Thank Folk It’s Friday – 28th April


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne folk-pop duo Pierce Brothers have announced details of their upcoming EP The Records Were Ours and national tour dates in May. Details here

– Country-rock band Raised By Eagles released their new single “Shape & Line”. Details here

– We premiered the new video from the John Flanagan Trio, “Beauty On The Bottom”. Details here

Busby Marou released their touching new video “Paint This Land” for ANZAC Day. Details here

– Australian bush music legends The Bushwackers released their new single “Dirt Under My Nails”. Details here

– Sydney jam night Bluegrass @ Yulli’s announced The Tawny Owl Stringband as their May feature artist. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Bill Jackson released his new video “Double Shot”. Details here

– American singer-songwriter Pieta Brown released her new video “Rosine”. Details here


“The new album is definitely the most rock and roll sounding album of all my work,” Stringer says, after playing to a full house at the 2017 Candelo Village Festival. “The lead sound I’m getting now is definitely much more developed than when I was playing acoustic”Liz Stringer chats to Elizabeth Walton. Interview here


Track by Track

“Avid journaler, constant traveller and part time accordionist, Quinton Trembath, has returned to punk influenced acoustic guitar to chronicle his stories of friends and places. Just six months after releasing his first EP, Tuns of Fun, Trembath is back with new EP Good days, These Days, recorded in Hobart with the help of Cal Young and Hannah Morrell” – Track by Track here


“Dreaming of the weekend? Wishing you could have another 4 days off? Well, step back in time to the Easter Weekend with our 5 things we learned at Bluesfest”KT Bell recounts the 5 things she learnt at Bluesfest. Review here

Releases This Week

Blonde on Blonde
50 Years Of Blonde On BlondeOld Crow Medicine Show

Good Days These DaysQuinton Trembath

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Davidson Brothers

Davidson Brothers

Davidson Brothers launch their amaizng new album All You Need Is Music’ in Melbourne.

Friday 28th April – Longhorn Saloon, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Appalachian Heaven Stringband
Monday 1st May – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

Argyle Sun Sets feat. Katey Brooks, Lola Sola, Hollie Col
Sunday 30th April – Upstairs at Fred’s, Camden, NSW

Australian Celtic Festival
Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th May – Glen Innes, NSW

Sunday 30th April – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Ben Wright Smith
Friday 28th April – Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Sunday 30th April – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 4th May – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 5th May – Charles Sturt Univesity, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Billy Bragg
Friday 28th April – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA

Bob Evans
Wednesday 3rd May – Clarendon Guest House, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 5th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

CANS w/ Alison Ferrier and The Happy Lonesome Duo
Friday 28th April – Tago Mago Club, Melbourne, VIC

Captain Spalding, Lachlan Bryan, The Weeping Willows
Sunday 30th April – Functions By The Bay, Frankston, VIC

Chloe & Jason Roweth, MaD aDaM
Saturday 29th April – Loaded Dog Folk Club, Sydney NSW

Dana Hassall
Saturday 29th April – Surfbeach Cafe, Narooma, NSW

Daniel Champagne
Sunday 30th April – Redcliffe On The Murray, Pinjarra, WA
Tuesday 2nd May – Little Village Music, Dunsborough, WA
Wednesday 3rd May – Mojos Bar, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 4th May – Four5Nine, Perth, WA
Friday 5th May – Town Hall, Yabberup, WA

Davidson Brothers
Friday 28th April – Longhorn Saloon, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 5th May – Goldmines Hotel, Bendigo, VIC

Diamond Duck
Friday 5th May – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. Ella Belfanti, Cecilia Brandolini, Slow Ships
Wednesday 3rd May – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Frankston Music Festival
Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April – Frankston, VIC

Galilee Blockade Support Concert feat. Alannah Russach, Leah Flanagan, Steph Miller, Ricky Pann, Mark Lucas
Sunday 30th April – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Gena Rose Bruce
Thursday 4th May – The Tramway, Melbourne, VIC

Grigoryan Brothers
Friday 28th April – Birds Basement, Melbourne, VIC

Hootenanny feat. When Hawk met Sparrow
Sunday 30th April – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Jeff Lang
Friday 5th May – Imperial Hotel, Eumundi, QLD

Jemma Nicole & Mitch Power
Friday 28th April – LongPlay, Melbourne, VIC

Jo Meares and the Silver Bullets
Saturday 29th April – Tago Mago, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 30th April – Labour in Vain, Melbourne, VIC

Kasey Chambers
Friday 28th April – Queens Park Theatre, Geraldton, WA
Saturday 29th April – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Sunday 30th April – Ravenswood Hotel, Ravenswood, WA
Tuesday 2nd May – Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, Bunbury, WA
Thursday 4th May – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA
Friday 5th May – Esperance Civic Centre, Esperance, WA

Kelly Brouhaha
Friday 28th April – Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC

Kirsty Bromley
Sunday 30th April Shakespeare on the River Festival, Stratford, VIC

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes and The Weeping Willows
Friday 5th May – Suttons House Of Music, Ballarat, VIC

Little Wise
Wednesday 3rd May – The Retreat, Melbourne, VIC

Liz Stringer
Friday 28th April – Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Saturday 29th April – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 30th April – Torquay Bowls Club, Torquay, VIC

Lost Highway Bluegrass Festival
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th May – Karuah, NSW

Mick Thomas
Friday 5th May – Basement Discs, Melbourne, VIC

Oh Pep!
Friday 28th April – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

Quinton Trembath
Saturday 29th April – Station Bar, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 30th April – The Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Rich Davies & The Low Road
Friday 28th April – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW
Saturday 29th April – Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Round Mountain Girls
Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May – Wintermoon Festival, Cameron’s Pocket, QLD

Songsters in support of the Galilee Blockade feat. Alannah Russack, Steph Miller, Ricky Pann, Mark Lucas
Sunday 30th April – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

The 4 Divas feat. Jackie Marshall, Aine Tyrrell, Lucie Thorne, Melanie Horsnell
Saturday 29th April – Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre, Bega, NSW

The Beekeepers
Saturday 29th April – Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC

The Button Collective
Friday 28th April – The Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

The Co-Ground Folk Show feat. The Bean Project, Susy Blue, Charm of Finches, Khristian Mizzi, Someday June
Friday 5th May – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

The East Pointers
Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May – The Planting Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Last Jar Mussel Festival feat. Fat Cousin Skinny, Louisa Wise
Saturday 29th to Sunday 30th April – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

The Mae Trio
Friday 28th April – Night Quarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 30th April – Brewery, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th May – Vocal Ranges Festival, Kyneton, VIC

The McClymonts
Friday 28th April – CEX Coffs, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Saturday 29th April – Panthers, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 5th May – Dee Why RSL, Dee Why, NSW

The Northern Folk w/ The Bean Project
Wednesday 3rd May – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Planting Festival
Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May – Woodford, QLD

The Royal Parks w/ Slow Motion Picture, AmarinaWaters
Saturday 29th April – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

The Sauerkrauts
Sunday 30th April – The Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW

The Spooky Men’s Chorale
Saturday 29th April – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 30th April – The Capital, Bendigo, VIC

The Sydney Square Dance feat. Narrownecks
Saturday 29th April – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, Sydney, NSW

Tim Moxam & Liz Stringer
Thursday 4th May – The Lush Factory, Tilba Tilba, NSW
Friday 5th May – House Concert, Nowra, NSW

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Friday 5th May – Longhorn Saloon, Melbourne, VIC

Vanishing Shapes
Sunday 30th April – The Sunken Monkey, Erina, NSW

Vocal Ranges Festival
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th May – Kyneton, VIC

Wide Open Space Festival
Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April – Ross River Resort, Alice Springs, NT

William Crighton
Friday 5th May – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Wintermoon Festival
Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May – Cameron’s Pocket, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Annabelle Lee” – Sarah Jarosz

Watch the New Pieta Brown Video “Rosine”

Pieta Brown
Image Courtesy of Pieta Brown

Celebrated American singer-songwriter Pieta Brown released her latest album Postcards last month featuring collaborations with Mark Knopfler, Calexico, Mason Jennings, Carrie Rodriguez, David Lindley and more.

The first official video from the album is the stunning “Rosine” which features Mike Lewis (of Bon Iver).

“I’ve done a lot of experimentation with Super 8 cameras and polaroids over the years, and before I started taking my songs out and making albums I had experimented with ‘performance art’ using narratives and pieces of poems I had written,” Brown explained. “In the video I was exploring the themes of traveling, colour, and layers. I was playing with some of those traditional feminist ideas like ‘gaze’…I decided not to wear makeup and started filming in what I was wearing that day – a sliders t-shirt and jeans.”

Check out the video for “Rosine” below:

Bluesfest Review: 5 things we learned at Bluesfest 2017

Vintage TroubleVintage Trouble at Bluesfest, by Stuart Bucknell Photography

Before we give you our full wrap up, here’s 5 things we learned at Bluesfest this year:

1 – Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts are still THE most popular food item at the festival
It seems trivial, but food at festivals is a huge part of the experience, and ever since we’ve been going to Bluesfest, the Byron Bay Organic Doughnut stand has always had enormous queues. Our advice? Definitely get at least one, but get in the line any time you see that it’s short – no matter if it’s early in the day. #treatyourself!
NB: It turns out they’ve experienced heavy losses due to the floods, to we’re sending all the sugary vibes their way to be able to bounce back soon!

2 – Powerhouse Performances Guaranteed
I said it last year and I’ll say it again. Peter Noble knows how to program. Some of the most notable powerhouse performances to hit the Bluesfest stages this year were the electrifying Nikki Hill who blew the socks off everyone and had them clamoring for more, more, more; Kasey Chambers whose stellar set ranged through her back catalogue and her recent works, with everyone watching on proving they were in fine voice – when you’ve got a bearded man singing along word for word to “Am I Not Pretty Enough”, you know you’re on to a winner; Beth Hart stole hearts and minds both in her sass filled set and with her cameo with Soul legends, Vintage Trouble. Hart’s prowess and her effortlessly smooth transitions from full band, to solemn brevity on a solo piano piece, to funky piano riffs and soul soaked blues had her a firm favourite in the hearts of Bluesfest.

3 – Legends Never Die
Ok, so some actually do, and it’s sad when we lose a musical talent that has helped shape what we know and love, but the great thing about Bluesfest is the ability to bring out absolute legends who may be advanced in years but still have enough swagger to floor multiple thousands of people at once, just like 80 year old Buddy Guy did on the Sunday at the Crossroads stage, resplendent in polka dots and serving up a voice that shackled the high notes yet melted all the way down through every blues note to the bottom, playing guitar with his elbow, or his belt buckle, or it seems with his just his sheer personality. Mud Morganfield had the crowd entranced with the whim of his jive and old school blues sensibilities. And Mavis Staples blew the roof off the Jambalaya stage when her elegance and grace meshed with the most divine harmonies between herself and her backing singers. Staples spoke of her love for Bluesfest – the warmth and hospitality they receive from the people behind the scenes, acknowledging them as family. She declared that she came “to bring you some joy, some happiness, some inspiration” and that she did. Given it was Easter, it seemed only appropriate that a voice as deep and smooth as chocolate can smother you in blues, as Tony Joe White’s did, rumbling along like a percolated coffee – earthy, enticing, and altogether satisfying.

4 – Diversity in Styles and Causes
Bluesfest may boast the best line up of Blues, however, it’s steadfast reputation for quality means the door is open for Noble to select an eclectic mix of styles and genres that may be close to, derived from, or inspired by blues music. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue carved up the stage with their cataclysmic, high energy, RnB fuelled, jazz infused funk; Sir Roosevelt’s moody intro and high production values set the scene for the melding of acoustic and dance music –  slide and acoustic guitars accompanied a full club scene vibe complete with choreographed dancers! Madness whipped the crowd, both young and old, in to a frenzy with hit after hit. The Boomerang Festival with it’s astounding array of Indigenous performances, country style hoedowns with an electrifying edge, synths vs electric guitars, Hip Hop and RnB, ukeleles and two covers of Bohemian Rhapsody… This year’s Bluesfest had everything. The festival is also a solid community supporter, with multiple fundraising groups on site, drumming up support for their cause. It was heartening to see the Northern Rivers Flood Appeal, a devestating disaster only weeks before the festival, included at short notice int he fundraising efforst at the festival, alongside the famous Cyctic Fibrosis Raffle and the steadfast Playing For Change band.

5 – The Gender Gap Exists
In no way was Bluesfest deficient in amazing female performers, in fact, it feels that year after year, the festival selects some of the best and most inspiring women from around the world to grace the stage. However, these women are almost exclusively front women, women who are the main attraction with a band behind them. Time and time again, we saw bands of all males, whether a backing band or a feature act – if it was a group, it was a high likelihood that the members would all be male. While there were a few exceptions, like Mavis Staples’ fantastic backing singers and the inimitable Little Georgia, the prevalence of all male bands and groups was quite noticeable, especially after the ongoing social commentary about the issue across the music industry of late and with festival and gig line-ups being scruitinised and questioned regularly by the public. While it’s no fault of the Bluesfest team, it is proof of the endemic issue across the music industry which hopefully the inclusive nature of festivals like this can start to shift through leadership and discourse, and innovations like the Buskers stage and the nurturing nature of this festival itself. We want to see more gender diversity across all aspects of music – not just front women, but musicians in bands of all gender identities. I know it will be festivals like Bluesfest that lead the way as a much needed change begins.

All in all, Bluesfest left it’s mark on the 100,000+ strong crowds and we’re still dreaming about the amazing musicians we saw. Our full wrap up coming soon, in the meantime, check out the photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography on our Timber and Steel Facebook Page, and if you’re keen to experience Bluesfest yourself, get in line for an early bird ticket to next year’s festival!




Watch the New Bill Jackson Video “Double Shot”

Bill Jackson
Image Courtesy of Bill Jackson

Melbourne based troubadour Bill Jackson has released, with his collaborator Pete Fidler, the video for his new single “Double Shot”. The track is taken from Jackson’s excellent new album The Wayside Ballads Vol 2 and was co-written by Bill Jackson and his brother Ross Jackson.

Bill Jackson explained of the track: “When Ross sent me the almost complete lyric to this song, he sent this with it: “Double Shot” explores the real meaning of loss and hurt of a failed love. The make believe pretence of this experience delivered by someone who has never really felt that deep pain, however make of it what you will. I wrote the last verse and twisted it a little.”

Check out the video for “Double Shot” below:

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s for May 2017

Tawny Owl
Image Courtesy of The Tawny Owl Stringband

The May edition of everyone’s favourite Sydney jam night Bluegrass @ Yulli’s will feature the return of The Tawny Owl Stringband, made up of local legends Luke Webb (Lucky Luke and His Shooting Stars), Jimmy Daley (The Morrisons, Diamond Duck, AKA BAZ), & Anna McInerney (The Morrisons, Terza Madre, Oh Willy Dear).

And of course Bluegrass @ Yulli’s kicks off with the traditional all-in jam so if you’re coming down to see The Tawny Owl Stringband don’t forget to bring your own banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle or whatever and join in. The jam kicks off at 6pm before The Tawny Owl Stringband take to the stage at 8pm.

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s takes place upstairs at Yulli’s in Surry Hills on the 10th May. As always the night is 100% free – for more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Listen to the New Single from The Bushwackers “Dirt Under My Nails”

Image Courtesy of The Bushwackers

The latest single from Australian bush music legends The Bushwackers’ latest album The Hungry Mile is “Dirt Under My Nails”. The track was written by Melbourne based songwriter Rich Davies about the migrant experience in Australia.

“This is a great song from Rich Davies in Melbourne,” guitarist, Roger Corbett said. “It came out of a songwriting project involving the use of historical photos and professional songwriters who crafted songs from the images in those photos. It tells the familiar story of an Italian migrant building his life in Australia.”

“We want listeners of The Hungry Mile to take away a sense of pride in our history,” singer Dobe Newton added. “We would like them to take away the humour, the strength and the pride that is embodied in Australian culture of today and from our past.”

Take a listen to “Dirt Under My Nails” below:

Liz Stringer and the Candelo flair

Liz Stringer
Image Courtesy of Liz Stringer. Photo by Taiette O’Halloran

Standing under a tree, strumming on a tram, standing solid, landing her ground.  Liz Stringer is the song maiden of Australian soils whose ballads of heartbreak and sorrow thump rejection as readily as they pump the lifeblood of the free and the most fiercely independent of spirits. Her music, like her lyrics tell it, lilt to soaring highs while she lifts herself up and puts herself back together again, and again and again. Music, for Liz Stringer, like us too, always was reserved for the brave and for the free….

And no, love might not be any healer, but Liz Stringer’s musical offerings certainly harbour a salve deep within each measure.

It’s always been hard to tell – is she a songwriter, is she a perfect lyricist? Is she a singer, is she one Australia’s best musicians?

The real answer? Stringer just is.

She’s an artist, in the truest of senses. Though she would tell you she didn’t care what you thought anyway.

Her husky vocal overtones are matched with songs about cheap casks of wine.  Her voice emerges during a downward glance set on a serious face – darkly framed by a close clipped concave bob, a flapper-inspired style that points towards a place that leaves convention behind – the original devil may care expression of independence and un-ownable style. This is a chick for whom the night sky truly could conceivably be the original jewelry store window, with a heart that imagines life and conceives the way things might go, she who can weave that shoestring of a song on two triads that rip a chord around your heart so snug that it will never let go. Jimmy hurt her, don’t you remember, and you should close the drapes less that devil drops by after the night calls curtains on the day. But you know once you’ve heard her lucid drawl you’re never going to forget it.

“God she sounds like Joni Mitchell,” the audience says.

Chrissie Hynde,” say the reviews.

Nope, it’s Stringer.

“Is that Bonnie Raitt?” , no, and that’s all for now, so tune your guitar down low and croon along if you want any hope of keeping up with Stringer’s evolving style.

From Germany to Canada, Nashville and most recently to Candelo where we caught up, the Stringer model for musical success is born of hard work, commitment, focus and pure musical drive. On the day we meet she has travelled over 600 kilometres from the Hunter Valley, with another 6 hour drive ahead to Melbourne after the show.

Where other artists have remained strident individualists, Stringer hasn’t held back from whatever it is this musical journey has in mind – leaving her own story behind plenty of times to join up with other bands.

Collaborating with other legends of the stage – and the road – has definitely broadened her style, her range and her appeal.

The experience brings her back to the road with her latest album All The Bridges after a round of soul searching that found the songstress feeling perhaps she had given the journey all she had to give. Somehow she found her way to foreign shores, recording at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, Oregon, USA, in the same space where Fleet Foxes recorded, producing a very different sound with a very different crew.

“The new album is definitely the most rock and roll sounding album of all my work,” Stringer says, after playing to a full house at the 2017 Candelo Village Festival. “The lead sound I’m getting now is definitely much more developed than when I was playing acoustic”.

Where once the entire entourage was just Liz and her besty, Adam May, these days, the full crew consists of a four piece band.

“These musicians are amazing and I’m lucky to have them on board, considering how busy they are with their own stuff,” Stringer says.

Her current roomy from Prestons in Victoria, Alice Williams, features on rhythm, taking a break from her solo shows. Renowned drummer David Williams of Augie March is on the kit, and phenomenal bass player Timothy Nelson of Western Australia’s Kill Devil Hills is onboard for the journey too.

“He’s a killer songwriter,” Stringer says.  “He’s opening the shows for us in Victoria this weekend.”

It’s a solid lineup capable of delivering a smashingly tight, clear-sounding irresistible package, that even dips into the Australian classics.

“What was that song was that – was that Australian Crawl?” asks someone in the crowd.

“Nah mate wasn’t that – The Flowers. Ice House. Great Southern Land.”

“Great Southern Land”.  A song that reinvented video trends with helicopter footage and grand cinematography, unusual for its day, a song that broke budgets when it crashed onto the scene and into the minds of the 80’s generation. The kind of iconic Australian ballad Stringer is drawn to reproduce live on stage.

“I chose Great Southern Land because I’ve always loved the song. I love it’s “Australian-ness” and its poetic political and social statements about Australia. Alice and I often jam on that song late at night. So we wanted to try it with the full band,” she says.

Onstage Stringer’s gaze is still cast downwards, or sometimes askance when she clicks eyes with Alice as these patrons of groove birth a grueling 90 minute set of pure rock. Stringer peels off one perfectly crafted lead after another, mopping up with her Fender Mustang fluently as though it was an extension of her psyche. It’s an extension of our psyche now, the kind of music that really sinks in.

Travelling with their own sound crew also helps perfect the sound. “It’s a different experience to travelling solo,” Liz says. “I definitely don’t get to call in on friends as much as I used to when I was touring, but the comraderieof the band is definitely very energising.”

Though Stringer has largely packed away her loop machines and harmonica, instead wielding her Fender mustang like she was born wearing it, the full band sound isn’t more than it was before – with a strong four part harmony synching every verse, her acoustic sound isn’t lost – you can hear one within the other. Her musical concepts are so completely laid down that one – the full band or the paired back solo – implies the other.

You could always hear the harmonies even before they were there. The lyrical parts – the bass lines, the backing vocals, perhaps a djangly piano absent from recordings past, are oddly present now in these arrangements, like her ear was always tuned to both the vibed up and the vibed back versions of her tunes.  But the gaze is always introspective. And it’s not that she is looking down at the neck of her guitar, prepping to step the next pedal – it’s because she’s playing to an inner narrative, and that’s where her gaze has gone –  there’s a fire in his belly and a baby in mine, the narrative of the solo mind tracking the thoughts of the balladeer.

Meanwhile the flock of blue birds fly off her guitar strap and over her shoulder to make a nest at her next gig.

And so the road takes her, one day this town, the next day that, travelling, always travelling, for more than a decade, the life of the modern day troubadour. “It is hard,” Liz says, “but it’s what I want more than anything else. I might get three months of the year at home in Melbourne – but not all in one hit”.

A devotion, a calling, a road that doesn’t end. A journey into a town less known, in a place over the hill, somewhere far down the coast, the sapphire coast of New South Wales, where all the oceans are crystal blue.

And over the hill we travel to a mythical landscape, where the heavens cascade down over the high peaks at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, to a land quenched each equinox by the crisp clear waters of the snow melt in Spring. Green meadows and rivers meander through the view, with a lane punctuated by roadside stalls selling pumpkins.

The Candelo Arts Association ran an event that at one stage was more of a sprawling marquee affair. This year, with less volunteers available to pitch tents in the park, the experience was paired back, to everyone’s satisfaction. With some slick advertising and contemporary talk, half of the tickets were sold online, the other half, take your chances on the day – with a rambling drive over meadows and pastures to the little town of Candelo.

Hey, if there were no tickets left, it would be fun anyway.

The revived festival now has a simple structure – anything in the town hall is ticketed, the rest is open for all to enjoy for free.

The festival presents a well developed program which offers something for all tastes, featuring the pivotal jazz impro sounds of Kapture –Australia’s leading improvisers Sandy Evans, Bobby Singh, Brett Hirst and Greg Sheehan sitting in on the kit. Vince Jones appeared on Saturday night, and local talent Melanie Horsnell opened the show on the Friday. Rounded out with arts, literature, and even a ragtime parlour, the town put together a great event, with a street humming with happy punters for a whole weekend.

The festival organisers run events at the hall throughout the year, which has a little burger popup bar, where you can get the best pulled pork in town for just seven bucks.

This is a town where the word “inclusive” is redundant. Thinning grey dreds seem part of the civic uniform, and the grand fathers of town are in town with their adult kids and their own babies and they’re all hanging out in the street. The chicks in the café open the door for a guy circling round in his wheelchair, motioning with his chin which way the prams and dogs should go. It’s all ok here, safe for all kinds, even the guy wheezing away on a torn squeeze box on the blackboard stage who can’t quite remember his lyrics – it’s ok Steve, give it another go, we all know how the song goes anyway. It’s a loyal and attentive crowd, and they love Steve no matter what. As long as he sings another tune about Ned Kelly, preferably written by Paul Kelly, without ever mentioning a Kelly at all.  Local writers’ books are for sale at coffee tables, including a tome of poetry by  Phil Mac. The dogs are fed and watered, the entire stratosphere is on offer here. And you ALL are welcome. There’s even a piano parlour in the street. 

The local store was transformed two years ago, into a café and a swishy general store, well patronised by locals who come here to stock up on bread, milk, peanut butter, hand made baskets and all the local produce the town can supply.

Sometimes you wonder why each town needs its own festival – when surely a lineup of music, food and local eccentrics is on offer at every one.  Yet the answer to that question is redundant too – each town offers something completely new in the sense of regional style and flavor. And Candelo has ticked that box in every sense. It is a lovely relaxed affair with strangers mingling and chatting in the street.

Phil “This is how I think” Mac and his grandson Spencer Frank Burton Taylor swirl around, dancing to one of Steve’s blackboard strung tunes.  Phil himself is a poet whose work is collected in a recent edition. He is prepping for his 2UP calls at Merimbula RSL on Anzac Day. “Who are you writing for?”, Phil quizzes me. “Timber and Steel,” I say. “Ah Timber and Steel – I see, wood and metal,” before he meanders off down the main street. Young Spencer is the latest addition to a long line of farmers from the region, whose family are now producing chinook hops cones on old dairy country for micro breweries at Ryefield Hops, Bemboka, near the seaside town of Merimbula.

It’s a festival of honesty, integrity, and feel good low-fi values.Values that would appear to resonate with Liz Stringer and her crew.  After a long drive, quick sound check and a very long set, she’s out front and friendly selling all her own merch as soon as she’s off stage, looking quite at home at the side of the boho style bar.

Stringer’s broad Australian accent is never shied away from or apologised for –it’s part of what gives you the sense that she’s with us for many decades yet – holding back, with sincerity, is something she does best. She’s someone who has your measure and shrugs off success – all the awards, accolades and CD sales in the world don’t seem as though they appeal to her anyway.

In a final ballad about friendship – she calls to anyone. Doing it solo for years on the road has earned her the stripes, as she glides now on the wings of her full band. With the front of stage floor occupied with eager musicians listening as attentively as Stringer is delivering – from MelanieHorsnell and her kids to former Lime Spiders drummer Richard Lawson (and some girl from a band named Honey) – she’s definitely a musician’s musician – but one who has wide appeal as shown by the sell-out tours and packed out stadiums of the global music circuit. Paying solid attention to the slick rock sound, she’s still a serious insect – who pays homage to inspiration drawn from the Great Southern Land and the Great Ocean Road alike, with an apparently red wine inspired flourish of nail polish on just the one guitar stubbled pinky.

“She sounds like Christine McVie”, the audience muses.

“Hmmmm, or maybe…?”

Her dark 1920s bob is bleached out now and neatly twisted at the sides with a couple of bobby pins. Stringer’s appearance never seemed as important to the soul of her work as the coil of tightly wound emotion she creates– highlighted now as a rousing sway of crashes is played out on Williams’ Zildjians– emblazoned by a snatch of cymbal bait on his sticks, sounding as though there’s not just a full choir of backup singers up there, but that they’re tambourine tapping too – but no, it’s just the four of them, seasoned pros, and that’s just as well because the stage is already crowded.

“It’s a wonder there was room for you at all she muses”, perhaps thinking of growing up with her music teacher dad, her absent mum, and now, her now dad’s partner, down on the Great Ocean Road, that great crashing bastion of the Australian landscape  – indelibly cast as the fierce anchor at the foot of the Australian mood – where the wild seas stir up whispers and storms from the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic.

“We can live on love” she sings.  “We CAN live on love” – like an anthem, a mantra, singing it to us with a “hey, yeah!” smile while she repeats it to herself.

We can be big observers of the fates of hearts, the heart doesn’t have to surrender when love comes to town.

We can, draw breath – we can inhale that chilling breeze blowing straight up the guts of the Southern Ocean, we can survive it, everything – the whole lot life has to throw at us. It doesn’t have to crush us, we can merge love with happiness – we can have it all.

We can drink that hopeful tune, and still launch one of the greatest melancholic balladeers this country has ever produced – heart in tact, off the sleeve of the album, and off into the world. Farewell Liz, go well on this tour, until next time you come back home, with ever more musical maturity spunk and style.

But never, please, never be a stranger to this land.

Watch the New Busby Marou Video “Paint This Land”

Busby Marou
Photo by Stuart Bucknell

On ANZAC day Yesterday Queensland-based acoustic duo Busby Marou released their new video “Paint This Land”. The video is “a moving and poignant portrayal of timely themes concerning both Indigenous and non-Indigenous veterans” and features Vietnam War veteran Bob Blair.

The video was directed by Bob Blair’s son Wayne Blair and was filmed in Mt Tamborine and its surrounds. Check out the video below:

Busby Marou have a bunch of national tour dates coming up – check them out here:

Thursday 25th May – 48 Watt Street, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 26th May – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 27th May – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 28th May – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 1st June – Southern Cross Club, Canberra, ACT
Friday 2nd June – Launceston Country Club, Launceston, TAS
Saturday 3rd June – Wrest Point Casino, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 8th June – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 9th June – Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 10th June – Sea & Sound Festival, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 11th June – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 15th June – Fat Controller, Adelaide, SA
Friday 16th June – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th June – Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 18th June – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Thursday 22nd June – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Friday 23rd June – Northshore Tavern, Hillarys, WA
Saturday 24th June – Mundaring Weir Hotel, Mundaring, WA
Sunday 25th June – The Boston, Perth, WA
Friday 30th June – Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT

Timber and Steel Premiere: John Flanagan Trio’s New Single “Beauty On The Bottom” Plus National Tour

John Flanagan
Image Courtesy of John Flanagan Trio

Timber and Steel favourite John Flanagan Trio has just released their gorgeous new single “Beauty On The Bottom” and have asked Timber and Steel to be the first to share it. Once again Flanagan has proven he’s one of Australia’s finest lyricists – take a listen here:

“Beauty On The Bottom” is the first recorded work for John Flanagan and his constant live collaborators Liz Frencham and Daniel Watkins. To coincide with the release of the single the John Flanagan Trio will be heading out on tour through Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Canberra, Adelaide, and other regional centers around VIC, NSW and SA during May and June.

Check out the full list of dates (with more to be announced) below:

Saturday 13th May – Commonground, Hilldene, VIC
Thursday 18th May – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 19th May – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 20th May – Paddock Sessions, Wollombi, NSW
Saturday 20th May – Sunset Studio, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 21st May – Coffee Whole, Berkley Vale, NSW
Thursday 1st June – Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 2nd June – Courthouse Cultural Centre, Auburn, SA
Saturday 3rd June – Barossa Regional Gallery, Tanunda, SA
Saturday 17th June – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Track By Track: Good Days, These Days – Quinton Trembath

Image Courtesy of Quinton Trembath

Avid journaler, constant traveller and part time accordionist, Quinton Trembath, has returned to punk influenced acoustic guitar to chronicle his stories of friends and places. Just six months after releasing his first EP, Tuns of Fun, Trembath is back with new EP Good days, These Days, recorded in Hobart with the help of Cal Young and Hannah Morrell.

For some added context to the new songs, he has provided us with a photo and anecdote for each song.

1. “Glenorchy” – Glenorchy is a suburb fifteen minutes north of Hobart where I was blessed to spend a week sharing a lounge-room floor with these ten smelly punks. The friendship was cemented one stormy night when Elliott rescued me from the rushing storm-water I had fallen into while we drunkenly explored Hobart’s underground rivulets.


2. “Footscray” – Footscray is a suburb fifteen minutes west of Melbourne where I have spent the past three months making friends, writing songs and sleeping on couches. The few uninspiring months I spent working in Coffs Harbour at the end of last year filled me with a craving for a life more inspiring and I am stoked to be now living in a place where I can see my all my favourite bands both on stage as well as in the local Savers store.


3. “Hazelbrook” – Hazelbrook is a suburb twenty minutes east of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains where my friend Maizy keeps herself busy with a myriad of jobs, bands, studies and other things. We often try to catch up, but due to her unaccommadating schedule of endless commitments and my penchant for constant travel, we’ve found writing letters to be by and far the sweetest way to keep in touch.


4. “Bonville” – Bonville is a suburb 15 minutes south of Coffs Harbour, where on a particularly depressing afternoon in December, my long time friend Rae and I were lucky to find that sometimes all it takes to lift a horrendous mood and derail a suicide pact is an old friend, a case of cheap tins and a rickety swinging garden chair dumped on a curbside.


5. “Glebe” – Glebe is a suburb ten minutes out of Sydney’s CBD where my bicycle frequently spent the night locked up to the front railing of my friend Ellen’s charming terrace home last year. I wrote this song in Vietnam after spending a number of days with her in Indonesia where she nursed me back to health from a bad case of food poisoning.


Good Days, These Days can be downloaded for “name your price” at Quinton Trembath’s Bandcamp.

Quinton Trembath has a number of New South Wales gigs coming up this week – check out the full list below:

Thursday 27th April – Get Folk Punked @ Lazybones, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 29th April – Station Bar, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 30th April – The Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: