinead O’Connor)
7. Irish Heartbeat (feat. Van Morrison)
8. Not The Only One (feat. Bonnie Raitt)
9. Don’t Go Far (feat. Curtis Stigers)
10. The Long Goodbye (feat. Ronan Keating)
11. Last Seen October 9th (feat. Eleanor McEvoy)
12. The World Is What You Make It (feat. Bonnie Raitt)
13. Forever Young

Listen to the New Bill Jackson Double A Side “Try/Somebody’s Darlin'”

Bill Jackson
Image Courtesy of Bill Jackson

Melbourne alt-country singer-songwriter Bill Jackson has just released his new double A-side single “Try/Somebody’s Darlin'”, the first taste of his upcoming album The Wayside Ballads Vol 1. Take a listen below:

Jackson provided a breakdown of both songs via his Facebook:

“Try”

“Information travels fast these days. So much is going on and so many good, hardworking people are trying to stem the tide of so many things that are at risk. The party goes on amidst a soundtrack of confusion. This was written against the backdrop of the ‘Occupy’ movement.”

“Somebody’s Darlin'”

“I guess everybody wants to be somebody’s darlin’ – we live in insecure times and more than ever people are lost in a search for self worth, where self image is challenged at every turn – ‘ lookin’ at that misty rainbow wonderin’ where it hides it’s soul’.”

National Folk Festival Interview: Dave Oakes

Dave Oakes
Image Courtesy of Dave Oakes

Liverpool born, Central Australian based singer-songwriter Dave Oakes is ticking things off his bucket list. Having finally recorded an album of songs written throughout his almost 40 years in the red centre, Oakes is heading to The National Folk Festival for the first time since it settled in Canberra. We sat down with Dave Oakes to talk about his music and his new album Made In Alice Springs.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Creating the new album Made In Alice Springs is ticking off a big thing on your bucket list right?

Dave Oakes: I become a pensioner in two weeks or three weeks time when I actually have my birthday and I’m 65. So before that for a wee while I thought “I’ve got to get a bucket list together” of the things I really needed to do. Like I’ve never, ever had any inclination to have a tattoo, I always thought they were for bogans only. But then I thought “bugger it, you haven’t got one, go and get yourself a tattoo” so I did, of a Liver Bird [for the Liverpool Football Club]. And then I thought I’ve got all these songs – and I’m still writing, I’ve got lots of new ones – so I’ve got to get them down. There’s a couple of new ones on the album album like “Ain’t Been Lost” – I wrote two years ago. That’s relatively knew compared to “Beneath Uluru”, “Wings of an Albatross” and “Ross River Cowboy”. And then last year at the Top Half Folk Festival I wrote “Ted” for the songwriting workshop, but I never performed it. It’s very hard to perform “Ted” because I don’t have the violin – I could play the part with chords but it’s not the same as having the violin come in.

GHE: Almost all of the songs on the album speak to your time in Central Australia covering a lot of the characters in Alice Springs and the countryside surrounding it. Were you a songwriter before you got to Alice?

DO: I’ve done it since I was about 14. In Liverpool I grew up in pretty central working-class Liverpool in Walton. When I grew up there at the bottom of our street as a lad just after the war they built a library. And in the library one of the head librarians, a fella called Harold Hikins, and he was into poetry – in them days poetry was pretty big. And when I was doing A Levels at school, from 15, 16 on, my English teacher was Roger McGough – he later one got into a band called The Scaffold – and he was into poetry as well. And he knew Hikins. So from that sort of start of writing poetry and that in the early days to picking up a guitar. When I was 19 I went over to Europe – I didn’t want to go to university like my parents wanted me to, it was 1968/69 and the Beatles were only just about to split up and everyone was going to India. There was no way I was going to go to University. To do what? I haven’t regretted that move ever. So I was in Europe with my guitar and went busking and started writing. The early ones are busker’s songs, very jingle jangley. I got myself a dobro for on the street because it was nice and load and my voice was always nice and loud. From busking it got from there to actually going and playing in the pubs.

I’ve always written songs and there’s a load before the Alice Springs stuff started coming up. Then there was loads of songs I wrote just for songs that we’ve done, me and [Rob] Laidlaw doing Astro – there were loads of songs I wrote for other people to sing as well.

GHE: Coming to Alice Springs in the 70s the Central Australian Folk Society was a big presence in town. Was having something like the folk club a big influence on you as a songwriter and performer?

DO: Absolutely. The folk club, there’s nothing like it. There’s nothing to compare with it now in any way whatsoever. You could write a song in a week and go and perform it in front of people and get feedback as to what they thought it was like. You can’t do that anymore hence the reason it takes me a long time to write songs. It takes me even longer to remember them. I can remember writing “Ross River Cowboy” when I was out for two weeks in the desert – I came back into town and I knew all the words and chords and I could just stand up there and play it. Whereas nowadays, I think “Ted” took me about three weeks to get into my head. The Folk Club definitely influenced everything. It was a great folk club, it was vibrant. The people that came there, just passing through people, were absolutely fantastic. It really was quality. There’s still nothing like it today I don’t think. But then again I’m getting old.

GHE: Living in Central Australia for coming up on 40 years, it’s been such a major part of your life. The characters and the landscapes seem to inspire your songs.

DO: And also 10 years living with Pitjantjatjara people and speaking Pitjantjatjara, that was an enormous shock to my system. I’m still not an inverted racist, I still think blackfellas can do wrong, I don’t think the sun shines out of their arse or anything. But I must admit that the sense of humour that the Aborigines have, it’s quite wonderful. The Pitjantjatjara people were lovely people to hang around with and hence the reason on “Kata Tjuta” where it says “I’m glad friend’s a desert fella, a black person fella” – that’s the translation. That says it all.

Where I used to live in Giles Street Caravan Park there was nothing between me and Kata Tjuta. I literally did look out of my window at Kata Tjuta, the spinifex plains were all that was between it and me. Every Friday night I’d get a slab in and my mate Charlie Walkabout would bring a mate with him, a good drinker, never causing any trouble or anything like that. That song’s basically about Walkabout. Without him I wouldn’t have stayed there that long – he taught me an awful lot about people, about life, about culture in the Pitjantjatjara way of looking at it. That was a great influence as well to me.

That’s why I left, because Walkabout died. There was no way I was going to hang around there with anyone else being the boss.

GHE: So on to The National Folk Festival – this is the first one you’ve played?

DO: Except the one we had in Alice Springs.

GHE: Except the Alice Springs one of course. What was behind the decision to apply for The National?

DO: I was looking after my mother for about 15 years, I brought her over from England. Hence the reason I had to work all the time and do things like that. She passed away last April, she was 93 and had a really good innings. When she passed away suddenly I had all this freedom – I could do anything I wanted to. So when I saw you could go to The National as long as you applied before June the 31st or something like that I just applied. I thought “they’re not going to have me, I’m an unknown”. And then they did! They said “no worries, we haven’t had anyone from that sort of area for ages and ages”. I know Ted [Egan]’s going to be there, and now that I know you’re going to be there I’ll know two people.

GHE: And you’re going to be at the Top Half Folk Festival at Glen Helen near Alice Springs which is your “home” festival as well. Every time it’s in Alice you play and you’ve played when it’s in Darwin as well.

DO: I did Darwin last year and that was great. It was the first time I’ve actually played alone for a long long time. I much prefer playing solo – you can make mistakes. And you can change your mind on what you want to play. I am looking forward to being alone at The National as well. The thing about the album, they’re really good with just the guitar.

GHE: I might leave it there mate – thanks so much.

DO: No worries. Look forward to seeing you at The National!

Made In Alice Springs is available now. Listen to the track “Wings of an Albatross” below:

Listen to Blair Dunlop’s New Single “Fifty Shades Of Blue”

Blair Dunlop
Image Courtesy of Blair Dunlop

UK folk singer-songwriter Blair Dunlop has just released his new single “Fifty Shades Of Blue”. The track is taken from Dunlop’ 2014 album House Of Jacks. Take a listen below:

Stream Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith

Seth Avett
Image Courtesy of Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield

The songs of the late Elliott Smith have had such a big impact on songwriters for two decades now with so many of today’s artists citing him as an influence. Two artist have taken that influence one step further releasing a tribute to Elliott Smith this month.

Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers and singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield have just released their new album celebrating the music of Elliott Smith – Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith. The album was recorded over 3 years in Avett’s studio and is available now.

Take a listen to a full stream of Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith below:

Listen to the New Ruby Boots Single “Wrap Me In a Fever”

Ruby Boots
Image Courtesy of Ruby Boots

“Wrap Me In a Fever” is the second single taken from the upcoming Ruby Boots album Solitude. I’m a huge fan of Ruby Boots and I think “Wrap Me In a Fever” once again demonstrates what a great songwriter she is. The track was recorded at Melbourne’s Sing Sing South with producer Anna Leverty.

“Anna and I bonded over a mutual obsession of Ryan Adams before we had even stepped into the studio,” Ruby Boots’ singer and songwriter Bex Chilcott explained. “She instantly fell in love with “Wrap Me In A Fever”, so I just as instantly felt that recording the song with her would be one that was high in chemistry and connection in the studio”.

Take a listen to “Wrap Me In A Fever” below:

The upcoming Ruby Boots album Solitude is due on the 24th April.

National Folk Festival Interview: The String Contingent

The String Contingent
Image Courtesy of The String Contingent

Australian instrumental trio The String Contingent have just put the finishing touches Facets, probably their most ambitious album to date. Not content to rest on their laurels the trio decided that Facets would be a collaborative album, seeing them work with some of the country’s best and brightest musicians – lauded recorder player Genevieve Lacey, saxophonist Sandy Evans (OAM), the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ARIA award winning cellist Julian Thompson, ABC recording and ARIA winning artists Chris Duncan and Catherine Strutt, and instrument inventor Linsey Pollak. The String Contingent will be launching Facets at this year’s National Folk Festival to we took the opportunity to chat to violinist Chris Stone about the project.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Let’s chat about the new album Facets. You did a Pozible campaign for it last year and it’s a pretty cool concept. Do you want to talk through where the idea to collaborate with all these different musicians came from?

Chris Stone: After recording the three albums just with us three – Graham [McLeod], Holly [Downes] and I – we really felt like we spent a lot of years and time and effort growing together musically. Learning a lot from each other. Coming from different backgrounds – Holly classical, me folk and Graham rock and pop – we had a huge amount of ground to cover to be as good as each other at various elements of music making. We had a lot of material to work with and a lot of growth and over those three albums we really felt like we did that. We sort of got to a point where we felt like significantly we could move into each other’s territory, hold our own and make that work. We had so much fun really developing and growing and struggling – actually being really inspired and forced to learn and grow – that we kind of looked around for something for our next project that would continue that direction for all of us, so that we wouldn’t stagnate and make the same album again. That really meant that we decided to look out of the group for some form of stimulus or benchmark or something to help us continue to travel and grow. This album actually came out of a little game on the road. Travelling down the Hume as we do a lot and passing the time with games like “if you could could pick five musicians to play a stadium gig with who would they be”.

GHE: That’s the nerdiest music game of all [laughs]

CS: [laughs] Yeah! It’s awesome fun. We had to say that everyone can’t have Chris Thile – you’ve got to keep him out of it otherwise everyone goes “well, Chris Thile”. So this particular game was if we could collaborate with six of our favourite instrumentalists in Australia who would they be? And we came up with this cool list and we were like “wow, can you imagine that album? Can you imagine being able to play with those people, can you imagine being able to write and record with those people?”. At which point my brain, which is an affirmative brain, said “well I’ll email them” and everyone was like “yeah, whatever”. So I emailed them and within a couple of days they’d all written back and said “we’d absolutely love to. We’re in”. Which was absolutely crazy – suddenly there was a project. It fits exactly the bill that we were talking about and it’s been put on a plate in front of us.

So at that point we got freaked out and terrified and over joyed and had to try and figure out how we were going to do this – and that’s where the Pozible campaign rally came into it because this album was a messy, difficult, complex album logistically to put together and it would cost more money than our previous albums when it was just the three of us. And we felt like we had something to sell our audiences that wasn’t just us producing another album, which we’d always funded ourselves. So that’s how the project began.

GHE: Does this mean you’ve had to then chase these musicians around the country in order to record with them?

CS: I was on logistics for it. We wanted a rehearsal session with each person – a planning session for four hours, a rehearsal session/composition session for four hours and then recording for four hours. Some people we got those three sessions over the course of a month and then some people we just got one meeting before the recordings and then the recordings. So it was an extremely tight time frame. It was a bit of a mess – we flew a few people around and drove a lot of kilometres to meet people. Genevieve [Lacey] was overseas right until the two days that we met her and we rehearsed and recorded. She was in the UK right up until that point so we had almost no contact. Linsey [Pollak] we had to pick up for four hours as he flew to Melbourne – we picked him up from the airport, took him to a rehearsal room nearby, played for three hours then put him back on the plane. Crazy stuff to try and make it work.

So it was a bit of a nightmare but thankfully it all came together. I think the goal was so exciting for us that it was really worth messing around and making it happen.

GHE: Were the collaborators involved in the composition of each tune or did you come to them with written tunes?

CS: Different for different tracks but the idea was that we wanted to collaborate from the ground up. Like Sandy [Evans] was great – she and Holly were in contact about that piece and they both wrote tonnes of music and an arrangement and stuff for us to turn up to at the first rehearsal and play. We even got to do a little bit of personal practice on that before we turned up. Then we turned up and arranged it and expanded it I went away and transcribed everything then the second time we met everything was good to go and we got to really polish it up.

With Linsey we walked into the room with absolutely nothing. We stood there holding our instruments, smiling at each other for a few minutes and then started just jamming and playing around. Some melodies came out – it all came together in three hours.

Julian Thompson’s piece is a real pastiche of different ideas. Julian wrote a little trio bit and the end for Holly, him and I to play. We pasted it all together over a couple of sessions. So really very very different for each track. We were trying to get as much as we could of the individual artists that we were playing with into the music and trying to get the most benefit out of spending time with them and listening to them and learning from them.

GHE: I guess that’s the whole point of the exercise. You don’t just want to write a score for someone and get them to come in for an hour.

CS: We really wanted that organic, real feel of having an actual guest in the group rather than just a soloist.

GHE: How do you then translate this album to a live situation? Because you’re never going to get everyone at in the same place at the same time.

CS: For the concept, as soon as it was born, that was always a consideration. We are at base a touring band, that’s how we’ve always made our income and that’s how we spread the word about our must. That’s what we do with our time – tour. So we knew that this album would be different but that also keyed in a little with our goals of making our music work a little harder for us. Finding ways to make the music travel without us having to physically travel. Playing with these people is great because it really opens doors. We can approach a jazz venue or a jazz radio station for instance and say “We’ve just done this album, Sandy Evans is on it” and they’ll say “get it in, we’ll play it”. Same with Genevieve Lacey, we’ll send it through to the Andrew Ford Music Show on the ABC and he’ll say “that’s great”.

One of the main reasons we wanted to do this collaboration project is to open a lot of doors for us.

But it’s nice performing live, which we do need to do, and we have looked at doing arrangements with just the trio and I think we’ll probably end up doing a bunch of those and seeing what works. For The National Folk Festival, where we’re going to be launching this, we’re very lucky to have a very large number of amazingly talented musical friends who are going to be [there]. There’s a couple of guests who are going to be there – for instance Chris Duncan and Catherine Strutt are going to be there and also Julian Thompson. We can’t get Sandy Evans but our ex jazz lecturer at ANU, John Mackey, who is one of Australia’s preeminent jazz saxophonists has offered to come in and play the track with us – which is incredible because to get to play with John Mackey is such a great opportunity. Ian Blake is going to cover another piece. Emily Rose from Chaika is going to come in and play another. So it’s going to be a big concert of lots of our friends.

And that’s the other part of this collaboration project. You can’t really jump up on a String Contingent piece, it’s not really designed that way normally. So these pieces are written to have people come and play with us so it’s really nice to ask our friends to come and play. So that’s a really nice thing that we’re looking forward to and it’s opening more doors again for us.

GHE: Was that a consideration when you decided to launch at The National? Here’s a time and place where all of these amazing musicians come together.

CS: Totally. At that point we didn’t really know who was going to be at the festival. But we always knew that there were going to be so many fall backs and if on the day someone says “I’ve a gig clash and I can’t make it” then we turn around and say “who else are we going to ask?”. The National’s amazing like that. It’s just such a safe place to turn up and presume that someone can cover something for you.

GHE: I also imagine that The National is great for you because being an instrumental band you can fill a room, which doesn’t happen everywhere.

CS: It really is and that’s one of the big things. If you play the type of music that’s not easily brandable and also doesn’t have elements of music that are the popular ones of the day, it’s a big thing. There’s a bunch of different music groups and communities that are passionate about instrumental music – like jazz and classical and some parts of folk – and The National really has a nice blend of everyone. You’ll see some of the best classical orchestral musicians in Australia sitting in audiences and playing as well. And people who are sitting in the session bar playing mandolin in a bluegrass session just happen to be incredible jazz guitarists who have international reputations. It’s a really good mix, The National Folk Festival, and the audiences are very educated – people who not just listen and appreciate music but have studied music. It’s a really lovely environment to play in because it’s just so receptive.

GHE: After The National you guys are touring, is that right?

CS: Yep. We’re heading across to Fairbridge [Folk Festival] and then doing a whole set of gigs in Albury-Wadonga, Yackandandah, Canberra, down the coast, Sydney, Newcastle, some Southern Highland gigs, some mountain gigs and some Riverina stuff – all CD launching gigs for about a month before Graham heads back home again.

GHE: And then later in the year you’re heading over to the UK?

CS: That’s right. We’re doing some work in the UK doing festivals and gigs and also in Scandanavia, in Norway, Sweden and Finland doing festivals and concerts. Hanging out over there for the summer which should be lovely. And then coming back to Australia for an October tour with Graham again.

GHE: Awesome. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of stuff planned.

CS: Yeah, we do have quite a lot of stuff going on – it’s a very busy year. Which is awesome really as it’s exactly what we want. It’s looking like a really strong, positive year with a lot of growth and development with venues and touring circuits and hopefully this album will help us open doors and travel further than we have before.

Facets will be launched at National Folk Festival. The full list of upcoming String Contingent dates are below:

Saturday 4th April – Flute & Fiddle, National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Friday 10th April – Fairbridge Folk Festival, Fairbridge, WA
Tuesday 14th April – Arts Space Wodonga, Wodonga, VIC
Wednesday 15th April – Canberra Musicians Club, Canberra, ACT
Friday 17th April – On The Rocks, North Rocks Community Church, North Rocks, NSW
Saturday 18th April – Berrima Smalls, Berrima, NSW
Wednesday 22nd April – Unorthodox Church of Groove, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 23rd April – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Monday 27th April – Yackandandah House Concert, Yackandandah, VIC
Wednesday 29th April – Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Thursday 30th April – Temora Town Hall Theatre, Temora, NSW
Friday 1st May – Mechanics Institute Hall, Moruya, NSW
Saturday 2nd May – Cadgee House Concert, Cadgee, NSW

Watch the New Emily Barker Video “Little Deaths”

Emily Barker
Image Courtesy of Emily Barker

UK based Australian folk and alt-country singer-songwriter Emily Barker will release her new solo album The Toerag Sessions on the 6th April. As a taster of the album Barker has released a new video for the wonderful new track “Little Deaths” – check it out below:

Listen to the New William Fitzsimmons single “Pittsburgh”

William Fitz
Image Courtesy of William Fitzsimmons

The first single from William Fitzsimmons’ upcoming album Pittsburgh to be released is the title track. Take a listen to “Pittsburgh” below:

Fitzsimmons says Pittsburgh could be his most personal album yet. “My grandmother, Virginia, died October 15, 2014,” he explains. “She was born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The city of my youth. She gave the gift of music to my mother, and, from my mother, was thus passed to me. In that same month I returned home for three days to celebrate Virginia’s life, mourn her passing, and help to lay her body to rest. These seven songs were born from those three days and are in memoriam to her passing and in remembrance of the city we shared. She will be perpetually missed. Until the day we meet again.”

Pittsburgh is due for release on the 18th May.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 357 other followers

%d bloggers like this: