Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2017

Record Collection

Always our most popular post of the year! Once again we’ve sent out the request to the incredible community of folk and acoustic musicians covered on Timber and Steel and they’ve responded overwhelmingly with their favourite albums of 2017.

We’ve already given you our top 25 albums and EPs – now we turn it over to the artists. So much new music still to discover! So without further waffle may we present to you this year’s Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2017.

Sarah BelknerAlison Avron
Sarah BelknerBut You Are, But it Has
This album release was a long time coming and it was totally worth the wait. The lyrics are so easy to relate to, the production is sophisticated, warm and intriguing. Sarah’s voice and songwriting are absolutely sublime.

Gretta ZillerMichael Carpenter (Carpenter Caswell)
Gretta ZillerQueen Of Boomtown
Apart from having one of the most honest and accomplished voices in the Australian alt-country world, Gretta Ziller has developed into a world class writer in the genre. This album showcases how far she’s come in such a short time, combining her take on contemporary writing, with the amazing production of Paul Ruske. The album is strong and sensitive, ballsy and ambitious, without losing any of the heart you’d expect with the songwriting content. An outstanding release from an artist who has truly arrived, and drawn a line in the sand for the genre.

The East PointersÁine Tyrrell
The East PointersWhat We Leave Behind
What an impossible task, top albums, as I am only just sinking my teeth into so many of the amazing 2017 albums at the moment like Jen Cloher’s Jen Cloher, Declan O’Rourke’s Chronicles of The Great Irish Famine and so many more. But one album that has been top of my play list since release has been The East Pointers’ What We Leave Behind and I never tire of it, which is a sign of a great album. This album has great depth to it musically, lyrically and in production. There is a stunning simplicity to the way the three lads work together that creates a joyous sound much bigger than a three piece and I think they have captured it on CD which is sometimes hard to do. I love that they have been able to honour and respect their tradition and push its boundaries into some modern places. One of the stand out tracks for me is their co-write with Liz Stringer, “82 Fires”.

SOHNRosie Evelyn (Liam Gale and The Ponytails)
SOHNRennen
The general vibe is darkly sexy future blues, with simple, soulful vocals, driving percussion, major synth, and just enough movement to keep you going. A little bit James Blake, a little bit Allan Rayman.

Jed RoweLes Thomas
Jed RoweA Foreign Country
This album grabbed me instantly with the strength of its songwriting, quality of musicianship and directness of emotion. Very few songwriters I know can deliver the goods as writers and players like Jed can. The song “Tailem Bend” – a small town story with universal resonance – shows the level of accomplishment and expression he’s achieved and it’s a beautiful thing to hear.

Stu LarsenAMISTAT
Stu LarsenResolute
Not only is Stu a beautiful human being but also an incredible singer songwriter! Every song on this album is just beautiful and comes from a very honest and humble place.

Mexico CityM.E. Baird
Mexico CityWhen The Day Goes Dark
Why? Because they represent the real deal to me – no ego, no frills, no pretense, just damn good songs and tunes.

Hiss Golden MessengerBrooke Russell and the Mean Reds
Hiss Golden MessengerHallelujah Anyhow
There’s something about MC Taylor’s voice that makes me so happy. I’m fairly new to his music and while I’m diving into his back catalogue, this new one has arrived and I’m in love. Beautiful band sound, fab songs – something sentimental in it that feels warm to me. My rekkid for the summer!

Ryan AdamsRyan Oliver (Oliver’s Army)
Ryan AdamsPrisoner
I love that it’s a revered, adored singer-songwriter at the top of his fame, dealing with genuine emotions and pain in the public spotlight. It may be tragic, it might be self inflicted, but I still feel like he’s a true artist who is his own worst enemy and that comes across in his heart-break ballads.

The Homeless Gospel ChoirFrank Turner
The Homeless Gospel ChoirNormal
I’ve been doing shows with Derek in Pittsburgh for a few years and he’s always been good, but this record is the sound of an artist finding his voice and spreading his creative wings. It’s been absolutely jammed in my stereo since I got hold of it.

Brooke RussellKelly Day (Broads)
Brooke Russell and the Mean RedsThe Way You Leave
This year one album really ticked all my boxes – which sounds too clinical really for something that made me splashy cry while I was driving. I particularly love that it sits outside the kind of music I tend to lean towards, but great albums are often the ones that transcend your usual inclinations. Brooke has absolutely NAILED it with this release. Stunning production, exquisite songwriting, and the most luscious, authentic, rich voice that feels like someone blowing softly on the back of your neck.

Gretta ZillerMandy Connell
Gretta ZillerQueen Of Boomtown
Put together with care and love, produced beautifully, and full of arrangements that feel perfect, unpredictable and just right. Every song inspires a depth of feeling, making it a really rich listen all the way through.

Offa RexMackenzie Shivers
Offa RexQueen of Hearts
Being a true lover of Celtic music, this album inspired me as an artist more than any other. From quirky folk-rock (“Queen of Hearts”) to haunting ballads (“The First Time I Ever Saw Her Face”), there is just enough variety of instrumentation and mood to keep the listener completely captivated. And Olivia Chaney’s voice is arrestingly beautiful. Favorite track: “The Old Churchyard”

Fanny LusdenMelody Moko
Fanny LumsdenReal Class Act
I love the way Fanny has cemented her unique way of writing with the record, her blend of social commentary, vivid imagery and Australian culture is unlike anyone else. The production is lush and thoughtful and brings the album together beautifully.

Moses SumneyTulalah
Moses SumneyAromanticism
Choosing a favourite album is a hard ask, the first one that comes to mind (probably because I’m currently listening to it) is Moses’ masterpiece, Aromanticism. It’s impeccably well constructed; colour, texture, mood, feel, groove – it ticks all of the boxes and ticks them damn well.

The War On DrugsThe Once
The War on DrugsA Deeper Understanding
A super strong, sonically rich and atmospheric follow up to previous album, Lost in the Dream. Sounds like Ryan Adams, Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen adopted a kid in the seventies and this is the result of that happy home.

Jason IsbellBrad Butcher
Jason Isbell & the 400 UnitThe Nashville Sound
To make my decision for album of the year I simply refer to which album I’ve listen to most. It’s an easy choice really – The Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. All class as usual, amazing sounds all throughout the record and Isbell’s songwriting is up there with the best of the best.

Jed RoweCat Canteri
Jed RoweA Foreign Country
Jed paints a beautiful and lush portrait of predominantly Australian characters and landscapes, past and present on this record. The depth of field and attention to detail in his songwriting is just wonderful and comes across as completely effortless. Sonically the album is paired back, which allows the strength and quality of the songs, performances and Jed’s voice to shine. If I can write a song like “Where The Water Meets The Sky” or “Tailem Bend” some day, I’ll be well pleased.

LordePepi Emmerichs (Oh Pep!)
LordeMelodrama
Melodrama hits me in the heart every time. It’s lush, poignant, groovy and the songs make me think, all the while being incredibly catchy. Those are pretty much most of my favourite things in music!

TajMoLloyd Spiegel
TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ BandTajMo
The first time I heard Keb’ Mo’ I said “Man, this guy should sit in with Taj”. It’s about time they listened to me. Both these artists have the rare ability to modernise the blues genre while still giving it’s roots and traditions their rightful respect. Combined, this CD hit a nerve with me, in particular the gutbucket tracks “Don’t Leave Me Here” and “Diving Duck Blues”. Really though, you can’t put those two in a room and expect anything less.

Valerie JuneEmily Barker
Valerie JuneThe Order of Time
I learned about Valerie June on my trips to Memphis as she lived there for many years and has worked with a lot of the musicians I know out there. I heard “Long, Lonely Road”, the first song on the record, and I knew from then on I was going to love it. There’s so much space in the recordings and her unusual but beautiful vocals grabbed me instantly. I love how the production and her songs seamlessly blend a mix a folk, soul, pop and desert blues. It sounds fresh and cool, powerful and feminine.

The Ahern BrothersJoel Barker & The Low Company
The Ahern BrothersThe Ahern Brothers
Charming and insightful songwriting combining two voices made to sing together. Deserves to be in front of the masses. Astonishing live performances to boot!

Cigarettes After SexHusky
Cigarettes After SexCigarettes After Sex
It’s a fog of romance and nostalgia you can’t help but get lost in. Reminds me of being 16 and love sick, listening to Mazzy Star.

Lisa KnappSam Lee
Lisa KnappTill April Is Dead – A Garland of May
English folk singer Lisa Knapp has captured in this album a stunning insight into the melodic and archaic realms of May-time when all of England is blooming and the sense of ancient rites and mysticism is emerging from the dark winter. It’s an album that casts a rich and hauntingly magical spell and gives that sense of contemporary ancientness that all good folk singers are masters of.

Greg StepsFour In The Morning
Greg Steps & The Not For ProphetsThe Overland
There have been a lot of great releases this year, but our favourite from around Melbourne has to be The Overland by Greg Steps. The songs just scream of someone who has worked hard at honing their craft. Tightly woven lyrics painting little snapshots of Australia, from early morning walks in Melbourne to trains clattering across Queensland. It’s all underlaid with a warm, folky vibe that feels authentic without being derivative. The stand out track for us is “Famous Last Words”. It’s a folk song in the true sense of the word and weaves together thoughts on fame, colonialism, and folk heroes. It also introduced us to the amazing story of Breaker Morant.

Novo Amor and Ed TullettWildwood Kin
Novo Amor & Ed TullettHeiress
This is the perfect album to listen to when in need of some peace and tranquility amongst a busy schedule. They have released a set of live performance videos that capture their sound together so well; the two voices blend harmoniously together, creating an unbelievable sound of completeness and perfection. You can’t help feeling relaxed when hearing their music!

Leif VollebekkRiley Pearce
Leif VollebekkTwin Solitude
You know how people say they’ve had this CD in their car and have listened to it on repeat since they got it and you’re like “yeh right, no you didn’t”. Well now I understand that feeling. This album is everything. It’s emotive, it’s clever, it’s stripped and simple and it’s f#@king great!

The Teskey BrothersPaddy McHugh
The Teskey BrothersHalf Mile Harvest
When I first heard the track “Crying Shame” I thought that I was listening to a bunch of old African American soul men from Memphis. Then I saw a picture of the band and thought I was listening to a bunch of young white soul dudes from Memphis. Then I read they are from bloody Warrandyte in Victoria. I invited them to play live on my radio show Three Chords & The Truth and they absolutely killed it. Since then I have had the pleasure of playing on a few bills with them and can also report that they are top blokes to boot.

Big TheifFraser A. Gorman
Big ThiefCapacity
Adrianne Lenker is easily the most eloquent and beautiful songwriter I’ve heard in years.

Neil McSweeneyJon Boden
Neil McSweeneyA Coat Worth Wearing
I’ve chosen an album by Neil McSweeney, a stalwart of the Sheffield scene for many years. A Coat Worth Wearing is a fantastically literate collection of songs beautifully arranged and produced, and displaying the talents of a brilliant band of musicians including renowned folk stalwarts Ben Nicholls and Sam Sweeney. It’s an excellent album on so many levels and definitely my pick for album of 2017.

YirrmalKetch Secor (Old Crow Medicine Show)
YirrmalYoungblood
I met Yirrmal Marika in Melbourne at the Australian Americana Honors Awards this past October. Yirrmal stole the show. He is a culture man. I picked up Yirrmal’s new EP Youngblood; it is the best Americana record I heard all year long. It’s got 50,000 years of soul. Crank it up.

Nadia ReidTaryn La Fauci
Nadia ReidPreservation
This record was on repeat for many many months in my car this year. I had really been craving an exquisite, cohesive and beautiful album that I could fall for, hard. This album did all of that and more, which is why it is my album of the year for 2017. I also got to see Nadia play in Sydney at The Golden Age Cinema in April and the show was stunning, it made me want to run home and learn how to play my guitar with that kind of verve.

Ryan AdamsImogen Clark
Ryan AdamsPrisoner
This album sounds to me like beautiful chaos and distress. Ryan Adams has a way of tapping into human vulnerability and woe like I don’t think I’ve ever heard from another artist. This record is just another example of his way with words and melodies that together, form the most melancholy but simultaneously kick-ass comments on the human condition you’ll ever hear from any modern day songwriter.

Sgt PepperJames Daley (The Morrisons, Diamond Duck, Tawny Owl String Band)
The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 50th Anniversary Edition
I feel a bit a strange choosing a reissue as album of the year, but who cares, it’s Sgt Peppers. After all the music I have listened to in my life, nothing has ever captured my imagination the way The Beatles have. It is the most astonishing body of work in pop music, the same way Bach is to classical music or Shakespeare to literature. I discovered The Beatles as a teenager after I got a copy of The White Album for xmas one year and my life has never been the same. Hearing all the remastered tracks and outtakes on this reissue was a wild journey and reinvigorated my love for this music in a way I hadn’t anticipated – I have been listening to The Beatles non stop since it came out, like I’m rediscovering it all over again. There are some absolute pearlers on this – the alternate takes of “Strawberry Fields”, “Lucy In The Sky” and “Day In The Life” are really interesting. Hearing how they built these songs into what we know and love is a fascinating process. However the most astonishing track is the instrumental take of “She’s Leaving Home”. Being able to hear all the subtlety, intricacy and beauty of George Martin’s arrangement for strings/harp was such a joy. A real masterclass in arranging – plus you can sing over and pretend you are Paul McCartney, ha.

The War On DrugsDirewolf
The War on DrugsA Deeper Understanding
Don’t you just adore things that need only a moment to take a firm grip around your mind, heart and/or soul? Like a one in a million barista made coffee or takeaway Thai? Not that I’m directly drawing comparisons between those things and what I consider to be a modern day classic album. However that is how my body reacted when the first second of “Up All Night” passed by. The unmistakable soundscape, verb soaked /grunge driven guitars, the synergy of acoustic/electronic driving “Dire Straights” percussion, Adam Granofsky’s/Bob Dylan’s often confused voices are but the tip of a very large and colourful iceberg that make up the record at large. We’re only supposed to be confined to one sentence, and since I’ve already profoundly broken that line I’m going to insist you put this record on in the background and see how long it takes you to stop needle poking around on the internet and gain A Deeper Understanding.

Scott CookLiz Frencham
Scott CookFurther Down The Line
I listen repeatedly to a lot of albums for my work as an accompanist. Rarely does such an album make it past that stage into my ‘listening
for pleasure’ category let alone become my favourite. But Scott Cook’s warm and beautiful Further Down The Line is one such album. It captures his arresting live delivery and the songs are rich in detail and real, visceral experience.

Dermot KennedyHarrison Storm
Dermot KennedyDoves & Ravens
I remember stumbling upon Dermot’s music on Spotify and instantly connecting with it. I became really intrigued with his music and read in an interview where he explains his sound as a cross between Bon Iver and Drake, which is pretty accurate. This EP is full of rich lyrics and interesting sounds and each listen uncovers a phrase or sound you may have missed in the previous listen. This EP definitely inspired me this year and I am looking forward to what he releases in 2018.

Laura CorteseThe East Pointers
Laura Cortese & The Dance CardsCalifornia Calling
If there’s one album we could pick from 2017, we’d have to choose California Calling by Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards. These girls are ridiculously talented (watching them perform live makes you want to go home, practice and write better songs). Their latest album combines Americana, trad, pop and folk so perfectly. Organic, yet slick. Can’t see how anyone wouldn’t like it!

FeistAinsley Farrell
FeistPleasure
Pleasure is so intimate and fragile, yet very powerful. It tugs at all my heartstrings. I recently got the chance to see her live performance at The Opera House and it blew me away.

Leif VollebekkDustin Tebbutt
Leif VollebekkTwin Solitude
My good friend Hayden Calnin introduced me to this guy over a late night whisky, and I have been listening ever since. The lyrics verge on stream of consciousness without being aimless, while vocally, Leif somehow manages to ride the line between being completely vulnerable and completely in control at the same time. Put this on top of some of the tastiest drum sounds I’ve heard in a long while, and simple but stunning keyboard playing, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an album. There are few bells and whistles, there aren’t really any production tricks or shoe shine here, just honest stories, and raw but precisely executed sounds.

Phoebe BridgersWilliam Fitzsimmons
Phoebe BridgersStranger in the Alps
I came upon Bridgers from my bandmate, who had done some touring with her and I was pretty caught up in it immediately. Her voice is special and there is a wisdom in her words beyond her young years. The most exciting thing for me, however, isn’t the album itself, it’s knowing that there is only more and even better from her to come. Listen to “Smoke Signals”.

The Mae TrioThe Northern Folk
The Mae TrioTake Care Take Cover
We finally caught The Mae Trio at Dorrigo Folk this year after hearing good things for so long, and they blew us away. This is the kind of album that reminds you of how amazing our folk scene can be- heartspoken, cleverly arranged, beautifully performed and catchy as anything. “Call Me Stranger” is a particular favourite of ours, but each song on this record is so strong.

R.L. BoyceDom Turner (The Backsliders)
R.L. BoyceRoll and Tumble
It is the second album from a man at the heart of the Mississippi hill country blues tradition. It contains all the style and swagger, grit and power that comes from a musician who sets perfectly gritty grooves overlain with heartfelt vocals to achieve maximum emotion.

The Button CollectiveJoe Glover (Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Backsliders)
The Button CollectiveHall on the Hill
This album has been on constant repeat in my car, my workshop, and my Spotify from the first day I bought it – so beautifully recorded so that you feel like you are in the room with them as they emotionally belt out fantastic songs written by Brodie and brought to life by a bunch of great musicians. Hall on the Hill is an absolute cracker of an album and I think I’ll be religiously listening to it for some time to come – perhaps until their next one is released.

Willie WatsonShelley Eves (Shelley’s Murder Boys)
Willie WatsonFolksinger Vol.2
This album is such a clear winner for me, I’ve had it on high rotation since its release. Once again Willie brought his own feel to some classic folk songs, from the delightfully joyful harmonies in “Samson and Delilah” to his haunting take on “Gallows Pole”.

All Our Exes Live in TexasJimmy Murray (Shelley’s Murder Boys)
All Our Exes Live in TexasWhen We Fall
Such a pleasure to finally hear this debut album after hearing the band grow and play over the past few years. What an amazing collection of songs and of course the incredible vocal performances from all 4 of these superstars. I really loved the production on the album as well by producer Wayne Connolly which added lovely colour to the beautiful songs. ARIA award winners 2017!

Kat GoldmanRuth Hazleton (Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton, Bill Jackson)
Kat GoldmanWorking Man’s Blues
Nina Simone once said “It’s an artist’s duty … to reflect the times [in which we live]”. It’s been a fantastic year of new releases, though I’d like to highlight an album that nails the above brief and more. Canadian writer Kat Goldman’s Working Man’s Blues is challenging, at times fragile, brutally honest and incredibly insightful. Collectively, the songs explore contemporary working-class culture, often from the perspective of a lover who struggles to understand and accommodate the struggles of the working man. I’ve long been a fan of Kat Goldman’s writing. Her unique sound, mesmerising voice, distinctive compositions and feet-on-the-ground approach to her music make her a formidable artist of great integrity. Working Man’s Blues has been on high rotation here, and will be for some time to come.

Jed RoweBill Jackson
Jed RoweA Foreign Country
First thing that struck me about this record was the vocals and these songs provide a beautiful vehicle for a great voice. Next thing, the sparseness – the way I have been accustomed to hearing Jed over his journey. Jed Rowe has something to say – I admire that and this record puts him up there with the very best. Standout track for me is “Tailem Bend”. Beautifully produced by Jeff Lang.

Lilly HiattJames Allsopp (Ralway Bell)
Lilly HiattTrinity Lane
Picking one standout release for 2017 was pretty impossible in what was a year of exceptional music. Locally, Joel Barker and the Low Company’s Unchartered EP was a stand out. Otherwise, I’ve been talking up Lilly Hiatt since the moment I finished listening to Trinity Lane. Like all my favourite albums, it’s rooted in personal struggle, ebbs and flows perfectly, is filled with outstanding musicianship, and doesn’t try too hard sound like any one genre in particular. 10 stars!

Body CountMatt Black (The Bottlers)
Body CountBloodlust
Body Count’s sixth studio album Bloodlust emblazons a brutally honest sociopolitical conscience and fire eyed world view, teetering on the honed end of a pistol sight. I feel this is Ice T and band’s tried and true return to form with pinpoint, stand out tracks such as the narrative charged, “Black Hoody” and controversy ladened, “No Lives Matter”. A must listen for those thirsting for the truth beyond a media blurred world.

Bob DylanThe Welcome Wagon
Bob DylanTrouble No More – The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
You might call this choice dirty pool, as the music was recorded nearly 40 years ago, but it’s only now getting a proper release, so I’m technically in the clear. This is a collection of live tracks, demos, and outtakes from Bob Dylan’s so-called “Born Again” period, stuff folks (me included) have been downloading from various sketchy websites for years, and for good reason. The songs are great – check “Solid Rock” for a straight Gospel stomper, cue up “I Believe in You” for an arresting spiritual ballad – and so are many of the live performances (the backing choir is consistently blistering). Whether you’re a believer or not, Dylan clearly is here, and it makes all the difference.

The Mae TrioJohn Flanagan
The Mae TrioTake Care Take Cover
Sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby have such beautifully contrasting songwriting styles, Maggie is a stone cold killer Americana writer and Elsie writes stunningly original melodies with uplifting pop hook choruses. With (no exaggeration) some of the best folk harmonies in the WORLD and Anita’s impressive rhythmic cello playing, this is a truly unique and heart-grabbing band and this album is them going all out with tasteful and at times epic production.

Georgia State LineNick Payne (Dear Orphans)
Georgia State LineHeaven Knows
These guys applied to play at the Americana Music Association of Australia’s takeover of Late Night Alt at Tamworth in January. Paul Heggart from The Heggarties chose them site unseen from the applications purely based on what he heard when he listened to their pre-release recordings of this album. Hailing from country Victoria these guys are a six piece featuring Georgia Delves on vocals, and songwriting. They’re all accomplished instrumentalists in their own right and Georgia’s songwriting authentically channels the best of sophisticated country songwriting from the 60s and 70s.

Fanny LusdenSam Buckingham
Fanny LumsdenReal Class Act
I’m not just picking this album because Fanny and Dan are two of my favourite people! This album is, as the title suggests, all class. Fanny’s songwriting is beautifully Australian and the album is joyful, brilliantly performed by all involved, and completely without any ego – despite the outstanding success these guys have been earning. Fanny gives us all a lesson on how to be a ripper indie artist and how to make music that’s undoubtedly, authentically, your own. Roll on kids

LCD SoundsystemEm George
LCD SoundsystemAmerican Dream
I was moderately (read as *very*) excited when there were rumblings of talk about a new album from these guys, but like anything that was laid to rest, one always is slightly concerned that the revival won’t live up to what has come before it. So when LCD Soundsystem released their new album, I cautiously gave it a first listen and it did not disappoint. Every beat and melodic turn is so completely in tune to what has become their signature sound; that build up of tension and release, excitement and sadness, with inflections of irony that James Murphy grabs the listener with in his choice of lyrics marked with wit. There’s a touch of darkness and melancholy as each song seems to question the ending of things, the loss of once was, but that bright spark of beat this band is known for keeps it somewhere higher and closer within reach, slightly unobtainable so you keep wanting to hear it on repeat from start to finish again and again.

Aldous HardingCharm of Finches
Aldous HardingParty
Party swept us off our feet. Moody and textural, impeccable production awash with aural spectres. Horizon is addictive and moving. Aldous’ compelling voice and haunting poetics have us in thrall.

The Teskey BrothersMark Wilkinson
The Teskey BrothersHalf Mile Harvest
Amazing vocals and killer tracks full of old school soul. Sounds like neat whiskey and smokey bars.

The NationalBANFF
The NationalSleep Well Beast
I eagerly awaited The National’s next record, after Trouble Will Find Me kept me wrapped me up in its flawlessness for the last four years or there abouts. This year Sleep Well Beast won me over, with Matt Berninger’s candid yet agitated words luring me back into that deeply thoughtful, emotional and hauntingly beautiful sound I would’ve always come back for. The National perfectly blend understated harmony with organised chaos throughout all of their records, and this was no exception by any means. The meticulous musicianship and purposeful, but somewhat ambiguous lyrics continue unravelling more layers to this beast in itself every time I listen. This was the best record of 2017 for mine.

LankumKarine Polwart
LankumBetween The Earth and Sky
I can’t get enough of the murky drone-scapes and vocal edges of Lankum’s Between The Earth and Sky. In particular, the raw, reedy singing of Radie Peat on album opener “What Shall We Do When We Have No Money?” sounds like the ages. It’s the absolute antithesis of sweet.

The Wood BrothersBen Prest (Echo Deer)
The Wood BrothersLive at the Barn
I know it’s a live album but this release was my first exposure to the brother’s amazing songs, chops and harmonies. Their sound owes a lot to The Band, and “the barn” is at Levon Helm’s farm where he held concerts before he died, making the fantastic closing cover of “Ophelia” and dedication on “Postcards from Hell” all the more meaningful.

Jess LockeHollie Matthew (Echo Deer)
Jess LockeUniverse
A revisiting of the 80’s Australian rock sound ala Go Betweens with more sadness and slacker vibe. Killer matter of fact lyrics and chorus-y guitar sounds. Even better live. 5 Stars.

SamphaSimon Wegman (Echo Deer)
SamphaProcess
I hadn’t been aware of Sampha’s previous EP releases, but after Shazaming “Blood on Me” while in a tragically trendy sneaker store, I was moved to hunt down the British singer and producer’s debut LP. Sampha Sisay’s sensitive, soulful vocals and meditative piano (reminiscent of James Blake at his best) form the backbone of this record, while the thoughtful production touches throughout make me want to hit “play” again the second it finishes.

All Them WitchesAlexi Grivas (Echo Deer)
All Them WitchesSleeping Through the War
The latest album by All Them Witches has been my most played record this year. A four piece from Nashville – but they aren’t a country band – All Them Witches is a great new-wave heavy psychedelic band, with moments of light and shade. This record has them growing as writers and players, bringing new instruments and sounds into the mix. Can’t wait to see it live.

Sam OutlawRick Hart
Sam OutlawTenderheart
Simple, yet endearing melodies, layered with beautiful storytelling. It’s an album that is strong from start to end, in many ways reminding me of some of the great traditional country songwriters whom I love. Favourite tracks are “Now She Tells Me”, “She’s Playing Hard To Get (Rid Of)” and “Bougainvillea, I Think”.

Courtney Marie AndrewsJames Ellis and the Jealous Guys
Courtney Marie AndrewsHonest Life
I knew what my favourite album of the year was going to be when I saw Courtney Marie Andrews play in Melbourne in July this year. She’s got a tremendous voice and the lyrics stand apart from almost everything else I’ve heard this year in their insight and honesty. What makes her songs exceptional is the way they all seem to come directly from her own story and experience. These are her songs and this is her life. It’s an honest life.

Mike BarnettHamish Davidson (Davidson Brothers)
Mike BarnettPortraits in Fiddles
As a fiddle player and bluegrass fanatic, I am thrilled to see Mike Barnett create a record which to me is like a cross section of all the bluegrass fiddle music I’ve devoured in the last 27 years. He collaborates with some of bluegrass music’s most vibrant talent and shines new light on a great selection of fiddle masterpieces.

Angel OlsenKate Barker (Whoa Mule, Golden Whistler)
Angel OlsenPhases
I just can’t seem to get enough of Angel Olsen’s vocals and songwriting. Her work inspires me to sing like there’s no tomorrow!

George HarrisonTim Guy
George HarrisonWonderwall Music
I know this is a turn up for the books, this was released in 1968. I was in India a few weeks back, and as we descended into the ancient blue city of Jodhpur, I had this on in my headphones and seriously guys, it was incred. Place and time – but you know what I mean.

Sarah BelknerMel Parsons
Sarah BelknerBut You Are, But It Has
Sydney producer and songwriter Sarah Belkner knocks it out of the park with But You Are, But It Has. This record and its predecessor the Humans EP have been on high rotation for me all year. Brilliant songwriting, interesting and super clever arrangements and impeccable production. I will continue to listen obsessively.

Bill OrcuttMark Moldre
Bill OrcuttBill Orcutt
Orcutt wanders in and around the destruction, renovations and construction sites of melody. Tearing a well worn musical phrase apart and rebuilding it. Disassembling a traditional like it’s a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces back together in all the wrong places with gaffer tape and super glue. Attacking the guitar with a ferocious tenacity, short angry, dogged outbursts are followed by meditative beauty. “When You Wish Upon A Star” dances about the melody without ever really clearly stating the theme. “Ol’ Man River” is soft and dripping with the peaceful lapping of the Mississippi whist remaining dark and haunting, broken and fractured. Reminiscent of the solo work of Marc Ribot, Fred Frith or even the sonic explorations of Tom Verlaine in its angular assault to the senses. Jazz, traditional folk and the avant-garde smash headlong into each other with little regard for the trail of damage and re-creation left in their wake. Dissonant yet sweet, contemplative while remaining challenging. Bravely free and uncensored.

Loene CarmenCatherine Traicos
Loene CarmenLovers Dreamers Fighters
I’ve always loved the way Lo’s voice manages to be strong, vulnerable, sassy, gentle and flirty all at the same time, and on this record it achieves that in spades. Also the pacing and the production of this record are spot on.

King Gizzard And The Lizard WizardJeff Lang
King Gizzard And The Lizard WizardFlying Microtonal Banana
This is a rocking album, really fun to listen to. The band gets up quite a head of steam, the rhythm section powering with a relentless forward momentum and the various microtonal electric guitars stabbing and chattering over the top. Great riffs all over the album, fantastic energy and an adventurous, explorative mood throughout. It sounds to me like they’re having a load of fun.

Ryan AdamsJosh Rennie-Hynes (The Ahern Brothers)
Ryan AdamsPrisoner
Adams has so many albums and this is one of his best. Great songs, production and tones

Pony FaceCat Leahy (This Way North)
Pony FaceDeja Vu
I’ve always been fascinated with the sonic scapes that Pony Face create. I’m a massive fan of Shane Omara’s musical mind too, so when I heard he was a new member of Pony Face, it just made so much sense. This album really speaks to me. The way the songs tail in and out, the mesmerising, pulsing tremolo on “Mt Deja Vu” the driving groove in “Justine”. It’s pretty magical. Simon’s voice is just heavenly. He’s like some kind of grungy, modern-day crooner.

Nikki LaneRuby Boots
Nikki LaneHighway Queen
I tried to pick another album for fear of seeming biased, but I really do love Nikki’s album from back to front and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get past it for this year’s top pick, I fell in love with it on first listen and over 50 listens later it still remains my fave. There’s a storyline in every song that is so easy to latch on to and make your own whilst still being cleverly written, that and the infectious melodies that take up the prime real estate on this record are the things that almost make you feel like she’s written the album just for you, the listener, yet there is enough sincerity in there to know that it’s just as much for her as it is for you, the perfect balance really! Fave song on the album: “Foolish Heart”.

Nai palmTommy Spender (Mama Kin Spender)
Nai PalmNeedle Paw
I started listening to this record while I was having a bath and it felt like it really complimented the complete surrender to the hot water. I love Nai’s passion to her artistry. She is truly gifted with a confidence and commitment to her voice that verges on punk, but her vocal has such a developed technicality, it blows me away. It’s so great hearing where she is at without the sinewy and muscular musicality of Haitus Kaiyote winding around her sound.

Scott CookAlanna and Alicia
Scott CookFurther Down The Line
Scott Cook is a natural storyteller; his songs glow with empathy, wit and warmth. This is a beautiful album, but he is even better live.
His performance on the porch at Enda Kennedy’s house concert in Northcote, Melbourne was a passport to the heartland of folk songs as they should be, as they have always been.

Colter WallHarvey Russell (Peasant Moon)
Colter WallColter Wall
This is a sparse, flawless debut from an extraordinarily talented 22 year-old Canadian possessing an absurdly weathered baritone. Arranged mostly with acoustic guitar and pedal steel only, these songs are written with the assuredness and self-knowing of a veteran songwriter. At times channelling Haggard, others Townes, the dark, vivid storytelling is magnetic and stunning. These songs feel lived in, shaped by wisdom and experience. Here we have a voice of country music’s future.

Caroline SpenceJosie Rothwell (Peasant Moon)
Caroline SpenceSpades and Roses
I’ve adored Spades and Roses this year. The songs are gentle, personal, universal, with gorgeous, sonically diverse but simple instrumentation. From the gender politics of “Softball” to the twang of “Hotel Armarillo” to the cute, lyrically playful “Wishing Well” and yearning of “Slow Dancer”, they’re songs I love to listen to, to be swept away by – what a songwriter!

Bad // DreemsMark “Looch” Lewis (Wifey, Handsome Young Strangers)
Bad // DreemsGutful
A cracking second effort from the best thing to come out of Adelaide in a long time. Big old school pub rock sound, quality songs, gruff vocals and a solid rhythm section make these guys a step above the other contenders. Bad // Dreems have always been a fantastic live act and this album gets closer to nailing that intensity and rawness. There is a reason they supported Midnight Oil recently! Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Gang of YourhsGretta Ray
Gang of YouthsGo Farther In Lightness
It wasn’t a challenge in the slightest to fall completely, head over heels in love with Gang Of Youths’ record Go Father In Lightness. The lyrics throughout this album are phenomenal, philosophical, pegging together lines of innovative poetry such as “a weight that’s in youth” soon to be followed by more casual, laid-back slang “..that makes a dick of us all”. I felt that the literature, interwoven with conversational speech in this way served to make this album, an album that discusses and reflects on the pros and cons of one’s “limited life” as well as the exploration of what it is to be “human”, unbelievably moving and relatable. As a writer myself, but more importantly a listener, I perceived it to be nothing less of an honour to see the world through writer and frontman Dave Le’aupepe’s eyes whilst listening to this record, that is more than deserving of all of the acclaim it has received over the duration of this year.

Kasey ChambersTom Busby (Busby Marou)
Kasey ChambersDragonfly
I’ve spent a bit of time with Kasey and the Chambers family over the last couple of years and the more I’ve been able to watch her off stage, the more I have realised that she is a true and prolific songwriter. Constantly singing, always creating, forever exploring. That is what this record is, just like her, brave and genuine!

Kendrick LamarSahara Beck
Kendrick LamarDamn
This album has worked for me no matter what mood I’ve been in all through 2017. It’s one of those albums that, to me, will always be a classic. Driving down to the lake with the windows down loving every moment of each song. Thank you for making my 2017 that much better Kendrick.

Leif VollebekkHayden Calnin
Leif VollebekkTwin Solitude
Never has an album been so important. I’ve listened to this every second day, and it still feels as good as the first listen. It’s come to the point that I’ve started a petition to bring this talent to Melbourne. I’m addicted to the feeling Leif gives to me. Enjoyed best walking through chaos on a sunny day, forgetting the world around you.

Ulrika SpacekTom Stephens (Tesse)
Ulrika SpacekModern English Decoration
A lesson in the art of denial, an element is there and then it’s not. It’s driving and heavy, commanding attention, but somehow you can drift away at the same time. Melodies that have to be revisited again and again and then again.

Valerie JuneMatt Golotta (The Sweet Jelly Rolls)
Valerie JuneThe Order of Time
I listened to the first few songs online of The Order of Time when it first came out, then began calling record stores instantly to see if they had it in stock because I had to own it. This record seriously has everything I look for, its soulful, rocky, bluesy and country, with the right amount of sadness. I think I’ve listened to “Love You Once Made” every day this year since buying the record. “Got Soul” is a stunning pairing of soul and country that is this perfect happy way to close the record.

Daniel RomanoTamara Lindeman (The Weather Station)
Daniel RomanoModern Pressure
Definitely the record I listened to most this year. Just great. Perfect pop songwriting, wonderful wild drumming, insane bass playing, great solos, crazy organ jams, great everything (and every note played by Romano of course). What else do you want?

Big ThiefCy Winstanley (Tattletale Saints)
Big ThiefCapacity
After being introduced to ‘Paul’ from 2016’s Masterpiece on a late night drive, and subsequently watching their Tiny Desk concert, I have been enthralled with this band. I love Adrianne Lenker’s poetic, yet coherent and often confronting lyrics, and the stark arrangements of harmonically rich songs played with a nonchalance that belies their mastery.

Sara TindleyLucie Thorne
Sara TindleyWild & Unknown
There’s an extraordinary richness and directness to Tindley’s voice that is truly stunning. Wild & Unknown is a brave and beautiful collection of songs that’ll have you dancing one moment, weeping the next. A quiet masterpiece that creeps up under your skin and plants itself in your soul. I love this album.

Jen CloherAlison Ferrier
Jen CloherJen Cloher
I love everything about Jen Cloher’s self-titled fourth album. This comes close to the perfect album for me, it’s brilliantly written, performed, recorded and produced. Jen’s bare-faced honesty is incredibly brave and inspiring. Favourite tracks: “I Forgot Myself” and “Strong Woman”.

The Secret SistersThe Weeping Willows
The Secret SistersYou Don’t Own Me Anymore
Selecting your favourite album of the past 12 months is made all the more difficult when three of your favourite acts (Jason Isbell, David Rawlings and The Secret Sisters) all release LPs within the same calendar year. But whilst Isbell and Rawlings delivered sublime albums (as to be expected), the Sisters’ album is “all killer, no filler”, their best work yet, with no temptation to reach for the “skip” button! You Don’t Own Me Anymore is the charming trad-country harmony duo’s third album and most personal project to date. The writing is at times confessional, at others, nostalgic for simpler times; strength juxtaposed with vulnerability. Their soulful songs were lovingly and tastefully produced by good friend Brandi Carlile. Stand out tracks include “Tennessee River Runs Low”, murder ballad “Mississippi” (sister song to the wonderfully haunting, “Iuka” from their 2014 album, Put Your Needle Down), “Little Again” and title track, “You Don’t Own Me Anymore”. Check them out if you’re fans of sibling harmony (eg. The Everly Brothers) and/or the southern gothic stylings of Gillian Welch and The Civil Wars.

Lilly HiattSophie Klein (Little Wise)
Lilly HiattTrinity Lane
I saw Lilly perform at Third Man Records at AmericanaFest in Nashville, but the gravity of her songwriting only hit me afterwards, listening to her rocking 2017 album Trinity Lane on my headphones traveling around the States. The production, by Michael Trent of Shovels and Rope, is big, loud, gritty and more indie rock than Nashville alt-country. But Lilly’s voice still has a southern twang to it though and the melodies and words kick around my brain for days on end. “I just wanna rock n’ roll, scream out my and burn real slow” she sings on “Records”, and it makes me want to do the same.

Jamie WyattGretta Ziller
Jamie WyattFelony Blues
Although it’s been out for most of the year I’ve only just discovered Jamie Wyatt’s Felony Blues! It’s a rare thing for me to listen to something on repeat but since I’ve discovered her it’s all I’m listening to!!! It’s unashamed, uncomplicated, catchy, good old fashioned country music.

Christopher Coleman CollectiveThe Dead Maggies
Christopher Coleman CollectiveAh Winter
This is a work of art, from a guy that’s had a hard run and put his heart on his sleeve. The result is a deep, personal and moving album of mature songwriting. Musically it sits somewhere between Bright Eyes and Neil Young.

Steve EarleTristan Goodall (The Audreys)
Steve Earle & The DukesSo You Wanna Be An Outlaw
Equal parts devilish invitation and cautionary tale, this killer record was a tour van favourite as we hit the road after a break this year. Steve is in fine form, as usual, and while the album is boisterous and swaggering, it also manages to highlight his songwriting craft. Highlight: Willie Nelson growling “if you wanna be an outlaw you can never go home”. Giddy-up!

LogicSteve Barnard (Jon Cotton and The Book Keepers)
LogicEverybody
Riding my push bike past all the kids and their mothers, heads adorned in their icon of piety, devotion and religious identity. The burka is far more common in this corner of Sydney than most and it puts a smile on my face to see children enjoying their walk home from school with Mum. An old bogan crossing the road to the pub yells racial cliches about going back where you came from and then turns to me for my approval of his vitriol. I inform him I’m from overseas too, I just happen to be white and he is guilty of the grossest and purest type of racism. Racism is as blatant as the inability to see past difference and as subtle as the apathy that accompanies privilege. Everybody suffers either in their oppression or privilege. Everybody.

Lawrence GreenwoodTanya Batt (BATTS)
Lawrence GreenwoodP.S. I’m Haunted
Lawrence has been a favourite of mine for a long time with his previous project. It feels so nice to have a new album from him and my gosh wow. The melodic and lyrical genius within this album actually made me cry the first time I heard it. The journey this takes you on from start to finish is incredibly special. All of the amazing detail within the album leaves you finding something new each listen.

Gretta ZillerAndrew Swift
Gretta ZillerQueen Of Boomtown
Maybe I’m a little biased after spending so much time on the road with Gretta, but credit where credit’s due. Queen Of Boomtown is a solid record from start to finish. With underlying blues tones throughout, Queen Of Boomtown will have you tapping your feet, singing along and wiping away a tear or two again and again. Ziller is quickly being recognised as one of this country’s best songwriters and without a doubt one of its best vocalists.

Raise By EaglesSam Newton
Raised By EaglesI Must Be Somewhere
There is a great mix of upbeat and slow-burner tracks with a sprinkle of country here and there. The record is filled with great songwriting and heartfelt lyrics.

Ben SalterShane Nicholson
Ben SalterBack Yourself
I have a lot of favourite albums of 2017. It’s been a good year. But for me, one stands above the rest – Ben Salter’s Back Yourself. It’s equal parts diverse, brave, accomplished, intelligent, exciting, original, and just plain incredible, superior record-making.

Frank OceanThe Campervan Dancers
Frank OceanBiking
Ryan is arrested by the nostalgic visions of meatophorical bike-riding. Chelsea is delighted by how they manage to execute an extensive shouting outro with great aplomb.

The East PointersThe Little Stevies/Teeny Tiny Stevies
The East PointersWhat We Leave Behind
This recommendation is just as much about the album as it is about the live show, because TEP have done what is often very difficult to do and that’s to capture the energy and magic of their live show on record. As a band they’ve got the full package; great songs, impressive multi-instrumental musicianship, rich 3-part harmony, and to top it off they’re genuinely nice people. My favourites on the album are the vocal lead songs because I love a catchy melody and riff. But I also really enjoy the instrumentals because they include some super interesting harmonic changes through them that don’t always go where you’re expecting them to go. It’s an album that’s made a non-fiddler make it their new years resolution to learn how to play the fiddle, so it must be pretty good.

Songs From DanMelanie Horsnell
Dan TuffySongs from Dan
I loved Dan Tuffy’s record Songs from Dan because I love the quiet back of the valley live sound and the song “The biggest bastard who ever rode the west” is every musician-having-a-low-down-day’s anthem. And I loved King Curly’s new EP but biased as now we are making a record together, so not allowed to vote for that.

Les Poules a ColinJesse Periard (Ten Strings and a Goat Skin)
Les Poules à ColinMorose
Les Poules à Colin have never been a band to limit themselves. They are constantly pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territory, which sets them apart from so many traditional music groups. They’ve grown so much as a band and Morose is a true representation of where they stand in the realm of traditional Québécois music and I couldn’t be more proud of them. This album has so many complex and beautiful layers to it, and has inspired me and taken me to places I didn’t expect.

Sarah BelknerJulia Johnson
Sarah BelknerBut You Are, But It Has
A record I have returned to repeatedly, finding more with every listen. The textures and arrangements glisten, but have this earthy, warm undercurrent. Her lyrics unfolded the more I honed in on them. Where I was wondering of their meaning upon first listen, months later her songs are resonating deeply with chapters and moments in my life. For me, there’s nothing more wondrous than finding a song that exposes one’s painful or wonderful experience as universal, and this album is rich with those gems. Standout track: “Cellophane”.

Jesca HoopAinslie Wills
Jesca HoopMemories Are Now
I describe this album to other people as “assertive folk” in that it has folk sensibilities and instrumentation but the song ideas are quite robust and angular at times which make it really memorable (ha! Pun not intended). Also, It has no drums which to me was really refreshing as most things these days are so banger/beat driven.

Trad AttackJoe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
Trad.Attack!Kullakarva / Shimmer Gold
Every so often I spend some time seeking out what’s happening in other local scenes around the world, and Crooked Fiddle’s musical equivalents therein – thus leading me to Estonia’s Trad.Attack! (punctuation included). Part melodic folk pop, part updated trad folk complete with Estonian bagpipes, they sometimes come across as a Baltic equivalent to Ireland’s Kila, especially on the epic title track.

Big ThiefAngie McMahon
Big ThiefCapacity
I’ve fallen in love with this band and this album. The intimacy of the songwriting has captured me, and the so many moments in the lyrics and music have brought me to moments of realisation and clarity. Some albums make you really grateful for music and the power it has over your mind, and this year, for me, it’s been this one.

Lana Del ReyTori Forsyth
Lana Del RayLust for Life
I love that Stevie Nicks has a little part of this record, she also experiments with some rad sounds. Also, lyrically this record is incredible.

This Is The KitEmily Staveley-Taylor (The Staves)
This Is The KitMoonshine Freeze
We met Kate, Rozi and Jamie at The Funkhaus during the Michelberger festival in Berlin last year and thought they were all wonderful people making wonderful music. Then we saw them play this album live at Eaux Claires festival in the summer and were blown away. The record has so many lovely, rounded sounds on it. It feels soft, but it has a driving energy that keeps pushing it forward. Kate’s voice has a familiar, kind quality when she sings – who doesn’t want to feel like they’re having a conversation with a friend when they listen to music? It’s a self-assured album by a band who seem to really know who they are. And that’s a comforting presence to be in. Plus the tunes are fucking banging. And the horns rule.

Sun Kil MoonNigel Wearne
Sun Kil MoonCommon As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
This year Sun Kil Moon has been on high rotation. Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood is so different, that I honestly can’t remember hearing anything else like it. Spoken word poetry, prose, and random stories (including a Chameleon vs a Cat), diary entries, muses on David Bowie and Ali augmented by busted-up Dad hip hop. It’s completely whacked and compelling. A slow burn that requires the lyrics booklet.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 18th August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird returns to Australia for a tour this November. Details here

– Sydney duo Peasant Moon released their new single “Our Timing Was Wrong”. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Jed Rowe released a live video for his new single “Tailem Bend”. Details here

The Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival announced their massive 2017 lineup including Foghorn Stringband, Genni Kane, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Luke Plumb and Peter Daffy, The Freewheeler, The New Macedon Rangers, Cat and Clint, Chloë & Jason Roweth, Freya Josephine Hollick, Golden Whistler, Kaurna Cronin, Loren Kate, Mandy Connell, Michael Waugh, Monique Clare, The Mae Trio, The Tawny Owl Stringband, Whoa Mule and many more. Details here

Ian Felice (Felice Brothers) announced his debut solo album In The Kingdom Of Dreams. Details here

– Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan released his new video “Whistleblower”. Details here

– Sydney alt-country singer-songwriter Luke Collings released his new single “Who’s Gonna Vote For Me?”. Details here

– We premiered the amazing new Gretta Ziller video “Queen of Boomtown”. Details here

Patrick James released his 80s inspired single “Lay It Down”. Details here

– The Wingham Akoostik Festival in northern NSW announced its 2017 lineup including Kasey Chambers, Russell Morris, Ella Hooper, The Turner Brown Band, Eagle & The Wolf, Sara Tindley, Colin Lillie, Matt Joe Gow and many many more. Details here

– Brisbane based singer-songwriter BANFF released his new single “Act of Misacting”. Details here

Out On The Weekend announced headline shows for their touring artists including Justin Townes Earle, Joshua Hedley, The Sadies, Robbie Fulks, Son Volt, Traveller (Jonny Fritz, Robert Ellis and Cory Chisel) and The Deslondes. Details here

– Award winning singer-songwriter and cellist Monique Clare announced details of her new EP By The Stars. Details here

– Sydney based singer-songwriter Ollie Brown released his new video “Backroads”. Details here

Father John Misty released his new video “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution”. Details here

– Music events company Gypsyheart Live announced details of their Downtown Folk Festival in Sydney featuring Hollow Coves, Garrett Kato, Harry Hookey, Grizzlee Train, Tullara, Luke Morris, Asha Jefferies, Nick Cunningham, Alana Wilkinson, Feelds and Darby. Details here

Releases This Week

Monique Clare
By The StarsMonique Clare

Bandcamp

Vertumnus
VertumnusPackwood
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Shelley’s Murder Boys w/ Bec Bastoli

Shelley's Murder Boys

Sydney bluegrass and old time trio Shelley’s Murder Boys launch their amazing new EP Troubled Thoughts Keep Her Fed in their home town with Bec Bastoli in support

Thursday 24th August – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Acoustic Sessions feat. Angel Tairua
Thursday 24th August – The Beresford, Sydney, NSW

Acoustic Sessions feat. Marissa & Lloyd
Tuesday 22nd August – Angel Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Acoustic Sessions feat. Merpire
Sunday 20th August – The Paddington, Sydney, NSW

Adam Young w/ Wifey
Saturday 19th August – Botany View Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Anna Smyrk
Friday 18th August – Billy Roy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC

Asha Jefferies
Friday 18th August – The Flying Cock, Brisbane, QLD

Bec Bastoli
Sunday 20th August – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 24th August – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Ben Camden, 500 Pounds of Joy
Friday 25th August – Howlin’ Wolf Bar, Wollongong, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s feat. Gareth Rowan and The Crazy Fools
Wednesday 23rd August – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Brad Butcher
Wednesday 23rd August – Willie the Boatman, Sydney, NSW

Brian Campeau
Thursday 24th August – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Collard Greens and Gravy
Friday 25th August – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Daggy Man
Thursday 24th August – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Dan Brodie
Sunday 20th August – Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Darwin Festival
Thursday 10th to Sunday 27th August – Darwin, NT

Dave Alexander 20th Anniversary Concert feat. Siobhán Ní Phinder, The Roaring Forties
Saturday 19th August – The Loaded Dog Folk Club, Sydney, NSW

Davidson Brothers
Saturday 19th August – Paragon Cafe, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 20th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 24th August – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

Devil Goat Family String Band
Saturday 19th August – The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, VIC

Donna Amini, Visiting Aliens, Chris Neto
Wednesday 23rd August – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Dreamboogie and Bonnie Kay & The Bonafides
Saturday 19th August – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

East of Everything w/ Alana Jagt, BR Dalton
Wednesday 23rd August – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Elbury
Friday 18th August – Oscar’s Alehouse, Belgrave, VIC
Saturday 19th August – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th August – Gympie Music Muster, Gympie, QLD

Folk Party feat. Vanishing Shapes, Bec Bastoli, My Friend Rupert
Sunday 20th August – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Portia Briana, Ainsley Farrell, Direwolf
Wednesday 23rd August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Get Blind With Brian feat. Brian Campeau
Friday 25th August – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Georgia State Line
Saturday 19th August – Old Church On The Hill, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Echo Tone, Melbourne, VIC

Girl Friday
Saturday 19th August – The Retreat, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 22nd August – The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, VIC

Guyy and Richard Perso
Friday 25th August – Harmonie German Club, Canberra, ACT

Gympie Music Muster
Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th August – Gympie, NSW

Gympie Muster Mary St Pre-Party feat. Bill Chambers
Wednesday 23rd August – Mary St, Gympie, NSW

Harry Hookey
Friday 18th August – The Old Hepburn, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Star Hotel Yackandandah, Yackandandah, VIC
Thursday 24th August – Rooty Hills RSL Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th August – Neon Garage, Kincumber, NSW

Husky
Friday 18th August – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 19th August – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Thursday 24th August – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Ight Club Folk Til Ya Don’t Staysafe Fundraiser feat. Quinton Trembath, The Berkeley Hunts, Dead Peasants, Ian Flood, Vernon Surly, Jacob Thomas
Wednesday 23rd August – Tago Mago Club, Melbourne, VIC

Illawarra Folk Club feat. Shellie Morris, Troy Jungaji Brady
Friday 18th August – City Diggers, Wollongong, NSW

Imogen Clark
Saturday 19th August – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 20th August – Hardys Bay Club, Hardys Bay, NSW
Friday 27th August – Hawkesbury Hotel, Windsor, NSW

INA Céilí feat. The Coast Ceili Band
Saturday 19th August – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

James Bennett
Saturday 19th August – JJ’s at The Marina, Batemans Bay, NSW
Sunday 20th August – Foragers Market, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 24th August – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC
Friday 25th August – The Elwood Lounge, Melbourne, VIC

James Ellis and the Jealous Guys
Friday 18th August – Lulie St Tavern, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Echo Tone, Melbourne, VIC

Jen Cloher
Thursday 24th August – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 25th August – Oxford Art factory, Sydney, NSW

Jep and Dep
Friday 18th August – The Basement Discs, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th August – Flying Saucer Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – The Standard Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke w/ Kyle Lionhart
Friday 18th August – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 19th August – The Capitol, Perth, WA
Friday 25th August – Launceston Country Club, Launceston, TAS

Justin Bernasconi w/ Cat Canteri
Friday 25th August – House Concert, Maitland, NSW

Kasey Chambers
Sunday 20th August – The Gulf Country Frontier Days Festival, Dooomadgee, QLD

Katie Brianna
Wednesday 23rd August – The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, VIC

Kelly Brouhaha
Friday 18th August – Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC
Saturday 19th August – Cheeky Goose Cafe, Cowes, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Bright Brewery, Bright, VIC

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August – Beechworth, VIC

Little Georgia
Saturday 19th August – Narrawong Mechanics Institute Hall, Narrawong, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th August – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Melanie Horsnell
Friday 18th August – The Log Cabin Hall, Gooloogong, NSW

Merpire
Sunday 20th August – The Paddington, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 23rd August – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th August – The Oxford Circus, Sydney, NSW

Monique Clare
Saturday 19th August – Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 20th August – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

My Friend The Chocolate Cake
Friday 18th August – Theatre Royal Castlemaine, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 19th August – Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Sunday 20th August – Griffith Regional Theatre, Griffith, NSW
Friday 25th August – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC

Paddy McHugh
Friday 18th August – Flamin Galah, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 19th August – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Peninsula Music Showcase feat. The Weeping Willows, Young Vincent, Sam O’Connell Mia Grunden
Thursday 24th August – Music on the Hill, Red Hill, VIC

Pete Murray
Friday 18th August – Waves, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 19th August – Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 20th August – Beer Deluxe, Albury, NSW
Wednesday 23rd August – Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo, VIC
Thursday 24th August – Regent Multiplex Theatre, Ballarat, VIC
Friday 25th August – Forum Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Queen Porter Stomp
Friday 18th August – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Raised By Eagles
Friday 18th August – The Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Saturday 19th August – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th August – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Restrung Festival
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th August – Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD

Rueben Stone w/ Alana Wilkinson
Wednesday 23rd August – The Gasometer, Melbourne, VIC

Riley Pearce
Saturday 19th August – Secret Warehouse Show, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 20th August – Secret Warehouse Show, Bunbury, WA

Sancha and the Blue Gypsies
Saturday 19th August – Humph Hall, Sydney, NSW

Santa Taranta
Friday 18h August – Farouk’s Olive, Melbourne, VIC

Shane Nicholson
Friday 18th August – Music Lounge, Brookvale, NSW
Saturday 19th August – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 20th August – Hardys Bay Club, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 25th August – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD

Shelley’s Murder Boys w/ Bec Bastoli
Thursday 24th August – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sofar Sounds Gold Coast
Friday 18th August – House Concert, Mermaid Beach, QLD

Sofar Sounds Melbourne
Saturday 19th August – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Sofar Sounds Sydney
Monday 20th August – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Sunday Sessions feat. Shaun Black
Sunday 20th August – The Public Brewery, Melbourne, VIC

Sydney Guitar Festival
Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th August – Sydney, NSW

Tami Nelson w/ Paddy McHugh
Friday 18th August – The Flamin’ Galah, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 19th August – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – The Basement Sydney, Sydney, NSW

Tex, Don & Charlie
Tuesday 22nd August – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th August – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC

The Co-Ground Folk Show feat. Amistat, Ariela Jacobs, Mia Wray
Friday 18th August – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

The Cope Street Parade
Friday 18th August – Howlin’ Wolf Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Sunday 19th August – The Rooks Return, Melbourne, VIC

The Demon Drink
Friday 18th August – Yandina Hotel, Yandina, QLD
Sunday 20th August – Limes Hotel & Rooftop Bar, Brisbane, QLD

The Hut’s Fourth Birthday feat Ash Grunwald, Rhythm Hunters, Tullara
Saturday 19th August – The Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW

The Little Lord Street Band
Sunday 20th August – The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 23rd August – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Montgomery Brothers
Friday 18th August – Canberra Blues Society at Harmonie German Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 19th August – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 20th August – The Beat Bar, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 24th August – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 25th August – Grand Junction – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

The Newsagency Sessions feat. Sarah Belkner w/ Merpire
Wednesday 23rd August – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

The Royal High Jinx
Friday 25th August – Jambo Bar and Cafe, Melbourne, VIC

The Slipdixies
Sunday 20th August – Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC

The Slowdowns
Friday 18th August – The Unicorn Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Twoks
Saturday 19th August – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Sunday 20th August – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 25th August – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

The Willie Wagtails
Saturday 19th August – Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC

The Whiskey Gypsies
Saturday 19th August – Ryans Hotel, Traralgon, VIC

Tim Guy
Sunday 20th August – The Westernport, San Remo, VIC

Tim Wheatley
Friday 25th and Saturday 26th August – Gympie Music Muster, QLD

Tori Forsyth
Friday 18th August – The Music Lounge, Brookvale, NSW

Vardos Trio
Saturday 19th August – Bocskai Complex, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 20th August – Little Creatures, Geelong, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“I Go Off” – Diana Anaid

Listen to the New BANFF Single “Act of Misacting”

BANFF
Image Courtesy of BANFF

Brisbane based singer-songwriter BANFF (aka Benjamin Forbes) has just released his brand new single “Act of Misacting”.

The track was self-produced with help from from Konstantin Kersting (The Belligerents).

“”Act of Misacting” is an evolution of an old guitar lick that sat in another demo, but eventually found its way into this new song,” BANFF explained. “The track reflects on that feeling of guilt and regret when you’re pulled into dealing with someone else’s personal troubles. It’s that inevitable feeling of obligation to support them even though sometimes you don’t quite agree with what they’ve done.”

Take a listen to “Act of Misacting” here:

BANFF will be supporting I Know Leopard on their upcoming Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney shows – full list of dates are below:

Friday 15th September – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 16th September – Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st September -The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 1st July

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Alt-country singer-songwriters Megan Cooper and Brooke Russell have teamed up for a Victorian tour this week. Details here

– Sydney nu-folk stompers Citizen of the World released their new video “Embers”. Details here

The Weeping Willows are currently on tour through ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. Details here

Aidan D. Cooney released his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky”. Details here

Mumford & Sons released their video “Wona” featuring collaborations with Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg

– Irish born singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell is currently heading up the east coast on a bunch of tour dates. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth released her amazing new single “Black Bird”. Details here

Taasha Coates from The Audreys is heading out on a solo tour this month. Details here

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry announced their album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. Details here

Leah Flanagan released her new single “Chills” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney alt-country singer-songwriter Katie Brianna released her new video “Birmingham”. Details here

Gregory Alan Isakov released his new single “Master And A Hound” with the Colorado Symphony. Details here

Caitlin Park and BANFF released their collaborative video for “My Love, My Lover”. Details here

Reviews

Gigs

“James “Morri” Morrison is an affable front man whose easygoing stage presence kept the audience enthralled throughout. I love the way he personalised Paul Kelly’s songs with his introductions, espousing his personal connections to the material. Morri was joined by a band of fine musicians – Anna McInerey on fiddle, Jimmy Daley on mandolin, Dr Zane Banks on banjo (and even a little bit of guitar!), Iain Tallis on bass and Miles Fraser on lead guitar – who in turn reproduced the musical accompaniment of Paul Kelly’s bluegrass albums and also made the songs their own. For a brief moment I wondered how close the players were getting to the solos and melodies of the original albums and then I realised it didn’t matter – each song was pitch perfect”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews The Morrisons’ show Smoke on a Foggy Highway: The Bluegrass Albums of Paul Kelly. Review here

Releases This Week

Liz Stringer
All The BridgesLiz Stringer
iTunes

Oh Pep
Stadium CakeOh Pep!
iTunes

Todd Sibbin
The Bottled Ship Got FreedomTodd Sibbin
Bandcamp

Tracy McNeil
ThievesTracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Aidan D. Cooney

Aidan D Cooney

Aidan D. Cooney brings us some brand new music with the official launch of his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky” in Sydney.

Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Aidan D. Cooney
Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Áine Tyrrell
Saturday 2nd July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – FogHorn Brewhouse, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

BBQ & Blues feat. The Plough
Wednesday 6th July – Surly’s American BBQ, Burgers & Beer, Sydney, NSW

Bello Winter Music Festival
Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th July – Bellingen, NSW

Brooke Russell and Megan Cooper
Friday 1st July – The Skylark Room, Upwey, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 3rd July – The Post Office Hotel, Coburg, VIC

Citizen of the World
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Colin Jones w/ Lazy Colts, Grand Oyster Parade
Thursday 7th July – Slyfox, Sydney, NSW

Colin Lillie
Friday 1st July – Night Quarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 8th July – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Coopers After Dark feat. Ash Grunwald
Thursday 7th July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Finders Keepers Markets Brisbane
Saturday 2nd July – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

FolkSwagon feat. Joseph Van Der Hurk, Olly Friend, The Cafe Loungers
Wednesday 6th July – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Hootenanny feat. The New Savages
Sunday 3rd July – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Imogen Clark
Friday 8th July – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD

Joe Mungovan
Sunday 3rd July – Little Village, Margaret River, WA

Lloyd Spiegel
Friday 1st July – The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – Baby Black, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Friday 8th July – Hickinbotham Winery, Mornington, VIC

Music Makers Club feat. Citizen Of The World, Love Drunk Hearts, The Talentless, Youngsmith
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Shifting Sands, Jep and Dep
Sunday 3rd July – The Lord Gladstone, Sydney, NSW

Strayaway Child
Saturday 2nd July – Winterfest, Parramatta, NSW

Sweet Jean
Friday 1st July – Music on The Hill, Red Hill, VIC
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-Together
Saturday 2nd July – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Beards
Friday 1st July – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

The Paper Kites
Friday 1st July – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Saturday 2nd July – Norwood Town Hall, Adelaide, SA

The Weeping Willows
Friday 1st July – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 6th July – The Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD
Thursday 7th July – Bangalow Hotel, Bangalow, NSW
Friday 8th July – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW

Todd Sibbin
Saturday 2nd July – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Friday 1st July – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Mayfield, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – Grand Junction, The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th July – Baha’s, Rye, VIC

Vanishing Shapes w/ The Squeezebox Trio, Ess-Em
Friday 1st July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Vincent Cross
Friday 1st July – Illawara Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Shack, Narrabeen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – Hotel Blue, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – House Concert, Nabiac, NSW

Winterbourne
Friday 1st July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“O Death” – Ralph Stanley

Watch the New Video from BANFF x Caitlin Park “My Love, My Lover”

Banff
Image Courtesy of BANFF x Caitlin Park

I love it when two individually exciting artists come together and create music that is even better than the sum of it’s parts. That’s what’s happened with the new collaboration between Brisbane’s BANFF and Sydney’s Caitlin Park on their new single “My Love, My Lover”.

Check out the video for “My Love, My Lover” below and see what we mean:

As well as collaborating on the track BANFF x Caitlin Park have announced a handfull of co-headline tour dates for this August and September. The full list of dates are as follows:

Friday 12th August – Oxford Circus, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 2nd September – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Interview: Josh Pyke

Josh Pyke
Image Courtesy of Josh Pyke

Having released one of the best albums of his career in 2015 with But For All These Shrinking Hearts Josh Pyke is about to head out on a national tour. We sat down with the singer-songwriter to talk about his writing process, how he chooses supports and the importance of his fans.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Let’s kick off with the new album, But For All These Shrinking Hearts. I really like it – it feels like the next musical progression for you. How are you feeling about the album?

Josh Pyke: I love it. I have to admit that I don’t listen to my own music ever. But when I make the record I really have to feel like I can stand behind every creative decision one hundred percent, and I feel like it will stand the test of time. In that regard every time I do a record I need to feel like it’s my best work otherwise I don’t want to put it out. So I feel like this album is my best work to date and that’s how I’ve felt about all my records. And of course that’s a completely subjective opinion but I need to feel that otherwise I don’t want to do it.

GHE: Is part of the reason you don’t listen back because you can hear the stuff you’d like to change or that your songs have evolved beyond the album as you’ve started touring them?

JP: I just don’t like listening to my own music. I don’t really know. I can’t imagine many musicians sit around listening to their own music – I think that would be weird. It’s just kind of like looking at photos of yourself or looking in the mirror all the time. My kids have started to listen to my music so sometimes I hear it in the car when we’re driving along. Particularly the last two albums there’s nothing when I hear them that I go “I wish I’d done that differently” because after making four and now five albums I kind of know what I’m doing. If I listen to Feeding the Wolves or Memories and Dust there’s probably moments where I go “I probably could have done that better”. But at the same time they’re moments in time – you’ve just got to remember at the point you were making them you were standing by your creative decisions at the time. As long as you always do that then even if you would do something different because your creative instincts have become more honed or more developed, you have to get behind your previous self and go “it’s ok mate, this is where you were at at the time”. But yeah I don’t listen to my music because I would rather listen to other people’s music and then make my own music.

GHE: When you’re performing you still have to reach into the back catalogue for your fans even if you’ve moved on from them creatively.

JP: I love doing that. I love having a strong back catalogue that people want to hear. We were rehearsing last night for these upcoming festival shows, playing songs like “Memories and Dust” and “Lines on Palms” – I love playing those songs. I like playing the songs, I just don’t like listening to the records. The old songs remind me times and places in my life. All of the songs are intensely personal to me and I know what they’re all about to me so it’s kind of like revisiting those experiences. It’s like going back and reading a diary when I’m playing the songs live.

GHE: I’ve seen you live a number of times, both in an intimate solo setting and with a band. You will quite often pull out a new song in those shows, especially in the “fans first” tours – is that important as part of the song writing process to workshop new songs live?

JP: It can be. I think it’s more about keeping things interesting for myself. As a punter when I go to see bands I don’t mind hearing new songs that I don’t know but I’d rather hear songs I do know. From a punter’s point of view it’s kind of why you’re going there – you’ve listened to the records and now you want to hear how that translate live, you want to hear the lyrics that you know and hear how the voice is different live. So when I’m doing it live it is a way to workshop them but it’s more for my sake that anybody else’s. If they work structure wise there’s no better setting than a live setting to hash out those things. It’s like instant market research. Also I write a lot of songs on the road. I remember I played a song “Bats” live on a tour a few years ago and it was a cool song but there was something about it that I never wanted to take further than that experience. I actually tried to demo it a couple of weeks ago and I was like “I don’t know, I think that song’s had its life”. Sometimes that’s as far as they go, playing them once or twice in a live context and then they just disappear.

GHE: A few years ago I saw you live and you’d starting playing around with looping and effects pedals. Has that influenced the way you write a song? Or are they just there to round out the sound of a solo show?

JP: I don’t think it’s influenced how I write songs. I think it’s more influenced getting together solo shows. I do try and approach them differently and sometimes it means that I change the arrangements to better suit a looping pedal. It definitely influences how the songs come up in a solo context but I don’t think it’s crept through into influencing the song writing. I like to keep the song writing pretty organic. Having said that a song like “There’s a Line” which has that kind of synth loop, I did write that not with a loop pedal but by looping that section in pro-tools when I was writing that song. Maybe on reflection it has influenced a little bit – maybe I’m more open to those kind of dynamics within a song.

GHE: Let’s talk about the upcoming tour. You’ve got a couple of festival dates and also some headline shows. Is this going to be a full band tour or is it solo Josh Pyke?

JP: This will be a full band tour which I’m really excited about because I haven’t done a full band tour for almost two years now. The last time was at the beginning of The Beginning and End of Everything so it will be awesome to get out again with the band. I was rehearsing last night with the band in my studio here at home – it’s sounding really great. The new songs in particular are translating really well, really bombastic. Songs like “Songlines” with a full band sound killer so I’m really excited.

GHE: Does playing with a full band influence the set of songs that you choose?

JP: It definitely effects the set. Songs like “Someone to Rust With” and “Late Night Driving” are probably better suited to the solo context. Whereas I have made solo versions of “There’s a Line” and “Songlines” but I love utilising the sounds and dynamics a band can bring to them. And revisiting songs like “Vibrations in Air” that I’ve played solo for years now in a band context.

GHE: One of the things I love about your tours is that you always bring along these up and coming singer songwriters as supports. People like Jack Carty and Patrick James – and this time around you’re taking out BANFF.

JP: Yeah BANFF is doing the majority of the tour and Winterbourne are doing the two Zoo shows.

GHE: Are you heavily involved in choosing who supports you?

JP: There’s been one time that I haven’t been involved and it just wasn’t right. All the other times where I’ve selected the acts myself, even if they’re a bit incongruous to what I do. Like I did a big regional tour with The Jezabels in support of me which sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it worked amazingly. So all the times when I’ve chosen the supports I feel like there’s a better connection and the whole show is more like an event, a curated event, rather than just a bunch of acts playing together on a bill. So it’s important for me to be involved. Basically every time my booking agent gives me a list of 20 acts – unless there’s somebody I just want to straight up have – that are appropriate and available. Then I just go through and listen to all of them and then it just comes down to who’s doing the music I like best.

GHE: It’s also a great opportunity for your supports because you have such a loyal audience that you’ve built up over the years. They’re loyal to you and then that means they’re loyal to artists that you want to support. Your audience becomes their audience.

JP: Yeah. That’s a beautiful thing that I feel really blessed that I can help with. That’s how I came up doing big supports for John Butler and Eskimo Joe and countless others. All these acts that I did long tours with. You still have to work hard, there’s no guarantee, you have to win every fan over one by one. But if the show is curated well then you are playing to an audience who will probably like your music. And then you just have to perform well and hopefully bring those fans over to you. I’m not covetous of my fans – I’m extremely grateful and I feel incredibly blessed to have the support base that I do but I certainly don’t think my fans only have room for being fans of me. I’m happy for them to discover new music through me and to support that music as well.

GHE: How important has the Josh Pyke fan club, Friends of Josh Pyke, to you throughout your career as a musician?

JP: They’re amazing. It’s basically Sabi [Sabrina Robertson] and she’s been doing it for 10 years. She’s amazing. She creates great content and every year she does this yearly wrap up where she runs through everything that’s happened and it’s almost like a reference for me because every year feels like a blur when you’re in the thick of it. She’s just been great and I hope she’s gotten stuff out of it as well – I know that she works in the industry now. I hope that having done some stuff with me has opened some doors and have given her some experience. I’d certainly highly recommend her to anybody, she’s fantastic. It still blows me away that people would do that for me and join a fan club or whatever you want to call it. It kind of articulates what you hope is happening which is that people are really investing in your music in an emotional way where they want to be connected to it.

GHE: So the tour goes through until the end of February. What else can we expect from Josh Pyke in 2016?

JP: I’m really excited about launching this beer with Young Henrys that I’ve been working on. The beer is called “The Summer” and it’s basically a scaled up and refined version of the home brew I’ve been making at home for a few years.

GHE: Nice

JP: The tour kicks off and we’ll expand that regionally for sure. We’re just trying to figure out if we’re going to do that solo or with the band. And then there’s a big project I’m excited about at the end of next year that I don’t want to talk about just yet in case it falls through. It’s a collaborative project – it’s kind of like revisiting a collaborative project. It’s not the Basement Birds!

GHE: That was going to be my follow up question!

JP: I’m really excited about doing that, I think it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. Beyond that I don’t know. For the passed ten years I pretty much could have told you what I’d be shooting for in the next few years but now I find that it’s been doing my head in a bit to live like that, just trying to look into the future and think of what I’ll be doing. So I’m really trying to just focus on what I’m doing now and enjoy it. That’s one of my aims for 2016 – to stay in the present as much as possible.

GHE: Far enough! Well thank you so much for that Josh, I really appreciate your time.

JP: Thank you so much!

Josh Pyke will be touring nationally from the end of January with supports from BANFF and Winterbourne. The full list of dates are below:

Friday 29th January – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 30th January – Canberra Theatre Playhouse, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 4th February – Studio 56 @ Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 5th February – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 6th February – Star Court Theatre, Lismore, NSW
Friday 12th February – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 13th February – The Wool Exchange, Geelong, VIC
Friday 19th February – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 20th February – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA

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