Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2015

Record Collecting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colm Mac Con Iomaire at the Melbourne Festival

Colm
Image Courtesy of Colm Mac Con Iomaire

Irish fiddler Colm Mac Con Iomaire, best known as a member of The Frames and The Swell Season, returns to Australia in October for a couple of shows as part of the Melbourne Festival. I saw Colm Mac Con Iomaire a couple of years ago when he played at the Sydney Festival and it was amazing – here’s a man who is able to combine traditional and contemporary Irish music and create something very new and different.

The full list of Melbourne Festival dates for Colm Mac Con Iomaire are below:

Friday 16th October – Foxtel Festival Hub, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th October – Foxtel Festival Hub, Melbourne, VIC

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 19th June

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We were very sad to hear that Bellowhead have decided to call it a day. Details here

– Brand new Americana festival Dashville Skyline announced their first round of artists including Wagons, Bahamas (CAN), All Our Exes Live in Texas, Green Mohair Suits, Melody Pool, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, The Lonesome Heroes (USA), Olympia, Bell St Delays, Papa Pilko & The Bin Rats, Perry Keyes, Ben Wright Smith and Elwood Myre. Details here

– Irish band The Frames will release their new album Longitude this month. Details here

– Tonight the legendary Cj Shaw returns to Sydney for one night only. Details here

– Country & Inner Western returns to Sydney this week with music from Cruisin’ Deuces, Lucky Luke and His Shooting Stars and Harry Love. Details here

– Nu-folkers Beirut announced details of their upcoming album No No No. Details here

Jenny Lewis has announced a single Sydney headline show when she’s here for Splendour. Details here

– To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Autumn Flow Lior has announced a series of shows in October. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Sam Newton will be premiering his new video “Bill’s Lost Love” at a live show next Friday. Details here

The Staves team with the amazing video series La Blogothèque for their latest video “Teeth White”. Details here

– Sydney’s Lacey Cole & The Lazy Colts released their new video “Slackjaw”. Details here

– Melbourne alt-country legends The Stetson Family will be launching their new album with a gig at the end of July. Details here

Richard Thompson released his new single “Broken Doll”. Details here

Gurrumul has released details of his third studio album, The Gospel Album, and national tour. Details here

– The new Nathaniel Rateliff project Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats release their debut EP today. Details here

– UK nu-folk singer Lucy Rose released her new video “Like An Arrow”. Details here

Frank Turner has announced plans to release his new album Positive Songs For Negative People. Details here

Releases This Week

Nathaniel Rateliff
EPNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Rebecca Bastoli w/ Laura & Susie, Catgut, Poppy Burnett

Bec Bastoli

Rebecca Bastoli has been a huge supporter of local folk music and now it’s your turn to give back as she fundraises for her debut EP. When you add Laura & Susie, Catgut and Poppy Burnett in support you’re in for a pretty sweet show.

Saturday 20th June – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Cj Shaw w/ Echo Deer
Friday 19th June – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Country & Inner Western feat. Cruisin’ Deuces, Lucky Luke and His Shooting Stars, Harry Love
Wednesday 24th June – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Davey Craddock & The Spectacles
Saturday 20th June – Clancy’s, Fremantle, WA
Monday 22nd June – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
Sunday 21st June – Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Tuesday 23rd June – AIS Event Centre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 25th June – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

James Kenyon and Tobias Hengeveld
Friday 19th June – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Jed Rowe
Friday 19th June – Basement Discs, Melbourne VIC

Rebecca Bastoli w/ Laura & Susie, Catgut, Poppy Burnett
Saturday 20th June – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel
Friday 19th June – Ex-Services Club, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 20th June – Barossa Regional Art Gallery, Tanunda, SA
Sunday 21st June – Vinyl, Adelaide, SA

Sam Newton w/ Direwolf
Friday 26th June – Glebe Justice Centre, Sydney, NSW

Sleepy Dreamers with Run Rabbit Run, Open Swimmer
Friday 19th June – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Pigs
Friday 19th June – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 20th June – Broadbeach Country Music Festival, Varsity Lakes, QLD

Tracey McNeil & The Goodlife
Friday 26th June – The Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall” – Tom Russell

With the recent comments made by Donald Trump and the constant immigration “debate” in this country I was reminded of this song.

The Frames Announce New Album Longitude

The Frames
Image Courtesy of The Frames

Legendary Irish folk-rock band The Frames return this month with the announcement of their new album Longitude. This will be The Frames first album in almost nine years.

“This is a collection of songs from throughout the twenty five years we’ve been a band,” The Frames explained in a statement. “We initially wanted to mark this anniversary with a sort of Best of The Frames. We put together a few different versions, including a certain number of songs from each record and including more popular live and radio songs – but this felt forced and incongruous. After many conversations amongst ourselves we decided it should simply be a collection of our favourite tunes, songs we would be happy to put on a mix-tape for a friend. So, here it is, with no regard to what album is most or least represented. It’s a short collection of tunes we are proud of, some in slightly different versions from the original recordings, and one new song. This is not the sum of our career but maybe some of the songs where we felt we had broken through to a new place or gotten better as a band. We hope you like it….we hope you enjoy it.”

Longitude is due for release on the 26th June. The first track from the album, “None But I”, is already streaming on the band’s website. Check out the full tracklisting below:

1. God Bless Mom
2. Seven Day Mile
3. Happy
4. Revelate
5. Fitzcarraldo
6. Star Star
7. In the Deep Shade
8. Lay Me Down
9. The Cost
10. People Get Ready
11. Ship Caught In The Bay
12. None But I

Review: Byron Bay Bluesfest 2013

Bonnie Raitt
Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

To all the devout fans and readers of Timber and Steel, let me first take the opportunity to apologise for the prolonged amount of time it took to publish this. Please understand the love this article contains and the arduous task of having to coherently put it down on paper.

It was difficult to come down from falling into the rabbit hole and immersing myself in five days of being lost in Wonderland. Accompanying me were two filmmakers, one photographer, a Byron local and two actors. Each set that finished and each tent that we walked out of incited a collective sigh and exhausting swoon. Bluesfest, to me, is the only festival we have that comes even an inch in resemblance to Woodstock – obviously, the air had a tinge of green to it. We came to be time travellers and kids with rampant obsessions being let loose in Tyagarah. From being stuck between men and women of all ages sharing this one experience but in different ways, to being stuck in the car park for two hours. Together, we were all big players in moments that ranged from chaotically erratic to life affirming. Being in the same vicinity as the legends we all grew up with is something that can never justly be put into words. But, here goes – our shared experience, fifteen minutes in our shoes.

Our first taste of Bluesfest, 2013 was of Leonardo’s Bride. Abby Dobson wearing red feather earrings and a tight white dress – ageless. In the midst of their set, Dobson announced that this would be their last ever show and they certainly ended their reign on top. With each song, Dobson would stare intently and intensely into the crowd, as if to look into each individual’s eyes. Being led astray momentarily, I heard “Even When I’m Sleeping” from outside of the tent and ran back to the front to hear Dobson’s flawless vocals accompanied with Dean Manning’s rusty and robust harmony. At one point, they confessed to drinking since 10am and then proceeding to play “Sleepyhead” as though they had just finished writing it and played it to a new audience for the ninth time. Although, admittedly I could listen to Dobson talk all day and night, after seeing and hearing this live, I would much prefer her to lull me to sweet slumber with this voice of unwavering fervour.

Staying in the main tent, Mojo, we caught Skipping Girl Vinegar who were probably one of my favourite bands to catch. Their stage plan was the first thing to note, as they stood side-by-side at the front of the stage. One would think that the drummer, Chris Helm, being placed beside frontman, Mark Lang, would cause some sort of audio chaos, however I feel as though the band are very familiar with this setup. Having never seen Skipping Girl Vinegar live before made this set a real treat, being able to clearly hear the 80’s influence with the obvious variations between male and female vocals. My first impression of the band was, ‘wow, they are so cute,’ and my last impression was, ‘amaze. This is a band full of angsty babes.’ The most standout thing about them was the sheer enthusiasm of Helm, keeping a solid beat whilst having a smile that reminded you of untainted pleasure. Concluding their set, was their “bogan anthem” which had the entire crowd fist pumping the air like true Aussie bogans.

It bewildered me as to how people had time to meander about and it impressed me that they would give up their spots to go to the toilet. We, on the other hand, destroyed our knees, bladders and livers over the course of the five days. When the likes of Glen Hansard and The Frames are due to come on stage, there really is not time for anything else other than the music. With playful banter here and there too – we have a little bit of time for that. As was exemplified by Hansard as he took the stage and brought the Irish sardonic humour to Byron. Backed by a full string section and his busted guitar, the Mojo tent instantly filled up and was teeming with people by the end of his first song. Although Hansard’s humour was a welcome comic relief, it was such a blaring contrast from his music that at times it was difficult to engross myself in his music. All-in-all though, Hansard finishing his set with “Falling Slowly” had the entire crowd forgetting his obscenities and hearing what they all came there for. Outside the tent, inside the tent, every mouth sung along and all eyes remained centre stage.

The humidity and heat were starting to take effect on us, all of us; people were getting restless and aggressive as they weaselled their way to the front of each stage. Admittedly, my friends and I partook in said weaselling. We wanted to have some play in the “search for sugar man,” so many crossed arms were attentively pushed and every small space was utilized as a walkway. The entirety of Bluesfest was one surreal stupor for us all. It was hard to even fathom that Rodriguez was about to come on stage and play for us the songs we did not understand as children and later came to fall in love with as adults.

Initially, it seemed as though he would inanimately play and have no strength to talk as he was escorted on and off the stage. This theory was soon thrown out the window when he began his set. Rodriguez embodied more a worldly man who is an old soul. Between songs, he would come out of nowhere with empowered two to five minute speeches about stopping violence against women – which brought on a bellowing roar from the crowd. He would change between this and something a little more light-hearted.

Rodriguez: I’ll tell you guys a joke. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse went to a marriage counsellor because Mickey wanted a divorce. The counsellor says, ‘Mickey, you can’t just leave your wife because she’s stupid.’

Mickey replies, ‘I’m not calling her stupid, I said she’s fucking Goofy.’

As what was expected, he started to play “Sugar Man” and the crowd lost all sense of propriety. As most were well aware of the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” I feel this had a huge play in the number of those in the audience. All together those who came out of curiosity and intrigue alone along with his fans from the seventies and all who came to be in between. Included in his set was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” which even though was not completely true to how it was originally played, was still worthy of the applause it received.

Now, as you may have noticed, I have not made any indication as to which days anyone has played. When the lack of phone reception or battery became an obvious factor to us from day one, the only thing that we came to take note of was our meeting spot of ‘M9.’ My friends had carved this into my memory and days and time were unnoticed. For all of the instances we have ever said, ‘man, I wish I had a soundtrack to my life,’ this came true when we would take minutes out of the day to gorge on the surprisingly delicious festival food provided to us. Included in these moments away was even a spontaneous morning we spent in Byron having pints and conversations with locals and fellow festival goers. By this point, it was hard to imagine the world outside of Byron Bay existing and moving onward.

Back to Wonderland, being the incredibly vertically challenged person that I am, getting into the tent away from the pelleting rain was not on the cards for me. Although at the time, it seemed like a great idea, I disbanded from my friends to find a better spot to watch Santana. There was no chance of this. Instead, I chose to join the other devoted fans in the rain that were just as naive as me in not bringing any form of protection to thwart it. This became irrelevant as soon as he started playing. Santana’s lead vocalists, Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay, were a brilliant treat filling in the shoes of legendary voices like Rob Thomas and Wyclef Jean during the show. We came to know and take for granted this large and varied band setup then, here, seeing each expression of love and passion on their faces. The kind of musicians that now seem so rare, I eventually welcomed the pouring rain just to see those eyes. Inside the tent and definitely outside of it, I heard Santana all around me with fans singing along in unison and devouring his signature complex and endless riffs.

Unfortunately, due to so many inevitable clashes, we caught only a small part of Iggy and The Stooges. However, we made it just in time for Iggy Pop telling the audience to ‘get on stage and dance with The Stooges’ – oh, excellent. This drove those on stage and those in the audience wild. This was a fairly standard show for The Stooges as they paraded a shirtless Pop and gave the crowd what they wanted, plain dirty rock.

Now, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters was a definite highlight. For all of you who were there for Bluesfest or caught one of his sideshows, I know you would agree with me here. You are conditioned and familiar with Robert Plant as the voice of Led Zeppelin and having this sound in your head that seems irrevocable. Though, you also deeply love the band, so you should know better. True to form, Plant delivered. The Sensational Space Shifters having quite a psychedelic feel to them combined with Plant driving the whole thing brought old classics like “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker” back to life, but reincarnated. Forty years on and he still manages to bring people to their knees in awe with inscrutable innovation. With lights coming from the stage and places beyond it, amplified by the crowd losing all inhibition, I felt tears well up in my eyes.

Almost ashamedly, Bluesfest was the first time that I had heard of Blind Boys of Alabama and I shudder to think of what I would be had I not seen them. Being around since the 1930’s and being the brand of Gospel Blues that I delight in, their set proved to be one very unforgettable hour of splendour. Setting the whole tent off in uplifted, unrestrained and exalted dancing, blind “boys” Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric McKinnie with dashingly charming guitarist Joey Williams proved that blues is not a dead musical variety.

When we came around to see Roger Hodgson, I had met an older couple in the mosh and judging by their expression of elation and the way they held each other you just knew – they were there from the beginning. We talked about this deep love for Supertramp and could barely contain ourselves with anticipation. Post this discussion and close to the lead up to Hodgson getting on stage, they assured me that they would be a barricade around me so that no more of these ten-foot giant fans could stand in front of me.

As incredibly cliché as it may sound, “Breakfast In America” and “Dreamer” were definitely the highlight of his set. Not just because they were the most famous Supertramp songs, but they had the entire crowd dancing their own dance, jumping, screaming, being taken somewhere they only knew. Spending a good portion of the set with my eyes closed, there was still the feeling of this veil of pure love over the entire tent. Since my friends were amazing enough to let me stand in front of them for most of the festival, I looked back during “Breakfast In America” to see them losing it all, I looked back at the older couple and the woman and I grabbed each other’s arms, almost in fear of losing ourselves. Hodgson on stage brought me to the realisation of what distinguishes this era of rock to ours now. Forty years on and his integrity is still intact, that charismatic smile of his as he oversees the sea of people he has connected with for decades.

Bonnie Raitt was probably who I was most excited about. From the line-up, it may have seemed odd but, the way she is live and the way that she connects with her audience is just phenomenal. I left my friends to eat outside the tent as I tried to weasel my way through to the front, however, it proved that most people had the same idea and created a kind of blockade with no space for even me to push through. For a woman in her early sixties, Raitt sure knows how to pull a crowd and keep them there. Among most of the other musical legends alongside her at this festival, Raitt has been performing for more years than I have been in existence, so you come to expect a certain ease and comfort she has on stage. You would hear these constant bouts of fevered exclamations, like ‘I love you, Bonnie!’ or ‘Yeah, Bonnie!’ And, upon her encore, she took a seat and expectations came to fruition when she spoke of the beauty of the next ballad – queue “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The entire tent stood still, which was appropriate for the intensity of the crowds’ fixated attention on one spot.

Paul Simon – what a God. Ruining the punch line, a man who plays a full set and receives three encores is a man to commend. Simon had a somewhat melancholic and earnest demeanour, which we soon found out had been caused by the passing of good friend and co-producer, Phil Ramone. Quite apropos was Simon’s tribute to his friend in playing “Slip Slidin’ Away” (Of which Ramone had co-produced). At this point, I turned around to my own friend, held her and said, ‘this is happening.’

Though, with this in mind, Simon still made a point to mention that he wanted everyone to be dancing. A mixture of classics and songs from his Graceland album set the audience on fire. As I earlier mentioned, he incited three encores and seemingly perpetual cheering. One of my favourite things about Bluesfest is the intergenerational mix, which was clear on the final night where the Mojo tent played host to the likes of Paul Simon. Backed by a full band of skilful and multi-instrumentalist musicians, Simon’s poetry not only came to life but came to us all individually and embraced us. There was a particular spot that we kept to in the Mojo tent where we had a glimmer of phone reception and I immediately texted my Mother and Father who were the reason for my Simon and Garfunkel adoration. Simon playing tracks like “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “The Sound of Silence” and closing with “The Boxer” in a way completed my life. In contrast to some of the other sets we caught, there was a surprisingly large amount of room to dance and loudly sing along.

This was the only way to end Bluesfest for me. When we had left the tent after Simon’s epic set, we trailed out flustered and speechless.

Festival Director, Peter Noble, has something to be proud of, indeed. This was a great year and having a fully sold out festival with satisfied faces made the insufferable portaloos and broken shoes worth every second.

St Patrick’s Day Playlist: Contemporary Irish Folk

Irish Instruments

It’s St Patrick’s Day again and like good folkies we’re celebrating with a few pints of the black stuff and more jigs and reels than you can poke a bodhrán at. And of course St Patrick’s day means our traditional St Patrick’s playlist. This year we’ve taken the playlist “in house” (after a couple of years of guest writers) to bring you some of our favourite contemporary Irish singer-songwriters, bands and artists. Enjoy your day and enjoy the music!

“Knots” – Lisa Hannigan
I first heard Lisa Hannigan’s gorgeous voice about 10 years ago when she performed a cover of Pink’s “Get The Party Started” with Damien Rice on Irish radio. She’s since carved an impressive career for herself and makes some of the best videos in the business, including this one for “Knots”

“Cannonball” – Damien Rice
No list of contemporary Irish singer-songwriters would be complete without Mr Damien Rice. His songs have graced Hollywood films, been covered on numerous TV “talent” shows and always garner a reaction when they make their way onto Timber and Steel – and this is one of our favourites

“Blue Shoes (Broga Gorma)” – Colm Mac Con Iomaire
I went and saw Colm Mac Con Iomaire at The Sydney Festival a couple of years ago on the strength of the fact that he’s the fiddle player for The Frames and was taken aback at just how amazing a solo artist he is. Utilising looping pedals and a combination of voice and fiddle Colm Mac Con Iomaire is redefining traditional and contemporary folk music – beautiful stuff.

“Bustin Outta Here” – Damien Dempsey
The “other” Irish singer-songwriter called Damien, Dempsey has been a fan favourite in his native Dublin for years now and is just starting to make a name for himself overseas, especially in Australia. Damien Dempsey’s music is powerful, gutsy and more than a little rough around the edges (much like his home town) and his thick accent gives his music an edge you wont find in most of his contemporaries.

“Philander” – Glen Hansard
Glen Hansard will appear more than once in this list – and with good reason. The man writes hauntingly beautiful songs buoyed by his heart-on-his-sleeve emotion. Despite the fact he’s been in the business for years Glen Hansard is one of the most exciting artists coming out of Ireland at the moment.

“Johnny Got A Boom Boom” – Imelda May
Rockabilly music with a thick Dublin accent and a generous dose of bodhrán thrown in for good measure. Imelda May might not exactly be a folky but she’s one hell of a performer (she was a highlight at WOMADelaide a couple of years ago) and we think folk fans are going to dig this song.

“Low Rising” – The Swell Season
With The Swell Season basically underpinned by the now defunct relationship between Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová we probably won’t see any more new music from this project (with both artists pursuing solo careers). But their impact lives on, especially through the success of the Once Broadway musical.

Téada
I first saw Téada when I was living in Dublin a few years back and was mesmerised. Traditional Irish music was fast becoming the bastion of grey haired men in smokey bars in my eyes so to see these young guys tearing it up on the stage of a rock club was outstanding. A more informed man than me probably knows the names of these tunes – enjoy.

“Lay Me Down” – The Frames
The final Glen Hansard entry (and the final entry) is of course The Frames, a band that are about to grace our shores and who really are the backbone of soi much of the amazing music that’s coming out of Ireland at the moment.

New Glen Hansard Video, “High Hope”

Glen Hansard
Image Courtesy of Glen Hansard

With an Australian tour planned next year we think it’s about time you got acquainted with Glen Hansard’s fantastic solo album Rhythm and Repose, that is of course if you’re not already in love with it. And as good a place as to start is with the new single “High Hope” and its accompanying video directed by Hedi Rose. Check it out below:

Glen Hansard will be touring with The Frames next year. The full list of dates are below:

Saturday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Sunday 10th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Saturday 16th March – Adelaide Festival, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 20th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 26th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th March – BluesFest, Byron Bay, NSW

Glen Hansard and The Frames Add Second Sydney Sideshow

Glen Hansard
Image Courtesy of Glen Hansard

In news that will no doubt delight many Timber and Steel readers Glen Hansard and The Frames have announced a second Sydney sideshow at The Opera House while they’re in the country for Bluesfest next year. Once again Lisa Hannigan will be in the support slot.

That brings the total number of sideshows for Glen Hansard and The Frames to five (three in Melbourne, two in Sydney). Are we likely to see any of the other cities get a look in?

The full list of dates in below:

Wednesday 20th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 21st March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 26th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW *NEW SHOW*
Friday 29th March – BluesFest, Byron Bay, NSW

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 19th October

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have released the video to their 17 minute track “Ramada Inn” featuring a whole bunch of archival footage and psychedelic imagery. Details here

– Having just released their new album Transcendental Youth The Mountain Goats have also let loose their brand new video for the track “Cry For Judas”. Details here

– London based four piece ahab have announced that they will be releasing a live album at the end of the month titled Live in London. Details here

– Having just kicked off their Tidal Wave tour Husky have added a bunch more dates in The Gold Coast, Darwin, Fremantle, Perth and Coffs Harbour. Details here

– Central Coast singer-songwriter Mike McCarthy has been getting a lot of buzz from the musical community of late. We have a stream of his new album plus tour dates. Details here

Jordie Lane’s new single “Fool For Love” is no longer available as a free download but we have a stream of it. Details here

– The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival is one week away and it’s lineup is pretty special – The New Worlds, Mustered Courage, Jimmy The Fish, The Company, Fred Smith and Liz Frencham, The String Contingent, Chaika, The Mid North, Breaking Hart Benton, Nick and Liesl and more. Details here

Bob Evans revealed his brand new single this week along with a forthcoming EP and a string of intimate shows. Details here

– Already confirmed for the Mullum Music Festival, Joe Pug has added Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane headline dates to his visit this November. Little Bastard will be in support. Details here

Sarah Blasko has announced a national tour next February where she will be performing with the nation’s orchestras. Details here

– The brand new video from Bon Iver, for the Phil Collins-esque “Beth/Rest”, hit the web and was directed by frontman Justin Vernon. Details here

– The Spring/Summer Finders Keepers Markets take place in Melbourne today and tomorrow, Brisbane on the first weekend of November and Sydney in December. Musical artists for the Melbourne and Brisbane markets have been confirmed with Sydney still TBA. Details here

Texture Like Sun gave us the details (and an advance listen to) their upcoming self titled EP. They’ll be launching the EP in November on a co-headline tour with Patrick James. Details here

Seth Lakeman, who’ll be visiting our shores next year for Bluesfest and The Blue Mountains Music Festival, has revealed details of his upcoming live EP. Details here

Rodrigo y Gabriela have announced just one sideshow when they’re here for Falls and Southbound. Tickets go on sale today. Details here

– Progressive bluegrass pioneers Punch Brothers have announced plans to release Ahoy!, a five-track EP featuring B-sides from their current album Who’s Feeling Young Now?. Details here

– The new video from M. Ward, “Me & My Shadow”, is more than a little surreal. Details here

– Guitar virtuoso Joe Robinson is returning to Australia for a tour starting next week. Details here

Glen Hansard and The Fames have announced a second Sydney Bluesfest Sideshow next year. Once again Lisa Hannigan will be in support. Details here

Wilco also confirmed that they’ll be playing a Melbourne sideshow when they’re here for Bluesfest, with a Sydney date also rumoured. Details here

Nigel Wearne kicks off his tour supporting his brand new album Black Swan tomorrow night at JamGrass. Details here

The Key of Sea Vol. 2 hits stores today (see below) and the organisers have announced a one off concert this December to celebrate. Artist collaborations for the concert include The Tim Rogers Polyxeni, Jinja Safari with Kinfe Geshu, Brous with Awaz, Chet Faker with The Royal Swazi Spa and The Tiger & Me with Murtaza Jafari. Details here

Interviews

“Before I came to Australia for the first time Chuck Ragan, who’s a friend of mine and we’ve toured together a lot, had been telling me Australia was the promised land for touring – it’s this amazing place, everyone’s very cool, the shows are great and you get treated well. It reached a point where he’d been going on about this for such a long time that I almost wanted to call him on his own shit. So he took me to Australia for the first time and he was right – Australian audiences have been really really good to me, have always been welcoming and had a good time, got involved and danced and sang along. All the things a performer would want from an audience”Frank Turner chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

If you enjoyed Bill Quinn’s interview with Billy Bragg last month (check it out here), you can listen to it in audio format over at Overheard Productions.

Releases This Week

Broadside
Broadside, Bellowhead
iTunes

In Another Life
In Another LifeCatherine Traicos
Online

Back When Never
Back When NeverCountry Town Collective
Bandcamp

Come Home To Mama
Come Home To MamaMartha Wainwright
iTunes

Spring and Fall
Spring And FallPaul Kelly
iTunes

Drifters Dawn
The Drifter’s DawnThe Tiger and Me
iTunes

The Key of Sea Vol 2
The Key of Sea Vol. 2Various
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Hat Fitz and Cara
Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson
Sunday 19th October – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Ainslie Wills
Friday 26th October – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS

Billy Bragg
Friday 19th October – Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 20th October – Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 21st October – Federation Hall, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 23rd October – Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 25th October – QPAC, Brisbane, QLD

Busby Marou with Slip On Stereo
Friday 19th October – Gladstone Entertainment Centre, Gladstone, QLD
Saturday 20th October – Sugarland Tavern, Bundaberg, QLD

Charles Jenkins
Sunday 21st October – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 25th October – Norfolk Basement, Fremantle, WA
Friday 26th October – The Velvet Lounge, Mt Lawley, WA

Communion Melbourne feat. Howl at the Moon, Mike Noga, The Falls, Jordan Leser and Ben Lovett (DJ)
Sunday 21st October – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Crooked Saint and Ashleigh Mannix
Friday 19th October – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 20th October – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW
Wednesday 24th October – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 25th October – Old Manly Boatshed, Manly, NSW
Friday 26th October – The Beresford Hotel, Surry Hills, NSW

Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival (The New Worlds, Mustered Courage, Jimmy The Fish, The Company, Rob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band, The Whitetop Mountaineers, The String Contingent, Nick and Liesl, The Mid North)
26th to 28th October – Dorrigo, NSW

Elliot The Bull
Friday 19th October – Burdekin Upstairs, Sydney, NSW
Friday 26th October – The Lass, Newcastle, NSW

Finders Keepers Melbourne
19th and 20th October – Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, VIC

Fleurieu Folk Festival feat. Eric Bogle, The Go Set, The Stetson Family, Barry Skipsey, The Timbers
26th to 28th October – Willunga, SA

Gentlemen of the Road feat. Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Sarah Blasko, Matt Corby, Husky, Willy Mason, Yacht Club DJs
Saturday 20th October – Dungog Showgrounds, Dungog, NSW

Hat Fitz and Cara
Friday 19th October – The Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Saturday 20th October – Baha Taco Joint, Rye, VIC
Sunday 21st October – The Worker’s Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 25th October – The Keller, Harmonie German Club, Canberra, ACT
Friday 26th October – Kidgeeridge Festival, Lake Conjola, NSW

Husky
Sunday 21st October – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

JamGrass Music Festival (The New Worlds, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Mustered Courage, Rattlehand, The Merri Creek Pickers, John Flanagan & The Begin Agains, The Fletcher, The Strzelecki Stringbusters, The Stetson Family, Uncle Bill, The Stillsons, Big Bug Trio)
19th and 20th October – The Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

John Williamson
Wednesday 24th October – 99 on York, Sydney, NSW
Friday 26th October – Crown Casino, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke with Jack Carty
Friday 19th October – Lizottes, Dee Why, NSW
Saturday 20th October – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday 24th October – The Palais, Hepburn Springs, VIC
Thursday 25th October – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Friday 26th October -Bended Elbow, Geelong, VIC

Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival
19th to 21st October – Kangaroo Valley, NSW

Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp
Friday 19th October – Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 20th October – Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 26th October – Illawarra P.A.C., Wollongong, NSW

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson
Wednesday 24th October – Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool, VIC
Thursday 25th October – Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Geelong, VIC
Friday 26th October – Ballarat Regent Multiplex, North Ballarat, VIC

Laneway
Sunday 21st October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Lisa Mitchell with Alpine and Danco
Friday 19th October – The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 20th October – Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 26th October – The Astor, Perth, WA

Mama Kin
Friday 19th October – Town Hall Nannup, Nannup, WA
Saturday 20th October – Clancys Fish Pub, DunsBorough, WA
Sunday 21st October – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 25th October – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 26th October – The Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 19th October – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 20th October – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 21st Octiber – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 25th October – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 26th October – The Ellington, Perth, WA

Mike Compton
Friday 26th October – Brisbane, QLD

Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Tuesday 23rd October – Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 25th October – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 26th October – Royal Theatre, Canberra, ACT

Nexus World Music Series
feat. Le Vent du Nord with Louise Blackwell

Friday 19th October – Nexus 
Multicultural
 Arts
 Centre, Adelaide, SA
feat. Alex Tsiboulski and Akoustic Odyssey
Friday 26th October – Nexus 
Multicultural
 Arts
 Centre, Adelaide, SA

Rosie Catalano
Thursday 25th October – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Sarah Humphreys
Friday 26th October – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Sydney Blues & Roots Festival (Lanie Lane, Mia Dyson, Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, Chase The Sun, Microwave Jenny, Ashleigh Mannix)
25th to 28th October – Sydney, NSW

Tablelands Folk Festival
25th to 28th October – Yungaburra, QLD

The Paper Kites (with Art of Sleeping, Battleships)
Friday 19th October – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 20th October – Amplifier, Perth, WA
Thursday 25th October – Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 26th October – The SoundLounge, Gold Coast, QLD

The Pigs
Sunday 21st October – Gladstone Botanical Gardens, Gladstone, QLD

The String Contingent
Sunday 21st October – Old Court House, Gunning, NSW
Thursday 25th October – Smithurst Theatre, Gunnedah, NSW
Friday 26th October – Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Dorrigo, NSW

Tigertown
Friday 19th October – Norfolk Basement, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 20th October – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 26th October – Barsoma, Brisbane, QLD

Tin Sparrow
Thursday 25th October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 26th October – The Standard, Sydney, NSW

TinPan Orange
Thursday 25th October – The Bakery, Perth, WA
Friday 26th October – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA

Willy Mason
Monday 22nd October – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 24th October – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Sydney From a 747” – Paul Kelly feat. Uncle Bill

Paul Kelly’s new album Spring and Fall is released today (see above) and Uncle Bill will play JamGrass this weekend. Sounds like the perfect excuse to post my favourite track from their collaborative album Smoke.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 12th October

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– If you’re heading to the Mullum Music Festival this year make sure you catch the Jesse Younan tribute concert featuring Jordie Lane, Jen Cloher, Greg J Walker (Machine Translations), Emily Lubitz (TinPan Orange) and M Jack Bee. Details here

– Sydney folk-pop duo Achoo! Bless You released their catchy new single “Before We Say Goodbye” as a free download ahead of their new EP later this year. Details here

Mumford and Sons got together with some friends to record a Daytrotter session filled with traditionals and covers. Details here

– Melbourne six-piece The Tiger and Me have finally announced the details of their upcoming tour to support their new album The Drifter’s Dawn. Details here

Jen Cloher revealed her brand new video and single “Mount Beauty” this week. Details here

Roland Kay-Smith of Roland K Smith & The Sinners and Smitty & B. Good fame has released his debut solo acoustic EP Blue and Green. Details here

Corinbank Festival announced its “Take 2” 2012 lineup on Wednesday morning after the original event was washed out earlier this year. The lineup includes Busby Marou, Dallas Frasca, The Barons of Tang, Jack Carty, Heath Cullen, Lucie Thorne, Julia & The Deep Sea Sirens, The Ellis Collective and more. Details here

– In other festival news WOMADelaide revealed the first four acts in its 2013 lineup – The Cat Empire, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Cliff and The Herd. Details here

– Yet another festival to make a lineup announcement this week was the Falls Festival who added a bunch of artists including Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Details here

– Old-time blues and folk master William Elliott Whitmore has announced a handful of sideshows when he’s in the country for Bluesfest next year. Details here

– In other Bluesfest sideshow news Glen Hansard and The Frames have announced headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne and are bringing Lisa Hannigan along in the support slot. Details here

– And then of course Bluesfest itself revealed its second artist lineup including Luka Bloom, Seth Lakeman, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Michael Kiwanuka and more

– Not to be outdone the Blue Mountains Music Festival also revealed their first round of artists for 2013 including Arlo Guthrie, Gurrumul, Luka Bloom, Seth Lakeman, Ngaiire, Spooky Men’s Chorale, Kim Churchill, The April Maze, Perch Creek Family Jug Band, Jack Carty, Nick And Liesl, Bellyache Ben And The Steamgrass Boys and many more. Details here

– As if there weren’t enough festival announcements this week Peats Ridge also added a bunch of artists including Tin Sparrow, Brian Campeau, Sam Buckingham, Bec Sandridge, Little Bastard, Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers, The Green Mohair Suits, Traveller & Fortune, Belle and the Bone People and more. Details here

– Sydney nu-folk four-piece Tin Sparrow revealed their new single “The Beast” from the upcoming EP Fair & Verdant Woods. Details here

TinPan Orange have released their beautiful new video for the track “Flowers”. Details here

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their new video for the track “Child”. The video was directed by Michal Byra, a fan who won a competition to make a clip to any Edward Sharpe track off the new album Here. Details here

Willy Mason touches down in Australia today to start his support slot with Mumford and Sons and has just released his new single “I Got Gold”. Details here

– Two of Australia’s most exciting neo-folk artists, Patrick James and Texture Like Sun, have announced a co-headline tour this November. Details here

Interviews

“It sounds like I have dreamed of sounding in my head for many many years. I’ve been happy with every single recording I’ve done but this one is just a little bit more beautiful to my ears”Sarah Humphreys chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Reviews

Recordings

“Opening with the waltz “Birdy” the first thing you notice, as always with TinPan Orange, is Emily Lubitz glorious, sumptuous voice. Part Edith Piaf, part indie-pop chanteuse Lubitz’s voice has always been the centre upon which the rest of TinPan Orange revolves and it’s great to hear her up the front of the mix in almost every track on Over The Sun – producer Steven Schram has done a fantastic job here”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews TinPan Orange’s new album Over The Sun. Review here

Releases This Week

Bless This Mess
Bless This MessLisa Mitchell
iTunes

Blue and Green
Blue and GreenRoland Kay-Smith
Bandcamp

Fragile Heart
Fragile HeartSam Buckingham
iTunes

Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun
Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a SunThe Wooden Sky
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Hayfever
Don’t Think Twice feat. Hayfever
Sunday 14th October – The Annandale Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Eastern
The Eastern
Friday 12th October – The Clarendon, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 13th October – The Block, Hunter Valley, NSW
Sunday 14th October – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Ainslie Wills
Friday 12th October – The Metro, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 18th October – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Billy Bragg
Friday 19th October – Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC

Busby Marou with Slip On Stereo
Friday 12th October – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD
Saturday 13th October – Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Townsville, QLD
Sunday 14th October – Andergrove Tavern, MacKay, QLD
Thursday 18th October – The Irish Village, Emerald, QLD
Friday 19th October – Gladstone Entertainment Centre, Gladstone, QLD

Crooked Saint and Ashleigh Mannix
Friday 12th October – Western Port Hotel, Westernport, VIC
Saturday 13th October – Baby Black Café, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Wednesday 17th October – Lizotte’s, Central Coast, NSW
Thursday 18th October – Front Gallery & Café, Canberra, ACT
Friday 19th October – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW

Elliot the Bull
Friday 19th October – Burdekin Upstairs, Sydney, NSW

Folk In The Foothills feat. Le Vent Du Nord, Gregory Page, Sunas, The Stetson Family and more
Sunday 14th October – Jamberoo Valley Lodge, Jamberoo, NSW

Hat Fitz and Cara
Friday 12th October – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th October – Katoomba RSL, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 14th October – Lizotte’s, Lambton, NSW
Thursday 18th October – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Friday 19th October – The Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC

Husky
Friday 12th October – The Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 14th October – Uni Bar, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 18th October – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Josh Pyke with Jack Carty
Friday 12th October – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW
Saturday 13th October – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 14th October – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Friday 19th October – Lizottes, Dee Why, NSW

Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival
19th to 21st October – Kangaroo Valley, NSW

Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp
Friday 12th October – Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford, NSW
Saturday 13th October – Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 14th October – Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 18th October – The Majestic Theatre, Pomona, QLD
Friday 19th October – Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Lisa Mitchell with Alpine and Danco
Thursday 18th October – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 19th October – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

Little Features feat. Arbori, Miss Elm, Lyall Moloney and Charlie Gradon
Saturday 13th October – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Mama Kin
Friday 19th October – Town Hall Nannup, Nannup, WA

Mark Wilkinson
Wednesday 17th October – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 18th October – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 19th October – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW

Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Saturday 13th October – Belvoir Ampitheatre, Perth, WA
Monday 15th October – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 17th October – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 18th October – Entertainment Center, Sydney, NSW

Nexus World Music Series
feat. Chris Finnen and Cal Williams jr.

Friday 12th October – Nexus 
Multicultural
 Arts
 Centre, Adelaide, SA
feat. Le Vent du Nord with Louise Blackwell
Friday 19th October – Nexus 
Multicultural
 Arts
 Centre, Adelaide, SA

The New Worlds with George Jackson
Wednesday 17th October – The Cat and Fiddle, Sydney, NSW

The Paper Kites (with Art of Sleeping, Battleships)
Friday 12th October – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th October – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 18th October – Fowlers, Adelaide, SA
Friday 19th October – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA

The Pigs
Friday 12th October – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 13th October – Kinross Woolshed, Albury, NSW

The String Contingent
Saturday 13th October – Wauchope Arts Council, Wauchope, NSW

Tigertown
Friday 12th October – Side Bar @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 13th October – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong NSW
Sunday 14th October – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 18th October – Ya–Ya’s, Perth, WA
Friday 19th October – Norfolk Basement, Fremantle, WA

TinPan Orange
Saturday 13th October – Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 14th October – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Music For A Found Harmonium” – Patrick Street

When I was living in Dublin a number of years ago I would sit in on the céilí at my local pub every Tuesday night and the musicians there would always play this tune. It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered it wasn’t a traditional piece and was actually written by Simon Jeffes from The Penguin Café Orchestra and made famous by Patrick Street. Versions of this song have been used everywhere from ads to TV and movies. You might recognise Patrick Street’s version from Napolean Dynamite.

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