The Inaugural Murwillumbah Country Roots Fest Announces Its Lineup

Kasey Chambers
Image Courtesy of Kasey Chambers

The brand new kid on the festival block is the Murwillumbah Country Roots Fest and judging by its inaugural lineup it will be making a big splash.

The Murwillumbah Country Roots Fest will this year be headlined by Kasey Chambers (above) as well as featuring a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites including The Audreys, Shane Howard, Archie Roach, Busby Marou, Bill Chambers, Henry Wagons, Pierce Brothers, Good Oak, The Davidson Brothers, Harry Hookey, The Wilson Pickers, Melody Pool, Karl S. Williams, Lachlan Bryan, Caitlin Harnett, The Mid North, Garett Kato, Katie Brianna, Sara Tindley, The Company, Mustered Courage, Gretta Ziller and many many more.

The festival will be held at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds in Northern NSW from the 2nd to 5th October this year. To get more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official web site here.

Interview: Busby Marou, Farewell Fitzroy

Busby Marou
Image Courtesy of Busby Marou

The last time I spoke to Busby Marou they were backstage at the Blue Mountains Folk Festival, having a couple of beers and talking about their love of Justin Townes Earle. Fast forward two and a half years and the due from Rockhampton have released their debut album to critical acclaim, have had national airplay and countless TV appearances, have toured up and down the country and are about to do it all again for album number two.

So I thought it was about time to sit down with Thomas Busby from the band and chat about everything that’s been happening to them over the last couple of years and where they’re going from here.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Obviously we’re here to talk about your new album today which is very exciting. Farewell Fitzroy is it’s name and it’s coming out on Friday the 4th October.

Thomas Busby: It’s very exciting – can’t wait.

GHE: It feels like your self titled debut album was around for a while as you guys toured it and got exposure. How does it feel to finally have something new to put out there?

TB: Oh mate, it’s refreshing to be honest. We’re very proud of that first album. We did it all on our own, no help, up in Rocky [Rockhampton, QLD] with our producer. He helped us but we had no band, we just relied on Jeremy [Marou]’s ability to do what we could. Since then we’ve just grown as musicians – not only improved on the instruments themselves and the songwriter but just on stage. It feels so much more like home to us. It feels like when we were just starting out as kids, playing at the Oxford [Hotel, Rockhampton] singing covers and whatever. That’s how it kind of feels now – every gig we’re playing to friends. It does feel like we’ve come a long way and hopefully we’ve got a long way to go after this.

GHE: I read that you guys no longer consider yourself a duo – you’re a band now and that comes through on the new record right?

TB: Pretty much. Jeremy and I have got a lot more on our plate than the other boys do – and we want that. We’ve got a bit more variety and diversity now to be able to y’know … if we’re feeling the crowd want more him and I we’ll kick the boys off to go and have a beer and then we go back to just the two of us. And they respect that, the boys in the band. But at the end of the day it’s more like a family with us and they’re not going anywhere even if they wanted to. They’ve helped us to get where we are and they’d go to hell and back for us.

GHE: Speaking of the album, you recorded this in Nashville which is a) very cool in itself and then b) you recorded it with Brad Jones who among other people has worked with Justin Townes Earle. I know Justin Townes Earle is an idol of yours – you were so excited to see him at the Blue Mountains Folk Festival last time I interviewed you…

TB: I ended up missing him there!

GHE: Geez!

TB: But I’ve seen him about three times since. And not only has [Brad Jones] worked with Justin Townes Earle, it sounds like he kind of grew up with him, as a father figure to him. He played in Steve Earle’s band, played a bit of bass with them from time to time. So he’s got a great track record of people he’s worked with like Josh Rouse and Bob Evans – that was a big tip to go towards Brad because I love what he did Bob Evans. I was just so impressed with how, well one he could write a good folk song, but then how it was put on tape with this most simple yet straight to the heart. [Brad Jones] managed to get the absolute real honesty out of him and I love that and that’s what I wanted out of us. Some times in the past people have been critical about loving us live but on our album you can’t really hear that. And that was because Jeremy and I did it ourselves. But now we’ve got this full band and we tracked everything live over there with Brad.

He would turn his head from time to time, pretending that we weren’t tracking vocals as I was singing live, I thought I was just doing guide vocals for the boys, but he was actually recording them as the real vocals. Then when I’d go back to record the actual vocals which I thought I was going to do he’s go “sorry mate, we’ve already tracked them. Have a listen”. And I was always saying “no no I could sing so much better and you could probably but a tiny bit of effect on my voice here and there” and he’d go “no, I’m only capturing the real time Busby, didn’t we discuss this?”. We had him there pushing me in that direction I wanted to go – I wanted us to sound honest, I wanted us to sound like we do with this real band like we are on stage. And it is, we tracked everything live with our real band.

GHE: It sounds like you went to Nashville with a very clear idea of the sound you wanted to capture and Brad Jones kept you in line.

TB: Yeah. He just wanted us to have fun, get in and do what we do. Fortunately for us we’ve got an incredible rhythm section and a great keyboardest so they really drove us along and brought out the best in both Jeremy and myself.

GHE: And are you proud of the finished product?

TB: Absolutely. I’m very excited. I stopped listening to the album a little while ago. Occasionally I’ll see it there and spin one or two tracks but I want to start again with everyone else. When it [comes out] I’ll start listening with everyone else to feel like it’s new for me as well. And the growth of the band is so obvious. To decide what the second single is – I think there’s been about five or six different songs chosen. And we’re just happy about playing them live mainly. We’re just so happy to have this new material that’s just got this banging beat but still has a splash of Busby Marou – the real honest guitars and harmonies.

GHE: I’m glad you’re maintaining that typical Busby Marou sound – it’s what you guys are known for and it’s what I love in your music. I’m excited to hear the full band sound – anytime I’ve seen you guys it’s been in duo mode.

TB: We played a lot for a while with friends who were just helping us out. We kind of needed new musos to play around us. Jeremy and I, we’ve never been the ones to be “we’re going to do this now, we’re going to rehearse”. We’ve never rehearsed once. We just need to be able to do what we do and have them be good enough to just follow us and push us in a direction here and there. That’s what they do and that’s why our live shows are never the same – you never know what you’re going to get. It’s always got that strong element of a band but Jeremy and I always will know the importance of us just coming out and singing a few acoustic songs because, well, I love that too.

GHE: Obviously you’ll have a lot of time to rehearse on stage because you have a massive tour starting this month that’s going just everywhere.

TB: It is full on. I’m just starting to realise the workload. I finished recording the album which has bits and pieces coming up, all the promo kicking into goal. I’m also in a garage-folk band with the blokes I live with called Good Oak and it just so happens that we’re on tour right now and then we’re doing a Cat Empire support tour and then I’m going from that to the Busby Marou tour. I thought I’d be fine – which I will be – but I’m starting to realise that if you want to be a musician you work hard. And you’ve got to look after yourself as well. You can’t just have fun all the time, although you want to, particularly for Busby Marou I want to make sure I’m fresh and ready to go.

GHE: Some people don’t realise that being a musician isn’t just turning up on the night and playing. There’s a whole bunch of effort that goes into coordinating tours and making sure you’re rested enough that you give a good performance. It’s more than a full time job, it’s a lifestyle.

TB: It’s a complete lifestyle. I used to get in trouble from my old man for not getting up early and things like that – he’s one of those old school builders that gets up at 4:30 and anyone who get’s up after 5:00 is bludging. My old man knows how hard I work now just by the fact that when I do go home he just keeps telling me to rest. It’s not the late nights or being on the drink it’s just the lifestyle – it’s a night time job, that’s when you’re performing, that’s only one hour you’re on stage for but you really start working from breakfast radio on, leading up to the gig. It’s the lack of sleep that can hurt us half the time. But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t absolutely love it.

GHE: And that’s what’s going to keep driving you as well. Also with this tour I’m really chuffed that you guys make sure you still head up to Far North Queensland and do a bunch shows up there – you haven’t just stuck to the southern cities now that you have national airplay and a bit of a following. It’s nice you’re hitting MacKay and Townsville and Cairns and those sorts of places.

TB: Well to be honest, we’d do that regardless anyway, but most of the time they’re our best crowds. They’re our biggest crowds – Rocky is a guaranteed sell out generally for us, getting the home town behind us. But we played a lot of football growing up and other things so all these people, whether you know them or they’re a friend of a friend of a friend, in MacKay, Townsville, Cairns you get there and you just seem to know everyone.

GHE: It’s nice you can still have a connection to your home town. It’s great you still get up there.

TB: And we’ll continue to do so for the rest of our musical careers.

GHE: So just finally I’m guessing once the tour is done we’re about to head into festival season – is that something you guys are going to jump on top of?

TB: Definitely. The idea at this stage is to do this big first tour to kick us off, let everyone know we’re back with a bit of a vengeance, then December/January is the festival kind of season and I know there’s some things penciled in there and I hope we’ll get some more – I don’t think anything’s been officially announced. Then we’re doing a summer run – dates for that haven’t been announced yet but we did that last year and I think we’re going to try and do an annual thing where we do little holiday towns. Just strip it back, play the smaller venues and do the holiday vibe. Then we’ll finish that and I get married in March.

GHE: Congrats!

TB: That’s weird to say out loud. Finally growing up! And then hopefully we’re back on the blues circuit with some big supports. Then the plan of attack is to hit a bit of New Zealand, Canada and make it over to the States – I don’t know when and where that will be and thankfully I don’t have to organise. I just have to be there at the right time and place.

GHE: I must be a nice feeling to know you’re at a point now where someone else has to sweat the little stuff.

TB: Yeah. Otherwise we’d just be playing in Rocky every second week doing Sonia Dada covers.

GHE: Well thank you so much for having a chat to us today.

TB: Cheers mate.

Farewell Fitzroy is out this Friday 4th October. The full list of dates for the upcoming Busby Marou tour are below:

Saturday 12th October – Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton, QLD
Thursday 24th October – The Soundlodge, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 25th October – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 26th October – The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Thursday 7th November – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra, ACT
Friday 8th November – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 9th November – The Standard, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 10th November – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Wednesday 13th November – Mecc North Foyer, Mackay, QLD
Friday 15th November – Flinders Social, Townsville, QLD
Saturday 16th November – Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, QLD
Friday 22nd November – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 23rd November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 29th November – Fowlers, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 30th November – Fly By Night, Freemantle, WA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 17th May


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne’s John Flanagan & The Begin Agains have released their brand new video for the track “Autumn Song”. Details here

Achoo! Bless You have managed to find the time during their current east coast tour to release their new video “No Way Of Knowing”. Details here

Thelma Plum has announced plans for a national tour this July. Details here

– The first lineup announcement for the 2013 JamGrass Music Festival reads like a who’s who of Timber and Steel favourites – Patt and Possum (USA), The Company, The Steamgrass Boys, The Green Mohair Suits, Papa Pilko & The Binrats, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Hardrive Bluegrass Band, Strzelecki Stringbusters, James Kenyon and John Flanagan & The Begin Agains. Details here

Communion Melbourne have revealed the lineup for their May show this Sunday including Five Mile Town, Garrett Kato, Miles and Simone, Sean O’Neill and Zack Buchanan. Details here

– UK troubadour Johnny Flynn is making a welcome return to the musical stage after a couple of years concentrating on his acting career – and he’s got an brand new song to share. Details here

– Tom Busby’s (Busby Marou) Americana side-project Good Oak has a new video for “The Bear Song”. Details here

Tom West plays in Adelaide folk band Traveller and Fortune but has a solo project as well – and he’s just released his new single “Jonathan’s Farm” with a tour to go along with it. Details here

Laura Marling has announced a Heavenly Sounds tour as her Splendour in the Grass sideshows. Details here

– Speaking of Laura Marling, there’s a lovely video of her and Eddie Berman covering Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” online at the moment. Details here

– Experimental folk six piece Tunng have revealed plans to release a new album as well as sharing the first single. Details here

– Next weekend monthly Sydney folk night Little Features turns one and they’re celebrating with an amazing lineup – Mark Bulmer, Colin Jones, Arbori, Charlie Gradon, Bec Sandridge and Yetis. Details here

– After attributing the wrong video to Emily Barker last week (so embarrassing) we’re making up for it by posting her new video “Dear River”. Details here


“It’s almost like we’re getting used to playing in the duo form again. It’s almost as though we have to simplify everything. We’re so used to playing with a band now because we’ve been doing so for the last six months – and it’s been so fun playing with those guys – at the same time it’s really cool to challenge ourselves as a duo”Patrick James chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“Finding an opportunity to bail Jeff up in the green room (ie the grass behind the tent), Bill whipped out the all-terrain microphone and quizzed Jeff on the sound matter, among others”Jeff Lang chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“The tour has been amazing so far. Kicking off in Sydney in front of our buddies was so rad. It was a real high point for us as a band. It’s so easy when your touring with good mates and sick bands. We have just been losing our shit to each others each night, too fun”The Mountains chat to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“I think it has something to do with our longing for a more simplistic life, something to do with a bunch of the younger city kids actually coming from rural areas, and something to do with the music just being honest, tuneful, and great to dance and drink to”Lucky Luke chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Spotlight On

Winter Mountain

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a solid male duo on the scene. With boots to fill of the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, these two manage to blend their voices in delicious harmonies, complementing their emotive melodies quite simply but effectively, while still retaining their young and contemporary vibe. It’s kind of like Indie-folk without actually stepping into the indie realm”KTBell profiles Winter Mountain. Spotlight here


“Suddenly, there seem to be people everywhere crowd-funding. I’ve just become one of those people. But we’re all still learning about it. I’m half-way through a 30 day crowd-funding campaign for my new record, and even though they’ve helped multitudes of people raise over $10 million in crowd-funding, even the directors of Pozible, an Australian crowd-funding platform, can’t be sure whether my campaign will succeed”Rose Wintergreen talks Crowd Funding in the first of a four part series. Blog here



“As soon as this a capella vocal trio started to sing, the room was reduced to complete silence. Unaccompanied, these three talented young women use their voices as diverse instruments, using harmonies, percussive sounds, ooo’s, ahh’s and combined with hand percussion create a sweet, full sound”Hannah Acfield reviews the album launch from Aluka. Review here

Releases This Week

Bright Sunny South
Bright Sunny SouthSam Amidon

Timber and Steel Presents

The Stillsons
The Stillsons with Little Wise, Victoriana Gaye
Sunday 19th May – The Worker’s Club, Fitzroy, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Gigs Next Week

Achoo! Bless You and The Mountains
Friday 17th May – Woody’s Surf Shack, Byron Bay, NSW
Wednesday 22nd May – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW

Bob Evans
Friday 17th May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 18th May – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC

Communion Melbourne feat. Five Mile Town, Garrett Kato, Miles and Simone, Sean O’Neill, Zack Buchanan
Sunday 19th May – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Good Oak
Thursday 23rd May – Gov’s Espresso, Mermaid Beach, QLD
Friday 24th May – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW

Matt Corby with Grace Woodroofe
Thursday 23rd May – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA

MoFo Speakeasy feat. The Rusty Spring Syncopators, Hayfever
Saturday 18th May – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Mustered Courage
Friday 17th May – Coogee Diggers, Coogee, NSW
Saturday 18th May – Karuah Music Festival, Karuah, NSW
Sunday 19th May – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 24th May – The Polish Club, Canberra, ACT

Sarah Humphreys
Saturday 18th May – Lizotte’s Kincumber, Kincumber, NSW

The Starry Field (solo)
Friday 17th May – Jet Black Cat Records, West End, QLD
Saturday 18th May – Pure Pop Records, St Kilda, VIC
Sunday 19th May – The Newsagency, Sydney NSW

The Stillsons
Saturday 18th May – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 19th May – The Worker’s Club, Fitzroy, VIC

Tom West
Sunday 19th May – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Friday Folk Flashback

“As I Roved Out” – Planxty (Christy Moore’s version)

I love how songs, both contemporary and traditional, evolve and change in the world of folk music. I’ve been listening to Sam Amidon’s new album Bright Sunny South and his version of “As I Roved Out” which led me back to the version I know best from Christy Moore and Planxty. They’re so different from each other they could be completely different songs. And they’re both amazing – great stuff!

New Good Oak Video, “The Bear Song”

Good Oak
Image Courtesy of Good Oak

Apparently Good Oak is the result of a drunken joke between Tom Busby (Busby Marou) and his housemates Stephen Ryan and Brett Gibson but has morphed into quite an interesting Americana-infused side project. The band launched their debut self-titled EP last month and have just kicked off a tour to support the new single “The Bear Song”.

Speaking of “The Bear Song”, there’s also a brand new video to go along with the single:

The remaining tour dates for Good Oak are below – make sure you check these guys out soon:

Thursday 23rd May – Gov’s Espresso, Mermaid Beach, QLD
Friday 24th May – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Saturday 25th May – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 26th May – Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour, NSW

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