Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2016 You Should Own

Couple With Records

As Sandy Denny once sang, who knows where the time goes? It’s the beginning of July which means we’re already halfway through 2016 without really breaking a sweat. And already this year has proven to be filled a treasure trove of music with some excellent albums and EPs released over the last 6 months.

In fact I had a lot of trouble coming up with my usual Top Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of The Year list because of all the amazing records released so far in 2016. The following ten albums are just the tip iceberg and if you want to dive deep into all the releases we’ve covered this year check out the Album News category tag here.

So without further ado here’s our Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2016 You Should Own:

Eagle & The WolfEagle & The Wolf

Eagle and the Wolf

Eagle & The Wolf is the perfect example of a coming together of artists whose sum is greater than its parts. Alt-country singer-songwriter Kris Morris and indie-folk chanteuse Sarah Humphreys are both celebrated artists in their own right (as well as Timber and Steel favourites) but Eagle & The Wolf has elevated them to a new level. Humphreys’ voice seems to have been unshackled and is out in full force. Morris’ guitar work is pitch perfect – blistering in the bluesier numbers and restrained in the ballads. At only 5 tracks the self titled Eagle & The Wolf is the perfect taster for a partnership that has a big future ahead of it.

The Wild SwanFoy Vance

Foy Vance

I feel like Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance has been the quiet achiever of the folk scene in recent years. But with the release of his latest album The Wild Swan, the massive success of its lead single “She Burns” and his association with Ed Sheran, Foy Vance is finally getting the recognition he deserves. The Wild Swan is a melting pot of tone and style – anyone expecting 12 songs all like “She Burns” might be a bit shocked with the blues of “Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution” or the Bryan-Adams-like balladry of “Ziggy Looked Me In The Eye”. This is an album that deserves to be listened to from start to finish.

Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado SymphonyGregory Alan Isakov

GAI

Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony doesn’t really feature any new music from the US based South African singer-songwriter, but the inclusion of the orchestra just takes Gregory Alan Isakov’s music to the next level. In most cases the Symphony is actually pretty understated on the album with Isakov’s vocals and finger-picked guitar well and truly at the front of the mix. The result is a lush experience that still feels intimate.

Love & Lovely LiesImogen Clark

Imogen Clark

Imogen Clark has come of age with the release of her debut album Love & Lovely Lies. Her EPs to date have all been pretty strong but it feels like Love & Lovely Lies realises Clark’s potential as a singer and a songwriter – which is not at all hurt by the slick production and fantastic band she has behind her. Imogen Clark is touted as an alt-country singer (and we’ve been known to use that label as well) but I feel there’s a pop sensibility to her music that’s had a country sheen added to it courtesy of her band. Imogen Clark has a big future ahead of her and Love & Lovely Lies is a fantastic foundation.

Deep Dark Savage HeartMelody Pool

Melody Pool

I feel like I’ve been waiting for a new Melody Pool album for too long. But do you know what? Now that I have Deep Dark Savage Heart I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Melody Pool is seriously one of the finest young songwriters in Australia – her melodies are complex, her lyrics are layered and each song is just so perfectly crafted and presented. If you listen to Deep Dark Savage Heart from start to finish – and trust us, you should – prepare to be transported by Pool’s liquid velvet voice. “Black Dog” is the standout track but it’s a highlight in an album full of highlights – every song is worth revisiting over and over again.

JohannesburgMumford & Sons with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg

Mumford

I don’t think anyone expected a new Mumford & Sons record this year, but after traveling to South Africa earlier in 2016 and a collaboration with Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, London/Malawi DJ duo The Very Best and South African pop band Beatenberg the EP Johannesburg was born. This record brings together the best of each band – epic choruses, groovy afro-beats and passionate vocals. The project is reminiscent of Mumford & Sons’ 2010 collaboration with Laura Marling and India’s Dharohar Project, but this time around with a focus on creating new music rather than recording new versions of existing songs. I think what I love most about Johannesburg is just how joyous it is – the EP has become a go to should I need a pick me up. Wonderful stuff.

A Day On The QuayOne Up, Two Down

OUTD

George Jackson and Daniel Watkins are some of the best musicians coming out of the Australian bluegrass and old-time scene at the moment. Their pairing with American bassist Andrew Small for the One Up, Two Down project is inspired and the release of their A Day On The Quay mini-album in January was the perfect way to kick off 2016. Each track is a delight from instrumentals like “Kansas City Railroad Blues” and “The Ways Of The World” to songs like “Ginseng Sullivan”. But the absolute highlight is One Up, Two Down’s version of “Bury Me Not On The Lone Praire” – the song seems to have been written for Dan Watkins’ voice.

Seven Sonnets & A SongPaul Kelly

Paul Kelly

Whoever came up with the idea of Paul Kelly putting music to the sonnets and songs of William Shakespeare should be commended. Here you have Australia’s greatest songwriter elevating some of the greatest writing in the English language. And the best thing is that for the most part we’re treated to Paul Kelly the folk singer (as opposed to his rock or soul incarnations) which means plenty of acoustic guitar, pedal steel and fiddle throughout the tracks. This is pure magic.

The Family Tree: The LeavesRadical Face

Radical Face

Five years in the making, Radical Face finally puts his The Family Tree trilogy of albums to rest with the release of the highly anticipated The Family Tree: The Leaves. With this album we’re once again treated to Radical Face’s unique brand of indie-folk – all layered vocals, finger-picked guitar, piano and floor-tom. Radical Face has kept a consistent sound through The Family Tree trilogy and The Family Tree: The Leaves is a fitting way to wrap everything up. I wonder what’s in store next for Radical Face – whether this album will be the closing of a chapter in his musical career and the next we hear from he will completely redefine his sound. Who knows? I’m just so glad that The Family Tree: The Leaves, along with The Family Tree: The Roots and The Family Tree: The Branches, exist in this world

Charleroi: Pittsburgh, Volume 2William Fitzsimmons

William Fitz

My fondness for Charleroi: Pittsburgh, Volume 2 stems from the fact William Fitzsimmons released it a couple of days after his first ever show in Sydney. Made up of tracks left off his 2015 album Pittsburgh, the Charleroi: Pittsburgh, Volume 2 EP is delicate, sad and brilliant. By allowing these additional songs to see the light of day William Fitzsimmons has gifted the world more of his amazing songwriting.

And of course special mention also has to go to the following albums and EPs:

Applewood RoadApplewood Road
YesteryearAriela Jacobs
Wayside Ballads Vol 2Bill Jackson
Second LoveEmmy The Great
ElsewhereGretta Ray
TelluricMatt Corby
case/lang/veirsNeko Case, K.D. lang, Laura Veirs
Stadium CakeOh Pep!
Love Letter For FireSam Beam and Jesca Hoop
The Lonesome SeaThe Button Collective
Sleeping In A CarThe Staves
Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’The Weeping Willows
Golden FleecesTom West

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 8th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Calexico have added a Sydney date to their Australian tour. Details here

– Folk punk singer-songwriter Isaac Graham kicked off the new year with his new song “Resolutions”. Details here

– Sydney nu-folkers Citizen of the World released their new video “Setting Out”. Details here

– Brisbane acoustic-groove duo Out of Abingdon will be touring through NSW and ACT this month. Details here

– Milk Records released a new Fraser A Gorman track, Skyscraper Skyline Blues”. Details here

– The new Dan Lethbridge single “Everybody Says” features Taasha Coates from The Audreys. Details here

Oscar Lush revealed his new video “Nightmare Song”. Details here

Shovels & Rope teamed with The Milk Carton Kids to cover the Guns N’ Roses classic “Patience”. Details here

– Kris Morris and Sarah Humphreys have finally announced details of their duo project Eagle & The Wolf. Details here

HeyMun released her ethereal new single “Drift”. Details here

– A bunch of US artists were added to the National Folk Festival lineup including Sheila Kay Adams, Steve Poltz, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Phil Wiggins & Dom Turner and Kristina Olsen. Details here

Cat Canteri has announced a new EP and revealed the first single “What I Need”. Details here

– The Country Conquers Cancer event in Brisbane later this month will feature the likes of Paddy McHugh, Pat Tierney, Megan Cooper, Dana Hassall, Sian Evans, Josh Rennie-Hynes, Brad Butcher, Dana Gehrman, The Mighty Kind, Jen Mize, The Floyd Family Breakdown, Ben Bunting, Andy McDonnell, Cameron Milford, Emma Bosworth, Hayley Marsten, Ellie Jane, Boatkeeper and Byron Short and the Sunset Junkies. Details here

Ruby Boots has announced her I Miss You Already tour that kicks off at the end of this month. Details here

Interviews

“All the shows are heavy on improvising so I guess solo it might be a bit more concise. There’s so many different tools musically that you can use when you have keys or a drummer, bassist or a second guitar. Solo is definitely more of a challenge to be honest. How many dumpy white guys do you want to see playing acoustic guitar? There’s just so many. I try to just make as much energy as I can, as much far out shit as I can acoustically”Ryley Walker chats to Gareth Hugh Evans ahead of his appearance at the Sydney Festival. Interview here

Reviews

Track by Track

“I wrote this song aboard the 107ft two mast banks schooner that The Button Collective help crew every couple of months or so. Inspired by the hunger pains I was suffering after forgetting to bring any food aboard with me, I wrote about sailors suffering from scurvy and starving at sea while they reminisced about love left behind” – Brodie Buttons from The Button Collective takes us through their new EP The Lonesome Sea. Track by track here

Releases This Week

One Up Two Down
A Day On The QuayOne Up, Two Down
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Mudsling Festival

Mudsling

The Mudgee Music Festival give you a taster of what to expect from their 2016 event with a mini festival featuring the likes of Daniel Champagne, Saltwater Sound System, April Maze, Out of AbingdonBig ErleHoney, Euripi, Nick Wall and more playing over the course of the day. If you can get out to Mudgee for the weekend this will be well worth the trip

Saturday 9th January – Roths Wine Bar, Mudgee, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Allison Forbes
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 15th January – Imperial Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Archie Roach and My Friend the Chocolate Cake
Saturday 9th January – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Banjo BBQ feat. Mustered Courage and Special Guests
Sunday 10th January – Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Cygnet Folk Festival
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th January – Cygnet, TAS

Dana Hassall
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Deep Down South feat. Lachlan Bryan, Les Thomas, Mr Alford Country, Jemma Nicole, Andrew Swift, Brooke Russell, Tom Dockray, Gretta Ziller
Saturday 9th January – The Union Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 15th January – Hotel Nicholas, Beechworth, VIC

Dirty Three
Friday 15th January – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW

FBi SMACS
Sunday 10th January – Carriageworks, Sydney, NSW

Hana Maru with The General Assembly, Mijo Biscan
Thursday 14th January – The Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

HONK! Oz
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th January – Wollongong, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – Bulli, NSW

Irish Mythen
Friday 8th January – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Saturday 9th January – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – The Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Julia Jacklin
Sunday 10th January – Porch Sessions, Adelaide, NSW

Kasey Chambers w/ Eagle & The Wolf
Friday 8th January – Sawtell RSL Club, Sawtell, NSW
Saturday 9th January – Laurieton United Services, Laurieton, NSW

Maru Tarang
Sunday 10th January – Lennox Theatre, Parramatta, NSW

Matthew E White
Friday 15th January – Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Mirel Wagner and Nadia Reid
Sunday 10th January – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

Mudsling Festival
Saturday 9th January – Roths Wine Bar, Mudgee, NSW

One Up, Two Down
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS

Out of Abingdon
Saturday 9th January – Mudsling Mini Music Festival, Mudgee, NSW
Sunday 10th January – Lounge Sessions @ Hotel Blue, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Peasant Moon, Ben Horder, Matt Ward
Friday 15th January – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sunshine Fiddle Camp
Sunday 10th to Friday 15th January – Alexandra Park Conference Centre, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Georgetown, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Saturday 15th to Sunday 24th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Audreys
Sunday 10th January – Victoria Gardens, Prahran, VIC

The Brisbane Folk Club feat. Garrett Kato, Sissybones, O’ Little Sister
Wednesday 13th January – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

The Buffalo Grass Boys, The Belle Havens, The Howles, Tom Martin
Saturday 8th January – Annandale Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Button Collective
Thursday 14th January – Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

The Franklin Electric
Sunday 10th January – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 14th January – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 15th January – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

The East Pointers
Friday 8th to Saturday 9th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Thursday 14th January – Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

The Plough
Sunday 10th January – Coach and Horses Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Porch Sessions feat. Julia Jacklin, Merryn Jeann, Louis Donnarumma
Sunday 10th January – Adelaide, SA

The Wayward Henrys
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

TinPan Orange
Friday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Thredbo, NSW

Willowy
Thursday 14th January – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Tippin’ It Up To Nancy” – Christy Moore

There’s something special about the rhythmic way Christy Moore sings accompanied by a bodhrán. And for those of you playing at home – this song is also famously known as “Marrowbones”

Kris Morris and Sarah Humphreys Announce New Album as Eagle & The Wolf

Eagle and the wolf
Image Courtesy of Eagle & The Wolf

Central Coast based singer-songwriters Kris Morris and Sarah Humphreys have finally announced details of their duo Eagle & The Wolf.

Morris and Humphreys have been making music together for some time but it’s great to see these very talented songwriters officially coming together for their Eagle & The Wolf. They have also recorded a brand new, self titled album which is due for release on the 15th February this year.

You can pre-order the album here. Take a listen to the first track “Tired and Lost” below:

Eagle & The Wolf will be supporting Kasey Chambers on some dates through January as well as heading to the Tamworth Country Music Festival – check out the full list of shows below:

Thursday 7th January – Ballina RSL Club, Ballina, NSW
Friday 8th January – Sawtell RSL Club, Sawtell, NSW
Saturday 9th January – Laurieton United Services, Laurieton, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – House Concert, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW (with Bill Chambers)
Thursday 21st January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW (with Catherine Britt)
Friday 22nd January – The Longyard, Tamworth, NSW (with Fanny Lumsden)

Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2015

Record Collecting

So you’ve read what we think the top 25 albums of 2015 are but here’s what you’re really waiting for – the article where we ask our favourite artists to pick their favourite recordings of the year.

Every year we reach out to artists across the Timber and Steel genre spectrum to pick their number one album or EP of the year and the results are always surprising. So get yourself a cold drink, find somewhere comfortable to site down and enjoy Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2015:

Postcards From Ursa MinorFrank Turner
Will VarleyPostcards From Ursa Minor
I stumbled across Will a few years back and instantly fell in love. He’s currently my favourite songwriter, and I think this album is little short of a masterpiece.

The DeslondesJimmy Daley (The Morrisons, The Tawny Owl Stringband)
The DeslondesThe Deslondes
Heard the song “Louise” on a live music series on YouTube called Jammin In The Van and was immediately bowled over. Went and bought the album (yes I bought it) and was not disappointed. Killer songs, retro production that sounds modern at the same time, great playing and awesome singing/harmonies. I’ll be knocking back many tins over summer while listening to this album.

The Phosphorescent BluesMichael O’Donnell (The Squeezebox Trio)
Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues
Stop reading this review right now and go listen to this album. Its just perfect. From the 10 minute opener to Debussy to one hell of an ending, this album is a game changer. There is only one (10 second) instrumental solo on the whole album, opting for lush orchestrations instead. It was a HUGE influence on us.

Paradise is ThereTaryn La Fauci
Natalie MerchantParadise is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings
To be able to re-release a complete new version of a record first released 20 years ago in 1995 is an incredible artstic achievement. Karl Broadie introduced me to her music and since then I have drank up her journey and past records. Her voice holds this piercing warmth and wisdom that coos you in and wraps you up like a child in its mothers arms. Getting to devour this rediscovery of Tigerlily and how she has evolved with it is why this record is my favourite release of 2015.

Wilder MindGerrit Gmel (Citizen of the World)
Mumford & SonsWilder Mind
This is really a no brainer for me, I absolutely adore these guys and without them I probably wouldn’t write the music I write today. This being said, their new sound took me a while to get used to and I went from loving 95% of the songs to loving 70% on this new album. Still, it shows how even a genre-defining band can have the guts and skill to reinvent their sound and write powerful songs independently of the instrumental setup.

Diamonds in the BloodstreamJosh Rennie-Hynes
Raised by EaglesDiamonds in the Bloodstream
A great collection of songs. Honest and thoughtful and the production is spot on. One of my favourite Australian bands.

But For All These Shrinking HeartsWoody Pitney
Josh PykeBut For All These Shrinking Hearts
Josh Pyke delivered again with this new gem of an album, But For All These Shrinking Hearts. Staying true to his iconic style and sound, this tightly produced record is a great listen. Despite not having any stand-out hits like previous albums, it still has plenty of sparkle and charm. My personal favourites are “Hollering Hearts” and “Book of Revelations”.

Carrie & LowellCaitlin Park
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
There is no-one quite like Sufjan Stevens. It is hard to put your finger on the power of his story-telling, what it is that drags us in so. For me, it is the way he paints the picture; he writes about the little things, the smaller moments between two people. A whole album dedicated to the memory of his mother and descriptions of her passing, we are left to fill in the the rest of the story. Where they lived, their age – these things don’t matter as long as you are privy to their quiet moments alone. And then in one foul swoop, he wraps up the meaning of the song in one sentence, and your heart breaks into a thousand pieces **we’re all gonna’ die**. A lyric that will stay with me forever, a lyric i will always remember from the year 2015: “What could I have said to raise you from the dead, oh could I be the sky on the fourth of July?”

Strange New PastSteven Barnard (Arbori)
Seth SentryStrange New Past
I know this puts me at risk of losing my indie folk privileges but Seth Sentry’s second LP was simply outstanding. Kendrick Lamars to pimp a butterfly was musically more brilliant but topically from another world. His harmonic nostalgia tethered by trap beats rap ego and existential early 30’s humility is seamless. The record plays from start to finish effortlessly and voids of any Aus hip hop cringe worthy cleches that we have blushed at when measured against the likes of Kings Kunta and Kick Push. I’m a hip hop dancer and this is hands down the best Aussie rap release for getting down to ever. If you dig emotional depth, impressive musicality and need a reason to shake your ass, this record is all that and more.

sound and colorRosie Jackson-Taylor (Liam Gale & The Ponytails)
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
I have been completely obsessed with every single track on the album since the first time I heard it and it was on welcomed high rotation for the entire drive of our East Coast tour earlier this year. Brittany Howard’s voice is unbelievable and every song is captivating in its own right. The whole experience of the album is kind of like listening to futuristic funk blues in space, naked.

Sol InvictusClaude Hay
Faith No MoreSol Invictus
I had been waiting for this album for years. Singer Mike Patton can put an unique infectious melody to anything he touches, melodies that stick. There’s always something different that comes from these guys that is so refreshing to my ears, the complete opposite of commercial radio.

Carrie & LowellSam Newton
The Milk Carton KidsMonterey
This is one of the most ‘pure’ sounding records that I’ve ever heard. I know that this could be said of just about all of the releases by these guys but I feel that with Monterey, they have reached all new heights in lyricism, vocal unity and the art of subtle lead/guitar fills. It says something special about the songwriting of a group when every track on an album contains a maximum of 2 voices and 2 guitars but can still hold its own from start to finish. I bought the vinyl when I saw them live earlier in the year and it has easily been one of my favourite purchases of 2015.

LoyaltyMatt Bauer
The Weather StationLoyalty
I haven’t connected with a record this strongly in a very long time. From the first lines of “The Way It Is And The Way It Could Be” I was just – there. It took me several attempts to get to the end of the record because I was so moved I kept having to turn it off.

Key ChangeMatt Corby
MockyKey Change
This album is full of songs to live life to, songs you can put on at any moment and jam out to.

Carrie & LowellDan Flynn
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
How many gobsmackingly good folk songs can you fit into one album? Eleven it seems. This album is unbelievably melancholy but also curiously uplifting and indeed healing. The vocal melodies are outrageously good, the instrumentation is pitch perfect and the production is stunning despite the fact that part of the album was recorded on his iPhone. I will be listening to this for years to come.

Darling ArithmeticKim Churchill
VillagersDarling Arithmetic
I have ogled at the songwriting abilities of Conor J O’Brien since we played a small gig in an odd venue called the Duncan Garage Showroom on Vancouver Island years ago. In the past his lyrics have portrayed a depth and insight that guided me as a person much further into myself and my unconscious emotional processes. Again he helps me make those journeys on this album but with a simplicity and vulnerability that is just profound! He has clearly had some pain and rebirth in his life and he puts it out on the table in an incredible honest way. He reaches further inside himself than many of us ever will and gives us songs that allow us to take the same journey’s into ourselves. It’s kind of creepy how he does it. But he’s always flirted with being a bit creepy. Watch the video clip to his first single off the album, “Courage”, and you’ll see what I mean. In many ways its the essence of psychedelic folk; Spooky, insightful, melodically stunning and at its core undeniably beautiful and honest.

Phosphorescent BluesBlair Dunlop
Punch BrothersPhosphorescent Blues
Whilst it’s an incredibly impressive body of work from a technical standpoint, it never strays into grandstanding or over-indulgence. Beautiful arrangements, soaring harmonies and songs that keep me guessing – a gem!

Soft Faces to HoldAlanna Eileen
Toby GrahamSoft Faces to Hold
Beautiful, surreal alternative folk music with incredible vocals, lyrically inventive and delicate in all the right places. It got me through the year.

When The Storms Would ComeBronte
Holy HolyWhen The Storms Would Come
I have been a fan of Holy Holy since they released their first EP. Their album When The Storms Would Come, which was released in July this year, has been a stand out album in my opinion. I enjoy the lyrics and the melodies that flow throughout their music which continues to improve with each release. I think the next few years for Holy Holy will be huge and they are starting to enjoy a great deal of success from overseas audiences. Stand out track is “History” but “You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog” just makes me want to crank up the dial and drive around all night, it is such a cruising tuneeee.

Nathaniel RateliffJoe Murphy (The Timbers)
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Only released recently this album is straight out of the 70’s!! Full of now Motown and soul, it’s 2015’s ultimate road trip album.

NinaThe Campervan Dancers
Daniel MarchNina
So much groove! It’s really tight, shows a wonderful depth of stylistic influences. Great production and musicianship – just the whole package. These have been our chosen cruisin’ tunes in Candice-the-Campervan-Dancer-van this springtime.

If I WasJoel Barker
The StavesIf I Was
It was hard to chose against Glen Hansard’s Didn’t He Ramble but after seeing The Staves at The Beautiful Days Festival in Devon, UK a couple of years ago I had to go with their 2015 release If I Was. Hearing three sisters sing together in perfect harmony make it seems so damn easy. The addition of Justin Vernon as producer takes the intimacy of their past work and elevates it into a more accessible market. Theres a new dynamic and consideration to the recording process that really hits a note with me. Songs such as “Make It Holy” and “Steady” have magnificent vocal loops and hooks that keep you wanting more of those voices made to sing together. It’s got a lot of texture, as much intimacy of their previous releases, but additional drive which undoubtedly has introduced them to a whole new fan base. Makes we want to prop myself up against a tree, close my eyes and listen to it on repeat, over and over again.

These WallsRose Wintergreen
Anna CordellThese Walls
Sometimes, very rarely, new songs come to me in my dreams. I wake up with the melody in my bones, I sleepily reach for my phone to record it before it disappears forever. It’s happened several times recently, and I’ve been ecstatic with the deep, haunting quality of the melodies, the pleasing way they meander effortlessly like a creek rambling unselfconsciously in bushland so remote that no one will pass through for decades at a time. Unfortunately for me, I’ve realised that these melodies are actually Anna Cordell’s, from her stunning debut record, These Walls! Arresting and deeply affecting.

EPTim Guy
BumspaEP
A force of nature in the very northern parts of NSW. They made an EP this year and squeezed 5 songs onto a little ’45. The last track comes from the view of a Bushranger being in his cell while awaiting hanging. It’s really rare and really wonderful. Great songwriting with ragged attitude to the musical accompaniment.

FourwindsThe East Pointers
FourWindsFourWinds
After chatting about our many favourite records from this past year, the 3 of us decided that FourWinds deserve the top spot with their self-titled album. This crew from Ireland is tearing up the traditional music scene with their authentic sound and top-notch musicianship. Check ‘em out live if you can!

Modern VintageSian Evans
Cheap FakesModern Vintage
If its not for the super smooth vocals of Kiwi front man Hayden Andrews alone, it’s the funk, the phat base, totally hot horn lines and syncopated silences. Production instrumentation ties cleverly a carnival dub vintage rock’n’roll infused surf style funk and soul variety. Consistent. Solid. It dribbles dizziness, you can’t sit still!

The Woodshed SessionsScott Collins (The Mid-North)
Wood and WireThe Woodshed Sessions Vol. 1
Six tracks recorded in one take around one microphone. It is an exciting display of musicianship and energy. Very fun and awe inspiring.

Sound and ColorAlison Ferrier
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
An exciting, innovative and uplifting second release from the rock band with soul. Singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s performance is utterly inspiring: she gives it everything she’s got. I sing along with this in the car quite a lot!

The PositionsCastlecomer
Gang of YouthsThe Positions
We love that the album is so dark in theme yet the melodies could be on any pop album. It’s an impressive body of work. Our runners up are Holy Holy’s When the Storms Would Come and Tame Impala’s Currents.

AngelenoNick Payne (Dear Orphans)
Sam OutlawAngeleno
California has always been a source of great country music – first with the Bakersfield Sound and then later from Los Angeles. This year Californian Sam Outlaw refused to move to Nashville to record his debut album Angeleno and instead insisted on recording in Los Angeles with the help of Ry Cooder as producer. The album is both genuine country in its sound and also its stories. This album takes me back to an earlier time in country music whilst still sounding fresh and un-clichéd.

All Your Favourite BandsTracy McNeil (Tracy McNeil, Bell St Delays)
DawesAll Your Favourite Bands
From the first drop of the needle your ears are hit with six single, drawn out notes played on one guitar against a spattering of drumrolls from off in the distance – this is the hook, the earworm of the song painted thinly as a foreshadowing of what’s to come. And what is to come? Like the sun bursting through a dark cloud, the soundscape breaks wide open as the band punches in with that very same hook – this time fully realised. Dawes always create a sound that is purposeful, epic and at times slightly over-worked in terms of lyrics, but their latest release All You’re Favorite Bands gets the balance just right. Produced by David Rawlings, Dawes will find it hard to top this collection of world-class songs, played and captured live in a room by a band at the height of their career.

Trans Arlantic HighwayLuke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles, Bell St Delays)
Lost RagasTrans Atlantic Highway
The most soul shaking cosmic country experience I’ve had since Beck tried his hand at the genre. It’s more traditional than that of course and has all the essential ingredients you need to make a good country album – pedal steel, guitars, drums, bass, great song writing – but there’s an indescribable magic to it. Something deep that runs right to the heart. Matt Walker, Shane Reilly, Roger Bergodaz and Simon Burke are like the components of a beautifully engineered vintage engine, each part absolutely essential to the whole, the art of what happens when things are put together in the right way. Buy this album – it runs like a dream.

The Stars My DestinationNick O’Mara (Raised By Eagles)
Ben SalterThe Stars My Destination
There’s a sense of humour and a sense of dread in varying degrees throughout this album. Track 4 scares the shit out of me. Salter’s an incredible lyricist, his guitar playing’s tidy as fuck and his voice – sheesh, forget about it. This album is more than the sum of those wonderful parts I reckon. It’s just funny, thoughtful, sometimes rockin’, soulful – hope he hasn’t read this the next time I run into him at the pub. “We’ll have all the time in the world, An endless afternoon, When we’re bones under the dunes”.

Choose Your Weapon
Luke Richardson (Raised By Eagles)
Hiatus KaiyoteChoose Your Weapon
It’s complicated and tricky-clever but with grooves that are solid and so grounded. I think my favourite thing about this band is that each part – drums, keys, vocals, etc – are given their own separate sonic space so even when individually there are some pretty dense rhythmic and harmonic things going on the overall sound is still really open.

TravellerGretta Ziller
Chris StapletonTraveller
I was really excited when Gareth emailed me asking for my favourite album of 2015! Determined to do my due diligence, I got straight onto my 2015 Soundtrack on Spotify (where I put all the new music I find) and went round and round. The one album I just could not go past was Chris Stapleton’s Traveller – it’s just so dang good!!! This album came out and it was like he was holding a hand full of ace’s around a table full of jokers in the poker game they call country music! If you’ve heard of The SteelDrivers you would instantly recognise Stapleton’s voice, its a lonely shot of whiskey in an empty bar, it’s singing to Jesus on Sunday morning, it’s whispering to your lover in the dark of night and it crying over a broken heart, and of course his songs cover all this and more! On a side note, I do recommend googling Stapleton, he is no newcomer to Country music, having been involved with the aforementioned SteelDrivers, but he has also been in the background writing hit songs for major country music artists for years! I could keep gushing about this album for days, but, in short, Traveller is a return to good honest heartfelt country music – and we all say Amen!

Echolocations CanyonAinsley Farrell
Andrew BirdEcholocations: Canyon
This entire album was recorded in the Coyote Gulch Canyons in Utah. It’s the first of a series where Bird uses different components of the environment to stretch, bend and explore sound. I think it’s important to give credit to your surroundings and appreciate that the environment you’re in has a huge influence on the sound you put out.

OutsidersKate Burke (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Trouble In The Kitchen)
Heath CullenOutsiders
The fact that I love this album has only a little to do with the fact that Heath lives up the road from me. This album, where Heath is joined by Elvis Costello’s Impostors, has fantastic songs that range from the danceable “Two Left Feet” to the gorgeously Daniel Lanois-esque “Who’ll Rock the Cradle” and anthemic “One for the Road”, all lush and powerful and featuring mad, crazy, wonderful keys and piano at almost every turn. I love it more with every listen.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayRuth Hazleton (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton)
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
A brave, bold, powerful and honest collection of songs that successfully destroys taboos and exposes truths; a very rare thing. Beautifully performed and produced, this album is laden with artistic integrity from a songwriter who’s driven from a deeply personal space and sings like a rising angel.

Carrie & LowellWilliam Fitzsimmons
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
Sufjan + return to acoustic music. What’s not to love!?!! Truth be told, even though I love and respect Sufjan’s art more than just about anybody else alive (Sorry Selena Gomez!) I was kind of bummed when I heard that he’d be returning to an “acoustic” sound for this record. Don’t get me wrong, I love acoustic music. I make acoustic music. But I cherish the fact that Sufjan has always been willing to do something kind of, well, different … and still make you hum along (e.g. that ghastly solo in “Springfield!!!”). And I snobbishly loved being one of the people who really, really loved the Adz project and his increasingly left of center writing. But once I got past the hype of Carrie & Lowell (the unopened vinyl sat in my studio for about 2 months) and actually listened, I was overjoyed. I recently lost someone very important to me, so certainly the subject matter of Carrie & Lowell hit close to home. But, moreover, it was the record’s ability to wrap these difficult ideas into such simple, small, understated songs. Nobody messes with the idea of subtlety and histrionics like Suf. And to perfect that tricky dance and sing about death at the same time is tantamount to a masterpiece.

CurrentsAnnie Hamilton (Little May)
Tame ImpalaCurrents
Tame Impala have seriously nailed it with this album, there are some excellent musical moments in there. It’s really cool to see a band evolve and grow over the course of a few albums while still maintaining their own sound and style.

Sound and ColorOlivia Hally (Oh Pep!)
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
There’s only one way to listen to this album: from top to bottom and on repeat. It was already my favourite album this year and then I later discovered a bonus track called “Joe” on a TV show and I cried a little bit. It’s too good.

Ryan BinghamRuby Boots
Ryan BinghamFear and Saturday Night
I love the balance between emotive songs/story telling and grit. I am a sucker for good Americana music with raw delivery and grunt behind it and this album fulfils all of that and more. Every track on there is A grade songwriting with classy melody hooks that are not too obvious until you turn it off and they are running through your head for the rest of the day. These songs that make me a little sad but fill me full of hope at the same time, also another soft spot for me. I love this artist, and this album is my favourite album of 2015.

ShipsOscar Lush
Water MusicShips
“Four weeks after the devastating suicide of my sister, I locked myself in my shed for four days and wrote and recorded these songs on my 8-track as both tribute and therapy. I’ve had death close to me before and here I was again.” – This record absolutely broke my heart and still continues to do so. Every time I listen it brings me to tears. Mathew is such a powerful and unique songwriter. Nothing I listened to this year came close in depth and heartache to this record.

DeclarationAnna Cordell
Kate Burke & Ruth HazletonDeclaration
This is REAL folk music. And these are REAL women. This music has purpose beyond the artists own egos. I am completely inspired by this album and these two women – and, well, the music is just so beautiful!

Ron BlockHamish Davidson (Davidson Brothers)
Ron BlockHogan’s House of Music
So many of my favourite contemporary bluegrass musicians are giving it their all on this creative instrumental album. Best of all, there are so many “you can’t do that on a banjo” moments!

Small Town BigshotLachlan Davidson (Davidson Brothers)
Fanny LumsdenSmall Town Big Shot
Fanny is a great artist and natural entertainer, her hard work and real songs have been fantastically produced on her debut record. Catchy, easy listening and a great voice makes you wanna hit repeat every time.

Don't Lose ThisSkyscraper Stan
Pops StaplesDon’t Lose This
I’ve never had much of a hard-on for Jeff Tweedy so I was skeptical when I heard he was collaborating with Mavis Staples on the final, posthumous release of her father’s music. As it turns out, both Jeff and Mavis have done an amazing job fleshing out the bare-bones recordings Pops made in 1999, a year before his death. It’s all here; tremolo guitar, reverby drum sounds and beautiful group vocals from the Staples sisters. Plus some unexpectedly clever lyricism.

The Stars My DestinationMark “Looch” Lewis (Handsome Young Strangers, Wifey)
Ben SalterThe Stars My Destination
Well I have to admit in the 4 years I have been doing this for you lovely folk at Timber And Steel I have had the hardest time choosing. Kudos to Buddy Glass and Bad Dreems for almost getting there. It took me a week but I’m giving my gong to Ben Salter for My Stars The Destination. The thing that kills me about this guy is that he just improves artistically and vocally with every release. His debut The Cat was a magnificent effort but he has raised the bar again here. As a songwriter he is up there in my book with Gareth Lilliard, Tim Rogers, Mick Thomas and Paul Kelly. I don’t think it would be overselling to say he is possibly the best vocalist in the land right now. Listen to the title track when the vocals beef up half way through. If that doesn’t make your neck hairs stand up I don’t know what will. Usual story: should be huge, probably wont be. Travesty.

1989Ryan Oliver (Oliver’s Army)
Ryan Adams1989
I’ve always been a fan of Ryan’s ability to take a song and completely own it, especially in cover songs (We all remember his haunting version of ‘Wonderwall’ don’t we?). He took probably the most commercial and poppy sounding album and turned it into a very solid folk rock album that you wouldn’t know wasn’t if they didn’t happen to be mega-hits that he was covering. The production is great and I think maybe most noteworthy is his ability to spin somewhat jovial adolescent lyrics and somehow add that signature Ryan Adams melancholy. Respect.

HighRoland Kay-Smith
Royal HeadacheHigh
The formula these guys have is irresistible. I’m not much of a heavy rock guy, traditionally favouring more Timber-and-Steel-esque tunes, but the whole blue-eyed garage soul thing just gets me. Some of it’s silly, some of it’s naff, but there are enough great tunes here to keep me coming back again and again.

ValleywoodNad Budge (The Stetson Family)
Dan ParsonsValleywood
I first heard Dan Parson’s new album Valleywood whilst driving around Nashville in a crappy rental car with a really crappy sound system, and it blew me away – Valleywood, that is, not the car! I was first struck by how great the production came across, full, rich and really well balanced – then I was drawn into Dan’s songs, each one wanting me to listen to what he had to say, and giving me a sense of nostalgia as well as excitement for this next generation of great songwriters.

CurrentsDustin Tebbutt
Tame ImpalaCurrents
This was my favourite release this year. I hadn’t really listened to the band before this album, and it was an incredible introduction. For me, it’s the beautiful combination of genres in here that gives this record so much depth. A lot of the song structures and mixing techniques borrow heavily from house music (the extensive use of filters for example), and a lot of the beats are a mix of old school soul and breaks. These fundamentals are then built upon with psychedelic guitar parts and raw, dreamy vocals. The record has attitude, vibe, heart and a real overarching journey. I just love it.

The Phosphorescent BluesJon Boden (Bellowhead, Spiers & Boden)
Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues
I was a bit late to the Punch Brothers party, but what a sound! It’s not really bluegrass, more experimental art-pop with bluegrass instrumentation. Beachboys-esque vocals, mandolin funk workouts, beautiful style and tone throughout by five masters of their instruments.

Carrie & LowellSam Sweeney (Bellowhead)
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
This is such a beautiful and poignant record. It’s hard to listen all the way through without shedding a tear. After The Age Of Adz, this a welcome return to Sufjan’s folkier side. It’s a heart breaking album about his relationship with his mother who died of cancer in 2012 after a long history of substance abuse and mental health issues. It’s a painful listen and yet so perfect.

Mellow DramaMark Lucas
James McMurtryComplicated Game
It’s the narrative, those fragile vignettes that come alive with truth and a sheer humanity that doesn’t preclude a little bitterness but is always tempered by a dry humour. As he says himself, like his American literary giant father, Larry McMurtry (“The Last Picture Show”, “Lonesome Dove” etc.), James is a fiction writer. His dad was an inspiration to me before I stumbled across his son’s work on a drive across Texas in ‘89. It’s been a heck of a journey in song and, to my way of thinking, that’s what it’s all about – a Complicated Game indeed and I still “miss my dog from years ago” too.

TrackerBob Barford (Bloodwood)
Mark KnopflerTracker
Mr Laidback personified. I reckon he put this album together for his own amusement and just because he could. While not overly impresive on the first few listens, like any good album it grows on you. It’s an insight into what he is up to at this point in time.

Shadows In The NightMark Moldre
Bob DylanShadows In The Night
So many iconic artists have tried the “American Songbook” album and have dismally failed. This is Dylan at his most intimate and unguarded. We hear every drawn breath from Dylan at microphone, every finger touching a string, the slow drag of a bow across a double bass string, a quiet movement or shifting of feet in the room – nothing is hidden from the listeners ear. No careful ProTools editing. A band in a hushed room. Guitars are caressed, sweeping pedal steel is syrupy and lush, drums are ever so softly brushed, tempos remain languid and dreamy while Dylan growls and croons his way through the mist. Lyrics written decades ago seem timeless, ironic and strangely poignant in Dylan’s gentle phrasing. Imagine granddad at the family reunion recalling songs of his younger days at the upright piano in the corner of your lounge room as the warm glow of an open fire crackles and pops. Nostalgia, sadness, wry humour and regret all seep and melt into one another until you feel you’re drifting in a grainy sepia haze. Perfect.

The Hedge SchoolsColm Mac Con Iomaire (Colm Mac Con Iomaire, The Frames)
The Hedge SchoolsAt the End of a Winding Day
My favourite albums involve time and space travel. They bring you places. This album At the End of a Winding Day by Dublin songwriter Patrick Barrett and Producer and co-conspirator Joe Chester AKA The Hedge Schools is a warm, golden, sonic-embrace. Visit this place and be well.

WindfallBrad Butcher
Joe PugWindfall
As much as I loved Rodney & Emmylou’s Traveling Kind or Isbell, Stapleton, or Oz’s very own songsmith Shane Nicholson’s great albums of 2015 Windfall speaks to me the most from an artistic point of view and holds the elements of music I love dearly; great songwriting recorded in a moving an honest way.

Kill It YourselfJesse Lubitz (TinPan Orange)
Jess RibeiroKill It Yourself
The latest album from Jess Ribeiro creates an entire world. It’s a fully cohesive album with songs that draw you in and make you want to listen harder – it feels as though you might miss something important if you’re not paying full attention. Each song is beautiful and the production is perfect.

TelegraphCara Robinson (Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson)
Kevin DohertyTelegraph
I had the pleasure of hearing Kevin Doherty’s live set while in a play in Dublin, Ireland. I fell in love with the stories that he made into song about his insight into the world today, the world that has passed and indeed the world too set before us. His own stories in song take on the heroism, evil, love, madness all words and more that is more than the story itself he quotes. The album itself is personal and inviting and welcomes you in with the warmth and depth that he has in his voice to listen with intent as the album unfolds. There is a sense of awareness that is brought forward from a time long forgotten in the music and it is so important in song writing today that these stories of historical changes are kept alive as it seems a lot of the modern day writing is about surface subjects only a few dare to reiterate in a whole album. Recorded by a mighty line up of artists indeed within their own right, Liam Bradley, James Delaney, Paul Moore, Paul Rodden, Nicky Scott, Enda Walsh and Kevin Doherty set the tempo aptly. Favorite tracks “Camden Street” and “Tug Boat” The story and historical references are poetical and strong and is indeed offered beautifully and honestly to the listener. Inspiring writing.

Marlon WilliamsPatrick James
Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams
Although I’m in a library, listening with headphones and writing about this, it’s almost as if I am sitting in a tin shed listening on a half broken record player with a glass of aged scotch delving into something from my mum and dad’s music collection. Obviously this guy has such an incredible vocal ability, but sometimes that’s hard to capture and draw an intimate focus to on record. He and his team have nailed that and the band compliments it so well. I tend to be drawn to albums that inspire my own writing or change the way I think for a minute about music. This album does that for me. Not because the production is over the top or revolutionary but because it’s raw and honest and it takes me to a specific setting. It’s also performed in a refined way that almost seems theatrical, I think that’s what gets in me in from the start.

Hell Breaks LooseImogen Clark
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
Hell Breaks Loose is like a glass of whisky you want to drink, and love to drink, even though you know that when you ingest it, it’s going to bring to the forefront of your mind some of the most heartbreaking truths you’ve ever known and expose things you didn’t even know you felt or thought. Gut-wrenching lyrics and beautiful melancholic melodies, and more honesty than even whisky could bring.

BloodPhia
Lianne La HavasBlood
Lianne’s voice is so velvety and intoxicating and enveloping, and the songs she writes are deep and powerful. She writes a killer pre-chorus too. The production is also fantastic, highlighting the light and shade and rough and smooth of her voice and songs. I can’t stop listening to it!

One Song RomanceNick Keeling (Mustered Courage)
Michael BarnettOne Song Romance
This album is a precision powered product of over 50 years of stringband music in America. Michael is a champion of the newest ilk in bluegrass and old-timey, and can play the fiddle like you wouldn’t believe. The front porch isn’t enough these days and folk musicians that were inspired by the likes of Bela Fleck and Chris Thile a decade ago are now taking to advanced tertiary institutions like Berklee and Juliard to hone their craft. If you like Punch Brothers, Crooked Still, or The Deadly Gentlemen, then rosin up to One Song Romance.

GoonJon O’Neill (Forest Falls)
Tobias Jesso JrGoon
It’s been hard as of late to find music that gives me a comforting chill down my spine, but this album did. Every one of Jesso’s masterpieces is straight from the heart and has an overwhelming sense of home and familiarity. I love this album because it doesn’t rely on production to make the songs “better” – rather, they are simple, beautiful and raw.

10Bill Jackson
Darrell Scott10: Songs of Ben Bullington
Darrell Scott met Ben Bullington during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with his children. Bullington was a small town Montana doctor who happened to write songs in his spare time and a mutual friend thought they might enjoy each other’s company – two single dads on vacation in the wilderness with their offspring. In fact, they wound up good friends with more in common than they probably thought at first. Bullington, it turned out, was fighting a cancer diagnosis that wound up taking his life. But, before he passed, he wanted to play a songwriters-in-the-round show in Nashville, and the date was set at the Station Inn. According to the liner notes on Scott’s new album, 10: Songs of Ben Bullington, that was the first time that he’d heard Bullington’s songs. And, as we can hear on the disc, Bullington was a remarkable songwriter. His lyrics have a natural musicality, and the nuance of his stories is bowl-you-over good in places. Scott’s treatment of the songs is pure and arresting. Here’s one of the most versatile artists in the Americana/roots world, whose instrumental prowess is well documented, giving one strum per measure in some cases, leaving room for the songs to create their own life. Not a lot of songs could stand up when stripped back to such simplicity. On the one hand, it’s a shame that a songwriter the calibre of Ben Bullington lived most of his whole life without his songs getting much further than his own guitar. On the other hand, it’s a blessing that his friend Darrell Scott picked up that very guitar and immortalized them. Favourite tracks: “I’ve Gotta Leave You Now”, “Born in 55”.

Mellow DramaAriela Jacobs
Kevin GarrettMellow Drama
Colouring was the first track I heard off Garrett’s debut EP and I immediately fell in love with the rest of the compilation. Similar to the James Blake aesthetic, his songs are punctuated with electronic beats but they are used gently and sparingly. Lyrically, he grabs your attention from the get go and although simplistic in narrative, he reels you in with unheard of metaphors to symbolise a broken relationship. Kevin may make you weep your eyes out, but I’m telling you it’s worth the sob and the copious amounts of ice cream afterwards.

Dogs at BayThom Lion
Bad DreemsDogs At Bay
I haven’t heard rock this real in a while. The songs and sound are unashamedly Australian. A raw record that hits you right in the face!

Daniel RomanoHarvey Russell (Peasant Moon)
Daniel RomanoIf I’ve Only One Time Askin’
Canadians do country well and Daniel Romano is no exception. On his fourth solo album the Ontarian moves away from the country folk of early material and beyond the twangy honky tonk of his 2013 release. This time it’s a modern interpretation of the countrypolitan sound which emerged in the 1960s. Some will accuse him of pastiche, and this is tempting if only the songwriting, instrumentation and vocal phrasings weren’t so damned good. George, Merle, Willie and even Charlie Rich would be happy to have written these songs. Romano knows he’s writing classics too, his brashness is evident through the use of rich synth-strings and drum machines. This was album of the year before I’d reached the end of my first listen.

Daniel KnoxJosie Rothwell (Peasant Moon)
Daniel KnoxDaniel Knox
The 2015 release from Chicago troubadour Daniel Knox is my fave album of the year – the top of a very long short list. The album is rich with gorgeous instrumentation, surprising given the stark piano and vocal package of his earlier releases. The arrangements complement the sharpness of his songwriting and his utterly enchanting voice. I love the breadth of the album – Knox gives us hazy dream trance on “Blue Car”, sharp and catchy on “Don’t Touch Me” and even a hypnotic choir in 14 15 111. Lyrically, Knox’s observations of the sometimes mundane imbue the entire album with an undercurrent of creepy menace

Imaginary ManAshleigh Mannix (Ashleigh Mannix, Little Georgia)
Rayland BaxterImaginary Man
I was hooked on the first listen. The first track “Mr. Rodriguez” had me bopping from the intro, and by the time the second verse had kicked in, I was swinging my hair and red wine around the kitchen like no tomorrow. My favourite song is “My Captain”, followed closely by “Rugged Lovers”. Both songs make me stop whatever I’m doing, and just listen. He makes me want to be a better songwriter. It’s just such a friken great album.

Imaginary ManJustin Carter (Justin Carter, Little Georgia)
Rayland BaxterImaginary Man
A lyrically inspiring album from start to finish.

Multi-LoveSahara Beck
Unknown Mortal OrchestraMulti-Love
Every song makes me fall in love again and again, not only with its extremely catchy melodies which dance through every instrument but also the lyrics that call you in with their familiar and relatable subject of thought. Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been on repeat in my mind all year long, this album is a wise old ear worm that I welcome into my mind with a warm accommodating smile

Chaos and the CalmMark Wilkinson
James BayChaos and the Calm
This record is really strong from top to bottom. It has a fantastic energy about it and the production hasn’t been overdone which really allows Bay’s voice to shine. The songs are catchy and accessible without being soulless and Bay’s vocals can stretch from intimate to powerful giving the album space for light and shade.

Sam AmidonCatgut
Sam AmidonHome Alone Inside My Head
Sam Amidon can go from quietly beautiful to shockingly abrasive in seconds. For Home Alone Inside My Head he put together a bunch of field recordings captured in 2002 after studying with old time fiddler Bruce Greene and free jazz violinist Leroy Jenkins. It’s not easy listening but it’s a glimpse inside the musical mind of someone we find very inspiring.

CurrentsTom Stephens
Tame ImpalaCurrents
Couldn’t deny Kev the props he deserves. The tunes are written, recorded, performed and produced all by the man himself, on his lonesome. There wasn’t even a dude around to get him a coffee when he was feeling flat. When it dropped the band and I listened to it five times in a row driving back from Melbourne. Everything is perfectly placed. The man is a master.

Yours DreamilyEddie Boyd (Eddie Boyd and the Phatapillars)
The ArcsYours, Dreamily,
The album is just filled with bangers from start to finish. Really great songwriting, catchy as f*@k and really interesting production. I would best describe it as soul/motown rock meets wild wild west. Super cool.

Ben MastwykJustin Bernasconi (Justin Bernasconi, The Stillsons)
Ben MastwykMornin’ Evenin’
Mastwyk’s beautifully crafted debut album is full of gems, the songs gently pushes and pulls you all the way from Texas to Melbourne inner north in one long dance.

The GleanerJordie Lane
Brendan WelchThe Gleaner
Thanks to local new Ballarat label, Heart Of The Rat Records, this brilliant album was given new life in October. Undoubtedly my favorite Australian voice, Brendan’s epic songs are matched by Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) with the producer hat on! I know already it’s gonna be one of my favorite records of all time!

Coming HomeBroads
Leon BridgesComing Home
Our pick for 2015’s top album was the debut album from Texan soul singer Leon Bridges. Co-written with members of Texan band White Denim, the album perfectly pays homage to that moment in history when gospel music bled into the world of soul. Particularly reminiscent of the velvet tones of Sam Cooke, the charismatic charm of this album had us absolutely bowled over, and has been played on high rotation since its release mid way through the year. Check out the single “Lisa Sawyer” – absolute retro gold.

Father John MistyTanya Batt
Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
I can’t even express what this album did to me the first time I heard it. It’s no hidden secret that Joshua Tillman is one of the best singer/songwriters of our generation/ever. His lyrical ability to tell a story is like no other. Then throw in the incredible voice and arrangements within his work and you just die a little inside with the pain he shares with you. I am a bit of a sucker for a concept album also so this is why this ended up being the winner. It’s such an honest album, so honest that he found it incredibly hard playing these songs in front of those close to him, and I feel that’s something I can relate to. I love you, Father John Misty. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

Such JubileePaddy Connor (Lime and Steel)
Mandolin OrangeSuch Jubilee
This duo have a magic touch of writing and playing songs that seem deceptively simple: and sometimes just that little extra beat or chord that grabs you. That can really play, but it’s never flashy: feels like you’re around a kitchen table at 2am with old friends singing that one song that opens their heart.

Jason IsbellAndrew Swift
Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free
A lot of my friends ok the music industry were raving about Jason Isbell, especially the women. If his name got mentioned on social media it was often followed by “swoon” or “my future husband” but it was actually my Dad that handed me his album and upon first listen I didn’t understand the fuss. As I’m lazy when it comes to changing CDs in my car it stayed in there for a while and played through several times and I came to realise just how impressive this man is. Something More Than Free is an album of songs I wish I had written. They’re not catchy when you first hear them but they grow on you, become a part of you, draw you in so you want to listen to the lyrics and thank god they do, the man is a wordsmith! This is one of those album where you don’t skip a song from start to finish.

Hell Breaks LooseTristan Goodall (The Audreys)
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
We don’t always agree on things like this, but in the case of the best album of 2015, my band-mate Taasha and I are in complete agreement. Shane Nicholson’s Hell Breaks Loose is a killer record. A break-up album for the educated country set (I think that’s us) that hums with vibrant melodies, deadly hooks and stinging lyrics, it sets a new bar for roots acts in our neck of the woods. Gently driving acoustic guitars and shuffling drums support a singer in search of a new start – confident, melancholy and yet tuned to hope.

Be ItThe April Maze
Jesse WitneyBe It
Four tracks of gold. The musicianship, arrangements and production are off-hook. Track 2, “Higher”, really takes you higher, it is so uplifting. But track 4, “Australia”, Jesse does something really special – it is very beautiful and captures the true essence of Australia. The perfect soundtrack for a roadtrip.

Glass FoolTodd Sibbin
Kaurna CroninGlass Fool
I’ve watched Kaurna’s development through four releases and on every level Glass Fool marks a significant step up. The songwriting, both lyrically and melodically, arrangement, production and his band’s cohesion (particularly Chris Panousakis’ lead guitar work) combine for a very tidy release indeed.

PondBetty & Oswald
PondMan It Feels Like Space Again
Oh boy the new Pond album has been round the block a few times at our place. Sonically arousing and drenched in all that bowie-esque glamour, these guys are right on!

Glass FoolBeth Stephen (The Little Stevies)
Tim GuyChords
The first thing that stood out to me hearing Chords for the first time was the song arrangements. I suspected from the moment I heard them that a lot of thought had gone into the structure of the songs and the lengths of the sections in each song. None of the songs are too over played, it’s full of great guitar licks and vocal hooks, the melodies and chord progressions are really interesting and unexpected, and Tim has given great vocal performances on all tracks. He’s used his whole vocal range and included stacks of killer harmonies. The album covers a range of genres which I think can be risky sometimes in terms of keeping a natural flow. But Tim pulled it off. My fav’s are “Footsteps” and “It’s The Weekend”. Chords is a strong collection of strong stand alone songs.

Kendrick LamarHayden Calnin
Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly
This is a piece of art. Kendrick has made what I consider to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. He’s doing wonders for an ever-rising genre of music and delivers an intelligent, modern, original, political and poetic masterpiece with this LP. Fav track: “Alright”

Glass FoolWillowy
The Weather StationLoyalty
Beginning with a stumbling fast paced picking of the guitar and warped percussion – the mood of this album is immediately established, taking the listener on a somber yet hopeful sonic journey. Even with upbeat songs like the title track “Way it is, Way it Could Be” there lies a weight in expectation. Noticing this year a pull towards a fuller and often more electric centered production, each track on this album unashamedly bares it soul with a stripped back, predominantly acoustic, yet thoughtful layering of instruments that builds when needed. The album highlights Tamara Lindeman’s emotional and warmly experimental vocals that compliment her soul bearing songwriting.

Jason IsbellEmily Barker
Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free
Like many, I adore Jason’s record, Southeastern, so it was always going to be a difficult album to follow up. I bought Something More Than Free at Grimey’s record shop in Nashville and it was the only CD I had in my hire car for the week I was there. It is fantastic. As always, his raw lyrics and vocal delivery are arresting. Dave Cobb’s production is also killer. My favourite track is “Children of Children” because it reminds me of the beautiful, haunting Dillard and Clark record, Through the Morning, Through the Night.

TravellerTimothy James Bowen
Chris StapletonTraveller
He’s got a voice that will leave you mouth-gapingly speechless and a beard/hat combo to match. Do your ears a favour and get into it as fast as humanly possible. In particular, listen out for the track, “Tennessee Whiskey”. Good Lord.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayLiz Stringer
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
Suzannah has always been one of my favourites. As a writer and performer. This new collection of songs, recorded with Jeff Lang at his studio and a stellar band, is another heartbreakingly beautiful one. One of the few artists that consistently brings me to tears, Espie has trawled some depths lyrically throughout this album that few would be brave enough to attempt and, in doing so, has cracked open a vein of shining gold. It’s stunning.

Songs to PlayJulia Jacklin
Robert ForsterSongs to Play
I hadn’t heard of Robert Forster until I listened to him being interviewed by Richard Fidler about story songs from the 1970s. I liked his talking voice and his passion for Carly Simons “You’re So Vain”, I’d never really listened closely to the lyrics. So I looked up his record and it made me really happy! His wobbly vocals, Australian accent, the Christmas bells in “And I Knew”. Listen to “A Poet Walks” if you need a confidence boost over the Christmas socialising period.

Dorsal FinsRoscoe James Irwin
Dorsal FinsMind Renovation
An absolute cracker of a record from some of the best dudes in Melbourne. With Ella Thompson (GL), Jarrad Brown (Eagle and The Worm) and Liam McGorry (Saskwatch) at the helm, there was no chance this record wasn’t going to rule. Sweet 90s garage vibes and some great electro boogie, all without actually sounding like a retro throwback record. “Nothing Left to Hide” with its Iggy-ness, and “Heart On The Floor” are standouts. One of the best live bands kicking around as well.

MotorheadShane Nicholson
MotorheadBad Magic
After 40 years in the game, they have just released one of their best records ever. The songs, the execution, the sheer power, the consistent disregard for trends. Best band that ever was.

Hell Breaks LooseThe Weeping Willows
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
The combination of skilfully crafted songs and his soul-soothing voice place Shane Nicholson in the world-class league of singer-songwriters. To us, “Hell Breaks Loose” is Song of the Year and we challenge you to stay dry-eyed throughout “Single Fathers”, “Secondhand Man” and “Hermannsburg”.

PassengerThe Once
PassengerWhispers II
Passenger is a songwriting king. There are songs on this record that will kick you in the guts, make you question your very own choices of the heart, make you remember all the feelings that you stopped allowing yourself and all in the most positive way. AND he is donating ALL of the album sales to UNICEF in a quest to help end painful hunger in Liberia. What? He’s unreal. Just sayin’.

RadiusThe Brouhaha
Allen StoneRadius
The lead single “Freedom” hooked me in. Live video on top of Capitol records, so much soul, so much vibe. Love love love 🙂

The MiraculousMusketeer
Anna Von HausswolffThe Miraculous
I had the pleasure of watching Anna play the pipe organ at the Town Hall in Sydney early in the year. I also had the pleasure of exploring and playing music in her home country of Sweden, in their summer months. So, when she dropped this album I couldn’t help but fall back into that vivid northern world. I guess that makes me a little biased, but The Miraculous is probably the most well crafted piece of music I have heard all year. I would call it gothic folk rock. It is unique and moving and Anna’s voice will open your soul.

Deeper SouthRosie McDonald (RAPT, Folklore)
Shane HowardDeeper South
So many great albums out this year, but the one that stays with me, like a prayer shawl, is Deeper South by Shane Howard with Ewan Baker and John Hudson. I have huge respect for Shane. His music, poetry, philosophy and voice now seem to have been honed by the elements, love and love lost, empathy with others and his own life struggles. There is no preaching, no soap box, just wry observations of love, despite the struggles and realities of living. The first track, the windswept evocative “Deeper South”, got under my skin and recently when all the news was so dire, I’ve played it like a psalm. I can come back and back to it and each time is moves and calms me. The album has celtic, jazz and folk influences and the other musicians, Ewan on fiddle and mando, and John on beautifully played guitar, complement the songs exquisitely along with guest performers. Live, the experience is just as meaningful but this crowd sourced and lovingly packaged album, like a small hard cover book, is a true work of brilliance and worthy of a place in any collection.

Kendrick LamarMatthew Black (The Bottlers)
Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar takes to his expansive african-americana scrapbook with a cleverly glinted and winking poet’s eye view of everyday life based subject matter with 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. 

Swaggering back into beat poetesque lyricism mixed with gritty urban, jazz draped drawls he looks at today’s America and further into tommorow’s American influenced world from the perspective of a young black man still fighting the battles his radical forebearers fought. Casting aside industry pushed gangster rap stereotypes this illuminating stew all cooks down into what very well could be classified as the next leap in the evolution of hip hop music.

Universal ThemesGeorgia Fair
Sun Kil MoonUniversal Themes
Because my girlfriend hates it and “Birds of Films” is so beautiful.

courtney barnettLauren Moore (Pepperjack)
Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think And Sometimes I Just Sit
Courtney Barnett is undeniably a force in the Australian music industry. She has the complexity and aloofness of an aging rock star but with the level headed intellect of a philosopher. The elaborately titled Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit showcases her signature lyrical witticisms and deadpan vocal style but also brings some unexpected angst. It’s refreshing and relatable. Barnett has something to say and the world is listening. I can’t wait to hear more.

Bird Under WaterTom West
Arooj AftabBird Under Water
Bird Under Water is a beautifully serene and lush record by Brooklyn Based Arooj Aftab. I have found myself getting lost time and time again in her complex, haunting melodies and flawless vocals, often splendidly layered and harmonised. The songs feel skilfully composed and even after repeated listens I still get a thrill out of the many unexpected turns and instrumental surprises. I can’t recommend this record highly enough.

Weight of the WorldGeorge Jackson (One Up, Two Down, The Company, Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass, Buffalo Nickel)
10 String SymphonyWeight Of The World
Nashville based 10 String Symphony released a great full length album this October which has been on high rotation for me since. The 5-string fiddle/banjo duo consists of Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer who are both fantastic and acclaimed fiddlers, though interestingly this album is strongly song-centric. The minimal instrumentation and vocal arrangements are super interesting to listen to, they’ve come up with some really interesting solutions to creating a full sound with just the two voices and two fiddles (or one fiddle and one banjo) to work with.

Carly Rae JepsonImogen Bel
Carly Rae JepsenE-mo-tion
I was definitely a sucker for Jepsen’s huge hit “Call Me Maybe” but it seemed as though she was headed for one hit wonder territory after that. Not the case! This album is full of fun and catchy hook-filled tunes with production that makes me feel like I’m dancing under a mirror ball on prom night in 1985. It’s full of the energy and naivety of a first crush, and it’s a lot of fun to get swept away in the drama of it all. Best tracks: “E-mo-tion”, “All That”, “Run Away With Me”.

Cold SummersFraser A Gorman
CrepesCold Summers
Tim Karmouche’s songwriting is some of the most exciting music I’ve heard lately. He retains a classic style akin to the Beatles/John Lennon but it’s contemporary, exciting, lyrically interesting pop music at its best.

Loren KateKris Morris
Loren KateTil Night Meet’s The Sun.
Loren is an amazing story teller and the EP captures the honesty and fragility of what she does perfectly. It’s a heartbreaker but there’s hope and love in there. It’s really something.

Blessing and CursingMandy Connell (Mandy Connell, Stray Hens)
Jimmy DowlingBlessing and Cursing
Co-produced by Matt Walker, with harmonies from Lucie Thorne. Simple instrumentation, very Aussie writing style, with stark images of our industrial landscape mixed with the light and space of the countryside. His best realisation yet.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayLes Thomas
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
Suzannah Espie’s courageous album Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today tops my list because it shows how music and songwriting can express topics that are usually too taboo to speak about. The honesty and generosity she shares about getting through post-natal depression and early motherhood is extremely rare and beautiful, and for that reason I hope these songs can be heard everywhere. Yes, it’s pretty heavy, but it’s also done in a supremely artful and moving way that would no doubt help countless people to process these under-acknowledged challenges and hardships.

Dick DiverDarren Hanlon
Dick DiverMelbourne, Florida
Boisterous, erudite, effortlessly nostalgic. All four songwriters share an aesthetic of detailed suburban minutiae and find poetry, humour and melancholy in the commonplace. This album feels like such an important beacon of light in Australian music at the moment, so therefore it’s criminal that they don’t play live more.

Tomorrow is my TurnSam Lee
Rhiannon GiddensTomorrow Is My Turn
This is more than a covers album – Rhiannon has taken some classic American song book standards and also lesser known blues and old time songs and crafted the most elegant dynamic and rich album that keeps so much of the original’s flare but represents these songs as though they were brand new and freshly forged. A true pioneer and gifted singer and musician coming into her own.

Brandie carlileFanny Lumsden
Brandi CarlileFirewatcher’s Daughter and Kacey MusgravesPageant Material
Just bloody great music. Purely honest to themselves in their songwriting and production and vocal delivery. Sassy, Classy and smart assy.

Skull n BonesThe Dead Maggies
So we marched through the woodlands to meet up ’round a campfire, and decide on the best album of 2015. After a few gallons of rum we decided that there was nothing good released in 2015. In fact we draw our inspiration from 1830s Tasmanian bushranger music, so we don’t listen to modern stuff. We can however give you a couple of tips for 2016… The Australian Beefweek Show (Newcastle pub-rock-cow-punk yobs) and Dominic Francis Grief Ensemble (Hobart, deep-intelligent-folk-rock), check them both out when they release albums next year. Now, where did I leave that rum…

Fanny Lumsden’s Sydney Album Launch

Fanny Lumsden
Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden

For the last few weeks Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers have been working their way around rural New South Wales and Victoria on one of their regular Country Halls tours. Lumsden and co have been taking their unique brand of alt-country music to Australia’s country halls for a number of years now, bringing music to spaces that have otherwise gone ignored by regular touring artists.

This Saturday 14th November Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers will be taking the country halls experience to the big smoke with the official launch of the their new album Small Town Big Shot at the St Stephens Church Hall in Newtown Sydney.

“It’s such a wonderful tour,” Fanny Lumsden explained. “We have kids to Grandmas coming to our shows and everyone in between and everyone gets in and has good go. We also run workshops for the kids, get local support acts and the local footy club or P&C run the BBQ – its an ‘all in community night out’ and I just can’t wait to bring it to Sydney.”

The Sydney show will feature Kris Morris and Sarah Humphreys in the support slots. For more information on the show check out the official Facebook event here.

Out On The Weekend Announces Headline Sideshows

Dawes
Image Courtesy of Dawes

As with last year Americana festival Out On The Weekend has announced a bunch of headline sideshows for its major international artists including supports from some of Australia’s finest.

This morning Out On The Weekend announced sideshows for Dawes (above), Sam Outlaw with Jonny Fritz and Shelly Colvin and Jamestown Revival. The festival itself takes place on the 17th October in Melbourne and the 24th October in Sydney (see details here). Get the full run down of side shows below:

Dawes

Dawes with Barna Howard & Tracy McNeil

Sunday 18th October – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Tuesday 20th October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 21st October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Sam Outlaw

Sam Outlaw with Jonny Fritz, Shelly Colvin & Friends

Friday 16th October – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Sunday 18th October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 21st October – Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 25th October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Jamestown Revival

Jamestown Revival with Raised by Eagles (Melbourne) and Sarah Humphreys & Kris Morris and Little Georgia (Sydney)

Wednesday 21st October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 22nd October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 25th September

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We finally posted the new video from Tim Wheatley “Valerie”. Details here

Timber and Steel favourites Arbori have announced a return to the stage with a residency in Sydney throughout October. Details here

The BordererS hit the road from this Friday. Details here

– The Illawarra Folk Festival revealed a huge lineup for 2016 including Dougie MacLean, The East Pointers, Catgut, Chaika, Daniel Champagne, Handsome Young Strangers, Liz Stringer, Rebecca Bastoli, Shane Howard, Shanty Club, The Button Collective, The Dead Maggies, Big Erle, Joe Mungovan, Kay Proudlove and many many more. Details here

– Queensland based singer-songwriter Greta Stanley released her new single “Lakes”. Details here

– A couple of live videos have surfaced from Sarah Humphreys and Kris Morris’ new duo project. Details here

– Canadian trad trio The East Pointers will be releasing their debut album in October. Details here

Calexico released their new video “Tapping On The Line” featuring Neko Case. Details here

Bluesfest announced their second round of artists for 2016 including The Decemberists, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Tweedy, Steve Earle, Nahko and Medicine for the People and Blackberry Smoke and many more. Details here

– Irish singer Foy Vance announced headline shows while he’s in the country supporting Ed Sheeran. Details here

– Sydney duo Jep and Dep released their new video “Cut All Ties”. Details here

Winterbourne released their poppy new single “To Get To Know You”. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard released his new video “Her Mercy”. Details here

– Folk and bluegrass trio One Up, Two Down announced details of their upcoming EP A Day On The Quay. Details here

– Next Monday and Tuesday will see 21 singer-songwriters will converge for If You See Her, Say Hello as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival including Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Ayleen O’Hanlon, BABY BLUE, Bek Street, Brooke Russell, Claire Hendry, Cookie Baker, Emilee South, Georgia Spain, Gretta Ray, Jemma Nicole, Jemma Rowlands (Jemma & The Clifton Hillbillies), Kate Boston-Smith (Modesty), Kate McMahon, Kelly Day (Broads), Ladie Dee (Howl at the Moon), Loni Rae and Shannon Busch (WILSN) plus special guests. Details here

– Adelaide’s Sam Brittain announced an October residency. Details here

– The Port Fairy Folk Festival announced their first round of artists for 2016 including Ayleen O’Hanlon, Claymore, DakhaBrakha (Ukraine), Dave Arden, Eric Bogle, Fourplay, Grigoryan Brothers, John McCutcheon (USA), Katie Noonan’s Vanguard, Lloyd Spiegel, Manran (Scotland), Mary Black (Ireland, above), Moxie (Ireland), Nicky Bomba’s Bustamento, Pierce Brothers, Ruby Boots, Steve Poltz (USA), Sara Storer, Shellie Morris, Suzannah Espie, The Bushwackers, The East Pointers (Canada), The Ugly Uncles, Truckstop Honeymoon (USA), Three Kings, The Woohoo Revue and The Young’uns (UK). Details here

– We premiered the new video from The Timbers, “All I’ve Got Time For”. Details here

– Americana singer-songwriter Suzannah Espie released her new video “I’m Sorry” and announced a national tour. Details here

Releases This Week

Now
NOWAsh Grunwald
iTunes

Lachlan Bryan
The MountainLachlan Bryan & The Wildes
iTunes

Pierce Brothers
Into The DirtPierce Brothers
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

If You See Her, Say Hello feat. Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Ayleen O’Hanlon, BABY BLUE, Bek Street, Brooke Russell, Claire Hendry, Cookie Baker, Emilee South, Georgia Spain, Gretta Ray, Jemma Nicole, Jemma Rowlands (Jemma & The Clifton Hillbillies), Kate Boston-Smith (Modesty), Kate McMahon, Kelly Day (Broads), Ladie Dee (Howl at the Moon), Loni Rae and Shannon Busch (WILSN)

If You See Her Say Hello

21 of Melbourne’s favourite female singer-songwriters are coming together for this Melbourne Fringe Festival show. Each singer will be performing their songs backed up with a choir of the other performers. This is going to be something special

Monday 28th September – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 29th September – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Ainsley Farrell w/ Georgia Mulligan, Catgut
Friday 2nd October – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

April Maze
Friday 25th September – Private House Concert, QLD

Arbori
Thursday 1st October – The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney, NSW

Ash Grunwald
Friday 25th September – The Corner, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 26th September – Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Thursday 1st October – Wickham, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 2nd October – Yours and Owls Festival, Wollongong, NSW

Batch Sessions feat. Andy Golledge, Caitlin Harnett
Wednesday 30th September- Batch Brewing, Sydney, NSW

Dana Hassall
Friday 25th September – Johnny Cash: The Concert, The Events Centre, Caloundra, QLD
Saturday 26th September – Johnny Cash: The Concert, Empire Theatre, Toowoomba, QLD

Dustin Tebbutt w/ Jesse Davidson, Caitlin Park
Friday 25th September – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 2nd October – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD

Eddie Boyd & The Phatapillars
Friday 25th September – Baroque, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 26th September – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 25th September – Wanganella Hall, Wanganella, NSW
Saturday 26th September – Sandigo Hall, Sandigo, NSW
Sunday 27th September – The Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Finders Keepers Markets Melbourne
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th October – Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC

Forest Falls
Friday 2nd October – Cafe Go, Geelong, VIC

Fred Smith, Humbug
Saturday 26th September – City Diggers, Wollongong, NSW

Goulburn Gathering
Friday 2nd to Monday 5th October – Goulburn, NSW

If You See Her, Say Hello feat. Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Ayleen O’Hanlon, Baby Blue, Brooke Russell, Clare Hendry, Cookie Baker, Emilee South, Georgia Spain, Gretta Ray, Jemma Nicole, Jemma Rowlands, Kate Boston-Smith, Kate McMahon, Kelly Day, Ladie Dee, Loni Rae, WILSN
Monday 28th September – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 29th September – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Jess Ribeiro
Saturday 26th September – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Joan Baez
Sunday 27th September – Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 30th September – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA

John Flanagan and Liz Frencham
Saturday 26th September – House Concert, Newstead, VIC
Sunday 27th September – The Boite Music Cafe, Melbourne, VIC

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Saturday 26th September to Saturday 3rd October – Mildura Country Music Festival, VIC

Lime and Steel
Thursday 1st October – Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 2nd October – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC

Little May
Saturday 26th September – Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth, WA

Lost Ragas
Saturday 26th September – Café Burrinja, Burrinja, VIC

Madeleine Duke w/ Tim Haines
Saturday 26th September – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Mark Lucas and Chris Porter
Wednesday 30th September – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Martha Wainwright
Friday 2nd October – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Mildura Country Music Festival
Friday 25th September to Sunday 4th October – Mildura, VIC

Murwillumbah Country Roots Fest
Friday 2nd to Monday 5th October – Murwillumbah, NSW

Pierce Brothers
Thursday 1st October – Rolling Stone Live Lodge, Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 2nd October – Murwillumbah Country Roots Festival, Murwillumbah, NSW

Rowen w/ Brother Fox, Charlotte Emily
Saturday 25th September – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

Sam Brittain
Friday 2nd October – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Semaphore Music Festival
Friday 2nd to Monday 5th October – Adelaide, SA

Surry Hills Festival
Saturday 25th September – Sydney, NSW

The AU Sessions feat. Kay Proudlove, Paul Mason
Tuesday 29th September – The Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The BordererS
Friday 25th September – Polish White Eagle Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 26th September – The Clarendon, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 27th September – Pittwatter RSL, Mona Vale, NSW
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th October – Murtoa Big Weekend, near Horsham, VIC

The Muso Next Door Sydney feat. The Cope St Parade, Diamond Duck, Justine Eltakchi
Friday 25th September – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

The Snowdroppers
Friday 25th September – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 1st October – Ed Castle, Adelaide, SA
Friday 2nd October – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA

The Timbers
Friday 25th September – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 26th September – Queen Street Mall, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 27th September – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Upstairs & Underground feat. The Gypsy Dub Sound System, Edema Ruh
Friday 2nd October – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Uranquinty Folk Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th October – Uranquinty, NSW

Wallaby Creek Festival
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th September – Rossville, QLD

Winterbourne
Friday 25th September – Club 54 Launceston, TAS
Saturday 26th September – Uni Bar, Hobart, TAS
Friday 2nd October – ANU Bar, Canberra, ACT

Wollombi Music Festival
Saturday 26th September – Wollombi, NSW

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 25th September – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA
Saturday 26th September – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth, WA
Sunday 27th September – 3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River, WA

Friday Folk Flashback

“Spike Island Lassies” – Moxie

This was a last minute sub in for FFF after I saw this video posted on a friend’s Facebook wall and then fell down a Moxie themed YouTube rabbit hole. Moxie will be in the country next year during the folk festival season – make sure you get out and see them!

Watch Sarah Humphreys and Kris Morris Perform “These Nights” and “Hips

Kris Morris
Image Courtesy of Kris Morris

Alt-country troubadour Kris Morris and indie-folk singer Sarah Humphreys are currently pooling their collective song-writing awesomeness to produce their debut duo album which is some of the most exciting news we’ve heard all year.

And to give you a taster of what it sounds like when Sarah Humphreys and Kris Morris make sweet music together check out live videos of their new tracks “These Nights” and “Hips” recorded live at Octopus’s Garden, Long Jetty:


Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Boy & Bear announced details of their new album Limit of Love. Details here

– Adelaide singer-songwriter Tom West released his new single “Big Balloon” and added September tour dates. Details here

– Swedish nu-folk band Of Monsters and Men released their new video “Empire”. Details here

– Adelaide four piece The Timbers will be launching their new single at a show in September. Details here

– Anti-folk hero Joanna Newsom released her new video “Sapokanikan” from her upcoming album Divers. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Wighton released her quirky new video “Little Dove”. Details here

– The next edition of the Heartbreaker Sessions in Sydney is this Sunday featuring Andy Golledge and Kris Morris. Details here

– Canadian folk rockers Great Lake Swimmers released their new video “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues”. Details here

MountainGrass dropped their 2015 lineup headlined by Laurie Lewis and featuring Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass, Orpheus Supertones, Bluegrass Parkway, Paul Wookey, Pete Denahy, Davidson Brothers, Karen Lynne, The Weeping Willows, The Kissin’ Cousins, The Pipi Pickers, John Flanagan, Old South, Buffalo Nickel, Coolgrass, The Strzelecki Stringbusters and many more. Details here

Lucinda Williams has announced Australian headline shows and appearances at A Day On The Green this November and December. Details here

– Perth based singer-songwriter Bernardine released her new video “I Don’t Mind”. Details here

Ash Grunwald released his new single “Second Guess” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney venue The Petersham Bowling Club is holding an OXJAM concert at the end of the month featuring Cruisin’ Deuces, Mark Lucas, Katie Brianna, Bree De Rome and Brian Manning. Details here

Releases This Week

Nathaniel Rateliff
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
iTunes

Oh Pep!
LivingOh Pep!
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Macquarie Arms’ 200th Birthday Party feat. Imogen Clark & The Lonely Hearts

The historic Macquarie Arms Hotel at the base of the Blue Mountains in Windsor, west of Sydney, will this weekend celebrate its 200th Birthday. Hometown girl and Timber and Steel favourite Imogen Clark will be singing up a storm with her band The Lonely Hearts to celebrate – this gig is going to be a cracker!

Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Gigs Next Week

Bronte
Saturday 22nd August – Sappho’s, Sydney, NSW

Day Ravies, Wireheads, Thigh Master, Weak Boys
Friday 21st August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Echo Deer, Yhan Leal
Sunday 23rd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Boyd & The Phatapillars
Thursday 27th August – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW

El Grande
Friday 21st August – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick Heads, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – House Concert, Holgate, NSW
Wednesday 26th August – RAD, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 27th August – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS

Fitzroyalty feat. Ben Mitchell, Toby Robinson
Tuesday 25th August – Little & Oliver, Melbourne, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. The Tawny Owl String Band, The Campervan Dancers, Colin Jones
Wednesday 26th August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Good Counsel, The High Ceilings, Prints
Saturday 22nd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gympie Muster
Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th August – Gympie, QLD

Heartbreaker Sessions feat. Andy Gollege, Kris Morris
Sunday 23rd August – Freda’s, Sydney, NSW

Hucker Brown
Thursday 27th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Immigrant Union
Thursday 27th August – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 28th August – The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW

Imogen Clark
Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 21st August – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS

James Teague
Sunday 23rd August – Mill Hall, Rous Mill, NSW
Thursday 27th August – The Music Hunter Experience, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 28th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Jane Cameron
Friday 21st August – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Jed Rowe
Friday 21st August – Ararat Live, Ararat VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide SA
Sunday 23rd August – Red Poles, McLaren Vale SA

Josh Rennie-Hynes & Caitlin Harnett
Saturday 22nd August – Woodford Open Space, Woodford, QLD

Katie Wighton
Friday 28th August – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Beechworth, VIC

Not Good With Horses, Fanny Lumsden
Thursday 27th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Mary Chapin Carpenter w/ Tift Merritt
Thursday 27th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, QLD

Riley Pearce
Friday 21st August – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 22nd August – White Star Hotel, Albany, WA
Sunday 23rd August – Caves House Hotel, Yallingup, WA
Friday 28th August – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA

Ruby Boots
Sunday 23rd August – Darwin Festival “Big Country”, Darwin, NT
Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th August – Dowerin Field Day Festival, The Wheatbelt WA

Sian Evans
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Townsville Culture Fest, Townsville, QLD

The AU Sessions feat. Elwood Myre, Max Marvell
Tuesday 25th August – Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Brouhaha
Friday 28th August – The Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Scrimshaw Four w/ Uncle Bobby​, Senivoda​​
Monday 24th August – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Tim Wheatley
Friday 21st August – Illawarra Brewery, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Howlin’ Wolf, Wollongong, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th and Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, Gympie, QLD

Timberwolf
Friday 21st August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 28th August – UniBar, Adelaide, SA

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 21st August – Coffs Ex Services, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 27th August – Club Forsters, Forster, NSW
Friday 28th August – Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Shove The Pig’s Foot (A Little Closer to the Fire)” – Bruce Molsky with Tim O’Brien, Aly Bain, John McCustker, Jerry Douglas, Dirk Powell, Mike McGoldrick, Phil Cunningham, Donald Shaw, Russ Barenberg, John Doyle, Todd Parks, Pat McInerney and James McIntosh

I’ve been playing tune at a few jams recently (with the intention of eventually learning it properly) and it’s so catchy! Just had to share the Transatlantic Sessions version just because of all of the amazing musos on this track.

Andy Golledge and Kris Morris Announced for the Next Heartbreaker Sessions

Andy Golledge
Image Courtesy of Andy Golledge

Did you manage to get down to the first of the Heartbreaker Sessions in Sydney last week? From all accounts it sounds like it was an absolutely cracking night – and they’re going to do it all again this weekend.

The Heartbreaker Sessions are the brainchild of Sydney Americana and alt-country music lovers Chris and Daz. Held fortnightly at Freda’s, the night features two artists, Americana DJs and is 100% free.

This Sunday 23rd August the Heartbreaker Sessions are set to feature two of New South Wales’ most enduring Americana and alt-country singer-songwriters, Andy Golledge (above) and Kris Morris. The night kicks off at 6pm – for more details check out the official Facebook event here.


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