Review: First Annual Australian Americana Honours Night

Americana Honours
Image Courtesy of the Americana Music Association

Australian Americana Honours Night feat. Old Crow Medicine Show, Valerie June, Kevin Welch, Busby Marou, Kasey Chambers, Shane Howard, Yirrmal, Bernard Fanning, Catherine Britt, Henry Wagons, Emily Barker, Ruby Boots, Jordie Lane & The Sleepers
Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 2nd October, 2017

Like many people I woke up Tuesday morning to the horrible news that an evil individual had killed dozens and injured hundreds of people in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. What’s really hit home about this latest atrocity is that it was committed at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival – a festival not unlike the festivals the Timber and Steel community attends all the time here in Australia. Words cannot describe the emotions I’m feeling right now. It’s senseless, just senseless.

As the events in Vegas were unfolding on Monday night night I was sitting in the warm confines of Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre for the first annual Australian Americana Honours Night. It was a coming together of the Australian Americana community and a celebration of a genre that has so much heart and soul behind it. As so often happens with these events I was overwhelmed with the community that’s been created around the music we love.

From the opening marching-band entrance of Old Crow Medicine Show’s live version of “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” to the closing singalong of “May The Circle Be Unbroken” featuring Old Crow, Valerie June, Kasey Chambers and Kevin Welch, the Australian Americana Honours Night was pure joy from start to finish.

Americana Honours

It would be too easy to look at the events in Vegas and decide that you’re not going to music festivals anymore. Despite how irrational it is, despite the fact that hundreds, if not thousands of festivals are held around the world every year without incident, it would be easy to walk away from live music.

If it wasn’t for the Australian Americana Honours Night last night maybe I would have made the easy decision and walked away from live music festivals. At the very least maybe I would’ve reconsidered my bucket list of international festivals, striking all off the US-based events.

But when you’re listening to Kasey Chambers and Bernard Fanning duet on “Watch Over Me”, when you can feel the goosebumps from Yirrmal’s surprise performance with Shane Howard, when Henry Wagons literally owns the entire stage while performing “King Hit”, when artists you’ve been following and supporting for years like Ruby Boots, Emily Barker, Catherine Britt, Jordie Lane and Busby Marou get roaring applause from the gathered fans and industry folk, you know there’s no way you can give this up.

Americana Honours

Kasey Chambers and Brian “BT” Taranto were both honoured with vanguard awards on the night and both of them gave passionate speeches about how important Americana music is. How much the community means. To me it was almost a call to arms – a plea to keep the candle burning for good music. To keep going to festivals, to gigs, to keep buying records and to keep the passion alive.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, before I turned to my smart phone, before I knew the full extent of what had happened in Las Vegas, I was still buzzing from the Australian Americana Honours Night, and the 3+ hours of amazing music I’d witnessed the night before. And even as the world came crashing down around me as I scrolled through the news it wasn’t enough to extinguish the light that is burning for live music.

The best way to not let the bastards win? Keep going to live music. Keep going to festivals. Show your support, be part of the community of amazing people who keep this music alive, and enjoy every minute of it.

Thank you Australian Americana Honours.

Details of the First Annual Australian Americana Honours Night in Melbourne

Australian Amerciana Honours
Image Courtesy of the Americana Music Association

Americana fans rejoice – Australia is about to get it’s very own Americana Honours Night this October.

The inaugural Australian Americana Honours Night will take place in Melbourne at the Thornbury Theatre on Monday 2nd October. The event is being presented by Michael Chugg, Nash Chambers and the international Americana Music Association and will celebrate the diverse artists that make up the Australian Americana scene.

The Australian Americana Honours Night will feature a raft of performers including international icons Old Crow Medicine Show, Valerie June and Kevin Welch along with Australian favourites Busby Marou, Kasey Chambers, Shane Howard, Bernard Fanning, Catherine Britt, Henry Wagons, Emily Barker, Ruby Boots and Jordie Lane & The Sleepers.

During the night the Americana Music Association will present the inaugural Americana Vanguard Awards to Kasey Chambers for her deep commitment to roots music and to Brian “BT” Taranto, founder of the Out on the Weekend festival, who has been championing the Americana Community for more than a decade.

“For those of us who love roots and Americana Music, this is a dream line-up to have at our inaugural event,” Nash Chambers explained. “We’re mighty proud to be building awareness of Americana Music in Australia with the US Association and Tennessee Tourism. We also believe this is just the beginning of a genre that is exploding worldwide.”

For more information on the night including how to get your hands on tickets head over to Chugg Entertainment here.

The Queenscliff Music Festival Reveals First 13 Acts

Queenscliff Music Festival
Image Courtesy of Queenscliff Music Festival

Fan favourite music festival the Queenscliff Music Festival, has just announced the first 13 artists for its 2017 event and as always there’s plenty for Timber and Steel fans to get excited about.

The list of announced artists includes 30/70, The Beautiful Girls, Bernard Fanning, Freya Josephine Hollick, GL, Hot Potato Band, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Mama Kin & Spender, Nai Palm, The Temper Trap, The Teskey Brothers, Xavier Rudd and Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project.

The Queenscliff Music Festival is held in Queenscliff, Victoria from the 24th to 26th November – check out the official site for more details.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 9th December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney folk punks Handsome Young Strangers released their new single “Mrs Jones”. Details here

Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers have announced a co-headline tour early next year. Details here

– A single show has been announced for Conor Oberst in Sydney next year. Details here

– Brisbane based singer-songwriter Sian Evans released her new video “Cold Feet”. Details here

– The last Bluegrass @ Yulli’s of 2016 is this Wednesday featuring The Sweet Jelly Rolls. Details here

– We premiered the new Justin Bernasconi single “Speed Camera”. Details here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Julia Jacklin

Julia Jacklin

Julia Jacklin is wrapping up a massive 2016 in style with a show in her hometown of Sydney and then more around the country. If you have tickets to any of these shows count yourself lucky

Friday 9th December – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th December – FourFiveNine, Perth WA
Friday 16th December – The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Acoustics Anonymous feat. Skinny Legions, Merpire
Wednesday 14th December – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Anders
Friday 9th December – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Andy Baylor’s Cajun Christmas Party
Sunday 11th December – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Australian Bluegrass Conference
Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th December – Tranquil Park, Maleny, QLD

Bears with Guns
Saturday 10th December – Tommy’s Beer Cafe, Sydney, NSW

Bluegrass at Yulli’s feat. The Sweet Jelly Rolls
Wednesday 14 December – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Boy & Bear
Friday 9th December – Waves, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 10th December – Wests City, Newcastle, NSW

Country by the Beach
Tuesday 13th December – Old Dave’s Soul, Sydney, NSW

Ellie Jane with Mudshadows, Olivia Ruth & Sian Evans
Friday 16th December – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD

Finders Keepers Market Sydney feat. Taryn La Fauci, Martha Marlow, The Vegetable Plot, Elizabeth Hughes, Rachel Maria Cox, Jep & Dep & more
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th December – Australian Technology Park, Sydney, NSW

Hannah Robinson
Sunday 11th December – Different Drummer, Sydney, NSW

Husky
Thursday 15th December – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

James Kenyon
Friday 9th December – Cedar Bar, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 10th December – Queen St Mall, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 11th December – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Joseph Tawadros
Friday 16th December – Candelo Town Hall, Candelo, NSW

Josh Pyke & Bob Evans
Friday 9th December – The Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th December – The Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 15th December – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Friday 16th December – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Julia Jacklin
Friday 9th December – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th December – FourFiveNine, Perth WA
Friday 16th December – The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, NSW

Justin Bernasconi
Saturday 10th December – Guildford Hotel, Guildford, VIC
Sunday 11th December – Retreat Hotel Brunswick, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th December – Tanswells Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

Kasey Chambers w/ Eagle & The Wolf
Friday 9th December – The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay, NSW
Saturday 10th December – Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Batemans Bay, NSW

Kaurna Cronin, Myles Mayo
Friday 16th December – Trinity Sessions, Adelaide, SA

Kelly Dance
Sunday 11th December – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Little Wise
Friday 9th December – Basement Discs, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 10th December – Brookfield Shed, Margate, TAS
Sunday 11th December – Marakoopa Cafe, Mayberry, TAS

Live and Acoustic feat. Julianne Jessop, Nikita Rolleston, Taylor King
Wednesday 14th December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Liz Stringer
Friday 16th December – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

Lucy Wise, Rowena Wise, John Flanagan
Sunday 11th December – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan
Sunday 11th December – 303, Melbourne, VIC

Pat and Kellie, Imogen Clark
Friday 9th December – Acoustic Picnic, Sydney, NSW

Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen
Friday 9th December – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 10th December – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 14th December – Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT
Friday 16th December – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD

Peta & The Wolf, Kit & Cub
Friday 9th December – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW
Thursday 15th December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Queen Porter Stomp, Whoa Mule, Golden Whistler
Friday 16th December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Robyn Hitchcock w/ Emma Swift
Sunday 11th December – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 15th December – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Friday 16th December – New Globe Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Songbirds feat Katie Brianna, Brielle Davis, Raechel Whitchurch
Sunday 11th December – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Steve Poltz
Friday 9th December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 10th December – Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Sunday 11th December – Memo Club, St Kilda, VIC
Tuesday 13th December – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday 14th December – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 15th December – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 16th December – The Bunker, Coogee, NSW

Temperance
Wednesday 14th December – Grumpy’s Green, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 15th December – Ancient World, Adelaide, SA
Friday 16th December – The Corporate Moose, Mildura, VIC

That Red Head
Friday 16th December – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

The Ramshackle Army
Friday 16th December – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Rhythm Hut Christmas Party feat. 19-Twenty, Lime and Steel, Night Kite
Friday 9th December – The Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW

Tom Stephens w/ Lazy Colts, Sunscreen
Thursday 15th December – Sly Fox, Sydney, NSW

Village Idiot w/ Peta & The Wolf, Kit & Cub
Friday 9th December – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW

Wallis Bird
Wednesday 14th December – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 15th December – Pelican Playhouse Theatre, Grafton, NSW
Friday 16th December – The Bellingen Brewery, Bellingen NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Lanigan’s Ball” – Christy Moore

Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers Sooner Or Later Tour

Bernard Fanning
Image Courtesy of Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers

At the start of next year two of Australia’s most renowned singer-songwriters, Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers, have announced a co-headlined Sooner Or Later tour.

Fanning and Chambers have collaborated a number of times in the past, sharing stages and appearing on each other’s recordings over the years.

“Bernard and I have collaborated musically on and off over the past ten years and after being asked the question about a double tour for a long time I’m so happy to say it’s finally here,” Kasey Chambers said. “This is not just two artists being thrown together to tour but two friends who have a musical history to share-together and separately-through a night of different styles meeting in the middle. He’s my mate but I’m also his biggest fan, so touring with him in regional Australia is a career highlight for me.”

Check out the full list of dates plus a live version of Bernard Fanning’s track “Sooner Or Later” featuring Kasey Chambers below:

Thursday 26th January – West Tamworth Leagues Club, West Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 14th February – Orange Ex Services Club, Orange, NSW
Wednesday 15th February – Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury, NSW
Friday 17th February – Eastbank Centre, Shepparton, VIC
Saturday 18th February – Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 19th February – Lakeside Wendouree, Ballarat, VIC
Tuesday 21st February – Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 22nd February – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul, NSW
Friday 24th February – Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, QLD
Saturday 25th February 25th – Saraton Theatre, Grafton, NSW

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 7th November

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– UK artist Nick Mulvey released his new Australian shot video “I Don’t Want To Go Home”. Details here

Bernard Fanning has announced a solo tour for this January. Details here

The Decemberists announced plans to release their new album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World early next year. Details here

The Gulgong Folk Festival announced its 2014 lineup including The Bearded Gypsy Band, Daniel Champagne, Crooked Fiddle Band, Sweet Jelly Rolls, Freddie White (Ireland), Lexi Marie (Canada), Genevieve Chadwick, Honey (formerly Fig Jam), 19 Twenty, Squeeze Box Trio, The Fruit Trees, Southerly Change, String Theory, Allan Caswell, Out of Albingdon, Terry Serio, The Plough, Slightly Off and many more. Details here

Rufus Wainwright has announced Australian headline shows next year. Details here

– Swedish singer-songwriter José González has announced details of his new solo album. Details here

Kim Churchill released his new video “Single Spark” as well as announcing a headline tour in January. Details here

– Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan has returned with his new project and single “Vessel”. Details here

Pepa Knight released his third single “Coyote Choir”. Details here

David Gray has announced a couple of headline shows when he’s in the country for Bluesfest. Details here

– Tomorrow’s Fairlight Folk in Sydney will feature RAPT, Terry Serio and the Ministry of Truth and Brendan Reed Dennis. Details here

– We premiered the new video from Timothy James Bowen, “Learn to Love Again”. Details here

– Adelaide’s Timberwolf released his new single “It Burns” and announced a national tour. Details here

– More Bluesfest sideshows were announced, this time from Jake Shimabukuro. Details here

Emmy The Great gave us a glimpse of her music with the new single “Swimming Pool”. Details here

– The new EP from Radical Face, The Bastards Volume 3, is available as a free download. Details here

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo released their new video “Letters”. Details here

– The Blue Mountains Music Festival announced its first round of artists for 2015 including John Butler, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dan Sultan, Daniel Champagne, Castlecomer, The Bearded Gypsy Band, Wagons, The Company, Leah Flanagan, All Our Exes Live in Texas, We Two Thieves, Jordie Lane, Perch Creek and many more. Details here

– Irish due The Lost Brothers released the video for their new single “Spanish Reprise”. Details here

– UK duo Paper Aeroplanes released the new video for their track “Guessing Game”. Details here

Interviews

“Nashville seems like a cool town. Just like one massive working museum. Everyone walks around in fancy shirts and expensive Stetson hats and they all love country music. I love country music so it was a thrill to hang out on Broadway and see all the places you’ve read about in these country music scrapbooks and biographies”Benjamin Folke Thomas chats to Aiden Quinn. Interview here

Releases This Week

Damien Rice
My Favourite Faded FantasyDamien Rice
iTunes

Nightwalk
NightWalkMatt Walters
iTunes

The Bastards
The Bastards Volume 3Radical Face
Noisetrade

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Les Thomas w/ Darren Cross, Lisa Caruso, Not Good with Horses

Les Thomas

Melbourne based singer-songwriter, blogger and activist Les Thomas makes his Sydney debut, launching his excelent debut album Survivor’s Tale.

Sunday 9th November – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Australasian Worldwide Music Expo
Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th November – Melbourne, VIC

Bearded Gypsy Band
Friday 7th November – The Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 8th November – Tell Tale and Vine, McLaren Vale, SA

Busby Marou
Friday 7th November – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 14th November – SSA Club, Albury, NSW

Cat Canteri
Friday 14th November – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA

C.W. Stoneking
Thursday 13th November – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 14th November – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Daniel Lee Kendall
Thursday 13th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 14th November – The Shebeen Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Davidson Brothers
Sunday 9th November – The B-East, Melbourne, VIC

Eddie Boyd and The Phatapillars
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th November – The Blues at Bridgetown Festival, Bridgetown, WA
Wednesday 12th November – Four5Nine, Perth, WA
Thursday 13th November – The Swan Basement, Fremantle, WA

Fairlight Folk feat. RAPT, Terry Serio and the Ministry of Truth, Brendan Reed Dennis
Saturday 8th November – Fairlight Folk, Sydney, NSW

Festival of Small Halls feat. Andy Brown, The Mae Trio
Friday 7th November – Cunnamulla, QLD
Saturday 8th November – Mitchell, QLD
Sunday 9th November – Charleville, QLD
Thursday 13th November – Chinchilla, QLD
Friday 14th November – St George, QLD

Fred Smith
Friday 7th November – Church of Trinity, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 8th November – Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA

Georgia Fair
Wednesday 12th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 14th November – Easy Tiger, Sydney, NSW

Hat Fitz and Cara
Friday 7th November – The J, Noosa Junction, QLD
Friday 14th November – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Husky
Friday 7th November – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 8th November – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Thursday 13th November – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Friday 14th November – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW

Jack Carty
Friday 7th November – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA
Sunday 9th November – Four 5 Nine, Perth, WA
Thursday 13th November – Lizotte’s, Dee Why, NSW
Friday 14th November – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW

Jep and Dep
Saturday 8th November – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 14th  November – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

Katie Noonan, Angie Hart, Melody Pool, Sam Buckingham
Friday 7th November – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 8th November – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 13th November – Joan Sutherland PAC, Penrith, NSW
Friday 14th November – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan and Harmony James
Friday 14th November – Parkes Services Club, Parkes, NSW

Lanie Lane
Friday 7th November – The Bakery, Perth, WA
Saturday 8th November – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA

Les Thomas w/ Darren Cross, Lisa Caruso, Not Good with Horses
Sunday 9th November – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Little May
Friday 7th November – Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, WA (Supporting Rodriguez)
Sunday 9th November – Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, WA (Supporting Rodriguez)

Liz Stringer
Friday 7th November – Darwin Railway Club, Parap, NT
Sunday 9th November – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA
Friday 14th November – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 7th November – The Sound Lounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 8th November – Arnhem Club, Gove, NT
Sunday 9th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 14th November – Jive, Adelaide, SA

One Up, Two Down and Dan Parsons
Friday 7th November – House Show, Mildura, VIC
Saturday 8th November – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 9th November – Barb Agar’s House, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 12th November – Melbourne Folk Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 13th November – Quiet Place, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 14th to Sunday 16th November – MountainGrass Fest, Harrietville, VIC

Pepa Knight
Sunday 9th November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 13th November – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC

Sam Newton
Friday 7th November – Goulburn Club, Goulburn, NSW
Saturday 8th November – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT

Steve Smyth
Friday 7th November – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 8th November – Royal Hotel, Springwood, NSW
Sunday 9th November – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Friday 14th November – No.5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW

Tattletale Saints
Friday 7th November – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

The Acfields
Saturday 8th November – New Tattersalls Hotel, Lismore, NSW
Friday 14th November – Acoustic Picnic (The Music Lounge), Sydney, NSW

The Pierce Brothers
Friday 7th November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 8th November – Djerriwarrh Festival, Melton Recreation Reserve, VIC
Friday 14th November – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC

The Stetson Family
Sunday 9th November – Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Tiger & Me
Friday 7th November – The Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW

The Wilson Pickers
Friday 14th November – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Timberwolf
Friday 7th November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 9th November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Wagons
Friday 7th November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Bedlam Boys” – Heidi Talbot

I heard a version of this song by Green Diesel (titled “Mad Tom of Bedlam”) on FolkCast the other day which sent me down Youtube rabbit hole listening to other people doing it. I think Heidi Talbot’s is one of my favourite versions but The Tiger and Me also have a cracking take on it if you ever get a chance to hear it.

Bernard Fanning Announces Solo Tour

Bernard Fanning
Image Courtesy of Bernard Fanning

The legendary Bernard Fanning has announced a solo tour this coming January. Fanning will be performing tracks from his two solo albums – the rootsy Tea & Sympathy and the rockier Departures – with shows planned in Brisbane, Margaret River, Sydney and Melbourne. Joining him in support will be Timber and Steel favourites Little May.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 22nd January – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 24th January – Leeuwin Estate Winery, Margaret River, WA
Thursday 29th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 30th January – Twilight At Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st January – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC

Watch the New Kasey Chambers Video “Bittersweet” Feat. Bernard Fanning

Kasey Chambers
Image Courtesy of Kasey Chambers

The latest video from Kasey Chambers’ new album Bittersweet is the title track and features Chambers collaborating than none other than Bernard Fanning. The video was directed by Renny Wijeyamohan – check it out below:

Kasey Chambers Announces Details of her Tenth Record

Kasey Chambers
Image Courtesy of Kasey Chambers

Australian country music royalty Kasey Chambers has announced plans to release her tenth studio album this year. Titled Bittersweet, the album is her first solo outing in four years and will be released on the 29th August.

Bittersweet was produced by Nick DiDia at Byron Bay’s Studios 301 and will feature guest appearances from Bernard Fanning, Dan Kelly, Ashleigh Dallas, Bill Chambers and Declan Kelly.

“I wanted to have an experience making a record that I had never had before,” Kasey Chambers explained. “I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to be excited.”

The album will be officially launched at this year’s Gympie Muster from the 28th to the 31st August.

Review: Splendour In The Grass, A Folkie’s Perspective

Splendour in the Grass
All Images Courtesy of Splendour in the Grass

As a veteran of dozens, if not hundreds of music festivals it probably comes as somewhat of a surprise that I’ve never been to Splendour in the Grass prior to 2013. With some of the world’s best indie-folk acts gracing the Splendour stage over the last few years it’s definitely been on my wish list for a while and given this year featured the likes of Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Laura Marling and more I couldn’t really find a reasons not to go.

Flying into the north coast on Friday night I manged to completely avoid all of the bus and queue issues that had plagued the festival on the first full day (and have been amply documented by the media elswhere). I managed to walk straight in, fix myself up with some food and my first of many mid-strength beers and walk over to the Supertop to catch some music. Arriving late did however have its pitfalls in that I missed sets from Daughter, Boy & Bear and Matt Corby.

Mumford and Sons

The band I had most come to see, in their only Australian show this time around, was of course Mumford and Sons and I was not disappointed. The Supertop was filled to overflowing and I found the best view was actually outside of the tent, ankle-deep in sticky mud and doing my best to dance without moving my feet. The folk-infused four-piece were in fine form and complimented throughout the set by a cast of horn and string players, backing vocalists and some amazing lighting. The massive crowd sang along to “Little Lion Man”, “I Will Wait” and “Roll Away Your Stone” as expected and Mumford and Sons genuinely appeared to be having a ball.

Saturday was packed with folk and singer-songwriter inspired music and I was spoilt for choice as I ran between the GW McLennan stage and the Supertop. I made sure I got to the festival nice and early – there was no way I was missing anything this time.

Art of Sleeping kicked off the day with a half hour set at the GW McLennan stage. These guys have a big sound that’s perfect for a festival (although their 12:30 time-slot probably didn’t do them any favours) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see them popping up on more and more lineups. With a sound in the Boy & Bear flavour of indie – albeit with a lot less folk and west coast influence – I really enjoyed the set, with “Empty Hands” the obvious highlight.

The crowd that Vance Joy drew was impressive although I couldn’t help but feel they were all just there to see “Riptide” and nothing else. No one around me seemed that engaged with Joy until he brought out the ukelele and then there was almost an audible sigh when he launched into “Snaggletooth” instead of “Riptide”. Which is a shame as the set was really good and Vance Joy is a clear talent. I’ll definitely be seeking him out live again.

Irish band Villagers have been popping up on folk blogs for a while now but I’ve never really paid them much attention. Their sound is laced with acoustic instruments but I’d struggle to call them “folk” even with Timber and Steel’s broad definition of the genre. That said their set was amazing and definitely a highlight of the festival for me. “Nothing Arrived” was the standout track (probably because I know it from the radio).

One of the biggest “hype” names on the Splendour line up was 19 year old singer-songwriter Jake Bugg so there was no way I was going to miss his set at The Supertop stage. A lot of people have been asking me since whether I think he lives up to the hype and to be honest I’m not sure. His music was good – a lot of alt-country and Americana influences and plenty of decent songwriting – but I’m just not sure that it’s any better than music that’s been produced by thousands of other similar artists. Good on him for breaking through, amassing a decent following and signing to Mercury so early on in his career – I’m just keen to see if he does something extraordinary.

Whitley’s return to the music scene, which was first revealed via his inclusion on the Splendour lineup, had also been hyped by the media (including us). To be honest I was a little surprised that Whitley had drawn a relatively small crowd at Splendour (maybe a symptom of going up against Chet Faker in the program?) but those that were there were treated to some fine music. Camped out behind his organ and with a full band in tow Whitley pulled generously from his new album Even The Stars Are A Mess as well as peppering a few tracks from his back catalogue for good measure.

After endulging in some 90s nostalgia with a cracking set from Something For Kate (they played “Captain (Million Miles An Hour)”!) and enjoying some indie goodness from Cold War Kids it was back to the GW McLennan stage for the gorgeous Sarah Blasko. Blasko is one of the classiest artists in the country and her set was just stunning, despite a few technical difficulties at the very beginning of the show. The lighting for Blasko’s set was pretty astounding and the crowd really got into the songs, singing and clapping along at every opportunity – lots of fun.

Polyphonic Spree

I have to admit that I’ve never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show and my only point of reference point is dancing to “The Time Warp” in dodgy retro night clubs. So the prospect of The Polyphonic Spree peforming the musical from start to finish probably didn’t excite me as much as it did a lot of the crowd – but when they started I was hooked, shouting “Dammit Janet” and pelvic thrusting with the best of them. I’m really chuffed that The Polyphonic Spree decided to end their set with a bunch of their original numbers including “Hold Me Now” and “Two Thousand Places” – this was just icing on an already rich musical cake.

For his new album, Departures, Bernard Fanning has re-embraced his rock roots and all but shaken off the folkiness of his debut Tea and Sympathy. So going into his Splendour set to round out Saturday night I was intrigued to see whether we’d see both sides of the Australian icon. And while the majority of his show centred around Departures I was chuffed when a couple of Tea and Sympathy tracks cropped up. “Thrill is Gone” was a definite highlight and had the crowd (or maybe just me) singing in full voice – beautiful.

As the sun came up on Sunday I was sad I had to miss the last day of Splendour in the Grass due to an early flight and work the next day. Laura Marling, Of Monsters and Men and Gurrumul would have been on must-see-folk list for the day but sadly I’d have to catch them elsewhere.

Overall my impression of Splendour in the Grass was positive. A lot of the issues that plagued the festival on the first day – the bus and queue debacle and the cancellation of Frank Ocean – didn’t affect me much due to the type of festival I chose to have (getting there late on Friday, focusing on folk acts). The mud was unavoidable with all the recent rain but definitely impacted on my festival experience – it’s hard to dance it out to Mumford and Sons or run between venues when you’re ankle deep in sticky black mud. I’m also not sure about the “exclusive bar” setup where different tickets allowing you to get into different venues – it seemed to create a class system and definitely contributed to the amount of booze being smuggled into the event (only the exclusive bars sold full strength drinks).

Overall I have to commend the organisers – the lineup was pretty spot on allowing this fokie to revel in my favourite genre all festival long, the venue itself was laid out in a way that prevented any sound bleed or insane bottlenecks and the issues at the beginning of the event were dealt with quickly and decisively. While I’m still partial to smaller, folkier festivals as a giant rock festival goes Splendour in the Grass was pretty amazing.

Will I go next year? Well I guess that all depends on how many folk-type artists they have on the bill. And whether I can get my gumboots clean in time…

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