Listen to the New Single from The Bushwackers “Waltzing Australia”

The Bushwackers
Image Courtesy of The Bushwackers

The latest single from The Bushwackers’ new album The Hungry Mile is the song “Waltzing Australia”.

Written by singer-songwriter Colin Buchanan about the migrant experience, the track features guest vocals from Sara Storer and John Williamson alongside Dobe Newton.

Check out “Waltzing Australia” below:

Listen to the New Single from The Bushwackers “Dirt Under My Nails”

Bushwackers
Image Courtesy of The Bushwackers

The latest single from Australian bush music legends The Bushwackers’ latest album The Hungry Mile is “Dirt Under My Nails”. The track was written by Melbourne based songwriter Rich Davies about the migrant experience in Australia.

“This is a great song from Rich Davies in Melbourne,” guitarist, Roger Corbett said. “It came out of a songwriting project involving the use of historical photos and professional songwriters who crafted songs from the images in those photos. It tells the familiar story of an Italian migrant building his life in Australia.”

“We want listeners of The Hungry Mile to take away a sense of pride in our history,” singer Dobe Newton added. “We would like them to take away the humour, the strength and the pride that is embodied in Australian culture of today and from our past.”

Take a listen to “Dirt Under My Nails” below:

Watch “Leave It In The Ground”, the New Video from The Bushwackers – Copyright The Bushwackers

The Bushwackers
Image Courtesy of The Bushwackers

Legendary bush band The Bushwackers have just released their brand new single and video “Leave It In The Ground”. Folk music and the protest movement have long been interlinked and The Bushwackers are adding to that tradition with this track, protesting the take over of farming and rural landscapes for the profit of mining and energy companies.

Check out the video for “Leave It In The Ground” below:

National Folk Festival Interview: Bloodwood

Bloodwood
Image Courtesy of Bloodwood

Seminal Alice Springs based bush band Bloodwood have a long history with The National Folk Festival, having first appeared in 1979, and they’re returning this year to help celebrate the 50th anniversary. We sat down with Bloodwood vocalist/guitarist/fiddle player/mandolin player Bob Barford to chat about the band’s long history with The National and what it took to get Bloodwood back together.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Bloodwood have reformed for The National Folk Festival this year. What is it about The National that got you guys back together?

Bob Barford: It was an opportunity to get the band going again, particularly to represent the Northern Territory seeing as though it’s a special event this year featuring all of the different states. I just thought “you can’t really feature the Northern Territory without having Bloodwood“. So I put in the application then I told everyone else that we should do it.

GHE: So you got accepted into the festival then told the rest of the band?

BB: That’s basically it.

GHE: Bloodwood has a really long association with The National. You’ve played there numerous times, you’ve even organised and hosted in in Alice Springs when it used to travel.

BB: That’s right. Indeed, for the 1979 National Festival which was in Melbourne one of the reasons Bloodwood got together in the first place was to promote the 1980 festival which was to be held in Alice Springs. We went down there and had a fabulous reception. We had terrific posters and terrific t-shirts and all that stuff designed by a lady in Alice Springs. It was a knock out design and the strange thing is we were actually asked to stop promoting the 1980 festival by the Melbourne organisers because no one was buying their t-shirts. That is deadset true!

GHE: And as a result did you get a big turn out for 1980?

BB: We did! It was the first time the festival had been held outside a capital city. The first time for a long time that it turned a profit. It was very very successful.

GHE: Who did you have playing that year?

BB: I remember we had Eric Bogle. Ernie Dingo was a big drawcard. We had all the stalwarts like Phil Lobel, John Dengate – there was tons of the old timers. And Scotty Balfour [singer/guitarist/accordian player for Bloodwood] was the festival director.

GHE: So The National Folk Festival and Bloodwood is forever intertwined.

BB: That’s right!

GHE: Is it also true that another driving force behind Bloodwood getting back together was as a way to showcase founding member Barney Foran as a poet?

BB: I don’t think I’d quite put it that way. I think the Bloodwood ethos was to revive or put some new feeling and life into some of the traditional music and along with that came the poetry. Barney was a driving force in getting Bloodwood and along with that went the bush poetry. In my opnion Barney breathed a huge degree of life into the bush poetry scene back in those days. He was the one who really got it moving and you see it reflected in the various ways that poetry is portrayed these days at festivals – it’s no longer the finger-in-the-ear, dum-de-dum-de-dum-de sort of stuff. It really has got life and that’s what Barney gave to it.

GHE: And Barney’s going to be joining Bloodwood at The National this year.

BB: Yeah – I reckon that’s great. It’s a real extra added bonus, if you ask me, that Barney’s going to be there with us and doing some of his poetry.

GHE: The Bloodwood that’s going to be presented at The National is going to be a super-group of sorts – with members across the band’s history all coming together. Yourself, Scotty Balfour and Dave Evans as the core members and then people like Barney Foran, Ross Muir (bass) and Barry “Skippy” Skipsey (vocals and guitar) who have all made major contributions to the band over the years.

BB: Skippy’s been such a terrific songwriter – we’ve taken on board quite a few of his songs and we’ll be featuring them in various concerts. And Ross is such a good musician – to lay down that strong bass line to really make that gel. He’s been playing with the band now for 15 or so years so it’s not as if he’s a newcomer!

GHE: Over the career of Bloodwood you’ve had a lot of highlights – overseas tours, appearances on national television and more. Do you have a personal highlight?

BB: That’s a hard one! I’d have to put The National Festivals that we went to as the highlights. I certainly enjoyed some of the presentations that we did in and around Alice Springs including Ayers Rock and out at Ooraminna. As far as tours are concerned I think the Edinburgh Festival tour we did was probably the highlight tour. We stood on our own feet for that one – the other world tours that we did were courtesy of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission.

GHE: So I know at The National this year you’re doing a presentation as one of your shows. Is that right?

BB: That’s right – it will be more like our early style of presentation. Each of those have been themed – so in the past we’ve had things like “Boom, Bust, Banality, Brigands and Blacks”, “And Then We Chocked Down”, “Droving Australia” and so it went. And all of those were concerts that presented songs, poems and items that illustrated a certain feeling within our folk culture. This one is called “Our Red Centre” and basically it’s going to be us reflecting on why we chose those songs, what those songs mean to us, how they came about, how we changed them and made them our own, why we wrote them, etc. It’s sort of divided up into a few sections from our early days on – the songs that we put together and the songs that influenced us, the thoughts that came to our mind as we were presenting them and how they reflected the folk scene as it was in the 70s and 80s

GHE: What really what separates Bloodwood from your contemporaries who were also presenting bush and traditional music at the time is that focus on the NT and the outback – singing songs by local songwriters like Ted Egan and Barry Skipsey. How important was it to hold those songs up as being as important in the bush music canon as your “Lachlan Tigers” or “Click Go The Shears”?

BB: I’ve always been pragmatic about songs. Some people like to get all tied up in the tradition and the tradition carries on – thank heavens that it does, it’s a resource. But you get those new songs coming in and if they’ve got the passion, the flavour, if they tell the story as strongly as the old songs they have equal place in my mind. Sometimes we’re a bit naive of what we’re writing about and what we’re doing – we get sort of tied up in the time. And it’s only after time that we can sit back and reflect upon those songs and say “Ok, these guys were doing the shearing and this that and the other thing. But we were up there doing the prawning or we were sitting behind a desk pushing a pen”. Songs about those sorts of things have equal place as time goes by. My simple philosophy is a good song is a good song.

GHE: Before The National Folk Festival you have a couple of gigs in Alice Springs. Getting the band back together for The National was it important to play in Alice as well?

BB: I said it was and I said to my fellow compatriots that “I’m not coming to Alice Springs to rehearse if we don’t do a concert”. My reasoning was altruistic – I thought it would put the pressure on to make sure we had something polished enough to take to Canberra. Having said that, I think we owe it to Alice Springs to do it.

GHE: I think the town has given a lot to the band over the years. Not just as a place to gig over the years but also a spring board to launch yourselves nationally and internationally via the work you did with the NT Tourist Commission and other channels.

BB: Yeah. There’s the romance of Alice Springs – everyone’s heard of it. It conjures up images in peoples minds all over the world and I think that’s helped us tremendously. I think we owe it to Alice Springs to put on a couple of concerts.

GHE: I reckon you’ll play those shows and you’ll have a few of generations of people sitting in the audience – your contemporaries along with the kids who used to see Bloodwood at school bush dances or local festivals and venues and have now grown up. Everyone will be singing along – you’ll have a really nice atmosphere up there.

BB: I think so. I remember quite a few years ago we were singing at one of the pre-schools [in Alice Springs] and there was a mum at the back. We finished our little set of songs and she was bawling her eyes out, tears rolling down her cheeks. And I think it might have been Dave who went up to her and said “It wasn’t that bad was it?”. She said “No, no! I’m just crying because you used to sing those songs to me when I was a kid”. We’ve got history!

GHE: Well thank you so much for chatting today Bob – and good luck with the Alice shows and The National.

BB: Thanks Gareth – appreciate it.

The dates for Bloodwood’s Alice Springs shows, along with their shows at The National Folk Festival, are below:

Friday 18th March – The Watertank Cafe, Alice Springs, NT
Saturday 19th March – The Watertank Cafe, Alice Springs, NT
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
– Friday 6:00pm – Flute ‘n’ Fiddle
– Saturday 11:50am – Flute ‘n’ Fiddle
– Sunday 8:30pm – The Lyric
– Monday 11:50am – Trocadero (Presentation: Our Red Centre)

Details of the New Warren Fahey Album Great Australian Bush & Folk Songs

Warren Fahey
Image Courtesy of Warren Fahey

Celebrated cultural historian, broadcaster and performer Warren Fahey last month released his latest collection of folk music, the double CD titled Great Australian Bush & Folk Songs. Collecting some of Australia’s most recognisable bush and folk songs – from “Waltzing Matilda” to “The Wild Colonial Boy” to “Click Go the Shears” and beyond – the album is a great jumping off point for anyone looking to tap the deep vein of traditional and historical Australian music.

“Here are most of the great old bush and Aussie folk songs – all under the one tent,” Fahey said of the album. “These songs have travelled down many an outback track, and over many years. They found themselves in the repertoire of the bush singer and, occasionally, that of the bush-loving city-slicker. They represent the pioneering spirit that built Australia. They are not simply relics of the past and best seen as historical signposts to who we are as a people in the 21st century, for it is these very stories that Australians have carried in their swag to identify themselves as a unique people, a people born and bred in what we call the ‘bush’.”

All 36 tracks on the album are available digitally (you can pick it up on iTunes here) but we’d recommend getting your hands on the physical version which comes with detailed liner notes with explanations on each song. The double CD can be picked up from ABC Music here.

Check out the full track listing for Great Australian Bush & Folk Songs below:

CD ONE
1. The Old Bullock Dray
2. With My Swag All On My Shoulder
3. Look Out Below
4. A Thousand Miles Away
5. The Old Bark Hut
6. Carrier’s Song
7. Bullocky O/Bullock Bells At Night
8. Billygoat Overland
9. At His Gate Each Shearer Stood
10. Tambaroora Ted
11. The Shearer’s Dream
12. Two Professional Hums
13. Humping Old Bluey
14. The Overlanders
15. Augathella Drovers
16. Flash Jack From Gundagai
17. Click Go the Shears
18. The Dying Stockman
19. The Stockman’s Last Bed

CD TWO
1. Home Sweet Home
2. Goorianawa
3. A Bushman’s Song
4. The Union Boy
5. The Banks of the Condamine
6. Broken Down Squatter
7. Four Little Johnny Cakes
8. My Old Black Billy
9. On the Road to Gundagai
10. Bluey Brink
11. Australia’s On the Wallaby
12. The New Chum Shearer
13. Nine Miles From Gundagai
14. The Wild Colonial Boy
15. My Name is Edward Kelly
16. Bullockies Ball
17. Waltzing Matilda

Win a Double Pass to The Bushwackers Bushdance at The Thornbury Theatre

Bushwackers
Image Courtesy of The Bushwackers

*** THE DOUBLE PASS HAS BEEN CLAIMED. KEEP READING FOR MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS SOON! ***

On Saturday the 1st December iconic Australian bush band The Bushwackers will be taking over The Velvet Room at Melbourne’s Thronbury Theatre for an urban bush dance on Saturday 1st November.

Celebrating over 40 years of fantastic traditional and contemporary Australian The Bushwackers are an institution in the Australian folk scene and this gig is going to be something special. General admission for the show is a mere $20 on the door (or $18 presale) but if you’re lucky enough you might be able to snap up the double pass we have to give away.

To get your hot little hands on this double pass all you have to is be the first to send your full name to timberandsteelaustralia@gmail.com. As always first in best dressed – best of luck!

*** THE DOUBLE PASS HAS BEEN CLAIMED. KEEP READING FOR MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS SOON! ***

New Handsome Young Strangers Video, “Thunderbolt”

Handsome Young Strangers
Image Courtesy of Handsome Young Strangers

The brand new single from colonial Australian folk-punks Handsome Young Strangers is “Thunderbolt”, taken from their latest album Here’s The Thunder Lads!. “Thunderbolt” recounts the story of the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt and his famous escape from Cockatoo Island in Sydney. The video for “Thunderbolt” is below:

Handsome Young Strangers will be launching the new single tomorrow night at The Green Room in Enmore, Sydney. The show kicks off at 8pm and is free. For more details check out the official Handsome Young Strangers facebook page.

New Weekly Sydney Folk Club “Bush Bash”

Bush Bash
Image Courtesy of Warren Fahey

The latest in a long list of new folk clubs and folk nights springing up all over Sydney is Bush Bash upstairs at the Imperial Hotel in Paddington on Wednesday nights. With a focus on “Australian bush songs, ballads, city ditties, yarns, recitations and bush dance tunes” Bush Bash definitely leans towards the traditional end of the folk spectrum.

The host for the night is the legendary Warren Fahey with his mates The Larrikins and The Australian Bush Orchestra in house band mode. There will be open mic sessions at each night and a weekly “bar stool chat” sponsored by Little Creatures. Bush Bash kicks off on the 23rd of may – doors open at 7:30pm with the music kicking off at 8pm – and admission is free.

Singing at a pub on a Wednesday night? Sounds like the perfect way to get in touch with the tradition to us!

Wongawilli and Handsome Young Strangers Bring In The Spring With Bush Music

Wongawilli
Image Courtesy of Wongawilli

Every now and then a gig comes along that piques our interest on a its-so-crazy-it-just-might-work level and boy do we have a doozy for you today. The on the 25th September the Illawarra Folk Club will present a show featuring bush music and dance band Wongawilli (above) and Sydney folk-punks Handsome Young Strangers (below).

While both these bands draw from the same well of Australian traditional music their presentation of the genre couldn’t be more different. Wongawilli are well known on the Australian folk scene as the bastions of bush music and often perform in conjunction with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers. Handsome Young Strangers are known for packing out inner-city Sydney pubs and putting on a hectic live show that brings out the punk crowd as much as it does the folk. The juxtaposition of the lineup may seem odd but we reckon it’ll be amazing – a real showcase of the versatility of tradition. And we’re secretly hoping there’s a largerphone-off between David De Santi and Freddo.

The show is set to take place at Wongawilli Community Hall in Wongawilli south-west of Wollongong (yes, the band has the same name as the town) on the 25th September from about 1:30pm. For more information check out the official Illawarra Folk Club web site.

Handsome Young Strangers
Image Courtesy of Handsome Young Strangers

Spotlight On: Jack Flash

Jack Flash
Image Courtesy of Jack Flash

Since The Pogues first successfully married traditional Celtic music with a punk sensibility bands have been experimenting with the genres and creating new and infectious music. Artists such as Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys have been kicking around for a while now and a whole genre has grown up around the. But surprisingly, given our rich Celtic history, it’s only really been recently that Australian post-punk bands have really being stepping up to the challenge.

We’ve already brought you the celtic-punk stylings of The Thieves. Brisbane’s Bang Bang Boss Kelly have been amping up the punk side of their sound with the release of their new single “Damien Barber”. And the latest addition to the folk-punk canon (at least from a Timber and Steel point of view) are Toowoomba six-piece Jack Flash.

Made up of Tom Flash (vocals, mandolin, banjo), Looey Flash (fiddle, tin whistle), Shai Flash (acoustic guitar), Blaise Flash (bass), Jake Flash (electric guitar, harmonica) and Liam Flash (drums, lagerphone) – which I have a feeling aren’t their real names – Jack Flash take Celtic-folk to it’s logical Australian conclusion infusing their music with traditional and contemporary “bush music” (hence the lagerphone).

It’s this focus on colonial and bush music that really sets Jack Flash apart from their peers. The folk fraternity in Australia is continually bemoaning the fact that the upcoming generation is more focused on original music and not on preserving the “tradition” of Australian music. I wonder how they would react upon hearing Jack Flash’s rendition of “Lauchlan Tigers” complete with punk sensibilities? Because at the end of the day what will keep traditional Australian music alive and relevant is its continual evolution and reinterpretation. If it takes a band like Jack Flash to bring the stories of rebels and shearers and drovers and swaggies to new ears then we’re all for it.

Being Toowoomba based Jack Flash tend to play in and around south east and central Queensland. If that’s not your backyard and punk-lagerphone is your cup of tea keep your eyes peeled to Timber and Steel and we’ll let you know whether the band is taking it’s unique sound on the road. In the meantime you can download the band’s Take Notice EP free via their BandCamp (in exchange for your e-mail address naturally).

Country of Origin: Australia (Toowoomba)
Sounds Like: Flogging Molly meets The Bushwackers
File Under: Folk-Punk
Myspace: myspace.com/jackflashband

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