Listen to the New Sufjan Stevens Single “Tonya Harding”

Image Courtesy of Sufjan Stevens

Sujan Stevens has surprised everyone with the release of “Tonya Harding”, a tribute to the former US figure skater. To accompany the release Stevens penned a small piece detailing why he wrote the song:

“I’ve been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991,” Sufjan Stevens explained. “She’s a complicated subject for a song partly because the hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American. She was one of the greatest figure skaters of her time, and the first American woman to perform a triple axle in an international competition. She was an unlikely skating star, having been raised working class in Portland, Oregon. Being a poor outsider, her rise to fame in the skating rink was seen, by some, as a blemish on a sport that favored sophistication and style. Tonya’s skating technique was feisty, fierce, and full of athleticism, and her flamboyant outfits were often hand-made by her mother (who was abusive and overbearing). (They couldn’t afford Vera Wang.) And then there was the Nancy Kerrigan incident. In January 1994, Tonya’s then-boyfriend Jeff Gillooly hired an assailant, Shane Stant, to break fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s leg at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, so that she would be unable to compete at the upcoming Winter Olympics. The after-math of the attack was recorded on camera and ultimately set off a media frenzy (and an FBI investigation). Gillooly and Stan were eventually found guilty, and Tonya pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution, and was subsequently banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Nancy Kerrigan recovered from her injury and won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics. Tonya Harding finished eighth.

“But that’s not even half the story. When Tonya and Gillooly got married, they filmed themselves having sex on their wedding night and produced one of the first-ever celebrity sex tapes (which they sold to Penthouse for $200,000 each). Tonya also had a brief career as a boxer, and is most famous for her bout with former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones (whose sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton precipitated his impeachment in 1998). Tonya was also (very briefly) in a band called the Golden Blades (they were allegedly booed off the stage during their first and only performance). She also raced vintage automobiles (setting a record by driving a Ford Model A over 97 miles per hours on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah). And in 1996 Tonya used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive an 81-year-old woman who collapsed at a bar in Portland while playing video poker. That’s a lot to accomplish before the age of 30!

“Tonya Harding’s dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: American’s sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination. Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend.

“I admit, early drafts of this song contained more than a few puns, punch lines and light-hearted jabs—sex tapes and celebrity boxing make for an entertaining narrative arc. But the more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this strange and magnificent America hero. At the end of the day, Tonya Harding was just an ordinary woman with extraordinary talent and a tireless work ethic who set out to do her very best. She did that and more. I hope the same can be said of us all.”

Listen to “Tonya Harding” here:

Listen to the New Ruby Boots Single “Don’t Talk About It”

Ruby Boots
Image Courtesy of Ruby Boots

The latest single from Ruby Boots’ upcoming album Don’t Talk About It, due on the 9th February, is the wonderful title track “Don’t Talk About It”.

As usual Ruby Boots’ amazing voice is front and centre on the track, which is a little more laid back than the rocking numbers we’ve heard from the Americana singer son far.

Take a listen to “Don’t Talk About It” below:

Watch the New Calexico Video “Voices In The Field”

Image Courtesy of Calexico

American nu-folk legends Calexico have just revealed “Voices In The Field”, the latest single from their upcoming album The Thread That Keeps Us which is due on the 26th January.

“In the age of the extremes when walls attempt to stifle words, this song is inspired by the poems on postcards from those uprooted by war and oppression,” Calexico frontman Joey Burns explains. “It’s a song to remind us to open up our hearts and hear other voices sing their stories.”

“Voices In The Field” also comes with brand new lyric video. Check it out below:

Listen to the New BATTS Single “Somedays”

Image Courtesy of BATTS

Melbourne based singer-songwriter BATTS last week released her stunning, raw EP 62 Moons. The latest single from the release is “Somedays”, which fully embraces the new sounds BATTS has been building across all of the tracks on 62 Moons.

Take a listen to “Somedays” below:

BATTS is launching 62 Moons at a secret Melbourne location next Wednesday 13th December – stay tuned to her Facebook page for more details.

Listen to the New Freya Josephine Hollick Single “The Pearly Gates of the Landfill”

Freya Josephone Hollick
Image Courtesy of Freya Josephine Hollick

Melbourne alt-country singer-songwriter Freya Josephine Hollick has just launched her brand new single “The Pearly Gates of the Landfill”. The track is the singer’s first since the release of her EP Don’t Mess With The Doyenne earlier this year.

“I wrote it about – like always – my daughter’s dad, and a date that we had where we went to the tip shop” Hollick explained. “And it’s all true, everything that’s in the song – it comes from the hilarious redneck romance that I had with my daughter’s dad.”

The single was recorded while singer-songwriter Robert Ellis, bass player Geoffrey Muller and drummer Michael “Tank” Lisenbe were in town for the Out On The Weekend festival, all three of which Freya Josephine Hollick convinced to join her in the studio for the single.

“I’d been listening a lot to Robert’s records, and also to the Traveller tunes,” she explains, “and then when the opportunity arose that they could come into the studio and record, I thought it was perfect ‘cause I’d sort of written the song with their instrumentation in mind anyway, which was kinda cool.”

Take a listen to “The Pearly Gates of the Landfill” below:

Vance Joy Announces New Album Nation of Two

Vance Joy
Image Courtesy of Vance Joy

Epic indie-folk singer-songwriter and radio darling Vance Joy has just announced plans to release his brand new album Nation of Two in February 2018.

The album is Vance Joy’s second, following on from the crazy successful debut Dream Your Life Away.

Nation Of Two describes a perfectly self-contained couple; their world beginning and ending at the bed they share, the car they ride in, or any other place where they’re together – the idea that their love for each other gives them their bearings; a point of reference that makes sense of life,” Vance Joy explained.

The latest single from Nation Of Two is “Like Gold”, following on from the album’s first release “Lay It On Me”.

“I wrote “Like Gold” after coming off the road at the start of 2016,” Vance Joy explained. “It started with a simple melody I was humming and the idea of looking back at a relationship.”

Check out a stream of “Like Gold” here:

Vance Joy has a couple of dates coming up including an appearance at Sydney City Limits in February – the full list of shows are below:

Wednesday 22nd November – Forum Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 23rd November – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 25th November – Spilt Milk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 24th February – Sydney City Limits, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW

Listen to Three New Tracks from The Emerald Ruby

The Emerald Ruby
Image Courtesy of The Emerald Ruby

You may be familiar with the sweet flute sounds of Newcastle based musician Jennifer Hankin with bands like Vanishing Shapes and The Button Collective. But what you may not know is that Hankin is an accomplished photographer, artist, videographer, fashion designer and blogger, which she caputures, along with her music, under the moniker The Emerald Ruby.

Over the last couple of months The Emerald Ruby has been releasing a bunch of original, solo songs. The tracks are sweet indie-folk tunes filled with lilting ukulele, flute and layered vocals, all performed by Hankin.

So far The Emerald Ruby has released three original tracks – “Simple Song”, “James Falls Over Stargazing” and “Follow The Light”. Take a listen to all three below and keep your eyes peeled for more goodness to come from The Emerald Ruby:

I’m With Her Announce Debut Album See You Around

I'm With Her
Image Courtesy of I’m With Her

US folk super-group I’m With Her, made up of singers Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, have finally announced plans to release their debut album See You Around on the 16th February.

The album was co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Paul McCartney) and features 11 original tracks plus a version of the never before released Gillian Welch-penned “Hundred Miles”.

“We all feel immensely fortunate to be in this band together,” says I’m With Her. “As longtime friends and fans of each other’s music, it’s been wonderful to realize that writing and collaborating together fits so seamlessly into our lives. And now, we’re so excited to get to tour and share the work we’ve done as a band with our debut album, See You Around.”

The full track listing for See You Around plus a stream of the title track below:

1. See You Around
2. Game To Lose
3. Ain’t That Fine
4. Pangaea
5. I-89
6. Wild One
7. Waitsfield
8. Ryland (Under The Apple Tree)
9. Overland
10. Crescent City
11. Close It Down
12. Hundred Miles

The Welcome Wagon Announce New Album Light Up the Stairs

The Welcome Wagon
Image Courtesy of The Welcome Wagon

New York based gospel-folk duo The Welcome Wagon have just released their new album Light Up the Stairs, following a successful Kickstarter campaign

The Welcome Wagon make some of the sweetest Christen folk music going, heavily influenced by their label mate and producer Sufjan Stevens. In fact Light Up the Stairs will feature a cover of “The Greatest Gift”, written by Sufjan Stevens and recently released as the title track of his recent mixtape.

Check out the full track listing plus the lyric video for the album’s title track “Light Up The Stairs” below:

1. Galatians
2. All These Trees
3. HCQ1
4. In the Garden
5. Light up the Stairs
6. St. Tom’s Lullaby
7. The Outside Road
8. Maybe You’re Right
9. It’s so Hard
10. Lamb of God
11. The Greatest Gift

Listen to the New Tesse (Tom Stephens) Single “I’ll Tell You In The Morning”

Image Courtesy of Tesse

Sydney based singer-songwriter Tom Stephens has just moved into the next step of his musical evolution, renaming himself Tesse to more accurately represent the collaboration with his supporting band (including Cam Whipp on bass, Mon Ellis on guitar, Chris Long on keys and drummer Rob Turner).

Tesse will be releasing his debut album How It All Unfolds in early 2018 and he’s just released his first single under the new moniker – take a listen to “I’ll Tell You In The Morning” below:

Tesse will be officially launching “I’ll Tell You In The Morning” with shows in Sydney and Melbourne this November and December – the full list of dates are here:

Tuesday 28th November – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 2nd December – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

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