Paul Kelly Announces November Tour

Paul Kelly
Image Courtesy of Paul Kelly

Following the release of his amazing new album Life Is Fine in August the incomparable Paul Kelly has just announced plans to hit the road for a national tour this November.

Joining Kelly on the tour will be a bunch of amazing guests including Busby Marou in Darwin, Cairns and Townsville, Sahara Beck in Rockhampton and Steve Earle and Middle Kids supporting the rest of the tour from Brisbane to Perth.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Friday 3rd November – Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT
Saturday 4th November – Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT
Tuesday 7th November – Convention Centre Great Hall, Cairns, QLD
Wednesday 8th November – Entertainment Centre, Townsville, QLD
Thursday 9th November – Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton, QLD
Saturday 11th November – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 12th November – Regional Botanic Gardens, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Tuesday 14th November – Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 15th November – Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 17th November – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 18th November – MONA Mainstage & Lawns, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 19th November – Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Sydney, NSW
Monday 20th November – Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 22nd November – Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 23rd November – Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 25th November – Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Perth, WA
Sunday 26th November – Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Perth, WA

Review: 5 things we learned at Bluesfest

Kale plays at Bluesfest 2016Kaleo playing Bluesfest
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

Year after year, Bluesfest manages to bring the big names and the impressive acts to Byron Bay for the annual Easter pilgrimage. Heading to Bluesfest this year, we really didn’t know many of the acts listed on the bill and wondered just what was in store for us, Timber and Steel wise. So here’s 5 things we learned at this year’s wildly successful, ultimate music sampler opportunity that is, Bluesfest.

#1 – Peter Noble knows how to program…

One thing is for sure, Peter Noble knows how to curate an inclusive, diverse and engaging festival. The big names drew enormous crowds to all their sets. City and Colour had the crowd from the first note and Dallas Green was on form all night.  The Decemberists gave their usual charming set delving in to a fabulous back catalogue of favourites. Not to go without a bit of political comment, they also played a song they thought to offer Donald Trump as his new campaign tune, ‘The Calamity Song’. The Cat Empire delivered a solid hour and a half set jam packed with both new tracks and past hits and favourites to wow the crowd. The biggest coup was probably The Original Blues Brothers Band closing out the weekend with a stellar set of their signature blues.

The festival was dappled with big names throughout the program. Archie Roach was in fine form, weaving his musical spell over the crowd and telling the tales of the land with strength and beauty, and a focus on songs from Charcoal Lane, the title track being a particular stand out moment of the set. Jason Isbell had his one an only set up against The Original Blues Brothers Band, so splitting our time between the two was challenging but rewarding as Isbell’s enigmatic style caught watchers in it’s thrall delivering a contemporary counterpoint to the old school blues on the other stage.

Kim Churchill plays BluesfestBut one of the most notable names for me, still playing midday sets, was Kim Churchill. Getting his big break on the Bluesfest Buskers stage all those years ago, Churchill has been a staple name on the line up ever since. His absence in 2015 was noted and the crowds that gathered for this sets this year spoke strongly of his popularity for the Bluesfest crowd. Watching him command the stage, with the occasional accompaniment of a fiddle player or percussionists, was a joy to witness and testament to the following he has. It felt like he had come home, and in the process had evolved from a keen boy with a guitar to a passionate man with a solid musical career stretching before him.

#2 – It’s never just about the Blues. Folk, Country, and Americana all strongly represented in 2016

Strolling from stage to stage, the peeling licks and plucky chords of the more folky persuasion were both notable and popular with punters, letting us stumble across all kinds of gems.  LA based Lord Huron made quite the entrance with a tension building soundscape and crescendo, an upbeat strummy and infectious style, inventive percussion beneath the acoustic lead and an ability to morph between styles, from the old school feel reminiscent of the 50s and 60s summer soundtracks, through alt country and indie folk rock vibes. A particular highlight from the four-piece was ‘Hurricane’, billed as a song about “getting in trouble”, turns out it was aptly named.

Described as an Icelandic Indie pop/rock/folk band, Kaleo was a light and lyrical delight. Building from their delicate opening style to gutsy, rhythm driven choruses, through alt-country sensibilities to deep southern style blues, and a soulful cover of Bang Bang, Kaleo didn’t hesitate to transcend styles and genres to sign off with a blues rock riff and howling vocals when warranted.

The Bros Landreth, hailing from Canada, brought their alt-country and folk laden cover of Wings’ ‘Let ‘Em In’ to break the ice and then let the Americana tinged goodness flow forth. A family affair, big brother David couldn’t attend so father Wally came in his place and whipped the crowd in to a cheering craze.

The Mastersons were touring with Steve Earle & The Dukes, and made appearances both on Earle’s sets and one of their own solo shows for Bluesfest. Their lyrical country styling, featuring voices working together in diverse melodic harmony gave their day opening set a contemplative mood, transporting the crowd to simpler days. Earle’s set was one great big treat of blues soaked tunes with toe-tapping jivey bluegrass edge, all with the sweet country counterpoint of The Mastersons.

Hound mouth playing Bluesfest 2016

It seemed to be a fatherly affair this Bluesfest, with Hussy Hicks welcoming Julz’s dad Greg to their set to deliver some blistering harmonica to their upbeat tempo and at times Joplin-esque wails and passion. Indiana’s Houndmouth however had no dad’s on their line up but did have plenty of twangy blues and American drawl to open their show and unravel your soul where you stood.

#3 – Word of Mouth is King

You know when you look at a line up and you’re not really sure what acts to check out? Well Bluesfest was that way inclined for many but within the first 8 hours, gossip was abuzz with recommendations and wild tales of phenomenal shows and must see acts to catch. So here’s what we checked out based purely on word of mouth.

Steve Smyth plays at Bluesfest 2016

OK, so Steve Smyth isn’t exactly news to us, but the stir on site had his name on the tips of peoples tongues and boy did he live up to the hype. Sheer genius stood on that stage in the form of master lyricist and vibrant stage presence. Smyth’s beautiful voice and stunning vibrato was just powerful solo as with the support backing instrumentalists. His performance of ‘Southland’ blew socks off across the festival.

Shooglenifty, also known as ‘that band I can’t pronounce’, was not what you expect when you read “Celtic” on the program, but a glorious blend of traditional highland derived tunes that were heavy on the fiddle and a mandolin at the ready, intricately twined with modern rhythms, a few electric guitars and a toe tapping beat, drew punters in before they could saunter too far past the heaving tent.

Blind Boy Paxton plays at Bluesfest 2016

The was no way to walk through the site without hearing the name, Blind Boy Paxton. Listening to his set was like a walk through time, from a fiddle calling a country dance and bransles, to a lightning speed banjo frenzy, a soothing guitar tune and even a lone harmonica telling you it’s tale. All this from one man on stage – simply astonishing.

#4 – The Ladies are out in force! And you should catch all of them live

There was a lot of talk about various acts, and word of mouth certainly got us to see some great performers, but thanks to emphatic and multiple recommendations from all kinds of punters, we discovered some of the most phenomenal women who stamped their mark and left as some of the powerhouses of Bluesfest.

We caught Sahara Beck for her last set and were immediately struck by her stage presence, the smooth set up with band and back up singers added the pizazz to her swag and gave her sultry vibe a ‘pop’ on stage.

Elle King had tongues wagging as word spread that after her first, expletive laden set, her set list had to be ‘revised’. However her husky, growling vocal licks were well and truly flowing when we caught her set in a heaving tent overflowing in to the customary Bluesfest rain. Sass and attitude would be the plainest way of describing King, her vibrancy comes from her musical versatility and ability to weave country vibes and bluegrassy panache throughout her ballsy bluesy set. A chameleon of style, King bowled over crowds with big notes, fiery wit and feisty repartee.

Elle King plays at Bluesfest 2016

Hailing from Ireland, via Canada, Irish Mythen is a modern troubadour equipped with a powerhouse voice and emphatic lyrics. Mythen might have been the grittiest, most real musician seen at Bluesfest this year, armed only with her guitar and her stories, she held hundreds of people spellbound, hanging on her every word any time she took to the stage. We caught her multiple times, and laughed, cried, cheered and sung along to songs we had only heard the first time days before. She regularly had the crowd in stitches with her sense of humour and story telling capers, and woe betide any punter brave enough to heckle her! Four stand out moments stayed with me, even though I saw them all more than once. Her performance of ‘Tullamore Blues’ almost defies description, except that the crowd was with her, in that space, singing every word and feeling every sentiment. Jesus is an experience to behold, hilarious in it’s explanation and empowering in it’s performance, I sincerely hope every person gets to experience it live. Her a Capella rendition of ‘The Auld Triangle’ gives me chills and is simply astounding.  And finally ’55 Years’ had me (and most in the crowd) in tears for the beauty it captures in it’s tale. A truly moving experience. Irish Mythen is awe inspiring and we’re excited she’ll be visiting Australia again soon.

Rhiannon Giddens plays at Bluesfest 2016

And finally, probably the all-singing, all-dancing highlight of the ladies was Rhiannon Giddens. Establishing herself originally as a part of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens’ solo work is a sight to behold and a treat to hear. Her stunning vocals are soulful yet soar high in beautiful arcs and trills of an almost Celtic style. The skill of her band melds electric with acoustic in wonderful instrumental breaks, bouncing off one another jamming to a crescendo and returning the spotlight to her lead when the time was right. Her banjo crept through tunes to pounce on you unawares, yet could alternate and become the hero of the song. Old Bob Dylan lyrics never previously turned in to songs until Giddens got her hands on them offered a treasure trove to discover. Doing a Dolly Parton cover can be tough, but Giddens’ rendition of ‘Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind’ saw her own the song completely, from every element of style through to her emotive connection with both lyrics and sentiment. From start to finish and for each and every set, she wowed the crowd with fiddle, banjo, modern takes on traditional style, soul stirring lyrics and even a step back in time to the 1920s. Her fancy footwork went down a treat and her ability to connect with the audience and tether them to her tale as the most exquisite experience to behold. She could chat to the crowd but make you feel like she spoke to you and you alone, and yet at all times Rhiannon Giddens continued to exist as her own ineffable self.

#5 – Soul is in, along with BIG bands

Now strictly speaking, Timber and Steel doesn’t really cover Soul, but the prevalence of the big band style soul injections at Bluesfest is worthy of admiration and appreciation, so it gets a gong here.

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks were a sight to behold as Donovan put her own stamp on soul, with earthy tones and a voice that rolled over the crowd, calling to them, beckoning them to hear her story. The combination of her stories and passionate, soulful delivery made for a tight set and profound performance.

I wrote down 4 words when seeing The Word, and two of them were expletives… “holy f***ing sh*t wow.” The couple of songs we caught were incredible, full of funky groves and some sweet slide guitar, all topped off with an electric organ. Very smooth and cool indeed.

Ash Grunwald plays at Bluesfest 2016Ash Grunwald hasn’t moved in to soul, but his Bluesfet setup did resemble the big backing bands of the soul acts and boy did it compliment his wailing blues. Never conforming to just one genre, Grunwald drew on bluegrass vibes, some indie rock to his blues and of course his signature commentary on Australian life. Playing River from his new album, Grunwald spoke about the anti-CSG message prevalent throughout his most recent recordings and confirmed he was among friends int he Bluesfest crowd. His set was punctuated with old favourites as highlights, crowds rollicking in his passionate performance and joining in to sing along on choruses, and the utter delight when Kasey Chambers joined him on stage for a brand new song was palpable.

Another of the tongue wagging recommendations was for Vintage Trouble, and my first impression was that lead singer Ty Taylor was sex on legs, with enough swagger stuffed in to a cravat and suit to fell an army. And when the full band kicked in, it blew the show off the Richter scale. A set full of southern blues, call and response, screaming and wailing blues breaks and enough on stage antics to warrant a lie down after watching. This was my kind of place, 1950s style jazzy blues, complete with energy and onstage charisma!

Vintage Trouble plays Bluesfest 2016

Now, if you haven’t yet heard of the phenomenal popularity and praise for Bluesfest debutants St. Paul and The Broken Bones, then you haven’t been doing the internet properly. Of all the word of mouth recommendations, St Paul and The Broken Bones was THE most talked about act at Bluesfest, and not without good reason. A big band blues-laden soul outfit, oozing funk, with a big personality for a front man in Paul Janeway. Opening with an almighty wail and sliding in to a crooning style track, the crowd knew exactly where they stood and were rooted to the spot to witness the explosive show by one of the most engaging acts we’ve seen in years. Janeway, on behalf of the entire band, exclaimed that Bluesfest was the best experience they had ever had and they would definitely be coming back to Australia, to which the crowd erupted with delight. A set filled with rumbling soul, emotive ballads and big, ballsy blues, St Paul and The Broken Bones is sure to be a high rotation favourite on many punters playlists for some time to come.

St Paul and The Broken Bones plays Bluesfest 2016

Without a doubt, Bluesfest’s skillfully curated 2016 lineup was a smash hit success, sure to be spoken of for years to come. Can’t wait to see what Peter Noble comes up with for 2017!

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 23rd October


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The Woodford Folk Festival lineup dropped and it includes the likes of Dougie Maclean, Michael Franti, Harry Manx, The East Pointers, Irish Mythen, Marlon Williams, Kim Churchill, Lanie Lane, Josh Pyke, Katie Noonan, The Paper Kites, Tinpan Orange, Timberwolf, Jacinta Price, Tolka, Starboard Cannons, Davidson Brothers, Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart, Hat Fitz & Cara, Broads, Andrew Clermont, Catgut, Lime and Steel, One Up, Two Down, Kaurna Cronin, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Loren Kate, Totally Gourdgeous, The Little Stevies, Daniel Champagne and many more. Details here

– Sydney bluegrassers The Morrisons released their new live video “Ruby”. Details here

Steve Earle & The Dukes have announced sideshows when they’re in the country for Bluesfest and Port Fairy. Details here

Bluesfest sideshows were also announced for Sturgill Simpson. Details here

The Milk Carton Kids released a version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Details here

– Americana singer-songwriter Sam Outlaw, who is in the country this week, released his new video “Ghost Town”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Patrick James has announced a headline tour for early next year. Details here

– So many of our favourite artists will be on the Riverboats Music Festival lineup next year including Missy Higgins, CW Stoneking, Skyscraper Stan & The Commission Flats, Ruby Boots, Jack Carty, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Mick Thomas & The Roving Commission, The Wilson Pickers, Jess Ribeiro and many more. Details here

– Toronto based Australian singer-songwriter Imogen Bel released her first ever live video. Details here

– LA based Sydney folk duo Falls released their new single “When We Were Young”. Details here

– The Sydney Festival announced its 2016 program. Details here

– Tasmanian folk-punk band The Dead Maggies have announced a new album, released a new video and are heading out on tour. Details here

Releases This Week

Dan Parsons
ValleywoodDan Parsons

The Freewheeler
The FreewheelerDougal Adams, Ado Barker & Ben Stephenson

Imogen Clark
Love & Lovely LiesImogen Clark

DiversJoanna Newsom

Tim Guy
ChordsTim Guy

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Americana Hayride feat. Bill Chambers, Justin Bernasconi, Cat Canteri, Dan Waters, Bill Jackson, The Weeping Willows

Americana Hayride

The creme of the crop of Australian alt-country are coming together for a very special show in Melbourne this Sunday

Sunday 25th October – Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Alex Edwards
Sunday 25th October – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Americana Hayride feat. Bill Chambers, Justin Bernasconi, Cat Canteri, Dan Waters, Bill Jackson, The Weeping Willows
Sunday 25th October – Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC

April Maze
Saturday 24th October – Shoalhaven River Festival, Nowra, NSW

Thursday 29th October – The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney, NSW

Ash Grunwald
Friday 23rd October – Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach, QLD
Saturday 24th October – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Sunday 25th October – The Jack, Cairns, QLD

CW Stoneking
Friday 30th October – Manning Bar, Sydney, NSW

Dan Parsons
Friday 23rd October – Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC
Saturday 24th October – Shadow Electric, Abbotsford, VIC
Sunday 25th October – Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Wednesday 28th October – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 29th October – Mudgee Brewery, Mudgee, NSW
Friday 30th October – Home Sweet Home (House Concert), Sydney, NSW

Dana Hassall
Friday 23rd October – Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, Surfers Paradise, QLD
Saturday 24th October – The Glennie School, Toowoomba, QLD
Wednesday 28th October – Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, Surfers Paradise, QLD
Friday 30th October – Johnny Cash: The Concert, Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Brisbane, QLD

Davidson Brothers
Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October – Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, NSW

Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival
Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October – Dorrigo, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 23rd October – Memo Music Hall, St Kilda, VIC
Wednesday 28th October – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Fleurieu Folk Festival
Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October – Willunga, SA

Wednesday 28th October – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Wednesday 28th October – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth, WA
Friday 30th October – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Rennie-Hynes
Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October – Fleurieu Folk Festival, SA
Sunday 25th October – Wandi Swagger, Wandiligong, VIC
Thursday 29th October – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Friday 30th October – The Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC

Katie Noonan
Friday 23rd October – The Byron Theatre, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 24th October – Spicers Hidden Vale, Grandchester, QLD
Sunday 25th October – Majestic Theatre, Pomona, QLD
Wednesday 28th October – Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 29th October – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Friday 30th October – Australian Institute of Music, Sydney, NSW

Kaurna Cronin
Friday 30th October – Maldon Folk Festival, Maldon, VIC

Lime and Steel
Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th October – Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Dorrigo, NSW

Saturday 24th October – Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 30th October – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA

Live ‘n’ Lounging feat. Ciaran Gribbin, Ed Wells, Fleur Wiber, James Van Cooper
Sunday 25th October – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Loren Kate
Friday 23rd October – Red Mill Store, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 24th October – House Concert, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 25th October – Kidogo Arthouse, Fremantle, WA

Lost Ragas
Friday 23rd October – Lazybones Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 24th October – Stag and Hunter, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 25th October – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW

Maldon Folk Festival
Friday 30th October to Monday 2nd November – Maldon, VIC

Michael David Thomas
Sunday 25th October – Triffid Roots, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 29th October – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD

Friday 30th October – Lass O’ Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

Mustered Courage
Wednesday 28th October – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Out On The Weekend
***CANCELLED***Saturday 24th October – Bella Vista Farm, Sydney, NSW***CANCELLED***

Patrick James
Friday 23rd October – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 24th October – The Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 29th October – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Friday 30th October – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Ruby Boots
Friday 30th October – Fremantle Festival “Hush”, Fremantle, WA

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel
Friday 30th October to Sunday 1st November – Happy Wanderer Festival, Benalla, VIC

Sam Brittain
Friday 23rd October – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 30th October – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Sam Outlaw with Jonny Fritz, Shelly Colvin & Friends
Sunday 25th October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Suzannah Espie
Friday 30th October – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC

Tablelands Folk Festival
Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th October – Yungaburra, Qld

The Andrew Collins Trio
Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October – Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, NSW
Tuesday 27th October – The Black Sombrero, Lismore, NSW
Wednesday 28th October – Stokers Siding Art Gallery, Stokers Siding, NSW
Thursday 29th October – House Concert, Forster, NSW
Friday 30th October – Humph Hall, Allambie Heights, NSW

The AU Sessions feat. Rin McArdle, Tom Stephens
Tuesday 27th October – Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The BordererS
Saturday 24th October – Victor Dragons Fundraiser, Victor Harbor, SA
Sunday 25th October – Flerieu Folk Festival, SA

The Go Set
Friday 23rd October – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW

The Paper Kites
Friday 23rd October – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 24th October – The Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 29th October – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Friday 30th October – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

The Timbers
Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October – Fleurieu Folk Festival, Willunga, SA

The Waifs
Saturday 24th October – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 25th October – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 28th October – GPAC, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 29th October – Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury, NSW

Friday 23rd October – Max Watt’s, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 24th October – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 25th October – Max Watt’s, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 29th October – Port Macquarie Panthers, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 30th October – Entrance Leagues Club, The Entrance, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Jams O’Donnells Jigs” – Fairport Convention

Steve Earle & The Dukes Announce Bluesfest and Port Fairy Sideshows

Steve Earle
Image Courtesy of Steve Earle & The Dukes

Although he’s graced our shores many times before I still got excited when Steve Earle was announced as part of the 2016 Bluesfest and Port Fairy Folk Festival lineups. And now we can get doubley excited because he’s got some side shows coming up as well.

Touring with his band The Dukes, Steve Earle promises to deliver some rocking shows. Supporting him on the side shows will be alt-country duo The Mastersons.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Friday 11th March – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Friday 11th to Monday 14th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, VIC
Wednesday 16th March – Rooty Hill RSL, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 17th March – The Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 18th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 19th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 22nd March – Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, Mackay QLD
Thursday 24th March – Tanks, Cairns, QLD
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Port Fairy Announces Second Round of Artists

Steve Earle
Image Courtesy of Steve Earle

This week the second round of artists were announced for the Port Fairy Folk Festival and once again we’re looking at some big hitters to join the already announced Ayleen O’Hanlon, Eric Bogle, Manran, Mary Black, Pierce Brothers, Ruby Boots, The Bushwackers, The East Pointers, The Young’uns and more.

On the international front Port Fairy has revealed the likes of Cedric Burnside Project (USA), Shooglenifty (Scotland), Kristina Olsen (Canada), Steve Earle & The Dukes (USA, above) Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin (UK) and Spiro (UK).

Locally the aditional artists are just as strong with Archie Roach, Colin Hay, Graeme Connors, Cat Canteri, Damian Howard, Flamenco Fire, Kaurna Cronin, Marcia Howard, Oriel Glennen, Sol Nation, The Barleyshakes, The BordererS, The Furbelows, The Little Stevies, The Mae Trio, The Timbers, The Tolka Big Band and Tinpan Orange all added.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is held from the 11th to the 14th March in Port Fairy, Victoria. Tickets for 2016 are already on sale – check out the official web site for more information.

Bluesfest Announces Second Round of Artists for 2016

Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

The second round of artists for the 2016 Byron Bay Bluesfest dropped this morning and there’s a lot for Timber and Steel readers to get excited about.

if you look past the massive headliner you’ll see some very exciting names like The Decemberists, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Tweedy, Steve Earle, Nahko and Medicine for the People and Blackberry Smoke amongst others.

Bluesfest is held over the Easter long weekend from the 24th to 28th March just outside of Byron Bay. The full list of artists announced as part of the second round is below – check out the official site for more details.

Tom Jones
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Jackson Browne
The Decemberists
Jason Isbell
Sturgill Simpson
Steve Earle & The Dukes
The Wailers
Grace Potter
Lord Huron
Nahko and Medicine for the People
Vintage Trouble
Lucky Peterson
Blackberry Smoke

Bluesfest Reveals Second Lineup Announcement for 2014

Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

This morning Bluesfest announced their second lineup for the 2014, 25th Anniversay edition and it’s jam packed full of some of the legends of folk, roots, blues, rock and more.

The lineup inludes the likes of The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Steve Earle, CW Stoneking and so so so many more. They join an already impressive lineup featuring John Mayer, The Dave Matthews Band, John Butler Trio, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Iron & Wine, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Devendra Banhart.

Bluesfest will be held just north of Byron Bay from the 17th to the 21st of April 2014. Tickets to the festival are already on sale via the official site.

The full second announcement is below:

The Doobie Brothers, Aaron Neville, Gregg Allman, Boz Scaggs, India Arie, Suzanne Vega, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, JAMAICAN LEGENDS feat. Ernest Ranglin, Sly & Robbie, Bitty McLean, Jimmie Vaughan, The Wailers, Ozomatli, CW Stoneking, Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, Grandmothers of Invention, The Magic Band, Robben Ford, The Paladins, Music Maker Foundation Feat. Pat Wilder, Cool John Ferguson and Little Freddie King

Interview: Lachlan Bryan

Lachlan Bryan
Image Courtesy of Lachlan Bryan

A year ago our very own Evan Hughes chatted to Lachlan Bryan, the then frontman of Melbourne alt-country band The Wildes, in the lead up to their appearance at The Gum Ball. So much has changed since then with Bryan releasing his debut solo album and announcing some pretty amazing support slots so we figured it was time to sit down again and find out what’s been happening.

Evan Hughes: We last spoke about a year ago just before The Wildes played at The Gum Ball but a lot has changed since then
Lachlan Bryan: Yeah it has been a big year.
EH: So talk us through the changes. You started writing and recording your solo album while you were still working with The Wildes. Have The Wildes finished as a project?
LB: I’m still in contact with The Wildes – I live with Shaun the bass player – they’re my best friends as well as my band. It’s interesting because we all came to the conclusion that [going solo] was what we had to do this year for a variety of reasons. I was wanting to do music full time, and the others had other things going on – I guess bands get to a point where they have different priorities in their lives and I’m kind of in the unfortunate (or fortunate) position that aside from writing songs there’s not really much else I can do successfully. For me it was a bit make or break – I thought “I’ve gotta get out and try and get this record made”. We’ve been trying to get it made for a while and I’ve been writing songs which weren’t really band songs and trying to get everyone to play the way that those songs needed. It was pretty important through the transition process first and foremost to remain friends – a lot of people form bands with people that have auditioned or they’ve met along the way or have been in other bands but our band was formed out of friends and we kind of got to the point where we were wondering what the best thing is with everyone wanting to go in different directions. And the best thing was for us to go our seperate ways as friends and also I had to get my music out there. The Wildes as people and as musicians are very dear to my heart.
EH: Well congratulations on all the success you’ve had as a solo artist so far. You seem to be popping up everywhere at the moment.
LB: I guess that when we put out the last album we didn’t really have anyone involved helping us and didn’t have a great idea of what you actually do to promote a record or how you get it out there. To be honest my professional instinct is to under-play everything so I probably wasn’t the ideal person to have promoting the first album. When your an independent band and you release your own thing you have to do everything yourself and you have to try and get people interested in listening to it or interested in playing it on community radio. It’s been interesting over the last few months having people involved and supporting me who know what they’re doing. And luckily the press so far has been really good – you never really how people are going to respond and I’m grateful that people are listening.
EH: I saw your album being promoted as a “must buy” country record in a record store the other day.
LB: That’s great! I’m such a fan of country music – doing this record has given me the opportunity to stamp the country-ness on it a bit more than I have previously and I’m proud of that. I’m a little bit tired of, if you live in a city like I do, of having to apologise for playing or liking country music. The nice thing about this is I’ve been able to go “look, it’s a country record and if you don’t like country music then f*** you”. It’s been quite liberating like that.
EH: I was just listening to the album today and it’s funny that you mention living in a city – in Australian country music there’s a real connection to the land and rural living and the hardships involved in that whereas a lot of American country music covers more universal themes, and your music is very similar to that.
LB: To a point anything you write about as a songwriter has the potential to be a cliche but I’ve been pretty keen to steer away from Australian country themes – for the main reason that I didn’t grow up working on the land or shearing ship or milking cows. It’s fine to write that kind of music if that’s the life you relate to but I would be lying if I wrote that sort of stuff. I’m a bit more convincing when it comes to personal relationships and city life and the things that I write about. I think Australian country music is quite patriotic and I’m not really into writing about topics that big – I’m more interested in conversations and relationships and the bad things and good things that people do to each other.
EH: I think there’s a lot of heartbreak in the record which is still a very “country” theme.
LB: Yeah we do associate that with country music but in a way it’s just part of all music.
EH: Yeah, love is a universal theme but there’s just something about the way it comes across in country music.
LB: It’s more direct. When I listen to Hank Williams I think there’s hardly a metaphor there. It’s all straight “this is what’s going on, this is what you’ve done to me”. And you could say that that’s simplistic or not intellectual but it affects you when you hear it – they’re brilliant songs that people are still singing years after his death.
EH: I want to touch on the production of the album because I really like the way it’s been put together. You worked with Rod McCormack right?
LB: Rod McCormack produced it and played banjo and a couple of other instruments and Jeff, his brother, engineered the record in a studio that they run together.
EH: He really puts your vocals right out front to focus on your story telling lyrical style.
LB: It’s great that you can hear that – that was definitely our intention. I made a few different demos in the lead up to meeting Rod and the ones that he really liked were the ones where I had recorded them with an acoustic guitar and my mic really close up so I was singing right into it. They were a bit more intimate or something. That was one of the first production decisions he made was to get the vocals right up front and make sure that no matter what’s going on in the arrangement the song’s always about the acoustic guitar and the vocals. I’m not really someone who can record the guitar parts separately, I have to do it at once. We didn’t do any real overdubbing, we played it essentially live and the vocal and guitar takes that we got in the first couple of takes are the ones that we used on the album. The same with everyone’s parts. We wanted to make it really live and really natural.
EH: Did you quite a good working relationship with Rod?
LB: The interesting thing is that Rod interfered less than any producer I’ve worked with. I felt like he really trusted what I was trying to do and the same the other way around. Before we made the album we’d only met a few times but we had really long conversations so he knew exactly what album I wanted to make and we were able to stick to that because he also agreed that that was the sort of album that I should be making. A few people have brought up the production in interviews mainly because Rod is well known in a certain field as a producer but the actual producing that was done during the recording of the record was fairly minor – we decided let’s just record the instruments and have them sound as they sound, let’s have my vocals sound as they sound int he room. There was no studio trickery at all. Believe it or not that’s something with The Wildes that we never really did – we analysed stuff so much and would often rerecord and rerecord and rerecord.
EH: There’s a couple of tracks on the album – “Unfortunate Rose” and “Lily of the Fields” – which have appeared on a previous Wildes EP. When I realised that I went back and listened to the originals and I think they’ve come a long way as songs.
LB: The Wildes’ versions were demos that we liked enough to put out there. I think probably the biggest production difference on a song was “Unfortunate Rose”, the one that changed the most. We just mucked around with playing it a few different ways in the first couple of takes and the way we ended up recording it sounded so different to the original – I never felt like that song quite had the magic that I thought it had in it and then all of a sudden we started putting the emphasis on a different beat and I was like “this is actually really cool”.
EH: We should really talk about the special guests that you’ve got on the album as well. You must be pretty chuffed to be at a point in your career where you’ve got not just Kasey Chambers but Bill Chambers playing on your record.
LB: Bill is the most generous musician I’ve ever come across. If he likes what you do then he’s really willing to help. In the case of the album he played the lap steel and he has his own way of playing it which no one else really does. It’s a really old fashioned sound but it was just what we needed. I’ve been able to play with Bill a few times since and he’s just such a cool guy. He gets it. And he writes great songs as well – since I’ve started going to Tamworth I’ve started to hear his songs and there’s a lot of depth to them. I can’t speak highly enough of Bill and his contribution to my music and my career. And Kasey [Chambers] and Catherine [Britt] both were very generous and totally professional. Catherine came in so well prepared and I didn’t really know her at all at the time – I really respect her. The music she’s into is what I call the “real thing”. Her and Kasey, I loved having them both on there. I’m really lucky I suppose – I don’t know if I’m particularly at that point in my career but they were all really generous with their time and they happened to like the songs.
EH: I was going to comment about Catherine Britt. I’m not really that familiar with her music but the voice she pulls out on the backing vocals of your songs is just magic. It has a real Emmylou Harris quality about it – it’s just this gorgeous voice.
LB: You’ve probably come accross her ode to Emmylou [“Sweet Emmylou”] so I do think she’s a big fan. In fact I did a Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris cover with her at Tamworth, “Hickory Wind”. She does a show up there where she gets everyone in to do some duets. I probably thought she was more of a mainstream country person before I got to know her a bit because you see the marketing or whatever. It’s been nice to mingle with people that are into Gram Parsons and Emmylou and Steve Earle and Townes Van Sandt and all those guys. It’s nice to see that the guys out there are carrying that torch on.
EH: That’s quite a nice segue – you’ve just been announced to a couple of pretty cool support slots, one of them being Steve Earle for his Bluesfest sideshows.
LB: Yeah, that’s going to be great, I’m a big Steve Earle fan. He kind of fits into that group of songwriters like Guy Clarke and Townes Van Sandt, that are real story tellers and smart writers and funny writers as well. It’s always weird when you do support slots because you never know if you’re ever going to see the person face to face. I’ve spoken to people who’ve been on six month tours with Bob Dylan and never met him – so you don’t know what things are going to be like. But I’ll be keen to see him play close up at the end of the day. And I’m also playing with an English band called Ahab – they seem like the kind of act [Timber and Steel] would cover. I’ve been listening to a bit of their stuff and really liking what I’m hearing. That’ll be interesting too as they’ll be pretty new to Australian audiences I think.
EH: We discovered Ahab a few months ago and put a Spotlight up on the site about them and then literally the next day they announced their Australian tour.
LB: You always get there first!
EH: And you’re also on the Bluesfest lineup right?
LB: That’s right yeah. I’m obviously pretty excited about that, from a fans perspective. I’ve actually never been and every year I’ve wanted to go. I’m just going to stick around for the whole weekend and catch everyone I can.
EH: And then what happening for you for the rest of the rest of the year?
LB: Straight after Bluesfest I’m playing up in a few regional places, some of which I’ve been to before. I’m going to Nimbin, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and a bit of Queensland. One of my favourite things is going and playing at off-the-beaten-track venues so I’m doing a few of those. After that I’m coming back to Melbourne for a couple of country festivals in May and June and then heading back to the States in July/August and I’ll hopefully still be there for the Americana Festival again this year.
EH: It sounds like you’ve got a big year ahead of you. Thanks so much for your time today!
LB: Cool, thanks very much mate.

Upcoming dates for Lachlan Bryan are below:

March 15th – The Toff in Town with Ahab (UK), Melbourne, VIC
March 21st – The Vanguard with Ahab (UK), Sydney, NSW
April 5th – Bluesfest 2012, Byron Bay, NSW
April 7th – Bluesfest 2012, Byron Bay, NSW
April 8th – The Factory Theatre with Steve Earle (USA), Sydney, NSW
April 12th – Nimbin Hotel, Lismore, NSW
April 13th – Upfront Club, Maleny, QLD
April 14th – Royal Mail Hotel, Goodna, QLD
July 6th – Lizottes Central Coast with Harmony James, Kincumber, NSW
July 7th – Lizottes Newcastle with Harmony James, Newcastle, NSW
July 8th – Lizottes Dee Why with Harmony James, Dee Why, NSW

A Selection of Bluesfest Sideshows

Lucinda Williams
Image Courtesy of Lucinda Williams

With a lineup as amazing as next year’s Bluesfest each of the sideshow announcements is an event unto itself. And we’d love to devote an individual article to every single sideshow announcement but they’re coming thick and fast – so instead we’ve decided to consolidate them in one place.

Below are the sideshow dates for Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams (above), Steve Earle, Seasick Steve and Trombone Shorty. As we get the dates for more of the artists we’ll let you know.

Buddy Guy with Jonny Lang:
Tuesday 3rd April – Palais Theatre, Melbourne
Wednesday 4th April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Lucinda Williams:
Monday 2nd April – Palais Theatre
Tuesday 3rd April – State Theatre, Sydney

Steve Earle:
Friday 30th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tuesday 3rd April – The Gov, Adelaide
Wednesday 4th April – Lizzotte’s, Newcastle
Sunday 8th April – Factory Theatre, Sydney
Monday 9th April – Concourse Theatre, Perth

Seasick Steve:
Tuesday 10th April – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Trombone Shorty:
Saturday 7th April – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Folk Features in the Nominees For This Year’s Grammy Awards

Alison  Krauss
Image Courtesy of Alison Krauss

It’s the end of the year and award season is just around the corner and with so many amazing folk, alt-country, acoustic and indie releases this year you can be sure a bunch of Timber and Steel’s favourite artists are going to feature heavily.

The GRAMMY award nominees were just announced and it looks as though folk has done pretty well. While this will no doubt be the year of Adele, there’s plenty of Timber and Steel alumni up for the big awards.

The most notable nominees are:

  • Bon Iver – 4 Nominations (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, Best Alternative Music Album)
  • Mumford and Sons – 4 Nominations (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song)
  • The Decemberists – 2 Nominations (Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song)
  • Wilco – 1 Nomination (Best Rock Album)
  • The Civil Wars – 2 Nominations (Best Country Duo/Group Performance, Best Folk Album)
  • Emmylou Harris – 1 Nomination (Best Americana Album)
  • Lucinda Williams – 1 Nomination (Best Americana Album)
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station (above) – 2 Nominations (Best Bluegrass Album, Best Engineered Album Non-Classical)
  • Steve Earle – 1 Nomination (Best Folk Album)
  • Fleet Foxes – 1 Nomination (Best Folk Album)
  • Eddie Vedder – 1 Nomination (Best Folk Album)
  • Gillian Welch – 2 Nominations (Best Folk Album, Best Engineered Album Non-Classical)
  • Béla Fleck & The Flecktones – 1 Nomination (Best Instrumental Composition)

The winners of the 54th GRAMMY Awards will be announced on the 12th February. For the full list of nominees check out the official GRAMMY web site.

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