Review:Riverboats Music Festival

Brian Nankervis-7
Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

Here at Timber and Steel, we’ve been to a fair few festivals. From huge national events, to small and intimate gatherings celebrating local. For quite some time, The Riverboats Music Festival on the Victorian border has been on our radar, and 2020 was the year we made the trek.

We are used to Folk Festivals being set on gorgeous land with camping facilities and asense of remoteness. The Riverboats Music Festival however is nestled in the center of bustling Echuca in a natural reserve come ampitheatre. With modern accommodations surrounding the venue, a strong local supporter base, and performer curation to die for, the festival clearly is on a winning ticket. See our full gallery on our Facebook page, and read on for our full review.

Welcome to Country-3

We were welcomed on Friday with the caress of the afternoon sun and a Welcome to Country that gave a great account of Yorta Yorta country and its history, delivering a friendly warm welcome in local language. The festival kicked off with the Americana stylings of charismatic Matt Joe Gow. He wowed the crowd with an assortment of pieces, changing pace and rhythm to mix things up, sliding some blues in and telling great stories and tales of how songs came to life between. Amongst his tales, the truth behind Break Rattle and Roll lit up the crowd as the favourite track echoed across the space. A perfect opening to a weekend of great music.


Dyson Stringer Cloher-11

Next was a delight, surprise, and treat wrapped in one – Dyson Stringer Cloher, the trio made up of Jen Cloher, Mia Dyson, and Liz Stringer. Dusting off their 2013 collaboration project, and bringing recent debut album to life on stage, the exceptional trio were a vision in technicolour. In fact, if The Wiggles were an all female indie band, this would be it. Their clever multi-layered vocals complimented the inspired guitar, creating rich captivating aural textures. Their beautiful harmonies reflected the beauty of the setting sunbeams shining through the leafy green glen. Sultry harmony soaked ballads slipped innocently between upbeat indie fun times, and the stage was set for the night.

To round out the opening night of the three-day festival, Country star Troy Cassar-Daley made his own dreams come true, finally taking to the Riverboats stage. He was at once friendly, yet charismatic, filling the stage with his presence. The set revolved around his storytelling prowess, drawing upon his family heritage to weave musical magic. He played both instrument and audience perfectly, switching from country to blues, kicking up in to higher gears, bringing the tone back down with harmonica trills, and the audience singing along.Troy Cassar-Daley-2

Saturday morning brought a number of options for festival goers – the morning was full of sideshows on the water, with one-hour riverboat cruises. But the main gates and festival tunes kicked off in the early afternoon with delightfully insightful Ainslie Wills. Performing as a 3 piece, the clear, scintillating harmonized duet reached out grabbed attention. Storytelling intertwined with her own musical style uncovered tricky relationships past, fear of missing out, and treated the crowd finishing with Triple J hit favourite I Blame Society.

Hailing from Go-Betweens fame, Robert Forster’s presence on stage filled the ampitheatre with an indisputable warmth. Working alongside talented musicians, the troubadour was revealed as tales tall or true build vivid imaginings whether a scandal or a flood, a secret rendezvous, the stories unraveled in front of a willing crowd, with a big  city dreams flowing.

Horns Of Leroy Feat. Thando-9Switching gears, the Horns of Leroy, featuring Thando turned the energy up to 11. With their own take on nostalgic track Dancing in the Moonlight, they serenaded the newly wed couple who chose the Festival as their wedding reception location! The party was truly started as combos of instrumentals, smooth vocal tracks, sassy blues, hit covers, hip hop and rap, soul, blues and more and big booming voices got the crowd up and grooving. They delivered a toe tapping, head nodding good time from start to finish. The clincher was the finish, a rendition of I Wanna Dance with Somebody, and the entire festival singing along word for word.

Mama Kin Spender-7

Two long-time friends made their festival debut together as Mama Kin Spender. Mama Kin, and Tommy Spender have a stripped back duo style that allows music to rattle, roll and tremble forth. They knew how to whip up a crowd, bringing a soulful opening, punctuated with clever harmonies and snippets of sass. Their spellbinding on stage rapport was elevated by the amazing 15 piece choir on stage throughout to bolster and support their music to deliver moving moody melodies alongside a playful, eclectic, inclusive and engaging repertoire of rejoicing in song.

As the night set in, Something for Kate took to the stage amongst rapturous applause. Opening with Electricity, it was an apt description as the crowd quickly swelling to see nostalgic favourites and Paul Dempsey in the lead did not disappoint. They kept the energy going, moving in to Echolalia much to everyone’s delight, and then delivering new album tracks that had the unmistakable, iconic sound and emotive edge we’ve come to know and love from Something for Kate. Using a haunting red stage lighting, Stop had the crowd enraptured, before rounding out their set with a rousing performance of Captain.

Something For Kate-15

As the night came closer to an end, the much anticipated performance of the night was finally here. Bernard Fanning took to the stage to huge applause and enthusiastic crowds waiting to sing the night away. He was in fine form, warm yet rugged, and a knowing look in his eye, ready to take us all on a journey. A robust musical tone, strong and vibrant, built an anticipation and eagerness as the musicians melded their prowess in to an all round satisfying and comforting blanket of music. Highlights of course included an emphatic Songbird, the set was a walk down memory lane as Day You Come, and Wish You Well particularly carried the crowd on a tide of good wishes.



Mama Kin Spender-16

Sunday morning saw the customary festival breakfast treat the crowds who snapped up tickets to see some of the festival acts do it all again in a more intimate setting offsite.

As the Festival proper kicked off late morning, the somewhat smaller crowd (perhaps some sore heads from the night before) gathered to appreciate the dulcet tones of Jess Locke. Her mellow tunes were a perfect, lilting, comforting way to wake up to the final day, her style not dissimilar to Julia Jacklin (appropriate given she toured with Jackiln), had an understated passion and vibrancy to enliven the day.

Bob Evans-7

Bob Evans received a very warm welcome from the crowd as he took to the stage, his set eagerly anticipated. His quintessential rapport with the audience, with nothing but his acoustic guitar and wit set his charisma filled set on fire. With backing from violin punctuating through the gum-scented air, the singalong was strong and a happy crowd lapped up every reminiscent note that hung in the air.

Australian music royalty took to the stage, filling the audience with reverence and anticipation. Archie Roach’s magical storytelling took the crowd on a journey through different times, both dreamtime and modern, with dreamlike qualities to transport the mind, heart and soul. A passionate and engaged crowd lapped up every moment, giving Roach attention and energy to uplift his voice. It’s no surprised his set ended to a standing ovation.

Kate Miller-Heidke-5As the sun started to shine through the trees, signaling the impending sunset, the final act of the festival, probably the most anticipated performance took to the stage. Kate Miller-Heidke, to rapturous applause took her place on stage and beamed just as brightly as the sunbeams soaking her in gold hues. A lively set full of energy to the biggest crowd really was the most magnificent end to a weekend full of mirth and joy. Miller-Heidke’s set was laced with all the big songs you wanted to hear, and her genuinely delightful demeanour and powerhouse performance had every set of eyes glued to the stage. Her set transitioned from slow and insightful to upbeat and poppy, adding a lively breath of fresh air to the ampitheatre and every attention was captured by her mesmerizing vocals. Zero Gravity was of course the finale and was every bit as breathtaking as the audience had hoped. A stellar performance that absolutely stole the show.

All in all, Riverboats Music Festival is probably the most comfortable festival to attend – accommodation is nearby, the venue is easy to navigate and facilities excellent. The curation of the line up ensures a great variety of complimentary acts. MC Brian Nankervis of RocKwiz fame kept acts rolling and entertainment between sets going – never have we seen so much dedication from a crowd to either quiz answers or a Frisbee competition.Brian Nankervis-3

With programming allowing late starts so festival goers can appreciate surrounding businesses is a great way to integrate the local community in to the whole weekend vibe, it’s like all of Echuca is the festival, not just the grounds. No doubt the 2021 line up is going to be just as great (but we won’t know what it looks like until 12 October), and the die hards with their chairs for the central ‘island’ will be there bright and early each day to secure their best position – so be sure to get your tickets early, make your way along to pick a spot, set yourself up for a full weekend of great music, no matter who is on stage.


Thank Folk It’s Friday – 27th February


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

The National Folk Festival revealed their full 2015 lineup including headliners Bob Fox and The Outside Track. Details here

The Audreys announced a national tour through March and April. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Andrew Swift released his new video “Sound The Alarm”. Details here

Sean Watkins revealed his cover of “Banks of the Ohio” featuring Fiona Apple. Details here

All Our Exes Live In Texas released their new single “Sailboat”. Details here

– Adelaide singer-songwriter Timberwolf released his new single “Fallen Sun”. Details here

– We got full details of the new Joe Pug album Windfall. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Jess Locke announced a tour to support her album release. Details here

Steve Smyth and The Outlaws have announced a national headline tour. Details here

– Indie-folk icon Matthew E. White has announced plans for his new album Fresh Blood. Details here

– Country singer Aleyce Simmonds released her new video “Joshua”. Details here

Old Crow Medicine Show released their new video “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer”. Details here

– The Lucy Wise Trio announced plans to release their new EP A Painting of the Universe next month. Details here

– Alt-country singer Davey Craddock released his new single “Better Alone”. Details here

– Irish trad singer and musician Nuala Kennedy announced her Australian tour dates. Details here

– Victorian singer Harrison Storm released his new single “Be Yourself” which was produced by Timber and Steel favourite Hayden Calnin. Details here

Releases This Week

Tomorrow Will Follow Today
Tomorrow Will Follow TodayKathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

And The War Came
And The War CameShakey Graves

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Cobargo Folk Festival


Nestled on the NSW South Coast the Cobargo Folk Festival has built itself a reputation as one of the best small festivals in the country. This year will feature the likes of Archie Roach, Ken Nicol, Daniel Champagne, Ann Vriend, Folklore, Heartstring Quartet, The Bon Scotts and many more.

Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Cobargo, NSW

Gigs Next Week

All Our Exes Live In Texas
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC

Angus and Julia Stone
Friday 27th February – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 28th February – Odeon Theatre, Hobart, TAS

Ann Vriend
Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Cobargo Folk Festival, NSW

April Maze
Saturday 28th February – Northcote Uniting Church Town Hall, Melbourne, VIC

Brunswick Music Festival
Sunday 1st to Sunday 15th March – Brunswick, VIC

Cobargo Folk Festival
Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Cobargo, NSW

Conor Oberst with The Felice Brothers
Saturday 28th February – Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne VIC
Wednesday 4th March – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 5th March – Anitas, Thirroul, NSW
Friday 6th March – Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW

CW Stoneking
Friday 27th February – The Substation, Newport, VIC
Saturday 28th February – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 1st March – The Memo, Healesville, VIC

Darren Hanlon
Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Nannup Festival, WA
Monday 2nd March – Mojos Bar, Freemantle, WA
Tuesday 5th March – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th March – Panama Festival, TAS

Davey Craddock
Wednesday 4th March – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

First Aid Kit
Friday 6th March – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Frances Folk Gathering
Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Frances, SA

Heartstring Quartet
Friday 27th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th February – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Sunday 1st March – Cobargo Folk Festival, Cobargo, NSW
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, VIC

Saturday 28th February and Sunday 1st March – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup, WA

Jess Locke
Friday 6th March – Blackwire Records, Sydney, NSW

John Flanagan
Thursday 5th March – The Tree House, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 6th March – Upfront Bar, Maleny, QLD

Jordie Lane
Friday 27th February – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 28th February to Monday 2nd March – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup, WA
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC

Kim Richey
Friday 27th February to Monday 2nd March – Nannup Music Festival, WA
Thursday 5th March – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 6th March – Lizotte’s, Kincumber, NSW

Lake Street Dive
Friday 27th February – Enlighten Festival, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 28th February – Secret Garden Festival, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 3rd March – Perth Festival, Perth, WA
Wednesday 4th March – Perth Festival, Albany WA
Friday 6th March – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan VIC

Little Bastard
Thursday 5th March – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 6th March – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

Little Features feat. Jacob Pearson, Hannah Robinson, Vanessa Caspersz, Josh Chamberlin
Saturday 28th February – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Lucy Wise Trio
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC

Nannup Music Festival
Friday 27th February to Monday 2nd March – Nannup, WA

Port Fairy Folk Festival
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy, VIC

Richard Thompson
Wednesday 4th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 5th March – Adelaide Festival, Adelaide, SA

Rowena Wise
Friday 27th February – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 28th February to Monday 2nd March – Nannup Music Festival, WA

Rufus Wainwright
Wednesday 4th March – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Ruth Moody
Friday 27th February – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 28th Feruary and Sunday 1st March – Nannup Folk Festival, WA
Wednesday 4th March – Melbourne Folk Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 5th March – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival

Sam Buckingham
Saturday 28th February to Sunday 1st March – Nannup Folk Festival, Nannup, WA
Thursday 5th March – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW

Shakey Graves with Shovels and Rope
Wednesday 4th March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 5th March – The Factory, Sydney, NSW
Friday 6th March – Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Skyscraper Stan And The Commission Flats
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC

Steve Smyth
Saturday 28th February – Secret Garden Festival, Sydney, NSW
Friday 6th March – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC

Sweet Jean
Saturday 28th February – Between the Bays Festival, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

The Felice Brothers
Sunday 1st March – Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

The Melbourne Folk Club feat. Ruth Moody & Band, Scott Cook, Nadia Reid
Wednesday 4th March – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Friday 27th February – The Odd Fellow, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 28th February – Nannup Festival, Nannup, WA

Vance Joy
Thursday 5th March – Arts Centre, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 6th March – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“The False Knight on the Road” – Fleet Foxes

I love it when indie-folk bands show their “folk cred” by releasing versions of traditional songs. Many Fleet Foxes fans don’t even realise that “The False Knight on the Road” is a traditional (from the Child Ballads) as it fits so well with their original material. Such a great version of this song – very reminiscent of the Tim Hart and Maddy Prior version.

Jess Locke Announces Album Launch Tour

Jess Locke
Image Courtesy of Jess Locke

We’re super excited that Melbourne singer-songwriter Jess Locke has a brand new album, Words That Seem To Slip Away, due on the 5th March. And we’re doubley excited that she’s planning an east coast tour, taking Locke to Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Melboure through the first half of March.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Friday 6th March – Blackwire Records, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 7th March – Hamilton Hotel Station, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 8th March – House Show, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th March – The End, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 15th March – House Show, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 19th March – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 30th January


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– London based Australian singer-songwriter Emily Barker has announced a new solo album The Toerag Sessions. Details here

Timothy James Bowen released his new video “Let Me Be Your Fire”. Details here

First Aid Kit released their new video “Master Pretender”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Jess Locke released her new video “Change The Sheets” from her forthcoming album Words That Seem To Slip Away. Details here

Bear’s Den have released their new video “Think of England”. Details here

– Bluegrassers The Pigs released their new video “You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed” featuring Fanny Lumsden and Red Symons. Details here

– English husband-wife duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman released their video for the track “Child Owlet”. Details here

Brad Butcher confirmed his new album Jamestown will be out in March along with dates for a national tour. Details here

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations have announced a new album plus dates for a national tour. Details here

The Wild Comforts released their new video “Better Off Dead”. Details here

– UK four-piece Stornoway have released the video for “The Road You Didn’t Take” along with details of their new album. Details here

– Perth Bluegrassers The Seals have announced their plans to finish up this year but not before a final show in their hometown. Details here

– English folk darling Bella Hardy has announced her new album With The Dawn. Details here

– Sydney old-timey three-piece Catgut are streaming their new album Flying Spiders Over Texas online. Details here

The National Folk Festival added more artists to its 2015 including Kutcha Edwards, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, the Djaadjawan Dancers, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Shane Howard, Christopher Coleman Collective, Restless Legs, The Button Collective, Folklore, Lime and Steel, The String Contingent and many more. Details here

– Sydney duo Winterbourne have announced their first ever national headline tour. Details here

Darren Hanlon has announced details of his new album Where Did You Come From? as well as a national tour this March and April. Details here



“One House is an outstanding release from one of the true rising stars of the Australian folk scene. A completely contemporary folk album that is rooted heavily in the tradition, One House is Tolka at the peak of their powers”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews One House by Tolka. Review here


“And then I was off! Having just a day at the festival meant I needed to see as much as possible in a small amount of time. Anyone tracking my progress around the showground would have seen me almost running between venues, ducking in halfway into sets, saying g’day to the artists as they clambered off stage only to then piss-bolt to the next gig”Gareth Hugh Evans recounts his 12 hours at the Illawarra Folk Festival. Review here

Releases This Week

Flying Spiders Over TexasCatgut

SEmmy The Great
Rough Trade

Sailing By The Stars
Sailing By The StarsRoland Kay-Smith

The Lone Bellow
Then Came The MorningThe Lone Bellow

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Bell St Delays

Bell St Delays

Bell St Delays, the duo project of singer-songwriters Tracy McNeil and Luke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles) make their way to Sydney and Maitland this weekend bringing their beautiful harmonies and stunning folk songs to their NSW fans

Friday 30th January – Petersham Bowls Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st January – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Alanna Eileen
Wednesday 4th February – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Angus and Julia Stone
Wednesday 4th February – Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, WA
Friday 6th February – Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT

Ann Vriend
Friday 30th January – Sovereign Resort Hotel, Cooktown, Qld
Saturday 31st January – The Reef Casino, Cairns, Qld
Sunday 1st February – Brisbane Jazz Club, Fortitude Valley, Qld
Thursday 5th February – House Concert, Tallai, Qld
Friday 6th February – Mother’s Milk, Sawtell, NSW

Bernard Fanning with Little May
Friday 30th January – Twilight At Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st January – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC

Bell St Delays
Friday 30th January – Petersham Bowls Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 31st January – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Black Market Tune
Friday 30th January – Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 31st January – Roxby Hotel, Sydney, NSW

CW Stoneking
Friday 6th February – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW

Friday 30th January – The Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA

John Flanagan
Wednesday 4th February – The Yarra Hotel, Abbottsford, VIC
Thursday 5th February – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Friday 6th February – The Bluebee room, Adelaide, SA

Kim Churchill
Friday 30th January – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 31st January – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Sunday 1st February – Festival of King Island, TAS
Thursday 5th February – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 6th February – Amplifier Bar, Perth, WA

Lachlan Bryan w/ Jack Henderson, Sam York, Aleyce Simmonds
Friday 30th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Monday 2nd February – The Loft, Melbourne, VIC

Mandy Connell with Tom Ciccone
Saturday 31st January – Retreat, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 4th February – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Melody Pool
Tuesday 3rd February – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Thursday 5th February – Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT

Peasant Moon
Friday 30th January – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

The Melbourne Folk Club feat. Jeff Lang, Emma Swift, Matt Langley
Wednesday 4th February – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

The Wild Comforts
Saturday 31st January – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Tim Edey
Friday 30th January – Harvest Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Saturday 31st January – Flying Saucer Club, Caulfield RSL, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“‘S iomadh rud tha dhith orm/Ciamar a ni mi ‘n dannsa direach” – Carolina Chocolate Drops

This is one of my favourite tracks from the Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis live album where Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens performs it which then prompted me to hunt out some CCD versions on Youtube. Look out for the traditional “raising of the foot” to signify the change in songs in this video!

Watch Jess Locke’s New Video “Change the Sheets”

Jess Locke
Image Courtesy of Jess Locke

Way back in 2011, back when this blog had first started, we featured a then Sydney based singer-songwriter by the name of Jess Locke. Locke’s live sound had absolutely captured us and we predicted big things – and then she kind of fell off our radar.

Now, almost four years later, an email has arrived in our inbox with the brand new video from Jess Locke along with details of her upcoming album. The album is titled Words That Seem To Slip Away and will be due for release on the 5th March. The first single is “Change the Sheets” which you can watch the video for below:

Stay tuned for a tour announcement from Jess Locke coming soon.

Listen to Jess Locke’s New EP Skins

Jess Locke
Image Courtesy of Jess Locke

Sydney singer-songwriter Jess Locke has just released her wonderful new EP Skins and we’re lucky enough to embed it for your listening pleasure. The EP was recorded in September 2011 and can be picked up via Jess Locke’s Bandcamp. Have a listen below:

Jess Locke Announces Rare Sydney and Melbourne Tour Dates

Jess Locke
Image Courtesy of Jess Locke

The reaction from readers when we first spotlighted Sydney singer-songwriter Jess Locke in May was quite frankly overwhelming. Like us it appears that you, our constant readers, fell in love with Locke’s wonderfully mature and lyrical folk songs.

However the opportunities to see Jess Locke live since that time have been few and far between. Luckily that’s about to change with a handful of dates announced in Melbourne and Sydney this month. The shows are mostly in support of Brisbane based post-punkers Epithets as they launch their new single. Jess Locke’s full dates are below:

17th September 17th – House Show, Brunswick East, Melbourne
18th September – Gertrudes, Fitzroy, Melbourne
23rd September – Red Rattler, Marrickville, Sydney
25th September – Blackwire Records, Annandale, Sydney

For more information on the shows make sure you check out the official Facebook event make sure you see Jess Locke live. We’ve also embedded her new song “Drive to Drink” below:

Spotlight On: Jess Locke

Jess Locke
Image Courtesy of Jess Locke

If you’re a live music junkie then you’ll know that you often pay the price for your obsession. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve turned up to a tiny bar somewhere to catch a gig from an up and coming singer-songwriter or acoustic band only to find they should have stuck to playing Bob Dylan covers in their lounge room and not unleash themselves on the general public. But what makes it worth while is every now and then you stumble across someone who just blows your mind and makes you thank your lucky stars you’ve managed to catch them before they start playing stadium venues and demanding gold plated puppies.

A couple of months ago I attended the regular Sydney folk night Shut The Folk Up! without really any idea about the artists that were playing. Cj, who runs the night, does his best each month to combine old-time folk greats with up and comers presenting one of the most diverse and interesting folk nights around. So it probably shouldn’t be any surprise that it was here I became transfixed with the wonderful Jess Locke.

My first thoughts upon hearing hearing Jess Locke perform was “wow, she’s like an Aussie Laura Marling“. The tone of her voice and the depth of her lyrics are both reminiscent of Marling’s style but to assume Locke is a mere imitator would not do her justice. Jess Locke is definitely an amazing artist in her own right. Her shy stage presence is offset by her confidence as a singer and the way she loses herself in her words. Her lyrics show a depth and maturity that take the listener on a journey into Locke’s consciousness and beyond. This is not idle pop-music – this is music that requires attention, that makes you think.

Late last year Jess Locke released a split album with fellow musician N. Martin through independent label Less Talk Records called The (temperamental) Locket that includes four originals each plus one cover of each others songs. The album can be purchased via the Less Talk Records Bandcamp, with options to order the CD or cassette versions for those not as technologically inclined. Locke seems to play regularly around Sydney with her Myspace seemingly the best place to keep up to date with her comings and goings – but seriously do yourself a favour and track her down.

Country of Origin: Australia (Sydney)
File Under: Nu-folk
Sounds Like: The Australian Laura Marling

Shut The Folk Up! Returns for 2011

Warren Fahey

Our favourite Sydney folk club, Shut The Folk Up! has been conspicuous in its absence over the last couple of months. They held their Christmas Party in November last year and then seemed to disappear.

But luckily the monthly night has resurfaced and will be holding their first session of 2011 on the 31st March (that’s next Thursday). This month’s Shut The Folk Up! has an awesome lineup headlined by Australia’s preeminent folk music historian Warren Fahey (above). Fahey is well known in folk circles as a collector and preserver of Australia’s musical tradition so seeing the man live should be an absolute treat.

Also on the bill is Sydney songstress Jess Locke, subversive folkies Mineral Turpentine, poets Adrian Wiggins and Lyndall Judd and the debut of Shut The Folk Up! organiser Cj Shaw’s band The Blow Ins.

If you’re in Sydney on the 31st March head to the upstairs section of Hive Bar in Erskineville. Shut The Folk Up! is held on the last Thursday of every month.

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