New Music Monday – 23rd September

Georgia State Line
Image Courtesy of Georgia State Line

Devendra Banhart – “Taking a Page”

“Taking a Page” is taken from Devendra Banhart’s brand new album Ma and is once again a piece of quirky pop music from the freak folk singer-songwriter. The song skips and jumps over a funky baseline with stabbing synths and subtle guitar pieces. It’s weird and twisty, with some strange strange lyrics, but I think you’ll really like it.

Freya Josephine Hollick – “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”

Freya Josephine Hollick has just dropped “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”, the first taste from her upcoming 2020 album The Real World. The track features Hollick confidently swaggering her way through a bluesy, country-rock piece of art that feels like it could have been ripped from the 70s or 80s. Freya Josephine Hollick’s is absolutely on point and her ability to leave space for the driving melody is inspired. Great stuff.

Georgia Knight – “Samba Baby”

“Samba Baby” is the new single from Melbourne singer-songwriter Georgia Knight. The languid track feels like a hot summer day, with a soothing melody that slips over a lazy samba beat, punctuated by the occasional fuzzy guitar. Knight vocal style is reminiscent of singers like Roy Orbison or KD Lang, the perfect accompaniment to the sultry tone of the track.

Georgia State Line – “From Down Here”

Melbourne Americana band Georgia State Line released their brand new single “From Down Here” at the end of last week. The single manages to fuse the heartbreak and melancholy of country music with an upbeat, catchy melody. And then there’s Georgia Delves’ amazing voice – what a talent!

“This track is my antidote to life’s more challenging moments,” Delves explained. “We all, at one point or another, find ourselves on paths that we don’t necessarily want to be walking. It takes a lot of strength to accept the process as it is, and trust the greater plan. A lemons-to-lemonade situation, really.”

Hannah Acfield – “Searching (for more)”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Hannah Acfield released her soulful new single and video “”Searching (for more)”. The single highlights Acfield’s incredible voice which powers through the track and is filled with so much emotion. I love the choppy electric guitar here and the way the song builds with it’s dirty drums, bass and organ.

Hannah Acfield is heading out on tour this October – dates are below:

Saturday 5th October – The Dusty Attic, Lismore, NSW
Sunday 6th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 9th October – Folkswagon, Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th October – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Musketeer – “Wolves”

Europe-based Australian troubadour Musketeer sent over his new single “Wolves” which he promises is the folkiest from his upcoming EP The North Sea, due next year. The single is inspired by the idea of wolves repopulating Scandinavia and has a really epic, nordic feel with heavy drums and droning vocals. Musketeer has really leant into the bigger sound of his four piece band for this track and the result is huge.

Pieta Brown – “Bring Me”

Last week Pieta Brown released her S. Carey (Bon Iver) produced new album Freeway. The latest single from the album is the Dylan-esque ballad “Bring Me”. I love the way that Brown bends her vocal style across the simple acoustic strumming of “Bring Me”, adding a depth and resonance to the song. Beautiful stuff.

Wallis Bird – “Life Is Long”

“Life Is Long” is the new single from Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird’s new album Woman, due for release this Friday 27th September. The track mixes the quirk of a Bjork song with the pop sensibility of someone like Sia, all the while staying true to the authenticity of Wallis Bird’s unique voice.

New Music Monday – 2nd September

Hayley Marsten
Image Courtesy of Hayley Marsten

Allison Forbes – “Hell Freezes Over”

Australian country singer Allison Forbes has released her brand new single “Hell Freezes Over”, taken from her upcoming album Bonedigger, due this November. The track delves more into the country-rock side of Forbes’ sound than we’ve seen in the past and is full of grit and fire.

“The song is about finding a place where you’re comfortable to accept things that have happened and the preparation of not lying down to die because of it,” Allison Forbes explains.

Ash Grunwald feat. The Teskey Brothers – “Ain’t My Problem”

For his latest single “Ain’t My Problem” blues and roots singer Ash Grunwald has enlisted the myriad talents of current buzz band The Teskey Brothers. The result is a track full of foot stomping blues goodness, accentuated by the distinct vocals of Ash Grunwald and Josh Teskey.

“”Ain’t My Problem” is written about the concept that comes up often when we relive old relationships, we literally re-live emotionally everything that we went through. And there is no point, it’s holding you back and it ain’t your problem anymore!” Ash Grunwald explained. “It was a conglomeration of stories from friends and personal experiences about moving on. It was such a great honour to have Josh Teskey and The Teskey Brothers play on this track. Josh has one of the greatest voices to ever come out of Australia and I have such respect for the band, I love them both as people and as musicians.”

“Ain’t My Problem” is taken from Ash Grunwald’s latest album Mojo, released last week. He’s heading out on tour this October and November – the full list of dates are below:

Friday 4th October – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 5th October – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 11th October – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Friday 18th October – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 19th October – The Zoo | Brisbane, QLD
Friday 1st November – Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 2nd November – The Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Sunday 3rd November – Forth Pub, Forth, TAS
Friday 22nd November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Asha Jefferies – “Bad Kisser”

Brisbane based singer-songwriter Asha Jefferies has just released the delitelful new single “Bad Kisser”. The coming of age song couples a sweet, catching melody with some biting lyrics and poignant observations. I really like the production on this track as well, the way it jumps from just Jefferies and her guitar to full string arrangements alongside a band.

“I wrote [the song] about an extremely euphoric and tragic moment involving a festival; lust, longing, intoxication & one ultra-big insult,” Asha Jefferies explains. “It takes a bit of growing up to realise not every interaction you have with a stranger you like and meet will be romantic.”

Asha Jefferies is touring “Bad Kisser” from the middle of this month:

Saturday 21st September – Low 302, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th September – Brisbane Festival @ Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 4th October – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 26th October – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

Danika Smith – “Suit of Armour”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Danika Smith has just released her new single “Suit of Armour”. Combining classic folk finger-picking with modern lo-fi production, the track takes Smith’s sound in a really interesting and mesmerising direction.

“”Suit Of Armour” is a track that I wrote when love and fear collided, and left me feeling confused and avoidant,” Danika Smith explained. “It’s a song that observes the reservations I have, when there is something potentially beautiful in front of me, and I look for the cracks and flaws, as a protective method to avoid pain. It is melancholic that the beauty of love is shadowed by so much skepticism and mistrust, but there is an optimistic message too. I have the power to move through the weight of these experiences, remove the armour, and eventually be more open to connection, in time.”

Danika Smith will be launching “Suit of Armour” at the Geddes Lane Ballroom in Melbourne on the 14th September as well as being announced for the Strawberry Fields Festival at the end of November.

Hayley Marsten – “Red Wine, White Dress”

Country singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten has released the amazingly titled “Red Wine, White Dress”, which she co-wrote with Timber and Steel favourite Brad Butcher. The track is a perfect piece of modern country rock music without any of the cringyness that sometimes plagues the genre. Marsten’s amazing voice shines through, accentuated by her amazing band.

“Red Wine, White Dress” is taken from Hayley Marsten’s new album Spectacular Heartbreak which came out last week. She’s currently out on tour – check out the remaining dates here:

Thursday 5th September – Oodies Cafe, Bundaberg, QLD
Friday 6th September – Captain Cook, 1770, QLD
Saturday 14th September – The Press, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 15th September – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Thursday 19th September – Lazybones, Sydney, NSW
Friday 20th September – Toppy Hall, Wyalong, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Palladiam Palace Theatre, Morundah, NSW
Sunday 22nd September – Servo Bar, Woollongong, NSW
Saturday 12th October – VDM Fest, Biloela, QLD
Friday 18th October – Apple Cider Shed, Grove, TAS
Saturday 19th October – Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Friday 25th October – Springdale Hall, Springdale, NSW
Saturday 26th October – Gunbar Hall, Gunbar, NSW
Thursday 7th November – Wesley Ann, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 8th November – Bayview Country Art Club, Bittern, VIC
Friday 15th November – Loomberah Hall, Loomberah, NSW
Saturday 16th November – Glen Innes Hall, Glen Innes, NSW

Jenny Mitchell – “Let Me Be”

“Let Me Be” is the stunning new single and video from NZ based folk and country singer-songwriter Jenny Mitchell. Mitchell has crafted a sweeping, expansive song with a driving rhythm and beautiful lyrical quality.

The track is taken from Jenny Mitchell’s 2018 album Wildfires and tells the story of her parents. “It’s definitely a track on the album which crosses genre boundaries, and I’m really proud of it” she explains.

Jenny Mitchell will be joining Fanny Lumsden on a handful of Australian tour dates this December:

Friday 6th December – Jamieson Hall, Jamieson, VIC
Saturday 7th December – Newham Hall, Newham, VIC
Sunday 8th December – The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC

Little Quirks – “Life Wouldn’t Be”

Central Coast based indie-folk trio Little Quirks have released their catchy new single and video “Life Wouldn’t Be”. The track, taken from their upcoming EP Cover My Eyes, perfectly captures the Australian indie-folk sound of so many of their contemporaries, combining a pop sensibility with folky songwriting and harmonies.

Little Quirks are heading out on an east coast tour from this week – full dates are below:

Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th September – BIGSOUND, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 5th October – Dashville Skyline, Dashville, NSW
Friday 11th October – Oxford Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 12th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 2nd November – The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 3rd November – Lost Lands Festival, VIC

Michael Kiwanuka – “You Ain’t The Problem”

UK based singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka embraces the full sound of the seventies with his neo-soul track “You Ain’t The Problem”. Taken from his recently announced album Kiwanuka, due on the 25th October, “You Ain’t The Problem” is a funk-filled sonic feast combining Kiwanuka’s love of vintage sounds and his expert songwriting.

Milky Chance & Tash Sultana – “Daydreaming”

German indie-folk oddities Milky Chance have teamed with Australian roots legend Tash Sultana for their new single and video “Daydreaming”. The track is infused with a mish mash of genres, held together with Milky Chance’s quirky vocals and the wonderfulness that is Tash Sultana’s incredible voice.

“Daydreaming” is taken from Milky Chance’s upcoming album Mind The Moon, due on the 15th November.

Pat Tierney – “My Sweet Love”

Celebrated singer-songwriter and lap slide guitarist Pat Tierney has released the blissful new single “My Sweet Love”. The track is a a laid back, rootsy gem that you can get lost in – and with a really sweet video featuring Tierney’s son.

“I wrote the beginnings of the song when my partner and I found out we were having our first child.,” Pat Tierney explains. “We’d just gotten back from an overseas trip, we were a bit lost, out of money and unsure of what we were going to do and where we would live. I wrote the song as, kind of a letter to my partner just to tell her everything was going to work out. When It came time to record the song, it just flowed together really seamlessly in the studio. I wanted the feel and vibe to remind me of my partner and son. Happy, dreamy and full of sunshine. That was also a big part of the video clip, showing the feel and story behind the song and what we’ve built for ourselves over the past few years. It’s definitely one of my favourite songs on the album.”

Pat Tierney has a bunch of tour dates towards the end of the year – check them out here:

Thursday 24th October – The Homestead, Hobart, TAS
Friday 25th October – Willie Smiths, Huon Valley, TAS
Thursday 7th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 10th November – Peregian Originals, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 15th November – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th November – Livefast Cafe, Halls Gap, VIC
Thursday 21st November – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd November – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 30th November – Good Nights, Bunbury, WA
Sundauy 1st December – Redcliffe On The Murray, Pinjarra, WA

Thomas Oliver – “Bulgarian Mountains”

“Bulgarian Mountains” is the super catchy new song from Kiwi singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver, taken from his upcoming album The Brightest Light, due in March next year. The track is an upbeat, soulful roots song with lots of rhythm and lots of heart.

New Music Monday – 29th July

Shelleys Murder Boys
Image Courtesy of Shelley’s Murder Boys

Ben Harper – “Uneven Days”

“Uneven Days” is Ben Harper at his most emotional and tender. Accompanied by piano and strings, Harper has smoothed all the edges off his visceral voice to deliver a truly beautiful song.

“The song “Uneven Days” attempts to explore the depths of how dependent we can become on other people for our own sense of wholeness and stability,” Harper explained. “The only thing more hazardous than oversimplifying relationships is overcomplicating them. Love and surrender are synonyms. Even if I remove love from the equation, mental health and day-to-day perspective maintenance is a razors edge. Maybe acknowledging the unavoidable uneven day, or uneven days, helps avoid uneven months or even years.”

Chance McCoy – “Whippoorwill”

Multi-instrumentalist Chance McCoy continues to play with genres with his upcoming solo album Wander Wide, due on the 20th September. The latest single “Whippoorwill” is probably his folkiest to date, drawing on an old timey style of songwriting, accentuated with jangly guitar and rhythmic fiddle. Probably my favourite from Wander Wide so far.

Lloyd Spiegel – “Track Her Down”

Australian acoustic roots singer-songwriter Lloyd Spiegel has found a really cool groove with hie new single “Track Her Down”. With brass stabs, funky electric guitar and Spiegel’s bluesy voice, “Track Her Down” brings Memphis to Australia.

“”Track Her Down” isn’t really about a person or a place,” Lloyd Spiegel explained. “It was probably an amalgamation of several women I met over the years who I wanted to get to know better but simply didn’t have the time and had to keep traveling. The greater story of the song is that the lifestyle I lead often doesn’t allow me to have anything but fleeting connections with people, and I don’t take those connections lightly; I carry them a lot more seriously than people may imagine.”

Lucie Thorne – “Golden Plains”

Singer-songwriter Lucie Thorne has delivered another beautiful track from her upcoming album Kitty & Frank, due on the 26th August. Similar to the previously released “Wheogo Hill”, Thorne is leaning heavily on ambient synths and driving drum beats to compliment her striking voice.

Kitty & Frank see’s Lucie Thorne cover the true stories of frontier woman Kitty Walsh and her lover, the bushranger Frank Gardiner.

“When I tell people I’ve written a concept album about bushrangers, many jump to the conclusion that it’s all fiddles and lagerphones!” Lucie Thorne said. “It couldn’t be further from it! I knew this whole wild Kitty & Frank story could live in any sound world, it’s such a timeless romantic tragedy. As I was working on the text, I
suddenly realised I was going to make a kinda art/pop album brimming with synths.”

Lucie Thorne will be touring the new album through September, October and November – full dates are here:

Friday 13th September – The Corridors Project, Cowra, NSW
Saturday 14th September – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 15th September – The Town Hall, Candelo, NSW
Friday 4th October – Music on the Hill, Red Hill, VIC
Saturday 5th October – Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 6th October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 17th October – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 18th October – McCrossin’s Mill, Uralla, NSW
Saturday 19th October – Community Arts Hall, Wauchope, NSW
Sunday 20th October – Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Thursday 14th November – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Friday 22nd November – Cooee Arthouse, Aldinga, SA
Saturday 23rd November – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th November – Memorial Hall, Ashbourne, SA

Shelley’s Murder Boys – “Airds”

After teasing us with a bunch of social media content from the studio over the last few months Sydney based old-time band Shelley’s Murder Boys have finally released their new single “Airds”. The surprisingly upbeat track is taken from the band’s upcoming album Above is a Roar and is about “problems with no solutions, and strength in the face of adversity” according to the band. The track is a modal exploration of the old timey style with Shelly’s unique voice and distinctive fiddle playing taking centre stage – beautiful stuff.

Sheryl Crow feat. Jason Isbell – “Everything Is Broken”

The latest track from Sheryl Crow’s collaboration album Threads, due on the 30th August, is possibly my favourite yet. On “Everything Is Broken” Crow teams with Americana favourite Jason Isbell for a country-blues-rock belter that harkens back to Elvis, Roy and Johnny without being kitsch or distasteful. The relentless rhythm guitar, splashy drums and blues harp all make this track, as of course does Isbell’s superb voice.

New Music Monday – 8th July

Joe Pug
Image Courtesy of Joe Pug

Brittany Howard – “History Repeats”

Brittany Howard has stepped away from her amazing band The Alabama Shakes and will be launching her debut solo album Jaime on the 20th September. “History Repeats” is the funky first single from the album which seems to be mashing Prince, Beck and Howard’s own bluesy influences together into something really interesting.

“History Repeats is as much a personal song as it is a song about us as a human species,” Howard explains. “Our times of success may propel us forward, but our repeating failures hold us back from evolving into harmony.”

Chance McCoy – “Wander Wide”

Old Crow Medicine Show’s Chance McCoy is channelling Neil Young in his latest solo single “Wander Wide”. The track has a laid back, indie folk feel with finger-picked electric guitar and pedal steel coupled with McCoy’s double tracked vocals.

“Wander Wide” is taken from Chance McCoy’s upcoming solo album of the same name, due on the 20th September.

Joe Pug – “Exit”

I’ve been really getting back into Joe Pug recently thanks to his amazing The Working Songwriter podcast. So I’m pretty excited that he’s announced his new album The Flood of Color due on the 19th July. “Exit” is the first single from that album and its just stunning. This is Joe Pug at the height of his songwriting powers, wrenching an emotional truth from just his acoustic guitar and voice, with just a touch of accompaniment. If this is just the first single, I can’t wait to hear the rest of The Flood of Color.

Little Wise – “Devil off My Back”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Sophie Klein, AKA Little Wise, returns with her latest single “Devil off My Back”. The folk-rock track is instantly catchy with its sing-along chorus and driving rhythm. This is the first taste of Little Wise’s upcoming album
Want it All which is due on the 20th August.

“The song is about trying to quiet that inner voice that says ‘you can’t do it’,” Klein explained. “It’s about trying to remove the distractions and escapism that allow us to ignore what’s really going on.”

Little Wise will be launching the new single next Thursday 18th July at The Merri Creek Tavern in Melbourne.

Lost Ragas – “Just Wastin’ Time”

Melbourne four-piece Lost Ragas have announced plans to release their latest album This Is Not A Dream on the 2nd September. “Just Wastin’ Time” is the first taster of that album, providing listeners with a slightly psychedelic sound alongside Lost Ragas’ unique brand of alt-country. A weird, twisty sound which definitely sets a lot expectations of the album to come.

Mumford & Sons and Gang Of Youths – “Blood (Live in Stockholm)”

When The Recordings of The Middle East came out in 2009 it brought Australian indie-folk to the world stage. It showed that a band from Far North Queensland could stand side by side with the world’s biggest nu-folk bands who were exploding at the time. The history of The Middle East has been well documented over the years so does not really need repeating here, however its been nice to see them getting a lot of attention recently with the 10 year anniversary of The Recordings of The Middle East.

Seeing The Middle East’s contemporaries Mumford & Sons team with Australian stadium rockers Gang Of Youths on a cover of the band’s epic track “Blood” is magical. The two bands have paid fitting tribute to the original track while still giving it their own stamp.

Having reformed recently for VIVID, The Middle East have also just announced a show at The Tivoli in Brisbane on the 13th September.

Sheryl Crow feat. Stevie Nicks, Maren Morris – “Prove You Wrong”

“Prove You Wrong” is a taster from Sheryl Crow’s upcoming collaboration lead album Threads, due on the 30th August. This track features the powerhouse vocals of Stevie Nicks along with up and coming singer-songwriter Maren Morris. Overall its pretty inoffensive, middle of the road country-rock which showcases the unique vocals of each singer.

“Stevie exudes art, she is at all times authentic. She’s the sister I don’t see enough, but she never leaves my heart,” Crow explained of the song. “I invited Maren to perform on “Prove You Wrong” with Stevie and I because she belongs in our ‘club’ of strong female rockers who tell it like it is.”

The Little Lord Street Band – “Frankie’s Back In Town”

WA based indie-folk five-piece The Little Lord Street Band have released the video for their catchy new single “Frankie’s Back In Town”. The jangle-rock track will definitely put a smile on your face and stir all sorts of pining for the summer months. This track is pure joy – it’s easy to see why The Little Lord Street Band have been killing it on the live circuit recently.

Speaking of the live circuit The Little Lord Street Band are currently touring “Frankie’s Back In Town” – the remaining dates are here:

Wednesday 10th July – Yardie Creek Homestead, Exmouth, WA
Friday 12th July – Whalebone Brewing Co, Exmouth, WA
Saturday 13th July – Froth Craft Brewery Fundraiser, Exmouth, WA
Sunday 14th July – Yardie Creek Homestead, Exmouth, WA
Tuesday 16th July – House Concert, Exmouth, WA
Wednesday 17th July – Monkey Bar, Monkey Mia, WA
Thursday 18th July – Finlay’s, Kalbarri, WA
Friday 19th July – 459 Bar, Perth, WA
Saturday 20th July – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 21st July – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA
Friday 26th July – Grumpy’s Music Bar, Perth, WA
Sunday 28th July – Otherside Brewing Co, Perth, WA

New Music Monday – 20th May

Kate Miller Heidke
Image Courtesy of Kate Miller-Heidke

Elephant Sessions – “Colours”

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

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

Harmony Byrne – “Smoke Inside”

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

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

Kate Miller-Heidke – “Ernie”

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

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

Kaurna Cronin – “Gotta Get Outta This Place”

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

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

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

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

Little May – “As Loving Should”

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

Missy Higgins – “Song For Sammy”

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

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

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

Simon Imrei – “Stand Still”

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

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite Announce New Album No Mercy in This Land

Ben Harper
Image Courtesy of Ben Harper

Grammy award winning, roots music legends Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite are coming together again with the announcement of their new duo album No Mercy in This Land, due for release on the 30th March.

This will be the pair’s first release since their hugely successful 2013 release Get Up!.

Charlie Musselwhite is that very rare and hallowed place where blues past, present and future collide,” Ben Harper explained. “He transforms notes into emotions that feel both hauntingly familiar and brand new, as if hearing them for the first time every time. He is a living legend whose harmonica playing should be beamed into outer space to search for other life forms.”

“On stage or in the studio – working with Ben Harper holds the same excitement I experienced working with Chicago blues legends back in the day,” says Charlie Musselwhite. “I think it is safe to say that Ben has reinvented the Blues in a great way: playing modern while preserving the feel. I am honored and privileged to be a participant in this project.”

The full track listing for No Mercy in This Land along with a trailer for the album is below:

1. When I Go
2. Bad Habits
3. Love And Trust
4. The Bottle Wins Again
5. Found The One
6. When Love Is Not Enough
7. Trust You To Dig My Grave
8. No Mercy In This Land
9. Movin’ On
10. Nothing At All

When The Blues Slide Back To Town

backsliders kit
Words and Pictures by Elizabeth Walton. Interview at Narooma Golf Club, Narooma, NSW

When God made good musicians he sent them to church on Sundays. When he made really great ones, he sent them to the mouth of the Mississippi, to drink from the unholy waters of the delta blues. For even God could tell the devil was onto something there. Something driven and raw, something eternal that surpassed all sense of time, something that could get the people onto their feet, now, then, and always. And so it was that The Backsliders began, and no matter how much they drank, their cup remained full, as they continued flooding the dance floors of the nation for over 30 years.

That’s the way the story goes with legendary outfits, those who capture the sound of an era, but capture it in a way that isn’t gimmicky or contrived, isn’t hemmed into a stylistic paddock that is quickly overgrown, all weeds and useless stems that can’t be whittled or chewed. The Backsliders’ unique form of blues isn’t a style that the crowd comes to like then quickly forgets, like moths chasing the light around the next contemporary sound. This is a style that has easily stood the test of time.

When the best music has been on the scene in a continuously evolving format for an entire generation it becomes a backdrop for our times. A great song can track a moment in time as freshly as a scent, a taste, a remembrance of an old friend or even your favourite dog. But when a project has continued to be there in the landscape of the culture for as long as The Backsliders, it becomes something even more significant than just one song that throws you back to year dot.

You hear the sound at the festivals down south, up north, in the city, all around the country, and the songs become the aural licks for the great Australian drama of our times. You hear it in the Tim Winton screen adaptations of the dirty Australian ballads of the outback, that sound. That vision is there when you hear this very Australian form of blues. And it’s there in every other epic Australian drama of our times as well, from the softer cliched stories of Sea Change, to the harsher scenes of Underbelly, those tales that trace the seedier side of the national narrative and our love of the outsider, the lost larrikin, the dangerously compelling stories of the evil who walk among us. For The Backsliders aren’t just hot performers, their themes are there on the screen too.

These are the songs that fit so snugly into the storyline it’s as though the music was an extension of the scenery, a backdrop, and the song itself has become the dialogue, the lyric.

hirst and turnerSo goes the story of The Backsliders, a band put together a generation ago by Australia’s favourite bluesman Dom Turner, with his iconic high voice reminiscent perhaps of the growling plantation gospel singer Pops Staples. The outfit was joined in its adolescence by searing hot rock drummer Rob Hirst who may now be pushing into his mid 60’s, but he looks like he’s been bathing all these years  in the fountain of youth. Turner and Hirst both do.

The Backsliders are an outfit with not just national but international respect. And despite 30 years in action, the music is as fresh and relevant today as it ever was. There is not a quiver of energy held back from Rob Hirst’s intensely delivered searing hot rhythm, yet he plays this particular set straight off the tarmac from a world tour with Midnight Oil.

fast sticksDespite his own hot blooded performance, Dom Turner maintains a cool hand, barely breaking a bead of sweat. “It’s easy to maintain our momentum,” Turner says, “because we have always had the understanding that working on our other projects gets you coming back with something fresh”. Working with a rotating line of three harp players – this set featuring Joe Glover – also brings an individuality to every performance, something Turner is keen to capture, which is the basis for the decision to stick with the simple three part lineup – one string man, one harp man, and one percussion man, front and centre.

“Playing as a trio gives us the freedom to pursue that grittiness as an art form – we can seek out the imperfections and impurities of early acoustic blues, and our material can have its own unique structure, so we’re not limited to a 12 bar blues format. It’s highly improvised, based on that very African style emanating from the North of the Mississippi.”

“If we used a bass player we would all have to move at the same time, but this way we can follow those African and also at times South East Asian beats more fluidly,” he says.

 

Turner creates his sound calling on the subtle timbre of a glass slide, searching for that gliding sustain and the sweetness of the glasswork over the frets. When he moves to a metal slide he leans towards a heavier chrome style that produces less friction and a leaner sound. For this tour he uses three guitars and a mandola, selecting each for its sonic differences, rather than just the economy of time in altering the tunings, which for the most part remain tuned to various open chords.

With improvisation at its core. communication for the band is essential, so the men prefer their stage lineup positioned for optimum line of sight, an important departure from the standard setup of kit in back, strings out front. It certainly allows for a highly visual experience of Hirsts’ high energy infectious playing. The drum kit is a somewhat sentimental assemblage of an old marching band drum, an ice bell, piccolo, two snares and hand made cymbals that serve as clanky hi hats, finished with a high tech Dyson fan to help the rhythm man bring down the heat.

When the band kicked off back in the 80’s the iconoclastic sound was nudged along by a washboard and a reinforced hatbox fitted with a mic inside. The collaboration with Hirst has seen a move to a more tribal sound, which is created in part by writing songs separately, then working on them together in the studio, for the continuing roll of recordings the band produces. The next installation is due for sketches, directions and ideas in the coming months, but the album won’t reach its zenith until the band gets together within the sanctum of the studio.

 

The Backsliders put an unmistakably Aussie spin on the deep traditions of the delta blues, an art form arising from the darkest sorrows of the downtrodden, the forgotten, the ripped off oppressed and poverty stricken. It’s a style that originated from the starving disenfranchised blacks of the American south, whose fight against oppression overreached the Civil War’s success in remaining impossibly inhumane long after the war was won. These conditions still impose the questionable will of powerful men during times of the greatest hardship and suffering, often when a helping hand is needed the most. It’s a suffering that still goes on today, long after the storms of Hurricane Katrina have passed on into legend, not just for the way she lashed at the heart of New Orleans, but for the way the powers that be gave very little warning, with next to no planning, and the way the then President barely turned his head while America’s greatest roots tradition drowned alongside the most mighty songsmen of the South, like so many disregarded notes and souls.

So the world has come to treat its roots musicians, a forgotten underclass, amongst whom those most talented are those most likely to be found in a burger joint, flipping refried beans or taking out the trash. And this is the sound The Backsliders have summoned from the murky swamp to translate into an endless realm of Australian anthems, distilling the essence of the troubles of the South, in all its desolation and heathen ways. Their delivery is a sound that defers to the Australian wide open landscape for its meaning, rendering an antipodean condition to their interpretation of Cajun influenced blues, with their ditties of moving on, getting away from it all, getting your bags packed and getting lost, losing all sense of that purpose which once flashed before you, before your dreams got flushed away.

viewThe Backsliders have a long history touring the far south coast of New South Wales, playing the blues festival at Narooma that finished when its saviour hung up his saddle a few seasons back. No one has taken up the mantle, and the old festival office remains For Lease, fronting the road as the Pacific Highway heads up the hill and meanders around the town. Yet the band still returns to the scene, creating their own scene now, where old mates put on the big party at the biggest venue in town, and easily fill the Narooma Golf Club on a lazy Sunday evening. The festival scene may have been the birthplace of the romance with the coast, but the story has outlived the event. After all, nothing speaks summer in a more sultry seawater way than the Mississippi blues, especially in its local incarnation, hollered out so loud by The Backsliders.

Upcoming live dates for The Backsliders are below:

Sunday 28th January – Waterfront Cafe Church Point, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd February – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 3rd March – Girrakool Blues and BBQ Festival, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th May – Blues on Broadbeach, Broadbeach, QLD

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nights Sweats Announce Live Album Live at Red Rocks

Nathanial Rateliff
Image Courtesy of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nights Sweats

Blues-rock outfit Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nights Sweats have announced plans to release their debut live album Live at Red Rocks on the 10th November.

The album is the band’s first ever full length recording and features 18 songs from their August 2016 show at Denver’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The full track list is as follows:

1. Failing Dirge with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
2. I’ve Been Failing with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
3. Look It Here with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
4. Intro
5. Howling at Nothing
6. Wasting Time
7. Mellow Out
8. Early Spring Till + Intro
9. You Should’ve Seen the Other Guy
10. I Need Never Get Old
11. Shake
12. Out on the Weekend
13. Thank You
14. I Did It
15. Trying So Hard Not to Know
16. S.O.B. with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
17. S.O.B. Reprise with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
18. Having a Party with Preservation Hall Jazz Band

As a taster of Live at Red Rocks check out a video of the first two tracks from the album “Failing Dirge” and “I’ve Been Failing”:

Watch the New Video from The Teskey Brothers, “Louisa”

The Teskey Brothers
Image Courtesy of The Teskey Brothers

Melbourne soul revivalists The Teskey Brothers have just released the latest video from their amazing album Half Mile Harvest, the catchy southern soul track “Louisa”

The video features features the band in a foot chase through their hometown of Warrandyte, Victoria. Check it out here:

The Teskey Brothers have already announced a bunch of WA and festival shows over the summer and have now added headline shows in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, with Timberwolf in support, as well as a very special appearance at next year’s Melbourne Zoo Twilights and Bluesfest.

The full list of upcoming dates for The Teskey Brothers are below:

Thursday 2nd November – St John’s Anglican Church, Fremantle Arts Festival, Fremantle, WA
Friday 3rd November – Ravenswood Tavern, Mandurah, WA
Saturday 4th November – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 5th November – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA
Tuesday 7th November – Perth Blues Club, Perth, WA
Thursday 9th November – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th November – Blues at Bridgetown Festival, Bridgetown, WA
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November – Strawberry Fields, Tocumwal, NSW
Friday 24th to Sunday 26th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC
Thursday 30th November – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Friday 1st December – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 2nd December – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December – Fairgrounds, Berry, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December – Meredith Music Festival, Meredith, VIC
Saturday 30th December to Monday 1st January – NYE On The Hill, South Gippsland, VIC
Friday 26th January – Melbourne Zoo Twilights 2018, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 3rd February – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 29th March to Monday 2nd April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

The Teskey Brothers Announce Festival and WA Shows

The Teskey Brothers
Image Courtesy of The Teskey Brothers

Since Melbourne band The Teskey Brothers released their album Half Mile Harvest earlier this year they’ve been on an absolute tear.

The boys wrapped up a huge, sold out national tour last month (including four massive nights at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel) and they’re keeping the momentum going with a bunch of festival appearances right up until the end of the year plus a string of dates through WA this November.

On the festival front The Teskey Brothers have been announced for Meredith, Queenscliff, Lost Picnic, Caloundra, Dashville Skyline, Wave Rock, NYE On The Hill, Fairgrounds, Blues at Bridgetown and Strawberry Fields. Check out the full list of upcoming dates below:

Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th September – Wave Rock Weekender, Hyden, WA
Friday 29th September to Sunday 1st October – Dashville Skyline, Hunter Valley, NSW
Friday 29th September to Monday 2nd October – Caloundra Music Festival, Caloundra, QLD
Sunday 15th October – Lost Picnic, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 2nd November – St John’s Anglican Church, Fremantle Arts Festival, Fremantle, WA
Friday 3rd November – Ravenswood Tavern, Mandurah, WA
Saturday 4th November – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 5th November – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough, WA
Tuesday 7th November – Perth Blues Club, Perth, WA
Thursday 9th November – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th November – Blues at Bridgetown Festival, Bridgetown, WA
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November – Strawberry Fields, Tocumwal, NSW
Friday 24th to Sunday 26th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December – Fairgrounds, Berry, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December – Meredith Music Festival, Meredith, VIC
Saturday 30th December to Monday 1st January – NYE On The Hill, South Gippsland, VIC

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