Thank Folk It’s Friday – 22nd December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We picked our top 25 albums and EPs of 2017 including releases from All Our Exes Live in Texas, BATTS, Billy Bragg, Charlie Fink, David Rawlings, Emily Barker, Fanny Lumsden, Gretta Ziller, Husky, Johnny Flynn, Kasey Chambers, Lankum, Laura Marling, Lisa Mitchell, Nick Mulvey, Offa Rex, Old Crow Medicine Show, Packwood, Paul Kelly, Stu Larsen, The Ahern Brothers, The East Pointers, The Morrisons, Timothy James Bowen and Willie Watson. Details here

– We reached out to the Timber and Steel community to get them to pick their top albums of the year. The results are wonderful with well over 100 artists contributing. Details here

– Our Editor In Chief Gareth Hugh Evans picked his top 25 tracks of 2016 including songs from All Our Exes Live in Texas, BATTS, Billy Bragg, Charlie Fink, David Rawlings, Diamond Duck, Emma Davis, Fanny Lumsden, Gretta Ziller, I’m With Her, Johnny Flynn, Julia Johnson, Laura Marling, Nick Mulvey, Offa Rex, Paul Kelly, Stella Donnelly, Stu Larsen, Taryn La Fauci, The Ahern Brothers, The East Pointers, The Morrisons feat. Georgia Mooney, The Northern Folk, The Young’uns, and Willie Watson. Details here

– We review The Beautiful Girls in Sydney. Details here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift

Gretta Ziller

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift kick off their summer holiday tour of caravan parks around the nation. Will they stumble across your holiday park?

Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Gigs Next Week

A Celtic Christmas feat. Damien Leith, Claymore
Saturday 23rd December – The Palms at Crown, Melbourne, VIC

A Country Christmas Revue feat. Raised By Eagles, Lost Ragas, The Ahern Brothers, Sarah Carroll
Friday 22nd December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC

A Very Country Christmas feat. James Ellis, Cold Heart, Roz Girvan, Bakersfield Glee Club
Saturday 23rd December – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

A Xmas Happening Love In! feat. Zoùkeys, Hippy Trippy Trio, Jewels’ Blues Explosion
Friday 22nd December – The Bank, Melbourne, VIC

Alex The Astronaut
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Lost Paradise, Glenworth Valley, NSW

Andrew Swift
Saturday 23rd December – King Island Club, Currie, TAS
Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Andy Baylor
Friday 22nd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Benjamin Roberts w/ Daniel J. Townsend
Thursday 27th December – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Breaking Trad
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Cat Canteri and Justin Bernasconi
Saturday 23rd December – The Bridge, Castlemaine, VIC

Craig Woodward
Sunday 24th December – Loretta’s, Melbourne, VIC

Dane Blacklock, Velvajayne
Saturday 23rd December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Darren Hanlon
Friday 22nd December –
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – The Old Museum
, Brisbane, QLD

Edgelarks
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Eleanor McEvoy
Friday 29th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Falls Festival
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Marion Bay, TAS

Fleet Foxes
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

Get Folked Punk Xmas Blowout feat. Vetty Vials & The Sandpit Turtles, Whispering Jackie, Jonno Read, Billy Demos, Billy Puntton, Uke-paley, Jethro Morris, Ess-em, Sooze
Friday 22nd December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Good Option
Friday 22nd December – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift
Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Handsome Young Strangers, Steph Miller and Jim Mongrel’s Anti-Christmas Bash
Saturday 23rd December – MoshPit, Sydney, NSW

Helen Townsend
Friday 22nd December – Amble Inn, Corindi, NSW
Saturday 23rd December – The Naked Bean, South Grafton, NSW

Honey
Monday 25th December – Parklands Resort, Mudgee, NSW

James Bennett
Friday 22nd December – Avoca Beach Hotel & Resort, Avoca Beach, NSW
Saturday 23rd December – The Lounge Room, Port Macquarie, NSW
Sunday 24th December – Town Green Inn Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 29th December – Sacred Tree Markets, Nelson Bay, NSW

Jess Locke
Saturday 23rd December – Reverence Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

John Butler
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Julia Jacklin
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 22nd December – The Guildford Family Hotel, Guildford, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – The Bridge, Castlemaine, VIC

Kallidad
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Lost Paradise
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Glenworth Valley, NSW

Mick Thomas & The Roving Commission
Friday 22nd December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 24th December – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC

Microwave Jenny
Sunday 24th December – Bombini, Avoca Beach, NSW

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

One Hot Night feat. Busby Marou, Amy Shark, Timberwolf, Pandamic
Friday 29th December – Rockhampton Showgrounds, Rockhampton, QLD

Pam Hata
Sunday 24th December – The Duck on Clarence, Port Macquarie, NSW
Thursday 28th December – Oasis by the River, North Haven, NSW

Pierce Brothers
Friday 29th December – Lorne Hotel, Lorne, VIC

Rita B
Saturday 23rd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sleepy Dreamers, Arbes, Sean Watson
Friday 22nd December – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

That Red Head
Saturday 23rd December – Wayward Brewing Company, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

The Beautiful Girls
Thursday 28th December – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Bluegrass Playgirls with GlenyRae & JennyShimmin, Robbie Long & Smithy
Saturday 23rd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

The Demon Drink
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Drunken Poachers
Saturday 23rd December – Labour in Vain, Melbourne, VIC

The East Pointers
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Heggarties and Matt J Ward
Friday 22nd December – Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Railsplitters
Friday 29th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Teskey Brothers
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

This Way North
Saturday 23rd December – Aireys Pub, Aireys Inlet, VIC
Friday 29th December – Tanswells Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

Woodford Folk Festival
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford, QLDFriday Folk Flashback

“How to Make Gravy” – Paul Kelly

Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2017

2017

The final of our traditional end of year lists sees Timber and Steel Editor-in-Chief Gareth Hugh Evans sifts through all of the amazing music that was produced this year and pick his top 25 tracks. As always he’s tried to only pick one track per artist, although as you’ll see there’s some exceptions with different artists collaborating on different projects through 2017.

But enough of our jabbering – it’s time to get to the music. Without further ado we present Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2017.

1. Emma Davis – “Danger in Me”
Emma Davis just has a way of writing a song which draws you in and never lets go. With just a finger picked guitar, understated rhythm section, muted organ and reverbed vocals, Davis has created a piece of music that I genuinely put on repeat. The fact that there’s a very relevant social message underpinning “Danger in Me” just adds a depth to my appreciation of it. Thank you Emma Davis for producing one of the most beautiful three and a half minutes of 2017.

2. The East Pointers – “82 Fires”
For a band I almost exclusively associated with fiddle tunes, The East Pointers have delivered one of the best songs of the year with “82 Fires”. Co-written with our very own Liz Stringer about fires in Tasmania, “82 Fires” may be the most Australian song written by a trio of Canadians. There’s an epic feel to the song that shouldn’t be possible from three guys playing (mostly) acoustic instruments – but I’ve seen this song live and they get pretty close to reproducing the recording on stage. Try to listen to “82 Fires” on not have it stir something inside.

3. Willie Watson – “Gallows Pole”
No one interprets traditional American music quite like Willie Watson. Here he’s managed to take the Leadbelly classic “Gallows Pole” and turn it into a thoroughly modern, haunting piece of music which is a definite standout on his latest album, Folksinger Vol. 2.

4. The Morrisons feat. Georgia Mooney – “Long Time Travelling”
It seems odd to choose an a cappella song from a band that features some of the best bluegrass musicians in the country. But I just can’t get passed how delightful it is hear James Morrison singing over the combined voices of The Morrisons plus Georgia Mooney (All Our Exes Live In Texas). The harmonies, the dynamic variations, the passion – “Long Time Travelling” is pure joy.

5. Offa Rex – “Sheepcrook and Black Dog”
As you probably know by now we have A LOT of love for the 2017 Offa Rex album The Queen of Hearts. The collaboration between The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney is full of highlights and to be honest songs like “The Old Churchyard”, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Willie o’ Winsbury” are more likely to hit this year’s best of lists. But for me “Sheepcrook and Black Dog” captures the nostalgia of the late-60s/early-70s British folk revival better than any other track on The Queen of Hearts with its Steeleye Span style arrangement, crunchy Black Sabbath style guitars and Sandy Denny style vocal performance. “Sheepcrook and Black Dog” is vintage folk-rock for the modern era.

6. Laura Marling – “Next Time”
Laura Marling goes full Nick Drake on “Next Time”. The orchestral arrangement over the top of Marling’s inventive guitar tunings and finger-picking, along with her hushed but powerful vocal performance is so reminiscent of the late English singer-songwriter it can’t not have been inspired by his work. This is definitely the highlight of Semper Femina for me and it even comes with a video directed by Laura Marling herself.

7. The Young’uns – “Be the Man”
“Be The Man” was inspired by the story of Matthew Ogston, founder of the Naz and Matt Foundation which tackles religious and cultural homophobia, following the tragic death of his fiancé (you can read the full story here). The Young’uns have written a song which is not only powerful in its message, and deeply respectful to its subject matter, but also a wonderful compliment to the rest of their harmony-driven catalogue. Check out the video featuring Matthew Ogston himself.

8. Billy Bragg – “Why We Build the Wall”
When Anaïs Mitchell wrote “Why We Build the Wall” for her 2010 folk-opera Hadestown I doubt she knew how precient it was considering the build-the-wall platform Donald Trump ran on during his 2016 presidential campaign. Billy Bragg has been singing “Why We Build the Wall” for a few years now but it’s taken until this year for him to officially release it as a single. The political singer-songwriter has purposefully politicised the track and filled it with a jarring, electric guitar to great effect. Could this be the folk anthem for the Trump era?

9. David Rawlings – “Cumberland Gap”
The genius of David Rawlings and Gillian Welch is their ability to write songs that sound like they’ve existed forever and then produce those songs in such a way that makes it sound like they’re being “modernised”. “Cumberland Gap” is the perfect example of this – the track sounds so timeless yet so fresh at exactly the same time. That’s probably why it’s been getting so many comparisons to Neil Young.

10. Stu Larsen – “Chicago Song”
“Chicago Song” is exactly the kind of song you want from a singer-songwriter like Stu Larsen. Simple, catchy and foot-tappingly joyful, “Chicago Song” captures a little piece of magic.

11. The Ahern Brothers – “Comb That River”
Whoever decided to pair singer-songwriters Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady as The Ahern Brothers deserves all of my adulation. Their self titled debut album is an homage to the close harmony singing of The Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel, with “Comb That River” exemplifying their sound. Listen to this track and be transported back to another time.

12. Charlie Fink – “Firecracker”
I’m sure I’ve printed this elsewhere on Timber and Steel but for the reader’s benefit: Noah and The Whale’s 2009 album The First Days of Spring is one of my favourite albums of all time. So when ex-Noah and The Whale lead singer Charlie Fink releases a single like “Firecracker” that sounds like it’s been ripped directly from The First Days of Spring there’s no way this song wasn’t going to make my best of 2017 list.

13. All Our Exes Live in Texas – “Boundary Road”
“What if I want to be the one to fall apart once in a while?” has somehow become one of my favourite chorus lines of 2017. All Our Exes Live in Texas have taken on the lyrical challenge of the line, as well as the fight songwriter Katie Wighton had with her mum that inspired the line, and crafted one of the best songs from one of the best albums of the year. There is All Our Exes Live in Texas magic all over this song – with a simple “ooh” and “ahh” the quartet can elevate every song they touch. Lovely stuff.

14. Nick Mulvey – “Mountain To Move”
I’m going to make a prediction: “Mountain To Move” is the song most likely to appear on the soundtrack of sweet and quirky rom coms over the 12 months. Nick Mulvey continues to impress me with the way he crafts a song over a repeating melody line or guitar rhythm, building the simplicity into something more.

15. Julia Johnson – “Melissa”
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the new direction that Julia Johnson has taken with her songwriting in 2017. Moving beyond her work with Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens and working with producer Sarah Belkner, Johnson is producing some of the most interesting music of her career. I have a feeling “Melissa” is only the tip of the iceberg for what’s coming next from Julia Johnson and I can’t wait.

16. The Northern Folk – “Get On”
Despite the wealth of shows they’ve done this year I only managed to catch Melbourne folk 10 piece The Northern Folk live for the first time really recently. They manage to combine the indie folk sound of bands like The Middle East with the distinct groove that comes with having a saxophone heavy horn section. “Get On” epitomises The Northern Folk’s unique sound for me and was one of those songs that made me hit the repeat button again and again the first time I heard it.

17. Fanny Lumsden – “Roll On”
Want to know what it’s like to be an Australian artist on an endless tour of our country? Listen to the lyrics of “Roll On”. What I love about this track is its authenticity. This isn’t the Americanised version of the Australian outback full of dust kicking cowboys and pickup trucks. And this isn’t the romanticised nostalgic version of Australia either with its drovers and men-of-the-land. Instead “Roll On” is a song about about what its like to hit the road in 2017 complete with speeding fines, Gaytimes, roadtrains and small town bowlos. Keep writing songs like this Fanny Lumsden.

18. Paul Kelly – “Firewood and Candles”
After a few years of genre and experimental albums Paul Kelly announced his return to the classic Paul Kelly with the killer track “Firewood and Candles”. That rocking riff with Kelly’s vocals (ably supported by Vikka and Linda Bull) is just so damn catchy. If you wonder why everyone’s making such a fuss over Paul Kelly at the moment, why he’s winning awards and being praised at every turn, just listen to the songs on his 2017 album Life Is Fine, starting with “Firewood and Candles”.

19. Gretta Ziller – “Slaughterhouse Blues”
If someone asks you for the best voice in Australian Americana music then just show them Gretta Ziller. There may be some artists earlier in this list who you could squeeze into the genre, but as far as pure Americana music goes you can’t get much better than Ziller’s “Slaughterhouse Blues”. This is a modern track with its feet firmly in roots music. And that production! Perfection! More of this please Gretta Ziller.

20. I’m With Her – “Little Lies”
Before the release of “Little Lies” the American super-goup I’m With Her were really known for interpreting traditional music or covers of contemporary songs. But then this track comes along and solidifies the (probabaly assumed) fact that I’m With Her are a band to watch. Aoife O’Donovan has one of the best voices in Americana music, and it’s all the sweeter combined with the voices of Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. And Watkins’ fiddle playing on this track is some of my favourite instrumental work in 2017.

21. BATTS – “Little White Lies”
I’ve been a fan of Tanya Batt’s music for some time, but it’s been her transformation into BATTS and the lo-fi, shoe-gaze, lyric driven songwriting that has come with it that has really caught my attention in 2017. “Little White Lies” is the second single released under the BATTS moniker and it’s by far my favourite, with its etherial production and confessional lyrics. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot more from BATTS in the coming months and I can’t wait.

22. Taryn La Fauci – “Winter”
When her EP Cycling came out I messaged Taryn La Fauci and told her “Just wanted to tell you that I’m in love with your track “Winter”.” Above every other song on the EP “Winter” struck me, most likely because this year I lost my cat as well and the lyrics just resonated. This song was on repeat for a lot of this year – thank you for sharing it with me Taryn La Fauci.

23. Diamond Duck – “Marry Me By The Sea”
Another collaboration (this time between The Morrisons’ Jimmy Daley and Canadian-Australian singer-songwriter Brian Campeau) that evokes the close harmony singing of The Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel, Diamond Duck have made quite an impression with their first single “Marry Me By The Sea”. What makes this stand out for me is the way the Diamond Duck boys explore unusual, almost twisted chords in their accompaniment while maintaining a sweetness in their vocal delivery. Listen to the piano “solo” in the middle of the song and you’ll see what I mean – there’s something a little off kilter in the track and it’s absolutely delicious.

24. Stella Donnelly – “Boys Will Be Boys”
In the wake of the #metoo movement and everything that’s been coming out in the media over the last few months I think Australia needed a song like “Boys Will Be Boys”. Stella Donnelly has made quite a splash this year and with her amazing voice and lyrical chops I can imagine there’s big things on the horizon for the singer-songwriter.

25. Johnny Flynn – “Wandering Aengus”
The return of Johnny Flynn to music this year was heralded by this really quirky track and promised much from his new album Sillion. All the elements of what makes a classic Johnny Flynn song are here – his amazing voice, jangly guitar and subtle horn accompaniment – but there’s also something a little twisted about the structure of this track that I really really like. Definitely up there with my favourite Johnny Flynn songs.

Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2017

Merle

It’s difficult to find an overriding theme in our picks for this year’s top albums. There’s a bit of trad in there, a lot of singer-songwriter and a decent amount Americana and country music. Overall 2017 has been another amazing year for folk music and we couldn’t be happier.

As always we have more “best of” lists coming this week so please stay tuned for them. But in the meantime check out Timber and Steel’s top albums of

Offa Rex
1. Offa RexThe Queen of Hearts
When you get nostalgia right the result can be pure gold. As someone who was brought up on late-60s/early-70s English folk-rock (think Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, etc) The Queen of Hearts feels like home and, as my friends and family can attest, the album has truly been on constant rotation since its release in July.

Offa Rex is the coming together of Portland nu-folk heroes The Decemberists and English folk-singer Olivia Chaney, inspired by the second-wave folk revival of the British isles. Somehow they’ve managed to capture this very distinct period of music, staying true to the instrumentation, production values and aesthetic of the time without descending into kitsch or parody (as many of the bands from the time ended up doing themselves in the 70s and 80s). Rigid rock rhythm sections over murder ballads, harpsichords and reverb-heavy electric guitars, ethereal vocals – The Queen of Hearts feels more like a rediscovered gem than an album recorded and released in 2017.

And let’s make one thing clear – it’s Olivia Chaney who makes this record. While The Decemberists are obviously the driving force behind The Queen of Hearts it is Chaney’s vocals that pull you right back into the early 70s. She somehow channels the likes of Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, et al, while still bringing her own unique sound to the vocals. The tracks where Colin Meloy takes the lead (such as “Black Leg Minor”) or the instrumental “Constant Billy (Oddington) / I’ll Go Enlist (Sherborne)”, while still amazing in their own right, just don’t have the same impact as “The Queen of Hearts”, “Flash Company”, “The Old Churchyard” or any of the other amazing songs with Olivia Chaney front and centre.

Picking favourite songs from an album of standouts is very very hard. I love the nods to early Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath on “Sheepcrook and Black Dog”, probably the most epic of all the songs on the album. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a beautiful tribute to Anne Briggs, with Chaney’s voice just resonating over the drone of a harmonium. And Offa Rex’s version of “Willie o’ Winsbury” may be my favourite of all time.

Even if you only have a passing interest in British folk music, in the second wave folk revival or in The Decemberists’ ongoing evolution as one of the most interesting folk bands in the world, give The Queen of Hearts a listen and see exactly why this is our album of the year for 2017.

The East Pointers
2. The East PointersWhat We Leave Behind
Canadian trio The East Pointers up the production ante with their new album What We Leave Behind, expanding their sound with new instrumentation, increasing their song-to-tune ratio and generally producing one of the most interesting folk albums of the year. And the best part about it is there’s still a focus on ensuring that every bit of the album can be reproduced live with just the three of them – something I can confirm is the case having caught them in Melbourne recently. What We Leave Behind sees The East Pointers grow as a band, deftly straddling the worlds of traditional and modern fold music.

The Ahern Brothers
3. The Ahern BrothersThe Ahern Brothers
Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady are two voices that seem destined to be together. The Ahern Brothers are the latest in collection of modern artists taking inspiration from close harmony singing in the vein of The Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel and the result is really something special. Their self-titled debut album is a pure delight and elevates everything we’ve heard from Rennie-Hynes and Grady individually to date. There’s a reason these guys are selling out shows and taking the country by storm.

Fanny Lumsden
4. Fanny LumsdenReal Class Act
Fanny Lumsden continues her domination of Australian country music with the 2017 release of Real Class Act. The album is very strongly informed by Lumsden’s decision to live her life on the road with husband Dan Stanley Freeman rather than opting for the relative comfort of a major Australian city (where, let’s be honest, the vast majority of Australia’s country music is produced), and you can really hear the expanse of our wide brown land all over the album. With each release Fanny Lumsden’s songwriting just gets better and better, adding a modern sensibility to a genre that all to often falls into cliche or nostalgia. Real Class Act is what Australian country music should be about.

The Morrisons
5. The MorrisonsThe Morrisons
Australia’s premiere bluegrass and alt-country band The Morrisons released their long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album this year and it has fast become one of my favourite album’s of ever. No one quite takes such a quintessentially American genre like bluegrass and passes it through the Australian lens in the way The Morrisons do. And it doesn’t hurt that individually each of The Morrisons is a master of their respective instrument making the album as technically brilliant as it is artistically brilliant.

Willie Watson
6. Willie WatsonFolksinger Vol. 2
Willie Watson’s exploration of America’s rich vein of traditional folk music continues with the second volume in his Folksinger series. Somehow he finds a way to take traditional and vintage folk and blues songs and modernise them without losing what makes them great songs to begin with. Watson treats this material with respect and reverance, almost taking a step back and letting each song speak for itself. When Willie Watson left Old Crow Medicine Show he expressed a desire to find a softer side of the folk genre, and that’s something he’s truly captured with Folksinger Vol. 2.

All Our Exes Live In Texas
7. All Our Exes Live In TexasWhen We Fall
Taking out this year’s ARIA for Best Blues and Roots Album was just the icing on the cake for what has been a massive year for All Our Exes Live In Texas. When We Fall is an album of fine songwriting, pitch perfect production and a true celebration of the four part harmony. Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney each bring a unique set of influences and musical styles to All Our Exes Live In Texas which somehow all blend together into something sublime. With the momentum on When We Fall expect All Our Exes Live In Texas to continue crushing it into 2018 and beyond

Laura Marling
8. Laura MarlingSemper Femina
Laura Marling goes deep on her exploration of the feminine and what it means to be a female artist. It’s amazing to watch Marling grow with every album she releases while never really losing track of what drew us all to her in the first place – beautifully written songs and masterful guitar work. Laura Marling truly is one of the greatest artists of our generation.

Charlie Fink
9. Charlie FinkCover My Tracks
My love for Cover My Tracks one hundred per cent stems from my nostalgia for Noah and The Whale’s 2009 concept album The First Days of Spring. Charlie Fink revisits the style and feeling from The First Days of Spring throughout his 2017 solo outing and it’s a welcome return to form for a songwriter that had definitely strayed a little far from his strengths towards the end of Noah and The Whale’s time, prefering a Springsteen-light pop sound to substantial, heart-on-his-sleeve songwriting. The album is raw, emotional, beautiful and heartbreaking – everything I want from a Charlie Fink record.

Packwood
10. PackwoodVertumnus
The culmination four seasonally focused EPs from the last couple of years, Vertumnus is a beautiful opus to the natural world. Packwood’s unique brand of chamber folk has reached its pinnacle with this record, filled with lush compositions and stunning musicianship. Bayden Hyne, along with his arrangers Tilman Robinson (orchestral) and Miriam Crellin (choral) have pefectly crafted each track on Vertumnus making the most of choirs, strings, pianos, finger-picked guitars and banjos and more to compliment Packwood’s trademark fragile vocal style. Taking this work out of the studio and onto the stage is an expensive undertaking but I still hold out hope that we’ll see Vertumnus live before too long.

Kasey Chambers
11. Kasey ChambersDragonfly
Kasey Chambers mixes things up on her latest double album working with two different producers – Paul Kelly and Nash Chambers – and collaborating with a diverse range of artists from multiple genres, resulting in one of her most interesting releases in recent years.

David Rawlings
12. David RawlingsPoor David’s Almanack
David Rawlings and Gillian Welch find a way to write original Americana songs that sound like traditional songs that have been re-discovered and updated for a modern audience – and why can’t I get “Money is the Meat in the Coconut” out of my head?

Billy Bragg
13. Billy BraggBridges Not Walls
Billy Bragg returns to his activist roots on this EP with his electric guitar turned up and his wit as sharp as ever.

Lisa Mitchell
14. Lisa MitchellWhen They Play That Song
Out of no where Australia’s queen of indie-folk delivers the sweetest covers EP of the year, with quirky takes on 90s favourites from Phantom Planet, Spice Girls, Placebo, Letters To Cleo and The Cardigans

Timothy James Bowen
15. Timothy James BowenBloom
Bloom bookends a couple of years of massive upheaval in Timothy James Bowen’s life, while capturing an artist at the peak of his powers as a singer and songwriter.

Husky
16. HuskyPunchbuzz
Husky continue to push the boundaries of their indie-folk sound with an album that borrows as much from eighties pop as it does from lyric-driven singer-songwriter music.

BATTS
17. BATTS62 Moons
Moving away from her electro-folk roots toward a stripped back sound has proven a success for BATTS who’s delivered an EP of really stunning songs.

Gretta Ziller
18. Gretta ZillerQueen of Boomtown
Gretta Ziller has delivered one of the best Americana albums of the year that deserves all the nominations, awards and accolades it will no doubt continue to receive over the coming months

Paul Kelly
19. Paul KellyLife Is Fine
After a couple of genre projects Paul Kelly returns with his most Paul Kelly album in recent memory, further cementing him as Australia’s greatest living songwriter.

Nick Mulvey
20. Nick MulveyWake Up Now
The English singer-songwriter continues to produce interesting, acoustic driven indie music full of weird guitar tunings, multi-tracked vocals and songs just waiting to hit a Hollywood soundtrack.

Emily Barker
21. Emily BarkerSweet Kind of Blue
Emily Barker deftly combines country, blues and folk styles, harkening back to a tradition while still producing a sound that is fresh and engaging.

Stu Larsen
22. Stu LarsenResolute
Australia’s favourite troubadour produces another album of straight up singer-songwriter gems documenting his travels around the world.

Lankum
23. LankumBetween The Earth & Sky
Lankum, the band formally known as Lynched, are producing some of the most raw traditional Irish music going around, complete with the thickest Dublin accent you’re likely to hear this year.

Old Crow Medicine Show
24. Old Crow Medicine Show50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde
Old Crow Medicine Show pay homage to Dylan with this live stringband version of the classic Blonde On Blonde

Johnny Flynn
25. Johnny FlynnSillion
An absolute gem of an album that sees Johnny Flynn’s distinctive voice and resonator front and centre, but a willingness to play with production a bit more than previous releases, adding more texture and nuance to each of the tracks.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 12th May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Ed Sheeran released the video to his trad-pop track “Galway Girl”. Details here

The Top Half Folk Festival announced it’s full 2017 lineup including The Ten Cent Shooters, Karen & Jacko, Rusty & the Infidels, Neil & Mel Phillips, Dave Oakes, Mary Flynn, Ted Egan, Bloodwood, Edan Baxter, Sally Balfour, Tony Suttor, Paul Stewart, Chris Pemberton, South Of Berrimah Line, Shamrock, Timber & Steel, Barney Foran, Bob Sharp, Phil Beck, Phil & Josh Gray, Ashlea Reale, Peter Bugden, Bob Barford, Ted & Carolynne Burns, Kirsty Robinson and Richard Gorter. Details here

– Melbourne based guitarist and singer-songwriter Justin Bernasconi announced details of his new album plus a bunch of upcoming tour dates. Details here

– New Hunter Valley event The Paddock Sessions announced their lineup including Imogen Clark, Abby Dobson, Joe Mungovan, Martha Marlow, This Way North, Vanishing Shapes, John Flanagan Trio, Finnian Johnson and many more. Details here

– Melbourne bluegrass and Americana duo The Weeping Willows released their new video “The Pale Rider”. Details here

– We premiered the new video from The Morrisons featuring Georgia Mooney (All Our Exes Live In Texas), “Long Time Travelling”. Details here

Husky announced tour dates through June and July. Details here

– Sydney duo Diamond Duck released their new single “Marry Me By The Sea”. Details here

Liz Stringer target=”_blank”>Liz Stringer has announced Big Tuesday String-a-Long featuring live conversations with the likes of Dr Lou Bennett, Deborah Conway, Neil Murray and Mick Thomas. Details here

Reviews

Gigs

“Welcome to Bluesfest, It’s Good Friday and the weather is glorious. Entering from Northern entrance, you’re greeted by an avenue of stalls and people with a vast and exciting line up ahead of you. It’s 12.30pm, the sun is overhead, you’ve got money on your RFID wrist band and the bars are plentiful! Taking a tour through the entire site, past the Juke Joint and Boomerang Stage, Delta Stage, past the enormous Mojo and Crossroad stages”KT Bell takes us through Friday of Bluesfest. Review here

“It’s Saturday and celebration day! Yes, we’re marking a birthday so today includes a sleep in and much frivolity throughout the day”KT Bell takes us through Saturday of Bluesfest. Review here

“It’s chocolate day! And as we enter through the Southern gates the sounds of Lloyd Spiegel making the crowd laugh with his tales welcomes us to another glorious day of Blues, before we can hear Spiegel breaking in to a blistering rendition of “Lucille”. It’s his last tune, so maybe we’ll catch him again tomorrow”KT Bell takes us through Sunday of Bluesfest. Review here

“It’s the final day of Bluesfest and emotions are a mixed bag of excitement for what ahead, sadness that it’s ending and a bit of relief from the continual stimulation and inspiration from so many amazing artists”KT Bell takes us through Monday of Bluesfest. Review here

Releases This Week

Bonnie Prince Billy
Best TroubadorBonnie “Prince” Billy
iTunes

Martha Tilston
NomadMartha Tilston
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Mae Trio

Mae Trio

The Mae Trio officially launch their new album Take Care, Take Cover in their home town of Melbourne at their dream venue The Thornbury Theatre.

Friday 12th May – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Adam Young, Sasha March
Saturday 13th May – Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Amber Lawrence & Catherine Britt w/ Fanny Lumsden
Saturday 13th May – Ettalong Diggers, Ettalong, NSW
Thursday 18th May – Loxton Club, Loxton, SA
Friday 19th May – Pretoria Hotel, Mannum, SA

Appalachian Heaven
Friday 12th May – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Sunday 14th May – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

Bluegrass Brunch feat. The Willing Ponies
Sunday 14th May – George Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Bob Evans
Friday 12th May – 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 13th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Brendon Moon
Saturday 13th May – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Burradise Festival
Friday 12th to Sunday 14th May – Culburra, NSW

Cash Savage & The Last Drinks
Friday 19th May – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD

Daniel Champagne
Friday 12th May – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 13th May – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 17th May – Republic Bar & Cafe, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 18th May – Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Friday 19th May – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, TAS

Davidson Brothers
Friday 12th May – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Saturday 13th May – Yinnar Hotel, Yinnar, VIC

Diamond Duck
Friday 12th May – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 13th May – 63 First Ave, Sawtell, NSW
Sunday 14th May – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW

Fairlight Folk feat. Lime and Steel, Datson Hughes, Jasmine Beth
Saturday 13th May – Fairlight Folk, Sydney, NSW

Finders Keepers Sydney
Friday 12th to Sunday 14th May – Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Jye Whiteman, Jannah Beth, Coast & Ocean
Wednesday 17th May – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

George Washingmachine & Peter Baylor Supper Club on Shakespeare
Friday 12th May – Carlton Scout Group, Melbourne, VIC

Get Folked Punk feat. Medusa’s Wake, Blackie, Isaac Graham
Thursday 18th May – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Harmaniax
Tuesday 16th May – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

Harvest Festival
Saturday 13th May – Bicentennial Park, Melbourne, VIC

Harvey Russell, Sasha March, Matt J Ward
Thursday 18th May – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Helen Shanahan
Saturday 13th May – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Hootenanny feat. Callum Wylie
Sunday 14th May – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

James Fahy, The Burley Griffin
Thursday 18th May – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

James Kenyon Trio w/ Nick Huggins, Ruth Lindsey, Tracey Hogue
Thursday 18th May – Tago Mago, Melbourne, VIC

Jayson Watkin
Sunday 14th May – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

Jeff Lang
Friday 12th May – The Agrestic, Orange, NSW
Saturday 13th May – The Gearin, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 18th May – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 19th May – Hardys Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW

John Flanagan Trio
Saturday 13th May – Commonground, Hilldene, VIC
Thursday 18th May – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 19th May – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 19th May – Basement Discs In-Store, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 19th May – Saint Monday, Yackandandah, VIC

Katie Harder
Saturday 13th May – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Kim Churchill
Thursday 18th May – Old Museum, Brisbane QLD
Friday 19th May – Meat Market, Melbourne VIC

Kingston Harvest Festival
Saturday 13th May – Bicentennial Park, Melbourne, VIC

Kirsty Bromley
Saturday 13th May – Humph Hall, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes and The Weeping Willows
Saturday 13th May – Palais Theatre, Franklin, TAS
Sunday 14th May – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Friday 19th May – Rooty Hill RSL, Sydney, NSW

Little Wise
Wednesday 17th May – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Man Of Constant Sorrow: The Music of O Brother Where Art Thou feat. The Morrisons, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Brian Campeau, Luke Escombe
Wednesday 17th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 18th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 19th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Mandy Connell w/ Fire in the Head
Sunday 14th May – Tago Mago, Melbourne, VIC

Mick Thomas
Friday 19th May – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Miss Eileen and King Lear w/ Ayleen O’Hanlon, Rich Davies, Forever Son
Thursday 18th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Nat Henry, Mitch Power & Andrew Swift
Friday 12th May – Skylark Room, Upwey, VIC

Peasant Moon
Saturday 13th May – Harvest Festival, Melbourne, VIC

Pierce Brothers
Thursday 18th May – Metro Lair, Sydney, NSW

Raised By Eagles
Friday 19th May – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Rise Above the Flood feat. Gyan, Dustyesky, Hussy Hicks, The Button Collective, Abbie Cardwell, Ben Wilson, Fingal, The Cassettes, Dustyesky
Friday 12th May – Byron Bay Community Theatre, Byron Bay, NSW

Rosie Burgess Trio
Friday 12th May – The Bottlerocket, Nowra, NSW
Saturday 13th May – Burradise Festival, Culburra, NSW
Sunday 14th May – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Rough River
Saturday 13th May – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

Round Mountain Girls
Saturday 13th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Sam Newton
Sunday 14th May – Blacksheep, Sydney, NSW

The April Family w/ Not Good With Horses
Thursday 18th May – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Button Collective
Saturday 13th May – Tanamon Soundscape, Wooli, NSW

The Dusty Millers
Sunday 14th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Mae Trio
Friday 12th May – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

The Man They Call The Banjo
Saturday 13th May – Melbourne, VIC

The McClymonts
Friday 12th May – Services Club, Young, NSW
Friday 19th May – Brothers Leagues Club, Cairns, QLD

The Peter Daffy & Luke Plumb Band
Saturday 13th May – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

The Pigs
Saturday 13th May – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

Tim Guy
Saturday 13th May – Charles Weston Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Tim Moxam & Liz Stringer
Friday 12th May – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 13th May – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC
Sunday 14th May – Saints and Sailors, Portarlington, VIC
Thursday 18th May – House Concert, Fremantle, WA
Friday 19th May – Bassendean Hotel, Perth, WA

Tim Solly
Friday 12th May – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 19th May – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Tony O’Rourke, Nine Mile Creek
Thursday 18th May – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

Totally Gourdgeous
Thursday 18th May – 303, Melbourne, VIC

Wild Honey, Golden Whistler
Friday 19th May – Macquarie Towns Music Club, Richmond, NSW

William Crighton
Friday 12th May – Leadbelly, Newtown, NSW
Saturday 13th May – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Wise Women: Mothers’ Day Concert feat. Louisa Wise, Lucy Wise, Ruth Wise and Rowena Wise
Sunday 14th May – Chalice Northcote Uniting Church Hall, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Generation Rent” – Megson

A timely track from the England duo that could very well have been written about the Australian experience of trying to save for a house.

Timber and Steel Premiere: Watch The Morrisons’ New Video “Long Time Travelling” feat. Georgia Mooney

The Morrisons
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

Ok, I may have just found my favourite video of 2017. Or maybe I’m just getting nostalgic for Sydney’s inner west. Either way you’re going to love “Long Time Travelling” from The Morrisons.

Shot in the back streets of Newtown and featuring the angelic harmonies of Georgia Mooney (All Our Exes Live In Texas), this a cappella track is taken from The Morrisons‘ recently released debut album.

“I love harmony singing! It’s my favourite thing to do in music,” Jimmy Daley from The Morrisons told Timber and Steel. “I wrote this song whilst traveling around China. I’m not sure where the tune came from but I’d just been humming it to myself the entire trip. The melody has a very pentatonic “asian” quality to it, perhaps it just seeped into my subconscious. We then went up to Inner Mongolia and the lyrics just poured out. It’s an incredible landscape but at the same time it’s marred by destruction and rapid urban development. Like the rest of China it’s a place of insane contrast. I remember sitting waiting for a bus and looking around me at this desolate construction site wasteland and seeing that just over the horizon cows and horses were roaming across the stunning Mongolian steppe the same way they had for centuries. The same grasslands on which Genghis Khan rode his horse. It was bizarre.”

Check out “Long Time Travelling” below:

The Morrisons are bringing their Man Of Constant Sorrow: The Music of O Brother Where Art Thou show featuring All Our Exes Live in Texas, Brian Campeau and Luke Escombe back to Sydney this month – dates are here:

Wednesday 17th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 18th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 19th May – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

The Morrisons Return With O Brother Where Art Thou? Tribute Shows

The Morrisons
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

Sydney pickers The Morrisons are heading to The Vanguard in Newtown in May for another round of O Brother Where Art Thou? tribute shows. The classic Coen Brothers film has inspired a generation of folk musicians and getting the chance to see iconic songs like “Man of Constant Sorrow”, “I’ll Fly Away” and “You Are My Sunshine” performed by musicians of The Morrisons’ calibre is not to be missed.

On the 6th, 7th and 8th May The Morrisons will be joined by local musicians Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Georgia Mooney, Hannah Crofts, Katie Wighton and Luke Escombe along with comedian Tommy Dean for Man Of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?. If you’re keen to get to one of these shows get in quick – tickets are selling fast. Check out The Vanguard’s official site for more details.

Interview: All Our Exes Live In Texas

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live In Texas

I count myself lucky that BIGSOUND this year gave me the opportunity to finally sit down with all four members of quartet All Our Exes Live In Texas in the same place. Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney are all celebrated singer-songwriters in their own right, dividing their time between their solo careers and their alt-country girl-group. I took the opportunity to chat to All Our Exes Live In Texas about how they juggle their different musical projects, playing soccer with their childhood crushes for their new film clip and how they’re feeling about their upcoming tour.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You guys started as a bit casual, “hey let’s just get together and play”, but there seems to have been a shift in the last few months towards making the project more focused. What’s fueled that decision.

Katie Wighton: I don’t think any of us were actively looking to make it a project. It was fun the first time we did it and then people kept asking us to play and then asking us to record a CD. Then we got a really great booking agent recently and he sort of made it a bit more serious. It’s still really fun and that’s kind of the main aim. We want to stay friends and we want to still have fun.

GHE: Do you now have to plan your writing and practicing sessions a bit better?

Hannah Crofts: We definitely recently have had heaps of shows we’ve had to work towards. A lot of the time when we practice I feel like it’s practicing for the next thing coming up. We want to write our album next year so we want to go away for a week and actually spend some time together.

GHE: Can I ask a little bit about the writing process. You’re all fantastic solo artists in your own right. How do you decide what’s going to be an Exes song and what’s going to be a solo song?

Georgia Mooney: I don’t know. It’s quite hard. I suppose our solo stuff is all slightly different in genre. We individually write songs and then we bring them in and then we workshop them together. And that’s really nice – having everybody’s input on your song and then being able to play other people’s songs. It’s a nice break from just doing your own slog.

GHE: And I guess the styles are different enough. If you feel like writing a country song or you feel like turning one of your songs into a country song you have the All Our Exes Live In Texas outlet.

GM: Sometimes we do our own songs and just kind of change them up. Rearrange.

HC: Reggae versions is my solo project.

GHE: I’ve seen you do some Exes songs in your solo set Hannah. And I think out of everyone here your solo stuff is the closest to All Our Exes Live In Texas?

HC: I think it’s just because I only know how to play three chords. I just write my songs with those three chords and bring in a three chord song set. [laughs] I think that’s probably why!

GHE: I know you’re out their promoting your solo stuff at the moment Elana which I don’t cover on Timber and Steel because it’s not really folky. How do you divide your time between Exes and your solo stuff.

Elana Stone: That is a horrible question.

GHE: Sorry!

KW: She doesn’t mean it’s a horrible question she means it’s a horrible feeling to have to do that.

ES: I guess I just have to do the most urgent things that I have to do. And I think lately these guys have been having to pull a bit more of my work load which is shit for them. Because I’m doing the solo thing, and we’re all self managed, it’s just so much work. And I guess I’ve spent a long time making this album now I really want to put it out in a good way. If anything I think what we all hope is that the Exes thing is a) a little vacation from our solo stuff and b) a little ticket to people’s awareness of our solo careers as well as with the band. We’re kind of hoping that the two things will kind of miraculously work together. Whether that actually happens or not we’re yet to discover.

KW: It’s cool though. I think it’s one of the best things about this project is that it doesn’t feel quite as lonely as our solo stuff.

HC: All sitting alone in our rooms writing songs about boys and crying.

KW: We’re four people all of whom are really keen and we love each other. It’s a project that we love rather than just one person really pushing their own bandwagon.

GHE: And you get to share the load as well. I talk to a lot of self managed artists and I know how much work it can be.

ES: The more you go to these sorts of conferences the more you realise just how much there is to do. Where do you become a creative person in the midst of all of that? It’s crazy.

KW: You need to delegate in such a big way and it’s vaguely more possible with four people. Like Hannah works in management and stuff so she’s a bit of a gun in that respect. It’s good to have different strengths that we sort of try to work to.

GHE: The new single is “Tell Me”. I really like that track. Is that the step towards an album.

GM: Yeah, it’s the first song.

ES: We’re going to try and do a few singles and then have the album out early next year.

HC: We have a video coming out where we play on a soccer team.

GHE: I’ve seen some stills from it. You’re playing against people like Lawrence Leung

GM: We got Phil Jamison! Hannah’s high school heart-throb.

HC: I was so nervous that when I met him I said “Hi I’m Han” and he said “Han?” and I said “…Nah”. And then I basically didn’t talk to him again after that.

KW: We had Jackson Gallagher from Home and Away who was exceptionally good at soccer.

GM: We all had fairly epic falls. It’s brutal. Hannah particularly get’s beaten up.

KW: It was quite funny because Jackson was like “we’ll do a slide tackle” and we were all like “oh yeah, a fake slide tackle”. But he was serious and did an actual serious slide tackle and Hannah went arse over tit.

GHE: Is the album going to be all original stuff or are you going to be breaking out the covers as well?

HC: Maybe one or two covers?

ES: I think we’re going to try and make it all originals.

KW: I think we’ve got enough originals to cull the covers.

GHE: Because you started as a cover band right?

GM: We started in a hurry. James Daley from The Morrisons organised this gig and said “you guys should be a girl band and you should do a 20 minute set”. I learned how to play the mandolin…

KW: Georgia bought a mandolin a month before the gig.

GM: And then we hurriedly got some songs together and we played one original.

KW: Which is fairly dodgy and I may not want to play it ever again.

HC: It’s our anthem! I even had the chords – C, D and A – written on my ukelele, stuck on the top, so I could remember how to play my ukulele.

KW: We’ve come far.

ES: We have come far. That gig was special though. We were really excited and really nervous and there was something really magical in the air.

GHE: I think I’ve seen Youtube clips of that gig.

GM: Oh god! I’ve deleted those now.

KW: I still feel like we played at a night of country music with these amazing guitarists – Miles Frazser who plays with The Morrisons who I was like “why am I playing before you? My guitar playing is just horrendous”. And now we had a gig where Miles was like “your guitar playing’s really great. You’re playing really well”. I nearly fell over. I’ve improved! When actual guitarists are saying you’re doing a good job it’s a good feeling.

GHE: You guys are heading out on tour as well. Are you excited about going out on tour?

HC: We’re starting to go into some regional areas. We’ve never played outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin before.

ES: We did play Brisbane.

HC: Yeah we did play Brisbane. But we’re starting to go to the regional areas of Australia.

GM: Like Ballarat!

ES: We’re really excited about touring. I think it’s going to be really fun. We’ll probably come back talking even worse than we talk now.

GHE: Well thank you for talking as much as you do now with me today.

HC: Thanks Gareth!

All Our Exes Live In Texas will be touring through October. Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 9th October – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 10th October – Main Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 11th October – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Sunday 12th October – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 15th October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 16th October – The Courthouse, Mullumbimby, NSW
Friday 17th October – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 18th October – Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Friday 24th October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 25th October – Katoomba RSL, Blue Mountains, NSW
Sunday 26th October – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT

The Morrisons’ Country and Inner Western Night Returns Next Week

Country and Inner Western
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

Next Wednesday night Sydney is set to come alive with the sounds of fiddles and banjos as The Morrisons descend on the Goodgod Small Club for their latest Country and Inner Western night.

Joining The Morrisons this time around will be a bunch of local folk, acoustic and alt-country heroes including Lucky Luke Webb (Lucky Luke and The Shooting Stars), Matt Gollan (The British Blues), Georgia Mooney (All Our Exes Live In Texas), Leroy Lee and The Button Collective. The night is guaranteed to be a rip-roarin’, boot-scootin’ night of folky goodness.

Country and Inner Western kicks off at Goodgod from 7.30pm next Wednesday the 24th September with tickets just $10 on the door. For more information check out the official Facebook event here

Interview: All Our Exes Live In Texas

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live in Texas

2013 has been a bumper year for Sydney all-girl alt-country super group All Our Exes Live in Texas and it looks like 2014 is going to be even bigger. We chatted to Georgia Mooney from the band about their gig tonight at the The Macquarie Hotel in Sydney.

Gareth Hugh Evans: For people who haven’t seen All Our Exes Live in Texas before, can you describe the type of music you play?

Georgia Mooney: We’re four ladies, playing guitar, mandolin, ukelele and accordion and all singing. It’s folk that’s a little bit old-timey, a little bit modern and full of four part harmony. The lovely thing about having four songwriters in the band is that you get lots of variation! It keeps things inspiring for us and hopefully interesting for the audience.

GHE: You’re playing tonight with Boy Outside and The British Blues – two bands with a very different take on folk and alt country to you. What do you enjoy about the music of your co-performers?

GM: We’re really looking forward to playing with these guys! I haven’t seen either of the bands play before but a little quality facebook stalking has led me to believe we’re in for a pretty special night. I’ve heard a lot of great things about The British Blues from friends and Boy Outside sounds just beautiful.

GHE: What can we expect from your set tonight – any new songs? Covers? Special guests? Reworking of old material?

GM: We’ll be playing songs from our recently recorded debut EP! There will be a couple of new songs, a couple of covers from some of our favourites, even a White Stripes song. Other than that, you’ll have to come and see!

GHE: I’m so excited that tonight’s gig is at The Raval – a venue that’s been sorely missed since it officially shut its doors. There seems to be a slight resurgence in venues in Sydney of late. How are you feeling about the local live scene?

GM: There does seem to be a resurgence in venues and that’s really exciting! There is so much good music here and it’s a very supportive scene amongst musicians, so it’s nice to have small bars opening up and valuing live music. I also think there’s been a bit of a folk resurgence which has led to music being performed in more creative, intimate spaces. I love all the house concerts that are happening now and the quirky little venues that are opening up.

GHE: What’s next for All Our Exes Live in Texas? What are the plans for 2014?

GM: At the moment we’re gearing up for our EP launches in Sydney and Melbourne! (December 5th at The Factory Floor and December 8th at The Toff in Town). Then we’re planning to do a month of songwriting, maybe a little band camp holiday if we’re lucky, before recording an album early next year then touring to America in the middle of the year. Lots to look forward to!

Boy Outside, All Our Exes Live in Texas, The British Blues and Cash Sisters DJs will be appearing at The Macquarie Hotel in Sydney tonight, Thursday 21st November. For full details check out the official Facebook invite here.

Country Roads Interview: Katie Wighton, All Our Exes Live In Texas

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live In Texas

This Thursday will see a homecoming of sorts with Sydney all girl super-group All Our Exes Live In Texas headlining Country Roads at The Oxford Art Factory – the same regular night they debuted at earlier this year. Made up of acclaimed singer-songwriters Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney, All Our Exes Live In Texas have spent 2013 building a solid fan base and wowing the local alt-country scene. We managed to catch five minutes with one quarter of the band, singer/guitarist Katie Wighton, to chat about the band with the best name in Australia.

Gareth Hugh Evans: All Our Exes Live In Texas is a Sydney indie supergroup – how’d you guys get together in the first place? And why country music?

Katie Wighton: How did we get together? A bottle of wine, a couple of episodes of HBO’s Girls, an accordion solo and bam! The band was born! We all fell in love with country music at different moments in our lives but I think the main attraction was the potential for some sweet, sweet harmonies. The song titles get us too – my personal favourite is “I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling.”

GHE: You do a lot of covers of country (and non-country) songs. How do All Our Exes Live In Texas choose the songs in your repertoire?

KW: Our first gig was quite frightening. Singing felt totally natural to all of us but instrumentally it was fairly confronting! George [Mooney] picked up her mando about a month before the gig and I’d only ever played guitar for about a minute, in my room, 10 years ago. So we decided to stick to songs we knew for that gig. Since then we’ve been writing a lot and so a good portion of our set now is made up of our originals. One of us will bring in a tune we’ve written or we think will suit us and then the four of us arrange it together. Our rehearsals are fairly productive – I’ve been named the benevolent dictator. But they do go well into the night and involve a lot of laughter, wine and episodes of whatever TV series we’re into at the time.

GHE: There seems to be a really vibrant country music scene in Sydney at the moment. I always ask this of country artists but why do you think this kind of music is appealing to audiences in Australia’s largest city?

KW: Oh me oh my, I have no idea! I mean it’s about time – the genre has been around for long enough. I think people always love a sing-a-long, all-in-together situation and country music practically begs for that. Loads of killer harmonies, sung to often hilarious lyrics and some real opportunities for daggy dancing. What’s not to love?!

GHE: One of your first gigs as a band (if not your first) was at the very first Country Roads night. How are you feeling about returning to the Country Roads stage in its new home at the Oxford Art Factory? What can the audience expect from your set?

KW: It was our first gig, yes! We are super excited about returning to the Country Roads stage. It was such a fun night last time I can only imagine it’ll be great this time too. As a band we have a really fun time and bliss out fairly hard when we sing together. Hopefully that’s what happens to the audience too!

GHE: I also hear a rumour that you’ve scored the July residency at Folk Club. That’s got to be pretty exciting?

KW: When Melinda [Kirwin, The Falls] asked us to do Folk Club in July we leapt at the chance. It’s such a great vibe down there and it has a reputation of hosting some seriously awesome artists. We’re also looking forward to a solid month of gigs. We’ve got some pretty exciting acts coming to play with us too!

GHE: Finally, do you have the best band name in Australia?

KW: I think it’s entirely possible! I have to admit, when the girls suggested it to me (I was in Brisbane at the time) I wrote a text back saying “I’m not sure … Got anything else?” I’m the first to admit I was so very wrong!

Catch All Our Exes Live In Texas at the Oxford Art Factory this Thursday for Country Roads – more info here.

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