Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 28th August

Cookie Baker
Image Courtesy of Cookie Baker

This Wednesday will be the final in the August Folk Club residency for The Green Mohair Suits and I have to say it’s been pretty special. We said it at the start of the month but we’ll say it again: these guys are some of the best musicians in Sydney.

For their final week at Folk Club The Green Mohair Suits will be joined by Melbourne based singer-songwriter Cookie Baker (above) and local bluegrass big-band Hayfever.

As always Folk Club takes place at The Soda Factory in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Entry is free with the music kicking off at about 8:30pm. For more information check out the official Folk Club Facebook page here.

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 21st August

Tom West
Image Courtesy of Tom West

We’re three weeks into the The Green Mohair Suits’ residency at Folk Club in Sydney and we think you’ll agree it’s been pretty spectacular. These guys just bring the talent to every single gig and we can’t wait to see what else they’ve got in store this month.

Joining The Green Mohair Suits this week is Adelaide singer-songwriter and Timber and Steel favourite Tom West (of Traveller & Fortune fame) along with Gideon Benson who we assume is the same Gideon Benson from Sydney band The Preatures.

As always Folk Club is free, kicking off at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills from 8:30pm on Wednesday night. For more details head over to the official Folk Club Facebook page here.

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 14th August

Oh Willy Dear
Image Courtesy of Oh Willy Dear

One the bands that impressed me the most when JamGrass rolled into Sydney a few weeks back was definitely local bluegrass band Oh Willy Dear. So the fact they’re performing alongside their JamGrass stage-mates The Green Mohair Suits at Folk Club in Sydney this Wednesday has definitely piqued my interest.

Joining Oh Willy Dear and The Green Mohair Suits will be local singer-songwriter Hazzy Bee. As always Folk Club takes place at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills with the music kicking off around 8:30pm

For more information check out the official Folk Club facebook page here.

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 7th August

Green Mohair Suits
Image Courtesy of The Green Mohair Suits

It’s August (already!) which can only mean one thing – a new residency at Sydney’s Folk Club. And this month’s is a doozy with alt-country/folk/bluegrass legends The Green Mohair Suits taking to the stage. I’ve seen these guys a number of times in the last few weeks and have to admit that they’re one of tightest, most professional acts on the folk circuit at the moment, and the perfect fit for Folk Club.

For the first Wednesday of August The Green Mohair Suits are going to be joined on stage by singer-songwriter Dan Parsons who has been garnering quite a bit of buzz for his new self titled album and the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Rainee. The music will start around 8:30pm but with a lineup like this we recommend you get to The Soda Club early, especially if you want a seat. And as always Folk Club is free, which means more money for drinks and The Soda Factory’s awesome Pulp Fiction inspired menu.

For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 31st July

Fanny Lumsden
Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers

Last week we debuted “Sea Elephant School”, the brand new single from Sydney alt country players Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers. And this week will Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers launch the single officially at Sydney’s Folk Club, which is also the first date of their Timber and Steel presented east coast tour (details here).

Joining Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers at Folk Club will be The British Blues, who wowed us recently at Country Roads, and the folk-rock stylings of Canberra natives The Burley Griffin.

Folk Club is held each Wednesday at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills, Sydney. Entry is free and the music kicks off at about 8:30pm. For more details check out the official Facebook invite here.

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 24th July

Breaking Hart Benton
Image Courtesy of Breaking Hart Benton

I first met Michael David from Brisbane folk duo Breaking Hart Benton before either that band or the Timber and Steel blog existed. David was playing at the Top Half Folk Festival in Alice Springs with local singer Dom Costello and I was there both playing in and MCing a couple of the concerts. It’s incredible that in the 5 or so years since we’ve kept in touch and our paths will once again cross thanks to folk music with Breaking Hart Benton making an appearance at this week’s Folk Club in Sydney.

This Wednesday will also see the last show in All Our Exes Live in Texas’ July residency and I can tell you now I’m going to miss these lovely ladies – they’ve drawn a massive crowd to Folk Club every week and their music has been incredible each and every time.

Rounding out the lineup for Folk Club this week will be Sydney swamp blues four piece OXBLVD. As always the night will kick off around 8:30pm at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills. Entry is free, there’s a five dollar food menu and the music is going to be sweet.

For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Interview: Buffalo Tales, Roadship Confessions

Buffalo Tales
Image Courtesy of Buffalo Tales

With the release of his new Americana tinged album Roadtrip Confessions the reinvention of Wes Carr as Buffalo Tales is complete. The former Australian Idol winner and pop singer has gone back to his roots and is producing some of his best music to date. Currently touring NSW and VIC for Timber and Steel we sat down with Wes Carr to talk about the album, the tour and what Buffalo Tales really means.

Gareth Hugh Evans: The last time we chatted was about 18 months ago just before you played at Folk Club in Sydney the last. That was kind of the beginning of what has eventually become the Buffalo Tales project…

Wes Carr: Yeah! That would be the initial explosion – as soon as I did that gig heaps of people saw the video including my manager now [Jesse Flavell]. That’s how he found me. He saw the video of that night at Folk Club that we did, of “Blood and Bone” and he contacted over Facebook. It was the birth of the new direction. That was such a definitive moment in the whole plan that was Buffalo Tales and what it is. It created a huge opportunity for me. It was amazing actually because I met [Jesse] and then we had a chat about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. He was the first person I’d heard in the industry that actually talked to me about being an artist and talked to me about my songs. Everyone else wanted to talk about how much money I could make in a short amount of time. So yeah it was an incredible moment – thanks Folk Club and you guys!

GHE: It’s kinda cool that I had a small part to play in that.

WC: It was definitely one of those moments that you’ll never forget – it changed my whole life, my whole belief into who I am and what I do. I’ll forever be in debt to that night.

GHE: And it’s great that your manager is in the same headspace as you were when I chatted to you 18 months ago.

WC: You get bogged down – and fair enough too. If anyone takes their eye off the ball these days they’re pretty quickly assassinated because it’s such a competitive industry no matter what you do, no matter who you are. Everyone’s looking to get more money, more notoriety, more success or whatever. In the world of pop music it’s desperate times for every artist – it’s hard to be heard and get your art out there, get what you want to say to the world out there to an audience and to be able to live off it, to make a living. In saying that, it’s changing as well and I’m really positive about it. On one hand you can look at it negatively and on one hand you can look at it positively and I choose the positive. My experience was I had a choice – I could have gone off and do a covers album and tour it, which is completely fine for artists to do but that’s really not who I was, and at the end of the day I would have been really dissatisfied with that. There would have been no passion whatsoever and no creative outlet at all. I just want to be remembered for my songs and who I am as an artist more so than how much I get from it. I’m very much positive and looking forward to what’s in store.

GHE: 18 months ago it felt like the foundations for Buffalo Tales were already there. A lot of the songs you performed at Folk Club that night appeared on the new album Roadship Confessions and you were kind of in the midst of defining your sound. You started with the EP and now the album’s out and you’re in the middle of a national tour which has included some high profile TV appearances – your exposure has just gone through the roof. Would you say that you’ve defined who the new Wes Carr is or what Buffalo Tales means as a project?

WC: I don’t think you can ever define yourself because I’m constantly changing. One day I’ll wake up and listen to a Bon Iver record or whatever and the next minute I’m listening to Indian chant music or something and then the next minute I’m checking out Kanye West’s new stuff. I’m so eclectic with my choices of music and I think a lot of people are these days – they buy death metal records and they buy Miley Cyrus records in the same sitting. What defines me most is songs that have an honest, raw truth from what I feel and think through my songs. There’s no real intention to go out and try and capture one thing, it’s all about whatever feels right at the time. And that was the mantra for this album – if it feels right then that’s what it is. When we recorded it we layered all this stuff up – we put banjos and mandolins and stuff on every track – and then it was by muting all the instrumentation and bringing it back to the core of the song to actually hear what I was saying. And that was a thing I had to relearn I think, coming from the last bubble where everything’s overloaded with production. For me to be able to let the song speak for itself and let it go so to speak.

GHE: The reason I ask about defining your sound is that Buffalo Tales does have a leaning towards folk, west coast and Americana. And the name itself evokes Americana elements as well.

WC: It’s funny because I never really thought about any of that, it just sort of all happened. It was so natural to me. The story behind Buffalo Tales is that if the native American Indians would dream of a buffalo they would have to return back home again. I read that in a book of different cultures of the world and thought that was really cool. It’s what really rang true to me and what I wanted to do at the time – I thought “if only I could dream of a buffalo I’ll return back home to where I came from”. A lot of people are commenting on the Americana thing and some of it really is. And some of it is really Australian too – it reminds me of where I grew up in Adelaide as well.

GHE: I know Roadship Confessions isn’t a concept album as such but there is the through line in the album, a sort of roadtrip theme. And it starts with the sound of feet crunching on gravel, walking up what I assume is a driveway, and then there’s these little interludes all the way through the album as well. What was the decision behind linking the album like that?

WC: It was originally going to be interludes between every song – so basically you’d put on the album, you’d get the car and you’d go off while it just runs with music all the way through it. But then we realised that there needs to be quiet time on the album for it to give the next song a chance. We left three or four interludes on there, the best ones. I’ve spent a lot of time on the road and it’s meant to just evoke that being on the road nature where you put on a mix tape or something. So yeah, it’s loosely based on a roadtrip confessional – I suppose when you’re on a road trip with someone you start talking about things that would probably never talk about with other people. I find sometimes my gigs are like that. I’ll stand up and tell a story of the song and it will all of a sudden come to me what the song’s about, and I haven’t told the story ever or haven’t told it like I’d tell a whole bunch of strangers in a room at a gig.

GHE: I imagine you’ve been getting some questions about whether any of the songs on Roadship Confessions are about your time on Australian Idol and with a major label. There are a few allusions through the album – “Puppet Strings” feels like an obvious one and there’s lyrics about fair-weather friends in some of the songs as well as getting too close to the flame. Is that something people should be reading into the songs?

WC: It’s really a comment on general society. I can only write from my own experience and my own thoughts and opinions. It’s more of a comment about how people are coaxed into this way of life that they think they should be – they’ve got to get the top job because Dad’s going to be proud of me or whatever. But really inside they want to travel or do something. I think everybody has a certain thing that they’ve had to compromise to fit into a certain pigeon hole. You’ve only got yourself to blame but it takes a long time to realise that. I was experiencing a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t think a lot of people normally experience – all of a sudden I was in the public eye and I had to work out what that meant to me. There were times where I felt I couldn’t really relate to people anymore – I felt really alone in it all at one stage. There’s a lot of stuff I needed to get off my chest. But “Puppet Strings” for me is loosely based on what Dad’s story was. He was really a great painter, he’s an amazing artist, and when he was 16 he got the opportunity to show all his paintings of Australian landscapes over in London. His parents turned around and told him no, he was never going to do that, he was going to go get a job with the council. And then his whole life he spent working his way up in local council and becoming the CEO of the biggest local council in Australia. But all he wanted to do was to be a painter and do his art and he was denied that. His whole life he’s been working his arse off to get recognition through something that everybody at the time was like “if you do that then you’ll be accepted in our society but if you’re a painter you’re a hobo no hoper”. That’s what he was told when he was a kid and he’s always felt that way. He just always said, “I wish I’d kept up my painting, who knows where I could have been”. For me that story really rang true at a very poignant time in my life.

GHE: I think my favourite track on the album, and probably my favourite track of yours live as well, is probably “Crazy Heart”. That’s the one that gets stuck in my head. I recently did a roadtrip through Tasmania and Roadship Confessions was my soundtrack. And “Crazy Heart” was the song I just had to skip back and play again any time it came on. The track features Rachel Sermanni right?

WC: She’s an amazing artist. She’s got a beautiful record out [Under Mountains] and my favourite track on there is “Bones”. It was done over email, the whole thing. I sent her the song and she really really loved it and I wanted her to sing the second verse to make it more of a conversation. In my mind her part is my conscience so for me it’s like me talking to me but in a different voice. “Crazy Heart” was a break through song for me as I remembered how I used feel when I used to write a song. That was the first time I got that feeling back because I felt like it had died when you’re creating something for a certain thing – to get your peer approval or radio play or whatever. There was no real agenda with all of the songs on the album, that’s why I chose these songs. They’re just songs that I needed to sing. The best part about this album for me lately is I’ve actually sent it to a lot of my old friends in the mail and wrote a little excert with things like “this verse is about the time when we la la la”. Then after about 3 or 4 days I get a very cheery voicemail or an email or something saying “Oh my god I can’t believe it. You’re album’s great. We’ve been waiting for you to do this since you were 12”. For me that’s been the best part about doing this as well. It’s a sense of release.

GHE: You’re in the middle of a Timber and Steel presented tour of NSW and VIC. How are you feeling now that you’re a few shows in? How is the audience responding to Buffalo Tales?

WC: Slowly but surely people are coming to the shows and actually getting what Buffalo Tales is about and who I am as an artist, more so than the guy they see on the television or read about in the paper. It’s perfect because the people that are coming are actually appreciating my music which is everything that I wanted to achieve. It’s awesome. What else could you ask for?

GHE: Thanks so much for chatting with me today – and good luck with the rest of the tour!

WC: Cheers mate.

Roadtrip Confessions is available now. The remaining dates for the Timber and Steel supported Buffalo Tales tour are below:

Friday 19th July – The Elsternwick Hotel, Elwood, VIC
Saturday 20th July – Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully, VIC
Sunday 21st July – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Frdiay 30th August – Sandbar, Mildura, VIC
Saturday 31st August – Club Legion, Broken Hill, NSW
Sunday 1st September – Cobdolga Club, Cobdolga, SA

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 17th July

Little Bighorn
Image Courtesy of Little Bighorn

It’s week three of the All Our Exes Live in Texas residency at Sydney’s Folk Club and we have to say it’s been amazing – we’ve never seen Folk Club so full with standing room only really being the case on Wednesday nights.

This Wednesday is set to continue the trend with All Our Exes Live in Texas being joined by two amazing acts – the beautiful Little Bighorn (above) who have been building a huge amount of buzz throughout Sydney and the country/bluegrass stylings of Marlon Williams.

While the music does kick off at 8:30pm at The Soda Factory you really have to get there early if you want to secure a spot with a decent view of the stage. Entry as always in free – for more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Timber and Steel Presents: Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers Sea Elephant School Tour

Sea Elephant School
Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers

When Fanny Lumsden told me her new single was going to be called “Sea Elephant School” I was intrigued. For a band whose repertoire includes tracks with names like “Firing Line”, “Shotgun” and “Hail All Ye Thrillseekers”, all of which evoke the type of toe-tapping alt-country they’ve become renowned for, the song title “Sea Elephant School” seemed a little more obscure than what we’re used to from Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers.

It is in fact inspired by stories told by Lumsden’s Grandmother of growing up on King Island where the Sea Elephant School was a beacon for the community. Fanny Lumsden wrote the track on the verandah of her family farm in the shadow of Mt Buffalo and has said it “features a grand sense of motion from the lively instrumentation (banjo, mandolin, double bass, piano accordion, harmonium, q-chord, Tamborine) and marching band-esque percussion and Fanny’s soaring vocals delivering her heartfelt lyrics”. Sounds like a lot of fun!

“Sea Elephant School” will be released later this month and to celebrate Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers will be heading out on tour for a series of shows up and down the east coast presented by Timber and Steel and Post To Wire. The dates kick off at Folk Club in Sydney on the 31st July with shows throughout August and into September. The full list of dates for the tour are below with more to be added soon:

Wednesday 31st July – Folk Club at The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd August – Woodland film Festival, Tumbarumba NSW
Tuesday 20th August – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 21st August – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 30th August – Wesley Ann, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st August – Baha Tacos, Rye, VIC
Sunday 1st September – Pure Pop Records, St Kilda, VIC

Artists for Folk Club This Wednesday 10th July

The Pierce Brothers
Image Courtesy of The Pierce Brothers

Were you at Folk Club in Sydney last week? How good was it! The crowd was heaving and the sweet sounds of All Our Exes Live in Texas on the first night in the July residency spot was just what we needed to chase the winter blues away.

All Our Exes Live in Texas are back this week and they’re joined by some pretty hot talent – the country-blues-rock-and-roll of Harriet Whiskey Club and the rootsy goodness of Melbournes Pierce Brothers (above). It’s going to be another amazing night of folk music at The Soda Factory in Surry Hills.

As always the music at Folk Club will start around 8:30pm (but get their early – we’re warning you!) and entry is free. If you need more info check out the official Facebook event here.

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