New Music Monday – 17th June

Boy and Bear
Image Courtesy of Boy & Bear

Angharad Drake – “Start Again”

Brisbane based singer-songwriter Angharad Drake released her dreamy new single “Start Again” this week, along with home video style clip. The track fuses elements of Drake’s folk-infused sound with an almost melancholic indie-rock aesthetic.

“”Start Again” is about not letting one tragedy in your life determine every other choice you make,” Angharad Drake explains. “You have the opportunity to start again, don’t miss your chance.”

“Start Again” is taken from her upcoming EP due on the 18th July. Angharad Drake has a handful of Queensldand dates coming up in the next few weeks:

Saturday 29th June – Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD
Friday 5th July – Dust Temple, Currumbin Waters, QLD
Saturday 6th July – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 7th July – House Concert, Kingscliff, QLD

Boy & Bear – “Hold Your Nerve”

This week saw the triumphant return of Australian indie-folk favourites Boy & Bear with their brand new single “Hold Your Nerve”. This is the band’s first new music single their 2015 album Limit of Love so their return is very very welcome.

And they don’t disappoint with an epic single in “Hold Your Nerve”, an ultimately positive stadium banger full of the band’s trademark seventies influences. And of course with a new single we also get a handful of tour dates this August:

Thursday 15th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 23rd August – The Astor, Perth, WA

Georgia State Line & Patrick Wilson – “What I Know Now”

Alt-country favourites Georgia State Line and Patrick Wilson have collaborated on their brand new track “What I Know Now”. The song comes with a stunning live video which showcases these unique talents perfectly – combining their gorgeous voices with the natural reverb of Evans Hall, thanks to Shoelace Sessions.

“Having committed to the inevitable highs and lows of a lifetime in music, Pat and I got to a point where we realised we’re all, in one way or another, taught to feel shame about our unique pathway through the world,” Georgia Delves said of the song. “At the time of writing [the song] I found myself wondering what life could be like if we were all just left to be; to act with curiosity and compassion for ourselves and others.

Jordan Merrick – “Low Country”

Sitting somewhere between The Doors and Los Lobos, Brisbane based folk singer-songwriter Jordan Merrick delivers his latest single “Low Country”. With an unmistakeable swagger, “Low Country” is going to conjure up all sorts of musical nostalgia with more than a pinch of grit.

“Low Country” is the first taste from an upcoming debut album from Jordan Merrick.

Michael Waugh – “This Song Reminds Me”

No one is really writing country and folk music like Michael Waugh. The deceptively simple storytelling approach to his craft, combined with heavy doses of nostalgia and poignancy, firmly places Waugh in the great tradition of great Australian songwriters.

“This Song Reminds Me” feels like a Michael Waugh song turned up to eleven. It’s the lead single from his upcoming album, due for release later this year.

Nathan Seeckts – “Three Soldiers”

Geelong based alt-country singer Nathan Seeckts perfectly captures the feeling of childhood friedships drifting apart over the years with his new single “Three Soldiers”. I’m such a fan of Seeckts’ voice, particularly on this track – it’s strong and raw with a hidden tenderness that is needed on tracks like “Three Soldiers”.

“My mates and I grew up riding our bikes around the streets of Geelong from sunup ‘til sundown, looking for adventure and only coming home when it was time to eat,” Nathan Seeckts explained. “As we grew up and followed different paths we lost that tight bond that we’d built up over so many years. I like to think of this song as my Stand By Me song.”

Nathan Seeckts is currently out on tour – his remaining dates are here:

Saturday 29th June – The Lost Ones, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 29th June – Entrée Music Bar, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 30th June – The Taproom, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 5th July – The Wharf Barrel Shed, Goolwa, SA
Saturday 6th July – The Exeter, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 7th July – The Royal Oak, Penola, SA
Saturday 13th July – Pistol Pete’s, Geelong, VIC
Saturday 20th July – The Fitzroy Pinnacle, Melbourne, VIC

Steve Poltz – “Ballin’ On A Wednesday”

Celebrated Americana singer-songwriter Steve Poltz has just released his ode to the middle of the week, “Ballin’ On A Wednesday”. This is a straight up humour driven Americana music with its tongue firmly placed in its check and a ludicrous video to match.

New Music Monday – 20th May

Kate Miller Heidke
Image Courtesy of Kate Miller-Heidke

Elephant Sessions – “Colours”

If you’ve managed to catch Scottish trad-fusion band Elephant Sessions on one of their trips to Australia, most recently for this year’s Bluesfest, you’ll know that you’re no doubt already a fan. The band released their sophomore album What Makes You last week and have also given us their latest single “Colours”, a driving instrumental which perfectly captures their unique sound.

Rumours are that Elephant Sessions will be returning to our shores in 2020 so keep an eye out for more news soon!

Harmony Byrne – “Smoke Inside”

“Smoke Inside”, the crunchy blues waltz from Australian singer-songwriter Harmony Byrne, is definitely worth a listen this week. The track is taken from Byrne’s upcoming album Heavy Doors and features her amazing voice alongside some really slick production.

“As a child I was told that I was a drama queen,” Harmony Byrne says of the track. “Initially, I mistook this as being a negative aspect of my personality and struggled to express myself. But thankfully, I was also taught to have self-worth, honesty, integrity, and that I only ever need be myself in a world full of frauds. “Smoke Inside” is all about valuing who you are, no matter how wild or tame, and that if someone you love doesn’t let you light up inside, then they are not the match for you.”

Kate Miller-Heidke – “Ernie”

If you’ve been devouring all the media surrounding Kate Miller-Heidke and the Eurovision Song Contest you may have caught her on the ABC’s Australian Story program last week. Which means you probably also heard her gorgeous new song “Ernie”.

The track, which is dedicated to Miller-Heidke’s son, is the singer-songwriter at her stripped back best. “Ernie” stands in stark contrast to the bombast of her Eurovision song “Zero Gravity” but the thread that ties the two together is just how intensely personal and vulnerable Kate Miller-Heidke’s songwriting can be.

Kaurna Cronin – “Gotta Get Outta This Place”

Singer-songwriter and Timber and Steel favourite Kaurna Cronin has just released his gorgeous new single “Gotta Get Outta This Place”. The track is the perfrect example of Cronin’s trademark emotive songwriting and also features a groove that definitely sucked me in.

“This song is one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time but had never really managed to get the tone quite right,” Kaurna Cronin explained. “It’s a song about internal battles of a sense of belonging and love for the idea of ‘ones home’ and the ongoing feeling of needing to get away from home to experience the unknown to be inspired by different places, people and ideas. It was important for me to try and capture the sense of passion and inspiration in ones home and not dismiss that – it’s about the conflict of urges that one can associate with not wanting to feel ‘comfort’ anymore.”

Cronin has managed to find some time this June for some Australian shows before he heads out on a national tour – the full list of dates are below:

Thursday 6th June – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 8th June – Low 302, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 14th June – Chateau Apollo, Adelaide, SA

Little May – “As Loving Should”

Having just released their new album Blame My Body, indie-pop duo Little May have treated us to their latest single “As Loving Should”. The folk and acoustic influences on Little May’s music are still very much a part of the sound of this new track and I’m loving the retro aesthetic of the video.

Missy Higgins – “Song For Sammy”

For Mother’s Day last week Missy Higgins released her beautiful new song “Song For Sammy”. Written for her son Sammy, the ukulele driven track is classic Missy Higgins, stripped back to basics and lyrically driven. Beautiful stuff.

Neil & Liam Finn – “Meet Me In The Air”

Father-son duo Neil & Liam Finn have released the dreamy new single “Meet Me In The Air”. The video takes the family band vibe even further feating appearances from Sharon Finn and Elroy Finn and was shot after soundcheck at a show in London. If you’re after some transcendent pop music today this could be your jam.

Simon Imrei – “Stand Still”

Melbourne based Americana singer-songwriter Simon Imrei has just released the new single from EP due later this year, the very catchy “Stand Still”. I’m particularly loving the subtle pedal steel spread throughout this track and I can definitely see it making its way onto a bunch of driving playlists with its laidback grove.

New Music Monday – 13th May

Paul Kelly Dan Sultan
Image Courtesy of Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan

Brad Butcher – “Nature’s Course”

I’m really liking “Nature’s Course”, the new song from Queensland country artist Brad Butcher. As well as evoking classic country sounds (loving the subtle mandolin picking throughout the song) there’s also an epic quality that has echos of The Go Betweens. The track is tacken from Butcher’s upcoming album Travelling Salesman, due on the 5th July.

“It’s frustration,” Brad Butcher said of the song. “Now I believe in some pretty out-there stuff but I think there’s more that we can be doing as a human race to be smarter about technology and about everything moving forward. The song is a global idea but I also tried to humanise it so there’s this couple who are the narrative of the song and that was one way for people to understand this relationship [between humanity and the environment].”

Brad Butcher is heading out on tour with Felicity Urquhart from next week – the full list of dates are here:

Thursday 16th May – Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 17th May – House Concert, Torquay, VIC
Saturday 18th May – House Concert, Healesville, VIC
Sunday 19th May – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25th May – The Music Lounge, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 31st May – Hardy’s Bay Community Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Acoustic Picnic, Dee Why, NSW
Saturday 22nd June – Cowora RSL, Cowora, NSW
Sunday 23rd June – House Concert, Carrum Downs, VIC
Saturday 13th July – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 19th July – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Thursday 19th September – Edge Hill Tavern, Cairns, QLD
Friday 20th September – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Thursday 3rd October – Hamilton Hotel, Hamilton, QLD
Friday 4th October – Highfields Tavern, Toowoomba, QLD

Calexico and Iron & Wine – “Midnight Sun”

The ongoing collaborations between Calexico and Iron & Wine are some of my favourite in the folk music world. The artists have a joint album, titled Years to Burn, due on the 14th June and “Midnight Sun” is the latest single from it. The track combines Iron & Wine’s haunting lyrical style with Calexico’s deep cut traditional and Americana influences to create something really specia.

Clio – “Silly Girls”

Melbourne singer-songwriter Clio returns with her lush new single “Silly Girls”, a comment on the trivialization of women in the music industry. I’m loving the layers in this track, with the harmonies building through the bridge and into the chorus.

“This is a song for anyone whose love of silliness and absurdity has ever been hijacked and used as a pretext to reduce, rein in and patronize; for all the ‘silly girls’ who have been made to feel trivial, given help they didn’t want and advice they didn’t need,” Clio explained. “I wrote it for myself and to encourage all those girls to embrace the joy and strength of their silliness and LAUGH at anybody who tries to change them.”

Clio is launching her new single with a handfull of upcoming shows – the full dates are below:

Tuesday 4th June – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 9th June – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 16th June – The Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Emma Russack – “Winter Blues”

The title track from singer-songwriter Emma Russack’s upcoming fifth album Winter Blues (due on the 5th July) has just been released and it’s stunning. The track’s stripped back accompaniment compliments Russack unique vocals and invokes the sombre themes of the song.

“Thematically, the songs deal with love, loss and confusion in the context of a fairly confusing, complex world,” Emma Russack said of the upcoming album. “The songs pose many questions but refuse to give answers, and that’s the way I like it. That is not to say that the songs aren’t hopeful; they are – but it is my hope that the listener can engage with the songs freely, answering (or not answering) the questions for themselves in relation to their own lives and experiences.”

Garrett Kato – “Where the Vampires Hide”

Australian-Canadian folk-pop singer-songwriter Garrett Kato has gifted us with another live track, this time the stunning “Where the Vampires Hide”. This track, along with his previous track “River Mouth” will appear on Garrett Kato’s upcoming EP Distant Land which is due on the 14th June.

“It is a track about those things in your life that you feel are sucking your soul a bit. Pulling away from who you are. The vices that we sometimes can’t get a hold of that hide them selves in this mythological place like where the vampires are,” Kato explained.

Hayden Calnin – “Of Collingwood (Reworks)”

Electro-folk producer and singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin has released new reworkings of three of his songs: “Coward”, “Caution Cares” and “For My Help”. Each of the tracks are a different take on the original songs and not only show off Calnin’s skills as a producer, but also just how good the bones of these songs are.

“Musical reworks are something that in one way or another I’ve always done,” Hayden Calnin explained. “With a lot of my existing songs, they’ve gone through about 3 or 4 different versions of it before I ever release them. I like to try all angles on any song and try to make it fit into my world as best I can. These 3 tracks, were beginning to get a little dated and I hadn’t thought about them in quite a while, so getting back in to the emotional state that I was in while writing them was quite challenging. That being said, it was a brilliant exercise and a chance to give them some new life and a new sound”

Lucy Roleff – “Sometimes Do”

Melbourne harpist and folk singer Lucy Roleff delivers her haunting new single “Sometimes Do”. The track is taken from her upcoming album Open in a Room which will be available this week. This song seems so otherworldly – its the type of track that makes me want to close my eyes and emerse myself in – but from a lyrical point of view it’s very grounded in the here and now. Beautiful stuff.

Mumford & Sons – “Devil In Your Eye”

So you may not know that there’s a “music inspired by Game of Thrones” album titled For The Throne and its not good. But if you’re willing to look past the questionable RnB tracks detailing the exploits of Jon Snow and co you do stumble across the occasional gem, including this inclusion from Mumford & Sons. As I mentioned last week, when Mumford & Sons return to their acoustic roots their music is a lot more palatable, and “Devil In Your Eye” is a lot more classic Mumford than it is recent Mumford

Paul Kelly & Dan Sultan – “Every Day My Mother’s Voice”

When you have an artist of the calibre of Paul Kelly teaming up with the equally amazing Dan Sultan it’s hard not to sit up and take notice. This collaborative track, written by Kelly, is taken from the documentary film The Final Quarter which documents the final three years of champion AFL footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes.

Stella Donnelly – “Die”

Indie pop favourite Stella Donnelly gifted us with her latest single and video, “Die” – a sugary sweet track with definite dark undertones. The song is taken from Donnelly’s debut album Beware of the Dogs.

Having just completed a successful run of shows overseas Stella Donnelly is back on home soil and has bunch of shows coming up in the next few weeks including feature shows in Sydney’s VIVID festival and a support slot with Maggie Rogers – full dates are below:

Tuesday 21st May – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Thursday 23rd May – Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 25th May – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Monday 27th May – The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 28th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 28th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 29th May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 30th May – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD

The Head And The Heart – “People Need a Melody”

“People Need a Melody” is the third single from The Head And The Heart’s upcoming album Living Mirage which is set to be released this Friday 17th May. What The Head And The Heart do best is craft timeless sounding pop songs, taking the storytelling aspects of folk music and combining them with hooks and choruses that are ripped directly from the acoustic rock of the 1970s. I can see this song soundtracking a Cameron Crowe movie.

The Teskey Brothers – “Hold Me”

The buzz around Melbourne band The Teskey Brothers is undeniable and its easy to see why with their latest single “Hold Me”. With their sound mostly stripped back to its bare minimum – harmonising vocals, foot stomps and body percussion for the most part – “Hold Me” is magical. The track is taken from their upcoming album Run Home Slow, due on the 2nd August.

The Teskey Brothers are currently on a mostly sold out tour of the east coast – if you have tickets catch them at one of these upcoming shows:

Monday 13th May – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 14th May – The Night Cat, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 16th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Tobias Hengeveld – “Separation Street”

Melbourne singer-songwriter Tobias Hengeveld celebrates the release of his new album Naughts & Ones with his brand new single and video “Separation Street”. The video’s retro roller skate vibe sits really well with the old school sounds of the track – not as folky as some of Hengeveld’s other work but we’re digging it all the same.

If you like what you’re hearing Tobias Hengeveld has a couple of album launch shows in Victoria that you don’t want to miss:

Sunday 19th May – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 9th June – The Gaso Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

New Music Monday – 6th May

Fanny Lumsden
Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden

Chance McCoy – “No One Loves You (The Way That I Do)”

Old Crow Medicine show fiddler, banjo player and guitarist Chance McCoy has just released his brand new solo single “No One Loves You (The Way That I Do)”. Leaning heavily into atmospheric indie-folk reminiscent of The Beta Band or The Shins, the track stands in stark contrast to Old Crow’s old time and bluegrass sound. Interestingly McCoy has announced he won’t be touring with Old Crow Medicine Show in 2019 to focus on his solo work, so I’d say we can expect a lot more from him in the coming months.

Fanny Lumsden – “Pretty Little Fools”

Alt-country singer and Timber and Steel’s mate Fanny Lumsden released the highly anticipated new video for her track “Pretty Little Fools”. Directed by longtime collaborator Sam Brumby the video is the sequel to 2017’s “Totem Tennis” and features Fanny and her friends competing in some amazingly dodgy synchronised swimming in a local pool. Lovely stuff from Australia’s alt-country queen.

Fanny Lumsden has also announced the 2019/20 tour dates for their annual Country Hall tour. As well as a bunch of local, regional dates throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia punters will be able to catch Lumsden and her band at Country Hall style shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The full list of dates are below:

Saturday 18th May – Soulful, Grafton, NSW
Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 2nd August – Herbert River Crushers Hall, Ingham, QLD
Saturday 3rd August – Dimbulah Memorial Hall, Dimbulah, QLD
Saturday 10th August – Isisford Hall, Isisford, QLD
Sunday 11th August – Tambo Hall, Tambo, QLD
Thursday 15th August – Evening Star Tourist Park, Charleville, QLD
Friday 16th August – Thargomindah Hall, Thargomindah, QLD
Friday 20th September – Toppy Hall, Wyalong, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Palladium Palace Theatre, Morundah, NSW
Friday 27th September – Eugowra Hall, Eugowra, NSW
Saturday 28th September – Tooraweenah Hall, Tooraweenah, NSW
Friday 4th October – Old Junee Hall, Old Junee, NSW
Friday 11th October – Marthaguy Hall, Marthaguy, NSW
Saturday 12th October – Spring Ridge, NSW
Friday 25th October – Springdale Memorial Hall, Springdale, NSW
Saturday 26th October – Gunbar Hall, Gunbar, NSW
Friday 1st November – Mumbanna Hall, Mumbannar, VIC
Saturday 2nd November – Joanna Hall, Joanna, SA
Friday 8th November – Polish Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 9th November – Giant Dwarf Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 15th November – Loomberah Hall, Loomberah, NSW
Saturday 16th November – Glen Innes Hall, Glen Innes, NSW
Friday 6th December – Jamieson Hall, Jamieson, VIC
Sunday 8th December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 13th December – Globe Theatre, Winchelsea, VIC
Friday 17th January – Curban Community Hall, Curban, NSW
Friday 14th February – Lake Cargelligo, NSW
Saturday 15th February – Boree Creek Hall, Boree Creek, NSW
Friday 21st February – The Risk Hall, Kyogle, NSW
Saturday 22nd February – Asgrove Bowlo, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 29th February – Warra Memorial Hall, Warra, QLD

Fred Smith – “Scots of the Riverina”

Celebrated Australian singer-songwriter Fred Smith released his new single and video “Scots of the Riverina” to coincide with Anzac Day week. The track, originally a poem by Henry Lawson put to music by John Schumann (Redgum), is taken from Smith’s new album Warries which he describes as “a collection of songs from conflict zones that aren’t on [2010 album] Dust of Uruzgan“.

Joy Williams – “No Place Like You”

Last week singer-songwriter Joy Williams (of The Civil Wars fame) released her brand new solo album Front Porch. “No Place Like You” is the latest single from that album and is a beautiful piece of soul-infused folk blues, pitting Williams’ amazing vocals with just a stripped back guitar.

Justin Townes Earle – “Appalachian Nightmare”

Another week, another track from Justin Townes Earle’s upcoming album The Saint Of Lost Causes (due on the 24th May). The track is a semi-autobiographical, very-fictional Americana durge and has a new video directed by Joshua Britt and Neilson Hubbard.

“I want this song to say that if you are marginalized, you will find anyway you can to survive,” Earle explained. “Drug problems and criminal behavior are not a problem of color, creed or race.”

Karine Polwart – “Since Yesterday”

Acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart gives us a taste of her upcoming album Scottish Songbook (due on the 2nd August) with the new single “Since Yesterday”. The track, originally by Strawberry Switchblade, is released ahead of this year’s Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May) and features a recording of Polwart’s grandfather singing.

“To me now, this song isn’t about teenage anxiety,” Polwart explained. “It’s about ageing and dementia, remembrance and loss. That’s partly because I’ve got older and life and meaning changes. Even tracks that you might remember as saccharine pop, they’re altered by time. And the real challenge and joy for me is getting inside them, because the lyrics & melodies are often so powerful and resonant.”

Kay Proudlove – “May The Fourth”

Wollongong based singer-songwriter Kay Proudlove released her Star Wars themed single “May The Fourth” over the weekend (naturally) and it’s really fun. More a parody of Star Wars and the people who love it rather than a tribute, Proudlove deftly straddles the line between corniness and mocking creating a track that’s really fun and well worth a repeat listen.

Matt Ward – “Take Me Home”

Adelaide based Americana singer-songwriter Matt Ward has released his new single “Take Me Home”, from the brand new album Heartland. “Take Me Home” hits all the required notes of modern Americana songwriting – Whiskey, faith, aging, traveling and a yearning for place – but elevates them through top notch production and impressive musicianship.

Mumford & Sons feat. Jerry Douglas – “Forever”

I’m on record as not being a fan of Mumford & Sons’ latest album Delta. But I’ll also admit when you strip all the noise out of the tracks on Delta and approach them in a raw, acoustic way, they do reveal good bones.

Case in point is this live version of “Forever”. When it’s just vocals, acoustic guitar and the unmistakable slide playing of the legendary Jerry Douglas, “Forever” leans a lot more towards Paul Simon than it does Coldplay. Here’s hoping Mumford & Sons get back to their acoustic roots the next time they head back into the studio.

New Music Monday – 29th April

Aldous Harding
Image Courtesy of Aldous Harding

Welcome to the first edition of New Music Monday where we collect some of our favourite tracks and videos from the previous week for your listening pleasure. As this is the first one of these we’re reaching back a little further than just one week, with a collection of songs we’ve been obsessing over for the last month or so. Enjoy!

Alana Wilkinson – “Partner In Crime”

Australian folk singer Alana Wilkinson’s new single “Partner In Crime” perfectly captures the nostalgia of childhood as well as being a poignant tribute to a childhood friend who has sadly passed away.

“I needed to write a song that painted a picture of the colourful friendship we shared as kids,” Wilkinson explained. I think you’ll agree the result is something special.

Aldous Harding – “The Barrel”

Last Friday New Zealand bassed singer-songwriter Aldous Harding released her third album Designer which features this stunning track “The Barrel”. I can definitely hear the influence of Nick Drake in the finger-picked guitar and production of “The Barrel” and Harding’s vocals are mesmerising. Maybe my favourite song of hers to date.

Anna Smyrk – “Benjamin”

Victorian folk singer Anna Smyrk has been popping up on radar a lot over the last few months. I managed to catch a couple of songs at her recent National Folk Festival blackboard set and she’s just come off the back of a weekend at the St Alban’s Folk Festival.

Smyrk’s new single “Benjamin” is inspired by her travels to places like the Solomon Islands, Cambodia and the Philippines and features a really sweet backing track of guitar, mandolin, dobro and bass. The track will likely feature on an EP that Smyrk has planned for later in the year and she’s got a bunch of tour dates throughout the east coast in the coming weeks:

Wednesday 1st May – Scullion Sessions, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 5th May – The Folk Studio, Armidale, NSW
Tuesday 7th May – Cambus Wallace, Gold Coast, QLD
Wednesday 8th May – Can You Keep a Secret?, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 9th May – City Sounds, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 10th May – Dusty Attic, Lismore, NSW
Friday 14th June – Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne, VIC

Bear’s Den – “Crow”

Another beautiful song and video, this time from UK favourites Bear’s Den.

“The song “Crow” was written in memory of my Mum’s boyfriend who lived with us growing up,” Bear’s Den lead singer Andrew Davie explained. “He was an awesome guy and somewhere between a father figure and a best friend to me growing up but unfortunately he passed away when I was 15. I wrote this song as I wanted to acknowledge how important and thankful I am to him for helping to raise me and my sister.”

This is taken from the band’s latest album So That You Might Hear Me, released last week, and is probably our favourite song from the release.

Citizen Of The World – “Deep Blue Eyes”

The evolution of Sydney’s Citizen Of The World continues with the release of their new track “Deep Blue Eyes”. A lot of the folk influences of their earlier work have been softened as the band moves towards a more expansive indie sound similar to the likes of Winterbourne, Dean Lewis or Vance Joy.

“Deep Blue Eyes” is taken from the band’s new EP Window To Your Mind which they’ll be launching this Friday 3rd May at Lazybones Lounge in Sydney,

Courtney Marie Andrews – “May Your Kindness Remain (Acoustic)”

Our favourite track of 2018 gets given the stripped back, acoustic treatment by US singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews. While not being too far from the original, this version of “May Your Kindness Remain” does get to the essence of what makes this a great song – and so much of it is about Andrews’ amazing voice.

“May Your Kindness Remain” is one of four acoustic tracks Courtney Marie Andrews has released to celebrate the one year anniversary of her amazing album of the same name. The other tracks – “I Took You Up”, “Rough Around The Edges” and “Border” are available to stream and download in all the usual places.

Garrett Kato – “River Mouth (Live Forest Session)”

There’s something really special about this live video recording of Australian/Canadian singer-songwriter Garrett Kato’s latest single “River Mouth”. I’m a sucker for a finger-picked guitar and evocative lyrics to “River Mouth” is right up my alley. “River Mouth” is taken from Kato’s upcoming EP Distant Land which is due for release this coming May.

Hussy Hicks – “Get Ready”

Hussy Hicks channel their inner-Mavis Staples for this slice of soul infused magic. “Get Ready” is the Australian duo’s first release since their 2017 album On The Boundaries and dropped right before their recent performance at Bluesfest.

James Bennett – “Weird World”

Prolific roots singer-songwriter James Bennett has just dropped his new “Weird World” as a sneak peak into what we can expect from his upcoming third album This Time Tomorrow.

“The single Weird World is a song about the times we live in, how lucky we are just to be here and observing the show from the sidelines,” Bennett explained. “It’s an upbeat, cant get it outta your head kinda song.”

Joe Mungovan – “Lost Myself”

Kiama based singer-songwriter Joe Mungovan has really doubled down on the clean, expansive production for his latest single “Lost Myself”. The track was written after an extensive tour of Europe and Australia

“After I came back from touring overseas I rented a house in the bush and set up my studio for a few months,” Mungovan explain. “I was strumming on my dad’s old nylon string guitar that I took out there and “Lost Myself” sort of just fell out. It was the last song that I wrote whilst in that house and by then I had spent far too much time alone. I guess the song comes from a place of solitude and confusion. It is easy for me when I’m in that situation to live in my head and get lost in different thoughts and questions. That is the beauty but also the downside of isolation.”

John Smith – “Hummingbird”

Every time the new single, “Hummingbird”, from UK based folk singer John Smith has crossed my ears in the last few weeks I’ve sat up and paid attention. I don’t know what it is about this track – I think it’s absolutely stunning. Everything from Smith’s vocals to the simple arrangement it pitch pefect.

“Hummingbird” is taken from John Smith’s new album of the same name and is one of only a handful of originals amongst mainly traditionals on the record.

“The song itself is really the catalyst for the whole album,” Smith explained. “I didn’t want to give it a title that belonged to something someone else wrote 100 years ago. So when I sat down to write, “Hummingbird” came out of me really quickly, within an hour. It’s the rare song that tumbled out, and I was lucky to capture all the pieces. As soon as it arrived I thought, “This is the glue that’s gonna hold the whole thing together”.”

Justin Townes Earle – “Frightened by the Sound”

American singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle returns with “Frightened by the Sound”, a track that sounds like, well, a Justin Townes Earle song (and trust us, that’s a good thing). This is the latest taste of Earle’s upcoming album The Saint Of Lost Causes, due on the 24th May.

Kasey Chambers – “Hey Girl”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of her debut album Kasey Chambers will be releasing a deluxe edition of The Captain on the 17th May complete with this recently unearthed track “Hey Girl”. I love this song for the nostalgia of classic Kasey Chambers.

Madison Violet – “Tell Me”

Canadian duo Madison Violet have gone deeply autobiographical on their new single and video “Tell Me”. The track details a time early in their career where they formed a band and became a couple – something they were advised to hide by some industry folk.

I think you’ll agree this is a pretty special track.

Ordinary Elephant – “Jenny & James”

Were you lucky enough to catch Ordinary Elephant when they toured Australia recently? Amazing, right?

The duo’s latest single “Jenny & James” tells the story of an interracial couple struggling to keep their relationship together with a society that doesn’t approve. It is taken from their album Honest which will be available this Friday 3rd May.

Radical Face – “Doubt”

Following the expansive folk songs of his The Family Tree three album project, Ben Cooper, AKA Radical Face has started to explore other parts of his sound. The latest single from Radical Face, “Doubt”, sparkles with eighties synths and a driving drum beat while still championing Cooper’s unique indie-folk vocal style. “Doubt” is taken from Radical Face’s latest album Therapy which was released last Friday.

The Leisure Society – “A Bird, A Bee, Humanity”

Ok, I’m a huge fan of English folk-rock band The Leisure Society, but I had absolutely no idea that they had a new record out (Arrivals & Departures for those playing at home). “A Bird, A Bee, Humanity” is their latest single and I doubt I’m the only one who things the opening refrain sounds very very like the theme for the Serial podcast. I’ll just leave that there.

Watch the New Cat Canteri Video “Fitzroy Bowl”

Cat Canteri
Image Courtesy of Cat Canteri

Melbourne singer-songwriter Cat Canteri has just released her amazing home made video “Fitzroy Bowl”. Fusing together the seemingly disparate notions of country music and skateboarding, the track is poignant and melancholy. And as someone who has spent a bit of time in the inner north of Melbourne it’s amazing to watch Canteri skating through so many familiar locations.

“Fitzroy Bowl” is taken from Cat Canteri’s upcoming album which is due out this March. Check out the video below and then head over to Cat Canteri’s blog to read more about the track and the clip:

Andrew Swift Announces Album Launch Shows

Andrew Swift
Image Courtesy of Andrew Swift

Following a successful run of caravan park shows with Gretta Ziller over the summer holiday season plus a bunch of gigs at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Americana singer-songwriter Andrew Swift has announced plans to hit the road again to launch his upcoming album Call Out For The Cavalry.

Call Out For The Cavalry is set to be released on the 2nd March and Swift has announced accompanying shows in Melbourne, Tamworth and Newcastle. Check out the full list of upcoming dates below:

Friday 2nd March – The Skylark Room, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 3rd March – City Sider, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 4th March – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Monday 12th March – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Shane Nicholson Announces the Inaugural Americana Music Prize of Australia

Americana Music Prize
Image Courtesy of Shane Nicholson

Huge news this morning. Shane Nicholson/The Sound Hole, Forbes Street Studios and Lost Highway Australia have come together today with the announcement of The Americana Music Prize of Australia, an annual grant to support up-and-coming artists in the genre.

The winner of the prize will be rewarded with a $10,000 prize pack which includes services from some of the best in the business:

“We want to support, encourage, mentor and resource aspiring unsigned artists in the Americana/alt-country scene in Australia and this is a great way to kick start a career,” explained Shane Nicholson.

The judging panel for the prize has been chosen by Nicholson himself and includes Rod Yates (Editor, Rolling Stone), Brian Taranto (Love Police), Bernard Zuel (Journalist), Chris Familton (Post To Wire), Tim Daley (Country Music Channel), Michael Taylor (Lost Highway/Universal), Tracey Griffiths (Dashville Skyline), Graham Thompson (Artist Manager), Matt Fell (Record Producer), Alison Avron (The Newsagency), Jeremy Dylan (Filmmaker), Henry Wagons (Artist), Brian Wise (Rhythms magazine founder and music writer), Jane Gazzo (Triple M) and Denise Hylands (RRR-Twang).

More information, including how to apply for the prize, head over to The Industry Observer.

Courtney Marie Andrews Announces New Album May Your Kindness Remain

Courtney Marie Andrews
Image Courtesy of Courtney Marie Andrews

Americana singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews has announced plans to release her next full length album May Your Kindness Remain on the 23rd March.

Courtney Marie Andrews has gained a number of fans in Australia following her recent tours here with Joe Pug, Sam Outlaw and Big Thief. May Your Kindness Remain was produced by Mark Howard (Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits) and was recorded over eight days in LA.

“The people that I’ve met on the road these past few years got me thinking about my childhood, and the people around me that I’ve known, and the stories that come from my family,” Andrews explained. “It became clear how many people are struggling through the same issues. People are constantly chasing that bigger life. A lot of people are poor in America—and because of those unattainable goals, they’re also mentally unstable, or sad, or depressed or unfulfilled. A lot of people—myself included at some point in my life—are loving somebody through this. That’s sort of the theme of the record: coming to terms with depression and the reality of the world we’re living in.”

The first single from the album is also the title track. Check out a stream of “May Your Kindness Remain” plus the full album track listing below:

1. May Your Kindness Remain
2. Lift The Lonely From My Heart
3. Two Cold Nights In Buffalo
4. Rough Around The Edges
5. Border
6. Took You Up
7. This House
8. Kindness Of Strangers
9. I’ve Hurt Worse
10. Long Road Back To You

Watch the New Marlon Williams Video “What’s Chasing You”

Marlon Williams
Image Courtesy of Marlon Williams

Kiwi country crooner Marlon Williams has just released his new single and video “What’s Chasing You”. The track is the second single from Williams’ highly anticipated new album Make Way For Love which is due on the 16th February.

“It’s an earnest question,” Marlon Williams said about the track. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to know of another human being. Like all good questions, it’s childishly simple. We all want to live inside the fears of the ones we love, if not to dispel them then at the very least to understand, empathize and let’s be honest, compare hands. I’m not convinced truly understanding another’s woes would really bring anyone happiness, but I am a nosey boy. What’s chasing you?”

Watch the video for “What’s Chasing You” below:

Marlon Williams will be heading out on an Australian tour this May along with Canadian singer-songwriter The Weather Station. The full list of dates are here:

Saturday 12th May – Forum Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 14th May – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 15th May – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Wednesday 16th May – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 17th May – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

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