Dates for Darren Hanlon’s Traditional Christmas Tour

Darren Hanlon
Image Courtesy of Darren Hanlon

Every year Australian troubadour Darren Hanlon grabs his guitar and a few of his mates and heads out on a Christmas tour. And 2015 is no different with Hanlon announcing a whole bunch of dates throughout December.

Check out the full list of shows for the Christmas tour below – for more information check out the official Facebook event here:

Saturday 5th December – Northcote Uniting Church Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 6th December – Monte’s, Alice Springs, NT
Thursday 10th December – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Friday 11th December – TBD, Nannup, WA
Saturday 12th December – Jade Monkey, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 16th December – Ararat Hotel Red Room, Ararat, VIC
Friday 18th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th December – St Stephens Church, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th December – The Gooloogong Log Cabin Hall, Gooloongong, NSW
Monday 21st December – The Polish Club, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 23rd December – The Globe, Brisbane, QLD

Watch the New Willowy Video “More Than a Shadow”

Image Courtesy of Willowy

Sydney nu-folk singer-songwriter Willowy has just released her brand new video “More Than a Shadow” and it’s absolutely stunning. The video was made over seven hours with the painstaking detail captured frame by frame.

“More Than a Shadow” is taken from Willowy’s upcoming EP The White Dress. Check out the video below:

Interview: The Campervan Dancers, Folkswagon

Campervan Dancers
Image Courtesy of The Campervan Dancers

Throughout 2016 Sydney folk-duo The Campervan Dancers have been running (and performing at) the excellent Wednesday night show Folkswagon at Cafe Lounge in Surry Hills. Originally inspired by past Sydney night Folk Club, Folkswagon has a pretty unique calling card – the folky artists that play each week are called upon to perform an R&B or “swag” cover as part of their set.

We sat down with Ryan and Chelsea from The Campervan Dancers to chat all things Folkswagon as well as get an insight into their plans for 2016.

Gareth Hugh Evans: So Folkswagon is the regular Wednesday night that you guys run at Cafe Lounge in Sydney. Where did the idea for the night come from?

Ryan Collings: We were cruising around somewhere in Queensland on our honeymoon, talking about our plans for the year. We were wondering if we should play a ton of shows or should we do what some bands do and only play selective shows and try to use that as a strategy. And we decided that if we could we’d like to do a regular night.

Chelsea Collings: Running a regular night.

RC: Yeah. Because whether or not it’s the best strategy as a band to be playing the same place every week we wanted to give a format for other bands to play and create a community that is sort of lacking since the end of Folk Club. We loved going along to that and in its absense we thought it’d be good to do something.

CC: In terms it being Folkswagon we weren’t instinctively like “we should run a night that has niche R&B covers”. It wasn’t our first port of call. But we really like naming things – we put a lot of time and energy into finding the exact right name for something. After many many nights of driving from venue to venue and talking about what we wanted it to be called we eventually got to Folkswagon which then really lent itself to “well, we have to do swag covers”. It has to have swag.

RC: It actually just created itself.

GHE: Any time I’ve mentioned it to friends they’re always like “Folkswagon – I see what they did there”. I really like the format you guys have with you guys essentially taking the middle set as an ongoing residency and then giving spots to other artists. And you quite often have a recognisable name as the headliner and and upcoming as the opener.

RC: On the one hand it’s tempting to be like “let’s just get the biggest acts we can, pull as many people as we can”. And then on the other hand you also want to be helping people who are gigging less, helping their sound. Maybe they don’t sound as you think they will in a year but if they don’t play shows they’re not going to get better. We actually try to do that. It’s obviously not super strict but generally we try to have someone who’s hopefully going to pull a few heads and be a recognisable name, and then someone who might be a little bit of a risk. We’ve been really happy with everyone who’s played.

CC: It has meant a lot to us in terms of networking from a professional standpoint. For us to be able to connect with names who we really admire and really respect their work – to have a platform that they’re interested in being a part of is really cool. But as well we both started out as solo singer-songwriters and definitely benefitted from people taking a chance on us and being able to have that opportunity to perform. So it’s really cool to do that for other artists.

RC: We’ve been really honoured by some of the people who’ve come and played. The night we run is not for profit and we’re not paying as much as any of the artists are worth. They get something for their time but it’s great that they want to become a part of it, even though we don’t have the bankroll to pamper them.

GHE: And you’ve built a really nice community that “name” artists want to be a part of.

CC: Everyone’s beautifully humble – everyone’s thankful to have the platform. It’s really cool to see that attitude towards the community, that it is a really special thing to be a part of even if we would consider that they shouldn’t be playing at a night like this.

GHE: I’m interested to know when you play a regular show like this, where you do have a return audience and you’re in the same space, how that’s helped you develop as a band?

CC: It feels like home there now. I still have a sense of “Oh, I’m performing” and I get nervous and want to do really well, but it’s so much more comfortable than any other venue. Even just the regularity of it has pushed us to be better. With that amount of performance practice you just get better at reflecting on what works well and what people respond to. Having that regular audience who gives us feedback on what they really love about us and what songs they like, and even getting some feedback on what they think we could improve on, has been really helpful just in developing our stage presence. I think it’s done a world of difference in progressing us performance wise.

GHE: It’s almost like a weekly rehearsal for you in a comfortable space in front of a friendly audience. Do you workshop songs there?

RC: This year we’ve been playing previous material a lot and a couple of new songs. And then we’ve got a bunch of incomplete songs that we’re working on in the background. We’re trying not to play them.

CC: I think it’s more of our personality though that we really want to make sure things are ready. We were very intentional about what we want to be giving out to the world as a band so we want to make sure it’s right before we play it. But that being said the first place that we would play it would be Folkswagon, just to get a sense of it.

GHE: It’s like instant feedback from people you trust.

CC: It is. I feel like we worked pretty hard at the beginning to really create the environment that we would want to play it. Initially it was a very loud and unappealing place to play – people weren’t really used to prioritising listening to musicians. So we tried a bunch of strategies to just improve that and I feel like that’s helped a lot. It means we get that instant feedback even if it’s just a core ten people that are there – at least they’re present and engaged.

RC: And in Cafe Lounge with the nooks at the back it’s good that there’s a space that people can hang out and they don’t have to feel like they have to be really quiet. There’s space for everyone.

GHE: I was talking to the wonderful Fran Martin who is Folkswagon’s biggest fan and your resident MC and she was gushing about how much The Campervan Dancers have grown as a band since you started playing there. She said she can tell the difference between where you were six months ago and now. Is that something you feel has happened?

CC: I think probably a big impetus for that was being booked to play at Beyond Festival. We were playing a slot after Katie Noonan and before Blue King Brown so we really wanted that to be as good as we could possibly make it. It gave us a big kick up the bum to think about not just the songs and how they sound but the whole package.

GHE: Your stage banter has improved. It’s all about trying to connect even if no one is connecting back.

RC: It can feel a bit contrived. We don’t plan everything we say – a lot of what we say is very spontaneous – but we’ve put thought into it and discussed it. Be on the same page at least.

CC: Be able to maintain the energy between us regardless of the room. We want to bring as much joy and vibe to it as we possibly can.

GHE: You guys went from fortnightly to weekly after Little Features finished up their string of shows at Cafe Lounge. Was that a hard decision?

RC: We kind of went right for it. Initially we were going to do it every week. We were chatting with Little Features at the start of the year before we did anything and we both had a similar thing that we wanted to do.

CC: We were like “why don’t we join forces and do it together”.

RC: It’s been over six months now – we’ve just had our twentieth show. And Fran has been a stalwart, really solid. We couldn’t do it without her.

CC: Moving from fortnightly to weekly came at a good time. At that point the night had built up quite a lot and there was definitely just more interest – we were getting approached by people who wanted to play. And being a regular thing it feels more consistent.

GHE: Yeah, it as consistency. From a punter’s point of view you just want to be able to know that there’s going to be good music there on any Wednesday night.

RC: And that’s how I felt about Folk Club. I didn’t go every week, but if I was free I’d go.

GHE: As long as you maintain the quality, which you guys do. People will return for the night, not just because of a single artist.

CC: The majority of our audience is local regulars, people who are patrons of the venue and now know that there’s quality live music on a Wednesday. We’ve been very strict in really trying to uphold a standard.

GHE: So Folkswagon’s going to continue into 2016?

CC: Definitely.

GHE: But I heard you guys are leaving us next year?

CC: Yeah, we’ve bought our tickets to the UK and we’re leaving on March 5th.

RC: For our “European tour”. And Folkswagon may be expanding in Sydney but there’ll definitely be some kind of European presence for it.

CC: We’re thinking of either establishing a regular night in one place or doing a Folkswagon road trip. Just because we’ve found it’s been a very successful brand, people like the style of it, they like the niche-ness of it. We love hearing other bands and sharing the stage with them. Fran will be holding down the fort over here, fairy gigmother that she is. And no one can command a room like Fran.

GHE: So is the UK the big focus for you at the moment?

RC: There’s kind of a couple of focuses. We’ve got our first single “Slow Down Butterfly” which was meant to come out last March, but it’s definitely going to come out in the next few weeks.

CC: It’s taken a while to get mixed.

RC: We’re excited about it. And then the next thing after that will be a Pozible campaign so we’re going to need everyone’s help to try and get us over the line for that.

CC: We really want to release an EP. Pretty much at every single show we have people coming up asking to buy our CD. We’re looking forward to hopefully put something out from that if that’s successful.

GHE: That will be a nice bookend before you head overseas

RC: That’s why we really want to do it – it would be great to take over there and just have something that booking agents and managers can have something that represents what we sound like. Hopefully the year of really intense gigging is going to pay off on the record. We’ll sound together.

GHE: Thank you so much guys – and congratulations again on the success of Folkswagon so far.

RC: Thanks so much!

Folkswagon is held each Wednesday night at Cafe Lounge in Sydney. All of the artists for Folkswagon’s upcoming shows are below:

Wednesday 25th November – Snail, The Campervan Dancers, Liam Gale
Wednesday 2nd December – Sam Joole, The Campervan Dancers, Timothy James Bowen
Wednesday 9th December – Callum Wylie, The Campervan Dancers, Maia Jelavic

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings Machine Announce Australian Tours

Dave Rawlings
Image Courtesy of Dave Rawlings Machine

In news we’ve been dying to tell you it looks as though Australia is going to be treated to two very special (and interconnected) tours next year – Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings Machine.

Long time collaborators Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings will be taking their duo show through Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane before the Dave Rawlings Machine hits the road for an east coast tour through Brisbane, Bangalow, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. It’s been well over ten years since Welch and Rawlings were in the country and in that time they’ve won accolades and released critically acclaimed music – Dave Rawlings Machine will be touring their brand new album Nashville Obsolete.

Check out the full list of tour dates below – tickets go on sale on the 1st December:

Gillian Welch
Saturday 30th January – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Wednesday 3rd February – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Friday 5th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 8th February – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 11th February – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD

Dave Rawlings Machine
Friday 12th February – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 13th February – A&I Hall, Bangalow, NSW
Tuesday 16th February – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 17th February – The Playhouse, Canberra, ACT
Friday 19th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Details of the Mudsling Mini-Festival in Mudgee

Image Courtesy of Mudsling

As we all wake up from the inevitable Christmas and New Year coma this January and realise that the sun is still shining and the working year hasn’t really kicked in yet, we’ll all no doubt be looking for some sweet, live music to keep the holiday spirit alive. And do we have the perfect event for you!

On the 9th January Roths Wine Bar in Mudgee, NSW will be hosting the mini-festival Mudsling featuring ten artists across two stages all for just $50.

The lineup for Mudsling has been confirmed with Daniel Champagne, Saltwater Sound System, April Maze, Out of Abingdon and Big Erle all making the trip out west to join local bands Honey, Euripi, Nick Wall and more.

Mudsling will be a taster of what punters can expect from the first Mudgee Music Festival which is due to kick off over the October long weekend in 2016.

“The thriving town of Mudgee in the Central West of NSW has always been a haven for artists and musicians and the home of the fantastic Huntingdon Music Festival and Day on the Green,” Mudgee Music Festival organiser Richard Lawson explained. “Now there is a festival coming to Mudgee that bridges the gap between the big production worlds of rock and classical. We want to bring quality music to a larger audience in Mudgee, by bringing it off the main stage and into a relaxed, eclectic range of venues that really add to the art of the sound – from churches to wine bars, from pubs to parks and cafes  – to truly bring out the vibrancy and independence of a wonderful musical world.”

For more information on Mudsling check out the official Facebook event here or head over to the Mudgee Music Festival web site here.

Jason Isbell’s March Tour Dates

Jason Isbell
Image Courtesy of Jason Isbell

The news has been out for a while now but just in case you missed it: Jason Isbell has announced a bunch of headline shows when he’s in the country next March for Bluesfest.

Isbell will be touring his latest album Something More Than Free – check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, NSW
Tuesday 29th March – Recital Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st March – Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 3rd April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Listen to the Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Track “Hot Coals”

Edward Sharpe
Image Courtesy of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Last week a brand new Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros track hit my inbox with little to no explanation. Apparently it is the first taste of the band’s 4th album which will be released at some point next year.

We really like this track – it has the classic Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros slow build and Alex Ebert’s voice is in fine form. Check out “Hot Coals” below:

Watch Matt Bauer’s New Video “I Am Trying To Disappear”

Matt Bauer
Image Courtesy of Matt Bauer

US based singer-songwriter Matt Bauer released his incredible new album Dream’s End last week. The album is a break from Bauer’s previous sparse releases with the melodic, electric and rhythmic elements of his songwriting dialled up.

The first single from Dream’s End is the haunting “I Am Trying To Disappear” – check it out below:

Sweet Jean Announce Summer Tour

Sweet Jean
Image Courtesy of Sweet Jean

Melbourne indie-folk duo Sweet Jean have been hard at work on their sophomore album Monday to Friday, busily recording it in their converted laundry home studio. And as they put the finishing touches on the highly anticipated followup to 2013’s Dear Departure Sweet Jean have decided to head out on the road.

Check out the full list of dates for the shows below:

Thursday 26th November – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 27th November – The Skukum Lounge, Ashgrove, QLD
Saturday 2nd January – Here’s To Now Festival, McLaren Vale, SA
Sunday 3rd January – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton, SA
Saturday 12th March – Panama Festival, Panama Forest, TAS

The National Announces Even More Artists for 2016

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live in Texas

Last week The National Folk Festival announced a whole lot more artists for its 50th anniversary in 2016 and we’re getting super excited.

Included in this round of announcements are Vishten (Canada), Tony McManus & Beppe Gambetta (Scotland & Italy), Bluetongue Bush Ceilidh (UK), Brian Peters (UK), The Beez (Germany), All Our Exes Live in Texas, Castlecomer, Andy White (UK), The Davidson Brothers, Women in Docs, Matthew Dames, Eastwinds, Le Blanc Bros Cajun Band, Danny Spooner and Margret RoadKnight.

The National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, 24th to 28th March. Earlybird tickets are available now via the official site.

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