Review:Riverboats Music Festival

Brian Nankervis-7
Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

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

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

Welcome to Country-3

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

 

Dyson Stringer Cloher-11

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

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

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

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

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

Mama Kin Spender-7

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

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

Something For Kate-15

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

 

 

Mama Kin Spender-16

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

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

Bob Evans-7

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

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

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

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

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

 

New Music Monday – 23rd September

Georgia State Line
Image Courtesy of Georgia State Line

Devendra Banhart – “Taking a Page”

“Taking a Page” is taken from Devendra Banhart’s brand new album Ma and is once again a piece of quirky pop music from the freak folk singer-songwriter. The song skips and jumps over a funky baseline with stabbing synths and subtle guitar pieces. It’s weird and twisty, with some strange strange lyrics, but I think you’ll really like it.

Freya Josephine Hollick – “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”

Freya Josephine Hollick has just dropped “Nobody’s No Better Than No One”, the first taste from her upcoming 2020 album The Real World. The track features Hollick confidently swaggering her way through a bluesy, country-rock piece of art that feels like it could have been ripped from the 70s or 80s. Freya Josephine Hollick’s is absolutely on point and her ability to leave space for the driving melody is inspired. Great stuff.

Georgia Knight – “Samba Baby”

“Samba Baby” is the new single from Melbourne singer-songwriter Georgia Knight. The languid track feels like a hot summer day, with a soothing melody that slips over a lazy samba beat, punctuated by the occasional fuzzy guitar. Knight vocal style is reminiscent of singers like Roy Orbison or KD Lang, the perfect accompaniment to the sultry tone of the track.

Georgia State Line – “From Down Here”

Melbourne Americana band Georgia State Line released their brand new single “From Down Here” at the end of last week. The single manages to fuse the heartbreak and melancholy of country music with an upbeat, catchy melody. And then there’s Georgia Delves’ amazing voice – what a talent!

“This track is my antidote to life’s more challenging moments,” Delves explained. “We all, at one point or another, find ourselves on paths that we don’t necessarily want to be walking. It takes a lot of strength to accept the process as it is, and trust the greater plan. A lemons-to-lemonade situation, really.”

Hannah Acfield – “Searching (for more)”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Hannah Acfield released her soulful new single and video “”Searching (for more)”. The single highlights Acfield’s incredible voice which powers through the track and is filled with so much emotion. I love the choppy electric guitar here and the way the song builds with it’s dirty drums, bass and organ.

Hannah Acfield is heading out on tour this October – dates are below:

Saturday 5th October – The Dusty Attic, Lismore, NSW
Sunday 6th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 9th October – Folkswagon, Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 25th October – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Musketeer – “Wolves”

Europe-based Australian troubadour Musketeer sent over his new single “Wolves” which he promises is the folkiest from his upcoming EP The North Sea, due next year. The single is inspired by the idea of wolves repopulating Scandinavia and has a really epic, nordic feel with heavy drums and droning vocals. Musketeer has really leant into the bigger sound of his four piece band for this track and the result is huge.

Pieta Brown – “Bring Me”

Last week Pieta Brown released her S. Carey (Bon Iver) produced new album Freeway. The latest single from the album is the Dylan-esque ballad “Bring Me”. I love the way that Brown bends her vocal style across the simple acoustic strumming of “Bring Me”, adding a depth and resonance to the song. Beautiful stuff.

Wallis Bird – “Life Is Long”

“Life Is Long” is the new single from Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird’s new album Woman, due for release this Friday 27th September. The track mixes the quirk of a Bjork song with the pop sensibility of someone like Sia, all the while staying true to the authenticity of Wallis Bird’s unique voice.

New Music Monday – 9th September

Falls
Image Courtesy of Falls

Ainsley Farrell – “Dark Spell”

“Dark Spell” is the new single from Sydney based singer-songwriter Ainsley Farrell. The track captures Farrell’s vulnerability as a songwriter and couples her unique vocal style with electric guitar and a driving rhythm section.

“I wrote “Dark Spell” about losing yourself in a relationship and becoming someone you’re not to appease the other person,” Ainsley Farrell explained. “It’s about taking on the heartbreak of two people.”

Ainsley Farrell self directed the video for “Dark Spell”.

“The idea for the video was to do all these mundane tasks like laundry and showering with different faces, and have the faces take over and consume me,” she said. “The magazine cut out of faces are meant to represent the part of you that’s lost I guess – it ended up being a lot creepier than I imagined.”

Ainsley Farrell will be supporting Asha Jefferies at Low 302 in Sydney on the 21st September.

Bobby Alu – “Fire”

Roots singer-songwriter Bobby Alu recently debuted his new single “Fire”. The sunny track sees Alu pulling from numerous influences, including reggae and soul, to create a sound that’s bound to put a smile on your face.

“”Fire” is about good flow,” Bobby Alu explained. “Searching inside yourself to find the courage to push your energy into things you love. Instead of finding discomfort and fear, you find power and fire. I love these moments and when I started writing this song I was searching for that fire in myself again. This made me realise when this type of feeling comes by, it’s time to strike and make most of the goodness.”

“Fire” taken from Bobby Alu’s newly announced album Flow which hits stands on the 18th October. He’ll also be heading out on tour with Busby Marou in October and November:

Friday 25th October – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 26th October – Venue 114, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 27th October – Home of Arts, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 31st October – Lions Arts Factory, Adelaide, SA
Friday 1st November – The Freo.Social, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 2nd November – The River, Margaret River, WA
Friday 8th November – Palais, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Saturday 9th November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 14th November – The Cambridge, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 15th November – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 16th November – Ettamogah Hotel, Kellyville Ridge, NSW
Friday 22nd November – The Jack, Cairns, QLD
Saturday 23rd November – Kirwan Tavern, Townsville, QLD

Catherine Traicos – “And I Ran”

Celebrated folk singer Catherine Traicos has just released her brand new single “And I Ran”, the first taste of her upcoming album Nobody Could Hear Us to be released on the 25th October. The song’s slightly unconventional chord progression melds wonderfully with Traicos’ sweet if somewhat haunting voice.

“When I wrote this song it was just the music and that unconventional structure that presented itself in about three minutes in someone’s living room, on a borrowed guitar that hadn’t been played in so long the tuning had gone down a tone,” Catherine Traicos explained. “I sat with the song for ages, trying out different lyrics and structures but nothing felt quite right. And then I put it away for almost a year!

“Then there was a definite point of change in my life where I was able to sit back and be angry and that is when most of the songs came together. I feel that often when things are bad you are just engulfed by them and often they can be so bad that you bypass and can’t process emotion. So when I finally wrote the song I was in the post bypass state of utter fury at events, at certain people and mostly at myself. But the piece just couldn’t work as an angry song no matter how much I tried to push it in that direction. I latched onto the amazing bliss that was also concurrently present in my life (go reality!) and wrote about that instead.”

Falls – “On Attack”

There’s a long history between LA based Sydney duo Falls and Timber and Steel. Last Friday they released their new single “On Attack”, their first in far too long. The track features Falls’ trademark harmonies intertwined through a driving, rhythmic melody that had me up and dancing.

“When the idea of home is illusive and you feel like you’ve lost your grounding, you sometimes find yourself clinging to people like life rafts,” Melinda Kirwin explained. “This song is about that moment when you realize that you’re not drowning, you can touch the ocean floor with your feet, and you can save yourself.”

There’s so much nostalgia on this track, I love it. “On Attack” is the first taster of Falls’ upcoming EP Bodega Rose, due in October.

Mark Moldre – “Josephine”

Americana singer-songwriter Mark Moldre has just released his new single and video “Josephine”. Taken from his 2019 album Fever Dreams, “Josephine” is a hypnotic, melancholic, dream-like track and the accompanying video plays up to this tone with strange, somewhat surreal visuals. This is very much modern, Australian Americana – more of this and less of everything else.

Michael Waugh – “Big Things”

No one is capturing the Australian experience at the moment quite like Michael Waugh. His storytelling songwriting style taps into something nostalgic but also delivers an emotional wallop. “Big Things” is not just about the “fibre glass fruit” that dots Australia’s highways, but instead anchors a primal story of growing up in the bush with the familiar archetypes of the Australian road trip.

“Big Things is about family – and the making of this video was a real family affair,” Michael Waugh explained. “My good friend Miguel Rios shot and directed – assisted by his partner, Meredith O’Shea. Though, the real stars are Meredith and Miguel’s kids. My favourite moment in the shoot was when Meredith gave them the direction to ‘look sad like an orphan for mummy’. I was rolling around on the ground laughing too much for the kids to adopt the required look of abandonment.

“The concept was about these kids recreating the family car trip to see the big things of Australia. They use whatever is at hand – coat hangers become the harbour bridge, the fruit bowl raided to create the big banana, teddies duct taped onto the couch to be back seat passengers. Like the goldfish, temporarily displaced so the bowl can be used as an astronaut helmet, two little kids swim around the house – playing out the memory of that family trip. Because in another part of the house there are other big things happening.”

Michael Waugh is currently out on tour – his upcoming dates are below:

Saturday 14th September – The Palais, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Saturday 21st September – Sandy Point Music Club. Sandy Point, VIC
Friday 4th October – Oodies Café, Bundaberg, QLD
Saturday 12th to Saturday 19th October – Cruisin Country 2019
Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd November – Maldon Folk Festival, Maldon, VIC
Saturday 16th November – Humph Hall, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 17th November – Illawarra Folk Club show, Kiama, NSW
Saturday 23rd November – Burke and Wills Winery, Heathcote, VIC
Saturday 30th November – By the Banks Festival, Albury, VIC
Wednesday 11th December – The Lomond Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Montgomery Church – “I Was Young When I Left Home”

Folk and Americana duo Montgomery Church have delivered a stunning cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Was Young When I Left Home” for their latest single. Stripped back to just voice, guitar and dobro Montgomery Church make the song their own. I particularly love the moments of vocal harmony punctuated by James Church’s slide playing – really beautiful stuff.

Nathan Power – “Sparrow Song”

I really like this live version of Nathan Power’s new single “Sparrow Song” courtesy of the Shoelace Sessions. The Bluegrass-folk instrumentation of guitar, bass, fiddle and mandolin perfectly accompanies the song which makes some really interesting chordal twists and turns which still staying very true to the genre.

Nathan Power is currently touring the new single – see the upcoming dates below:

Friday 13th September – Guildford Family Hotel, Guildford, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Tumut River Brewing, Tumut, NSW
Sunday 22nd September – Old Bus Depot, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 22nd September – Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Thursday 26th September – Foghorn Brewhouse, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 27th September – Charlies Last Stand, Armidale, NSW
Saturday 28th September – 63 First, Sawtell, NSW
Sunday 29th September – Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Wednesday 2nd October – Lomond Acoustic, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 2nd November – Blue Bean Love, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November – Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival, Bendigo, VIC

Robert Cini – “Different Road”

Far North Queensland roots singer-songwriter Robert Cini has released the very summery sounding “Different Road”. The track is toe-tappingly catchy but also has a really personal message around what it feels like to be “different” from the mainstream.

“Anyone that feels a little different and out of place, or has life a bit tougher than normal, I think will relate to this song,” Robert Cini explains.

“Different Road” is taken from Cini’s brand new debut album Imaginary Fun which was released last week.

Sam Buckingham – “Real Life”

Singer-songwriter and Timber and Steel favourite Sam Buckingham returns with her gorgeous new song “Real Life”. Buckingham has a knack for writing beautiful acoustic folk songs with catchy choruses and deep lyrics, and “Real Life” is yet another example of her skill.

“This song feels like the fruits of a long inner journey,” Sam Buckingham explains. “I’m kind of just reporting back on some big things that I’ve felt and learnt over the years.”

Sam Buckingham is heading out on tour this October – full dates are below:

Friday 4th October – Junk Bar, Ashgrove, QLD
Saturday 5th October – Dusty Attic, Lismore, NSW
Friday 11th October – Low 302, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 12th October – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 25th October – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

The East Pointers – “Wintergreen”

“Wintergreen” is the gorgeous new song and video from Canadian folk trio The East Pointers. The song combines the group’s trad-inspired instrumental style with an expansive indie-folk songwriting approach they began to dabble in with their 2017 album What We Leave Behind. The video for “Wintergreen” elevates the song with a stunning AUSLAN dance performance from Emma Watkins.

The East Pointers have announced their new album Yours To Break, which will feature “Wintergreen”, will be released on the 25th October.

The Teskey Brothers – “Paint My Heart”

I feel like we feature The Teskey Brothers every week, but I reckon that’s because they’re releasing some amazing music at the moment, especially since the release of their new album Run Home Slow. “Paint My Heart” is The Teskey Brothers in epic soul mode, from the With-A-Little-Help-From-My-Friends like opening, the slow build towards the double time jam long, right up to the drawn out vocal finish. This is not music for the Spotify generation where you avoid the slow burn or extended instrumental to stop the audience from skipping – this is music that revels in itself and its influences. Delightful.

Vetiver – “To Who Knows Where”

Nu-folk stalwarts Vetiver released their amazing new single “To Who Knows Where”, taken from their upcoming album Up On High which is due on the 1st November. The Nick Drake-esque track is a lush, dreamy song which very much draws you in and wraps you up in warm blanket of folky goodness.

New Music Monday – 2nd September

Hayley Marsten
Image Courtesy of Hayley Marsten

Allison Forbes – “Hell Freezes Over”

Australian country singer Allison Forbes has released her brand new single “Hell Freezes Over”, taken from her upcoming album Bonedigger, due this November. The track delves more into the country-rock side of Forbes’ sound than we’ve seen in the past and is full of grit and fire.

“The song is about finding a place where you’re comfortable to accept things that have happened and the preparation of not lying down to die because of it,” Allison Forbes explains.

Ash Grunwald feat. The Teskey Brothers – “Ain’t My Problem”

For his latest single “Ain’t My Problem” blues and roots singer Ash Grunwald has enlisted the myriad talents of current buzz band The Teskey Brothers. The result is a track full of foot stomping blues goodness, accentuated by the distinct vocals of Ash Grunwald and Josh Teskey.

“”Ain’t My Problem” is written about the concept that comes up often when we relive old relationships, we literally re-live emotionally everything that we went through. And there is no point, it’s holding you back and it ain’t your problem anymore!” Ash Grunwald explained. “It was a conglomeration of stories from friends and personal experiences about moving on. It was such a great honour to have Josh Teskey and The Teskey Brothers play on this track. Josh has one of the greatest voices to ever come out of Australia and I have such respect for the band, I love them both as people and as musicians.”

“Ain’t My Problem” is taken from Ash Grunwald’s latest album Mojo, released last week. He’s heading out on tour this October and November – the full list of dates are below:

Friday 4th October – Jive Bar, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 5th October – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 11th October – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Friday 18th October – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 19th October – The Zoo | Brisbane, QLD
Friday 1st November – Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 2nd November – The Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Sunday 3rd November – Forth Pub, Forth, TAS
Friday 22nd November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Asha Jefferies – “Bad Kisser”

Brisbane based singer-songwriter Asha Jefferies has just released the delitelful new single “Bad Kisser”. The coming of age song couples a sweet, catching melody with some biting lyrics and poignant observations. I really like the production on this track as well, the way it jumps from just Jefferies and her guitar to full string arrangements alongside a band.

“I wrote [the song] about an extremely euphoric and tragic moment involving a festival; lust, longing, intoxication & one ultra-big insult,” Asha Jefferies explains. “It takes a bit of growing up to realise not every interaction you have with a stranger you like and meet will be romantic.”

Asha Jefferies is touring “Bad Kisser” from the middle of this month:

Saturday 21st September – Low 302, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th September – Brisbane Festival @ Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 4th October – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 26th October – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

Danika Smith – “Suit of Armour”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Danika Smith has just released her new single “Suit of Armour”. Combining classic folk finger-picking with modern lo-fi production, the track takes Smith’s sound in a really interesting and mesmerising direction.

“”Suit Of Armour” is a track that I wrote when love and fear collided, and left me feeling confused and avoidant,” Danika Smith explained. “It’s a song that observes the reservations I have, when there is something potentially beautiful in front of me, and I look for the cracks and flaws, as a protective method to avoid pain. It is melancholic that the beauty of love is shadowed by so much skepticism and mistrust, but there is an optimistic message too. I have the power to move through the weight of these experiences, remove the armour, and eventually be more open to connection, in time.”

Danika Smith will be launching “Suit of Armour” at the Geddes Lane Ballroom in Melbourne on the 14th September as well as being announced for the Strawberry Fields Festival at the end of November.

Hayley Marsten – “Red Wine, White Dress”

Country singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten has released the amazingly titled “Red Wine, White Dress”, which she co-wrote with Timber and Steel favourite Brad Butcher. The track is a perfect piece of modern country rock music without any of the cringyness that sometimes plagues the genre. Marsten’s amazing voice shines through, accentuated by her amazing band.

“Red Wine, White Dress” is taken from Hayley Marsten’s new album Spectacular Heartbreak which came out last week. She’s currently out on tour – check out the remaining dates here:

Thursday 5th September – Oodies Cafe, Bundaberg, QLD
Friday 6th September – Captain Cook, 1770, QLD
Saturday 14th September – The Press, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 15th September – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Thursday 19th September – Lazybones, Sydney, NSW
Friday 20th September – Toppy Hall, Wyalong, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Palladiam Palace Theatre, Morundah, NSW
Sunday 22nd September – Servo Bar, Woollongong, NSW
Saturday 12th October – VDM Fest, Biloela, QLD
Friday 18th October – Apple Cider Shed, Grove, TAS
Saturday 19th October – Royal Oak, Launceston, TAS
Friday 25th October – Springdale Hall, Springdale, NSW
Saturday 26th October – Gunbar Hall, Gunbar, NSW
Thursday 7th November – Wesley Ann, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 8th November – Bayview Country Art Club, Bittern, VIC
Friday 15th November – Loomberah Hall, Loomberah, NSW
Saturday 16th November – Glen Innes Hall, Glen Innes, NSW

Jenny Mitchell – “Let Me Be”

“Let Me Be” is the stunning new single and video from NZ based folk and country singer-songwriter Jenny Mitchell. Mitchell has crafted a sweeping, expansive song with a driving rhythm and beautiful lyrical quality.

The track is taken from Jenny Mitchell’s 2018 album Wildfires and tells the story of her parents. “It’s definitely a track on the album which crosses genre boundaries, and I’m really proud of it” she explains.

Jenny Mitchell will be joining Fanny Lumsden on a handful of Australian tour dates this December:

Friday 6th December – Jamieson Hall, Jamieson, VIC
Saturday 7th December – Newham Hall, Newham, VIC
Sunday 8th December – The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC

Little Quirks – “Life Wouldn’t Be”

Central Coast based indie-folk trio Little Quirks have released their catchy new single and video “Life Wouldn’t Be”. The track, taken from their upcoming EP Cover My Eyes, perfectly captures the Australian indie-folk sound of so many of their contemporaries, combining a pop sensibility with folky songwriting and harmonies.

Little Quirks are heading out on an east coast tour from this week – full dates are below:

Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th September – BIGSOUND, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 5th October – Dashville Skyline, Dashville, NSW
Friday 11th October – Oxford Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 12th October – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 2nd November – The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 3rd November – Lost Lands Festival, VIC

Michael Kiwanuka – “You Ain’t The Problem”

UK based singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka embraces the full sound of the seventies with his neo-soul track “You Ain’t The Problem”. Taken from his recently announced album Kiwanuka, due on the 25th October, “You Ain’t The Problem” is a funk-filled sonic feast combining Kiwanuka’s love of vintage sounds and his expert songwriting.

Milky Chance & Tash Sultana – “Daydreaming”

German indie-folk oddities Milky Chance have teamed with Australian roots legend Tash Sultana for their new single and video “Daydreaming”. The track is infused with a mish mash of genres, held together with Milky Chance’s quirky vocals and the wonderfulness that is Tash Sultana’s incredible voice.

“Daydreaming” is taken from Milky Chance’s upcoming album Mind The Moon, due on the 15th November.

Pat Tierney – “My Sweet Love”

Celebrated singer-songwriter and lap slide guitarist Pat Tierney has released the blissful new single “My Sweet Love”. The track is a a laid back, rootsy gem that you can get lost in – and with a really sweet video featuring Tierney’s son.

“I wrote the beginnings of the song when my partner and I found out we were having our first child.,” Pat Tierney explains. “We’d just gotten back from an overseas trip, we were a bit lost, out of money and unsure of what we were going to do and where we would live. I wrote the song as, kind of a letter to my partner just to tell her everything was going to work out. When It came time to record the song, it just flowed together really seamlessly in the studio. I wanted the feel and vibe to remind me of my partner and son. Happy, dreamy and full of sunshine. That was also a big part of the video clip, showing the feel and story behind the song and what we’ve built for ourselves over the past few years. It’s definitely one of my favourite songs on the album.”

Pat Tierney has a bunch of tour dates towards the end of the year – check them out here:

Thursday 24th October – The Homestead, Hobart, TAS
Friday 25th October – Willie Smiths, Huon Valley, TAS
Thursday 7th November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 10th November – Peregian Originals, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 15th November – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th November – Livefast Cafe, Halls Gap, VIC
Thursday 21st November – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd November – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 30th November – Good Nights, Bunbury, WA
Sundauy 1st December – Redcliffe On The Murray, Pinjarra, WA

Thomas Oliver – “Bulgarian Mountains”

“Bulgarian Mountains” is the super catchy new song from Kiwi singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver, taken from his upcoming album The Brightest Light, due in March next year. The track is an upbeat, soulful roots song with lots of rhythm and lots of heart.

New Music Monday – 15th July

The Maes
Image Courtesy of The Maes

Bon Iver – “Jelmore” & “Faith”

The internet lost its mind this week with Bon Iver not only dropping two more songs, but also announcing their new album i,i, due on the 30th August. After releasing “Hey, Ma” and “U (Man Like)” last month, the new Bon Iver tracks are the glitchy “Jelmore” and the anthemic “Faith”. Justin Vernon’s sound continues to evolve away from the gentle folk of his earlier work with him fully embracing samples, loops and more on his new music. But front and centre is still Vernon’s amazing voice and pitch perfect songwriting and that’s what makes anything new from Bon Iver something to get excited about.


Boy & Bear – “Hold Your Nerve”

Since “Hold Your Nerve” was released in the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing it all over the radio. It’s great that a band like Boy & Bear is still able to pump out songs that get the radio listening public excited. And “Hold Your Nerve” deserves the success its been getting – the track is classic Boy & Bear, combining their love of 70s folk-rock with the anthemic indie-pop they’ve becoming known for.

The track is taken from Boy & Bear’s newly announced album Suck On Light which will hit our ears on the 27th September. They also have a bunch of shows announced in August with tickets selling fast:

Thursday 15th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 23rd August – The Astor, Perth, WA

Great Aunt – “FOMO”

Melbourne based folk and Americana duo Great Aunt tackle the modern anxiety of missing out on their latest track “FOMO”. with bluesy slide resonator guitar and thumping bass, the vocals in this track are actually more understated than you’d imagine. This is a very modern folk song that pays tribute to the roots of the music it draws from.

“FOMO” is taken from Great Aunt’s upcoming album So Not Right Now which is due for release in November. The duo are currently on tour – check out their upcoming dates here:

Tuesday 16th July – BUG Acoustic, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 17th July – Element Bar, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 18th July – The Middle, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 20th July – Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Sunday 21st July – Little Alberts, Bathurst, NSW
Thursday 25th July – Temperance Society, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 28th July – The Cambus Wallace, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October – Deni Ute Muster Festival, Deniliquin, NSW
Friday 15th to Sunday 16th November – Healesville Music Festival, Healesville, VIC

Josh Rennie-Hynes – “Chapter”

Australian singer-songwriter Josh Rennie-Hynes has just unveiled his latest solo single “Chapter”, his first since his work as one half of The Ahern Brothers. Josh Rennie-Hynes moved to Nashville to write and record his upcoming album Patterns, due on the 27th September, and you can hear that towns influence all over “Chapter”. This is straight up Americana songwriting, with Rennie-Hynes voice accompanied by a cracking band.

Matt Corby & Tash Sultana – “Talk It Out”

Australian roots music darlings Matt Corby and Tash Sultana have come together for an amazing collaboration in “Talk It Out”. The funky, soulful track is very smooth and plays on the unique voice of both artists.

“I wrote the song during the sessions for Rainbow Valley, but in a different way to the rest of the album,” Corby explains. “It didn’t feel like it was a fit for the record so I revisited it with Tash recently. Tash has a giant musical beast living inside of her, so I knew she could deal with whatever I threw at her. It was amazing to collaborate with someone like that, and have her throw her musical styling’s over the song.”

“We originally started having a jam in early 2017, then life came between making music together,” Tash Sultana adds. “This track came about because Matt didn’t include it on Rainbow Valley. He sent it to me to fill in the blanks, and it’s the first collaboration I’ve done with another artist that I’ve released. Matt is an amazing songwriter and instrumentalist. He’s also an absolutely awesome guy with a huge soul so it was a privilege to be a part of this project.”

Matt Corby plays Splendour in the Grass this weekend.

The Maes – “Treat You Better”

I know it’s pretty early to call, but “Treat You Better” from Melbourne duo The Maes is close to being my favourite song of 2019. Taken from their self-titled album, “Treat You Better” is some absolutely fine songwriting, with sweet harmonies entwining themselves around guitar, bass and mandolin. The song’s storytelling lyrics are deceptively simple (as all great lyrics are), but have a depth to them that grows on every listen. But where “Treat You Better” really shines in the chorus, which builds to a chant as the track crescendos and lodges itself firmly in your head for days to come. The Maes have released the official video for “Treat You Better” featuring live footage from festivals and shows from across the world and it’s a wonderful accompaniment to amazing song.

The Teskey Brothers – “So Caught Up”

And so we have yet another single and video from The Teskey Brothers’ upcoming album Run Home Slow, due on the 2nd August. This time it’s the soulful “So Caught Up”, described by the band as the centrepiece to the upcoming album. The track has a pop sensibility without losing The Teskey Brothers’ innate love of the blues, soul and gospel music that’s inspired them.

New Music Monday – 24th June

Sarah Humphreys
Image Courtesy of Sarah Humphreys

Bryan Estepa – “I’m Not Ready For This”

Prolific Sydney-based singer-songwriter Bryan Estepa channels classic Americana and rock with his new single “I’m Not Ready For This”. Taken from his upcoming album Sometimes I Just Don’t Know, due on the 23rd August, “I’m Not Ready For This” sounds like classic Tom Petty – lyrically driven rock music with a pop sensibility.

Emma Russack – “Be Real”

Melbourne based singer-songwriter Emma Russack released “Be Real”, the newest single from her upcoming album Winter Blues, due on the 5th July. Channelling 90s grunge and indie rock, “Be Real” is Russack’s reaction to the selfie culture.

“[“Be Real”] is about my frustration with phone obsession, social media, hype and trend – the phoniness that I see all over the place (and actually buy into),” Emma Russack explained. “I’m really trying to emphasise the importance of being true to yourself and being ‘real’ – whatever the hell that means. The video is a snapshot of how insular and isolated people have become as a result of technology. I just wanna connect irl.”

To celebrate the release of her new album Emma Russack has a bunch of tour dates in the second half of the year.

Wednesday 7th August – The Jazzlab, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th August – Sideway, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 10th August – Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th September – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC
Saturday 14th September – Macedon Railway Hotel, Macedon, VIC
Sunday 15th September – The Taproom – Shedshaker Brewing, Castlemaine, VIC

Greta Stanley – “Follow Suit”

Queensland based singer-songwriter Greta Stanley released her new single “Follow Suit”. With gorgeous production from Mark Myers (The Middle East), “Follow Suit” explores what it’s like to go from youth to adulthood in isolated Far North Queensland. I like the way the song meanders through different production styles while keeping Stanley’s voice front and centre – the production almost feels like a stream of consciousness, kept in line by the conventional structure of the song’s lyrics and phrasing.

“Follow Suit is about wanting to pull away and wanting to feel something more but not knowing how, or when, or where to go,” Greta Stanley explains. “It’s a song I wrote when I was questioning my reasons for continuing to do things I didn’t want to do, and a lot of my friends were too. Because we were afraid of change and the unknown. It’s about how quickly your mind can change – to being sure and moving forward, to feeling like time is slipping and you’re stuck still – full of uncertainty.”

“Follow Suit” is taken from Greta Stanley’s upcoming EP Sun In My Eyes which is due for release on the 26th July. Upcoming tour dates are below:

Saturday 29th June – Neck of the Woods Festival, Townsville, QLD
Friday 23rd August – Darwin Festival, Darwin, NT
Friday 13th September – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 14th September – Tank Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD
Thursday 19th September – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 20th September – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st September – Byron Bay Brewery, Byron Bay, NSW

Passenger – “Let Me Dream A While”

Any day with new Passenger music is a good day. His latest video “Let Me Dream A While” was filmed and recorded at Abbey Road complete with a string quartet. The track is taken from Passenger’s latest album Sometimes It’s Something, Sometimes It’s Nothing At All and is exactly what you’d expect from the UK based singer-songwriter – beautiful fingerpicked guitar, emotionally driven melancholic lyrics and Mike’s unique voice.

Sarah Humphreys – “Slow Dance”

Central Coast based singer-songwriter Sarah Humphreys has returned with a really sweet new song and video, “Slow Dance”. Humphreys is the queen of this understated style of indie-folk and her voice in the track is perfectly matched by the simple arrangement of acoustic guitar, bass, pedal-steel and trumpet (not to mention the obligatory toy piano). Lovely stuff

The Avett Brothers – “High Steppin'”

New York’s indie-folk favourites The Avett Brothers have released their new single “High Steppin'”, taken from their upcoming album Closer Than Together, due on the 4th October. The track takes country music conventions (including a spoken word interlude!), couples it with a straight rock beat, synths and some swirling guitars and creates something that feels familiar and new at the same time. It’s kind of odd but I kind of like it for being odd.

The Teskey Brothers – “Man Of The Universe”

As The Teskey Brothers gear up to release their new album Run Home Slow on the 2nd August, we’ve been gifted with another new track from the Melbourne based band. Following the gospel of “Hold Me”, the band’s latest single and video is the soul driven “Man Of The Universe”. This track feels like it’s been ripped directly from the 70s with its distinctly retro sound.

Tully John & Liza-Jane – “Embers”

Gold Coast duo Tully John & Liza-Jane have released their new single “Embers”, a mixture of indie-folk storytelling with more pop sensibilities. The way Tully John & Liza-Jane’s vocals intertwine over the pulsing melody of “Embers” is beautiful and is further heightened by the shimmering guitars and keys.

“The song begins with two souls divided before they begin to interweave and come together again,” Liza-Jane explains. “In the end it is a song of resolution and solace. The ember is the hope to which we cling when things are just a bit wobbly.”

Tully John & Liza-Jane have a handful of tour dates in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales next week:

Wednesday 3rd July – House Concert, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 4th July – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 5th July – Dust Temple, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 6th July – House Concert, Byron Bay, NSW

Wallis Bird – “As The River Flows”

It’s easy to see why Irish artist Wallis Bird has such a following in Australia when she’s releasing music like her latest single “As The River Flows”. The first taste of her upcoming album Woman, due on the 27th September, “As The River Flows” is a frantic, visceral song with Bird’s lyrics tumbling over a cacophony of sounds and music. Intensely mesmerising music from Wallis Bird

Winterbourne – “Too Many”

“Too Many” is the third single from the upcoming album Echo Of Youth from Winterbourne, due on the 23rd August. The duo have transitioned seamlessly from their original indie-folk sound to take on a more synth-driven context which is seeing them win the hearts and minds of their fans.

“”Too Many” is a slow build from one point to another with a bunch of ramblings that rhyme over the top,” James from Winterbourne explained. “Much like when you’re staring out into the distance and all the things that are making you feel overwhelmed are adding up in your head but then some thought or chemical brings you comfort, and you revel in that while you walk home listening to music.”

Winterbourne are heading out on tour this October, playing some of their biggest headline shows to date:

Friday 25th October – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 26th October – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 8th November – The Brightside, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 9th November – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 16th November – The Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Frazey Ford Announces Australian Tour

Frazey Ford
Image Courtesy of Frazey Ford

Canadian soul-country singer-songwriter Frazey Ford has announced plans to return to Australia this year following an explosive debut at last year’s Bluesfest.

Frazey Ford will take in shows all over the country including an appearance at the Mullum Music Festival. Check out the full list of dates below:

Wednesday 15th November – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 16th November – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 17th November – The Jive, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 18th November – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 19th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Wednesday 22nd November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 23rd November – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Friday 24th November – Badlands, Perth, WA
Saturday 25th November – Mojos, Fremantle, WA

Jo Jo Smith Announces Tour with Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart

Jo Jo Smith
Image Courtesy of Jo Jo Smith

2017 marks 50 years as a performing musician for Australian soul legend Jo Jo Smith.

The sexagenarian pocket-rocket is celebrating this huge milestone with the announcement of a massive East Coast tour through October, November and into December. Joining Jo Jo Smith in support will be longtime friend Lucie Thorne along with her constant collaborator Hamish Stuart.

The full list of upcoming dates are below:

Friday 6th October – Leagues Club, Griffith, NSW
Saturday 7th October – Town Hall, Beechworth, VIC
Sunday 8th October – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 20th October – Numurkah Foodbowl Festival, Shepparton, VIC
Saturday 21st October – Under the Sun Cafe, Strathbogie, VIC
Sunday 22nd October – House Concert, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 29th October – Grainstore, Nathalia, VIC
Thursday 16th November – Number 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Thursday 30th November – St John’s Craft Beer, Launceston, TAS
Friday 1st December – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, TAS
Saturday 2nd December – House Concert, Scamander, TAS
Sunday 3rd December – House Concert, Neika, TAS

Watch the New Kelly Brouhaha Video “As Long As There’s A Smile”

Kelly Brouhaha
Image Courtesy of Kelly Brouhaha

Adelaide based soul-folk singer-songwriter Kelly Brouhaha has just released her brand new video “As Long As There’s A Smile”.

The track is Brouhaha’s first in almost three years following a bunch of major upheavals in her life including leaving her mortgage and marriage in an effort to find happiness and pursue her love for music.

“As Long As There’s A Smile” was recorded with producer Marty Brown in the same location that Clare Bowditch recorded the album that changed Kelly Brouhaha’s life, The Winter I Chose Happiness.

“That album for me was a real turning point in my career, the messages on that record to follow your heart encouraged me to quit my day job,” Brouhaha explained. “I was on my very first solo tour in 2012 when I first heard it and totally freaking out. After hearing that I came home and quit my job. To be able to record it in the same place that album was made was something really special and I think we really captured the vibe of the lyrics this time around.”

Check out the video here:

To celebrate the release of “As Long As There’s A Smile” Kelly Brouhaha is out on tour. The full list of remaining dates are below:

Saturday 15th July – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 16th July – The Golden Vine Hotel, Bendigo, VIC
Thursday 20th July – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 21st July – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 22nd July – The Music Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Bluesfest Review: Monday Monday

St Paul & the Broken Bones at Bluesfest. Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

It’s the final day of Bluesfest and emotions are a mixed bag of excitement for what ahead, sadness that it’s ending and a bit of relief from the continual stimulation and inspiration from so many amazing artists.

We have to see Blind Boy Paxton again after last year’s show, so we’re here at 1:30pm at the Delta stage as Paxton starts on the keyboard with a sound sentimental to the golden age of Hollywood, a delightful dash of honky tonk and and old times blues sensation. With a dextrous trill of the keys, he has us all enthralled. Paxton says he’s starting off easy “as you all partied to hardy at the festival” last night, and we all laugh, evidence of how he easily builds rapport with the crowd with delightfully timed jokes and comments. He quips “Y’all let me sit off centre [of the stage] and not tell me. Is there anything on my face!?” and breaks in to a huge grin, we chuckle and settle in to enjoy his acoustic guitar dripping in old time blues. The twinkle of his eye matches the twinkle of the guitar strings before he pulls out the harmonica for a spirited performance with rhythm sticks, which keep the momentum going as he sings the refrains.

As fans of early 2000s rockers, Jet, we thought we’d better check in at Crossroads stage to see where the band’s Nic Chester is at these days, and for a 2:15pm chill out, we’re not disappointed. A delicious blend of indie rock and blues soaked riffs greets. His signature vocals hammer home his comfort and familiarity on stage, bringing the crowd in to the fold of his stories.

At 3pm we wander to the Jambalaya stage for Tony Joe White and the crowd erupts in applause as the legend takes to the stage. It seems appropriate at Easter to have a voice as deep and smooth as chocolate smother you in blues, and we all revel in its seductive tones. White rumbles along like percolating coffee, earthy, enticing and altogether satisfying with tones and tales.

After yesterday’s teaser, we decide to head to Delta stage at 4:30pm to see more of Lloyd Spiegel than a passing glimpse. It’s clear pretty quickly that Spiegel is a tongue in cheek wit as he jests that he “might as well tune my guitar on stage” before showing off fingers moving so fast there we half expect to see smoke rising from the fast finger friction! Clearly this set should have come with a warning sign! Amazing sounds stream out of one guitar, the likes equivalent of multiple guitars, and a stomp box the stamp out a hectic beat. Just as we think it’s reached it’s peak, Spiegel unleashes a laconic voice that dances with his guitar string. Ever the comedian, stories are told between songs making us all laugh. Did you know “the Queen thinks he world smells like fresh paint? Because everywhere she goes has been freshly painted!” And blues isn’t safe as he declares “Jeff Lang has never seen a guitarist play to their full capacity because they all shit themselves when he walks in!” His infectious sense of humour has the crowd in stitches and his ferocious fret work has us all in awe. If you want a real laugh, ask his about the guy who “won” the guitar in the raffle – the story is a corker!

As 5pm rolls around we dash to see St Paul & The Broken Bones at the Mojo stage. Their set flawed us last year and this year they’re up there as a must see! With a pre-recorded intro like something out of old Hollywood, but overtaken by old soul, the melody acts like siren song luring people in to join the crowds eagerly anticipating their show. After their 2016 roustabout style performance, this year they deliver a much more soulful and serene performance. The crowds are absorbed, transfixed and transported to another time through the multilayer musings, the sultry, emotive dalliances, and the standing ovation inspiring instrumentals. As we’re all lulled in to their rhythm, they segue in to an upbeat and energetic full band piece laden with funk, just to wake up all of our senses and have us all moving to the beat!

Noticing a name we recognise, Ashleigh Mannix, as part of the folk-grunge duo line up for Little Georgia, we head to Juke Joint to catch their 6pm set. We’re greeted with “This Old House” in sublime harmonised vocals and one-two combination of an acoustic and an electric guitar working together like the best sweet and sour you’ve ever tasted. Delivering an electrified indie vibe with a side of dirty grunge, the duo still trips lightly along the line between acoustic sensibilities and a fully electric sound. The instruments sonically dance together rather than battling for supremacy and a gutsy, punchy opening cements them within the minds of the crowd. Mannix’s vocals offer a depth of tone and nuance, highlighted by Carter’s higher pitched twang. Together they have an intimacy on stage that connects the two yet invites the crowd in to fully experience the counterpoints of lyrical progression. As they both switch to acoustic guitars, the difference has a significant change to their sound and vibe creating a very upbeat and organic sound. Their set wanders deeply in to the folk and indie realms, revels in its joyousness, crosses in to mournful lament, a sentimental melancholy with the sweetest treatment musically, and dives back in to the grunge element seamlessly. Definitely an act to keep an eye on!

We decide to venture to the Craft Beer Bar and grab a stool out the front to catch some of Kasey Chambers‘ 6:45pm set at Crossroads stage. She has everyone singing, even the guy in the crowd sporting a full beard and passionate rendition of “Not Pretty Enough”. Chambers charms the crowd with her deliciously harmonised songs where country meets blues and spell binding rendition of crowd favourites.

Since it’s the last night, and we saw Sir Rosevelt the other night, we figure we should go and catch Zac Brown Band at 8:15pm on the Mojo stage. Our first reaction? “Holy shit!” That rumbling guitar opening and a whole bunch of country style toe tapping, hand clapping, clear plucking, good-time hoe-down style cacophony hits us like a wave, picking us up and taking us on a wild ride. There is wild fiddle tearing the house down with an electric boost smashing “Whiskey’s Gone” in to the ether. Lead singer Brown has the crowd in palm of hand, we’re cheering at the intro and singing along in a heartbeat, whether we know the words or not. A full spectrum performance where we traverse the upbeat, the solemn, the optimistic, heartfelt and the lamentful touch points of life. And to top it off, for the second time this festival, we are treated to a spirited cover of Bohemian Rhapsody.

To finish the night, and bring our festival to an end, we swing by the Delta stage at 9pm to witness The Record Company. Reminiscent of Ash Grunwald’s vigor with harmonica, distorted mic but with a kicking bass guitar and hefty drums backing up. As a delectable counterpoint, the fine harmonica trills are the main instrument when lead singer Vos is not singing. A powerful rock crescendo to finish our Bluesfest experience.

If you think you’d like to head to Bluesfest 2018, early bird tickets are now available to buy at heavily discounted prices. Essentially, every time we’ve ever been, it’s guaranteed a great line up and festival. If you’ve never been, do what you can to make it one year!

Trip back over our full weekend at Bluesfest:

5 Things We Learned at Bluesfest 2017
Bluesfest Review: Good Friday is a fine day!
Bluesfest Review: Saturday Celebration
Bluesfest Review: Sweet Sunday

Head to our Facebook Page to see our full collection of photos from the festival

Highlights from Monday at Bluesfest

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