Interview: Jess Ribeiro & the Bone Collectors

Jess Ribeiro
Image Courtesy of Jess Ribeiro & the Bone Collectors

To say Jess Ribeiro’s star is on the rise would be an understatement. The Darwin-come-Melbourne based singer-songwriter has, along with her band The Bone Collectors, managed to rack up a win for Best Country Album in the at the 2012 Australian Independent Recording Label (AIR) Awards for her 2012 record My Little River, has recently wrapped up a tour of the States and has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Australian Music Prize.

Ribeiro took ten minutes out of her busy schedule to chat to our very own Gareth Hugh Evans about all that and more, revealing some details on the new material she’s been working on and what it’s like writing on a possessed guitar.

Gareth Hugh Evans: It’s always lovely to chat to a Territory artist because I’m originally from the Territory as well. But you’re not based there at the moment are you?

Jess Ribeiro: Not right now. This time of the year I just keep wanting storms because it’s the wet season up in Darwin. I kind of expect there to be a big thunderstorm every afternoon and I’ve just got this massive longing in me. I don’t know how much longer I can stay down here in Melbourne. I’m supposedly based here at the moment. My main collaborator Rob [Law] is moving back to Darwin and our old drummer’s back in Darwin – they’ve all done their Melbourne bash so we’ll see what happens.

GHE: I guess that’s the hard thing. If you’re a musician Melbourne is the place to go. Somewhere like Darwin, while you’ve got opportunities, they’re a little more limited than they are down south.

JR: I suppose it depends on what kind of opportunities. What you want and how you want to live your life – everyone says that Melbourne’s the music centre of Australia and it’s just abundant, so full of people. Ed [Ammendola] from Augie March once said to me “Melbourne is like a fruit orchard. Melbourne’s where you grow the fruit and you have to export it – if you don’t export the fruit it’ll just go to waste”.

GHE: That’s a nice analogy, I like that.

JR: I like it – it’s good.

GHE: It’s really exciting to be shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize (AMP) as well this year.

JR: It’s really exciting. It’s just … yeah … I don’t know what to say! It’s a great honour to be up there with all of these wonderful people and I’m so excited to know who else is shortlisted.

GHE: Did you have to apply for the AMP?

JR: I didn’t apply for it, I don’t know how it happened. I know that with the AIR awards a manager or a publisher or an independent label has to submit for that but I’m not sure how the Australian Music Prize works. I tell you what happened – I came back from America and I was not in very good spirits, I was really downhearted about how the music was going. Then I got this email and I thought it was junk email because it was from Coopers and I was like “What is this? Some bloody beer campaign”. I nearly deleted it! I don’t know why I didn’t. I was so cranky and then I read it and I was like “Holy shit, a nomination!”. That was a massive surprise – it was just the best surprise ever, it was great.

GHE: That can only increase your exposure. I’m sure you’ve seen a few more likes on your Facebook page and that sort of thing.

JR: There’s been a few, yeah. So hopefully that happens. We’ve been doing this for a few years and we’ll keep doing it. I’m really excited about the next recording which I want to get onto as soon as possible.

GHE: That next recording is going to be a follow up to My Little River. Were you writing the new stuff you want to record while you were in the US?

JR: I suppose that Rob and I went for a really big drive … it’s so … it’s so typical of us. We spent so much time driving around Australia and driving through Central Australia and the Northern Territory. And then we go to the States and we go driving again through all these other kind of uninhabited landscapes. So I wrote a lot when I was there and it’s only now that some of the stuff that I’ve written has turned into potential songs. It’s just been a really nice time over the past few months just sitting down and writing new songs.

GHE: Do you write them with Rob? Or do you write separately and then bring a song to him?

JR: In the past what we’ve done is I’ve written half of a song, I’ve written the words and I’ll have a little melody, and then I’ve taken it to Rob and he’ll just do his beautiful guitar thing and then we will take it to a band. Maybe. Sometimes. But this time I have a feeling that it’s going to be a different process. That’s pretty exciting because I’m entering new land, something that I haven’t done before.

GHE: Do you think that writing in America will lead to a lot of American themes in the new music?

JR: Not necessarily. The whole time we were in America, for ten days, we listened to that PJ Harvey album Let England Shake. I know that it’s a few years old but we’re pretty slow to catch on to some of these things. I’ve got this feeling about something I want to do and we’ll just see if that happens. I’d like to make a really cool Australiana album – I don’t know what that means, I do in my mind. I don’t think the [American] sound has influenced us at all. We did buy new guitars when we were over in America. I got this old 1950s guitar that was made in Chicago and it smelt, and it still smells. When we were over there I hurt my back and my friend gave me some medicinal marijuana. We smoked it and then I seriously thought my guitar was possessed and had the ghost of some old seedy guy in it. That’s how stoned I got – it was really full on. And I did play differently! We were invoking the spirit of some old dirty blues guy. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

GHE: That’s an awesome story to go out on! That’s so much for taking the time to chat to me, I really appreciate it.

JR: You’re welcome!

Jess Ribeiro & the Bone Collectors will be performing at Federation Square in Melbourne tomorrow night, Friday 1st February, as part of the AMP Alive concert. The AMP winner will be announced in March. My Little River is available from iTunes here.

Watch De’Borah’s New Video “A Thousand Tongues”

Image Courtesy of De’Borah

This landed in my inbox yesterday and I just had to share. I know very little about De’Borah other than she’s a singer-songwriter based in Croydon, South London and this track “A Thousand Tongues” is taken from a 2012 EP of the same name. Take a listen below – looking forward to hearing more from De’Borah soon:

She & Him Announce New Album in May

She and Him
Image Courtesy of She & Him

Hipsters rejoice! She & Him, the duo consisting of indie-folk singer M. Ward and manic pixie dream girl Zooey Deschanel have announced plans to release a brand new album on the 7th May. Titled Volume 3. The album follows three previous releases – Volume 1, Volume 2 and the holiday themed A Very She & Him Christmas – and will feature 11 originals and three covers. The full track listing for Volume 3 is below:

1. I’ve Got Your Number, Son
2. Never Wanted Your Love
3. Baby (written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and George Morton)
4. I Could’ve Been Your Girl
5. Turn to White
6. Somebody Sweet to Talk To
7. Something’s Haunting You
8. Together
9. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (written by Ray Noble)
10. Snow Queen
11. Sunday Girl (Blondie cover)
12. London
13. Shadow of Love
14. Reprise (I Could’ve Been Your Girl)

Tom Stephens to Launch Debut EP in Sydney

Tom Stephens
Image Courtesy of Tom Stephens

Sydney based singer-songwriter Tom Stephens has announced plans to launch his debut EP at The Newsagency in Sydney next Thursday 7th February. Stephens’ EP, Wintry West, was actually released late last year but as he’s yet to launch it, and he’s started to get some significant airplay around the place, next Thursday seemed like the perfect opportunity to showcase it.

Supporting Tom Stephens at the launch will be South Coast based singer-songwriter Joe Knott. For information on how to get your hands on tickets check out the Facebook event here. The four tracks from Wintry West are available to stream below:

New Video from Daughter, “Still”

Image Courtesy of Daughter

UK trio Daughter have just released the video for “Still”, the next single from their highly anticipated debut album If You Leave, due on the 18th March. The video was directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard – check it out below:

Mustered Courage Announce Wesley Anne February Residency

Mustered Courage
Image Courtesy of Mustered Courage

Melbourne based bluegrass quartet Mustered Courage have had a crazy couple of months appearing at just about every major festival on the east coast and surviving purely on a diet of gözleme, beer and campsite jams (we assume…) but that doesn’t mean they have any plans on slowing down when they eventually touch down in their home town. The band have announced that for the whole of next month they’ll be hosting a Thursday night residency at The Wesley Anne in Northcote, beginning next Thursday 7th February.

The residency will see Mustered Courage share the stage with some of the best and brightest in acoustic music including Lachlan Bryan, Bill Jackson & Pete Fidler, Sweet Jean and Oh Pep!. For more information check out the official Facebook event here. The full list of dates and supports are below:

Thursday 7th February – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC w/ Lachlan Bryan
Thursday 14th February – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC w/ Bill Jackson & Pete Fidler
Thursday 21st February – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC w/ Sweet Jean
Thursday 28th February – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC w/ Oh Pep!

Port Fairy Adds Final Artists

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

The 2013 Port Fairy Folk Festival is under 5 weeks away and the organisers are busy putting the finishing touches on a massive lineup that already includes Arlo Guthrie, Eric Bogle, Glen Hansard, Gurrumul, Kim Churchill, Lisa Hannigan, The Little Stevies, Xavier Rudd, Mustered Courage, The Stillsons and more. The artists added to that already star studded lineup over the weekend include Tim Finn, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat (above), Siskin River, Shaun Kirk and Alanna & Alicia Egan.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place in Port Fairy, VIC from the 8th to 11th March with tickets available now. For the full list of artists and more information head over to the official site here.

New Sam Lee Video, “Good Bye My Darling”

Sam Lee
Image Courtesy of Sam Lee

The current king of the English traditional folk song, Sam Lee, has just released the latest single from his Mercury Prize nominated album Ground of Its Own, the rousing “Good Bye My Darling”. The video for the track was directed by Neil O’Driscoll and features Lee doing all sorts of folky things – carrying a boat, waering an Aron Island sweater, singing on a dock, etc. Check it out below:

Interview: Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle
Image Courtesy of Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle hits our shores this weekend for a massive twelve date east coast tour that will see him playing shows in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This is Earle’s first visit to Australia since he was here for Bluesfest last year and Gareth Hugh Evans got a chance to jump on the phone with him to talk touring, his love of playing shows in this country and what we can expect from the new album he’s currently writing.

Gareth Hugh Evans: I guess we’ll start by talking about the upcoming Australian tour. You’re coming over in just under two weeks time and they’re you’re doing a massive 12 dates in 17 days.

Justin Townes Earle: Something like that.

GHE: Do you normally like to cram that much performing into such a short space of time?

JTE: I think it’s a lot easier to get on a roll that way. And I’m just one of those people who prefer to be working. I got my momma to take care of, I’ve got a house I like to keep nice, lot’s of expenses so I pack it in.

GHE: This time around you’re just doing east coast dates. Are you playing anywhere that you haven’t played before.

JTE: I know we’re going to at least one that we haven’t been to before. I cannot for the life of me remember which one.

GHE: That’s all good – I don’t think you’re expected to remember every single date and location in your tour diary! You seem to really enjoy coming to Australia – you were here last year for Bluesfest and did some shows off the back of that, the Sydney one of which I caught. You seemed to be really comfortable with Australian audiences.

JTE: I find Australia a lot like Texas which I have a lot of experience with. The beautiful weather and the beautiful land and cities and the people all combined makes it definitely one of my favourite places to tour in the world.

GHE: I interviewed Joe Pug a couple of months ago and he was saying that one of the reasons he first came to tour in Australia was because you just told him how wonderful it was to tour out here. You’re a bit of an ambassador for artists to tour Australia.

JTE: I’m sure I’ve convinced a lot of people to go. Unfortunately I have a lot friends who can’t go long enough without a cigarette to fly there and play.

GHE: Are you coming out with a band this time?

JTE: No, I do wish that I was, but I’m actually coming out solo again. But hopefully I’ll be able to get the band on the back of the next record which we’re slated to start recording in May.

GHE: Awesome – that’s awesome news! The press release I got about your Australian tour said something like “we don’t know what Justin Townes Earle has been doing lately, we’re guessing he’s been writing songs.

JTE: I’ve been writing a lot recently and getting the ball rolling on the new record. It’s coming together – it’s going to be a little bit of the Memphis sound and we’re going try to do it the same as we always do, dig deep.

GHE: I think the first time I saw you was at the Blue Mountains Music Festival where you played with a fiddle player. And then last time you had the full band, although you sent them off halfway through the set to play some solo tracks. Do you prefer playing in the solo mode or do you prefer playing with the band?

JTE: My new band is an electric guitar player who plays guitar and steel, a bass player (an upright player) and a drummer. We’ve only toured that band in the United States but we did a lot of last year with that band – and I found a lot of comfort in the band which I didn’t think I was going to do after playing solo or as a duo for so long. These days I feel like I do prefer playing with my band. I will always do the solo stuff though – it’s where I come from.

GHE: You’re bringing out Robert Ellis to support you on this tour as well. What was behind the decision to bring Robert out?

JTE: The idea was actually done by [promoters] Love Police, but I had no problem with that at all. Robert is very talented. He reminds me a lot of early Little Feet, like Lowell George era Little Feet. He has an amazing voice too – and the songs are good.

GHE: You said you’re going back into the studio in May and you’ve been writing these new songs. IS the new album likely to be much of a departure from Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now?

JTE: I’m basically going to go further than I did, just a little deeper into the Memphis sound. My music’s pushing more toward a blues and a soul kind of area and I’m finding a lot more comfort in that then I did in country. I can write a country song but I grew up in the city – I’m not a big fan of cows [laughs]. I think that’s the main reason it didn’t effect me the same way that soul and blues and more urban forms of music did.

GHE: Are you going to fill out your sound again with a band and session musos?

JTE: I’m probably just going to use my touring band. We’ve got a good thing going on that’s working out really well. Hopefully I’ll be working with these guys for a long time.

GHE: That’s great – there’s always a unique energy recording with a band you’ve been on the road with.

JTE: I think it just gives you a better chance of getting things on the first take!

GHE: Well thank you so much for chatting to us today. I’m really looking forward to seeing you again in Australia.

JTE: I’m looking forward to getting down there – I’ll see you at a show.

The full list of dates for Justin Townes Earle’s east coast tour with Robert Ellis are below:

Saturday 2nd February – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 3rd February – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 5th February – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 6th February – Coogee Diggers, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th February – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 9th February – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Sunday 10th February – Annandale Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 13th February – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 15th February – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 16th February – Star Court Theatre, Lismore, NSW
Sunday 17th February – Byron Bay Community Centre, Byron Bay, NSW
Tuesday 19th February – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

MoFo Sydney Announces First Show of 2013 in February

Image Courtesy of Modhan

Sydney’s monthly modern folk night MoFo is back in 2013 and the first show of the year is shaping up to be an absolute cracker. Taking place on Saturday 16th February (as opposed to their usual Friday night) at The Gaelic Club Upstairs in Surry Hills Sydney, the first MoFo will feature none other than the Edinburgh-based Modhan.

Modhan (above) are well known for their fusion of jazz, folk, rock and funk and have already kicked off a tour of Australia that includes appearances at Newstead Live and the Cobargo Folk Festival. This lineup of Modhan also includes the very talented Graham McLeod from Timber and Steel favourites The String Contingent. Joining Modhan on stage will be Australian singer-songwriter Candice McLeod.

Tickets for MoFo are $20 on the door ($15 concession and Folk Federation members) and the night will kick off around 7:30pm. For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: