Thank Folk It’s Friday – 10th February

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Roots legend Jeff Lang announced details of his new album Alone In Bad Company as well as national tour dates. Details here

Johnny Flynn released his new video “Raising The Dead”. Details here

All Our Exes Live In Texas released their new video “Boundary Road”. Details here

Reviews

Track by Track

“The long awaited debut album from The Morrisons launched this week full of songs we’ve come to love from their live show over the last few years. James Morrisons, Jimmy Daley and Anna McInerney took some time out to run through the tracks on The Morrisons and give us an insight into the stories behind the songs”The Morrisons take use through their new album The Morrisons. Track by Track here

Recordings

“With the release of The Morrisons this week we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Finally we have something to fill our ears while we wait eagerly for the next round of Morrisons shows. Finally we can own the songs we’ve grown to love as we’ve followed the band since its inception” – we review The Morrisons album The Morrisons. Review here

Releases This Week

Jesca Hoop
Memories Are NowJesca Hoop
iTunes

Best Of
Best OfOld Crow Medicine Show
iTunes

The Morrisons
The MorrisonsThe Morrisons
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Folkswagon feat. Love Note For Gareth

Rosie

Our illustrious Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans is leaving Sydney this month for the folky pastures of Melbourne. To see him off the folks at Folkswagon have put together a very special “Love Note For Gareth” featuring Sydney artists who have had a big impact on him and Timber and Steel over the years including Rosie Catalano (above), Leroy Lee, James Morrison and Jimmy Daley (The Morrisons), Jack Carty and Fanny Lumsden. Come and celebrate the Sydney folk scene and help us say goodbye to Gareth!

Wednesday 15th February – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Amanda Palmer
Friday 10th February – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 11th February – MONA, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 15th February – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Backsliders
Friday 17th February – Holler Music Festival, Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC

Carus Thompson
Sunday 12th February – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 17th February – Mojos, Fremantle, WA

Chelsea Reed w/ Danielle Deckard & Blind Hot Gems
Saturday 11th February – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Frank Sultana
Friday 10th February – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents In The Round: Singer/Songwriter Night feat. Taryn La Fauci, Sabrina Soares, Melanie Dyer
Friday 17th February – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Culture Up Late feat. Shelly’s Murder Boys
Wednesday 15th February – Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW

Elliott Smith Tribute feat. Caitlin Harnett, Hannahband, Wasters, Royal Chant, Rachel Maria Cox, Sam Shinazzi, Black River Bell, Fabels, Lisa Crawley, Donna Amini, Imperial Broads, Katie Brianna, Leroy Lee
Saturday 11th February – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW

eüsh
Saturday 11th February – Franks Wild Years, Thirroul, NSW

Folkswagon feat. Love Note For Gareth
Wednesday 15th February – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

George w/ Jack Carty
Friday 17th February – Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW

Gordie Tentrees
Friday 17th February – Mundaring Folk & Blues Club, Mundaring, WA

Green Mohair Suits
Saturday 11th February – The Union, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 12th February – Palm Beach Golf Club, Sydney, NSW

Gretta Ziller w/ Cyndi Boste
Sunday 12th February – House Concert, VIC

Hat Fitz & Cara
Friday 17th February – Nightjar Festival, Geelong, VIC

Hootenanny feat. Andy Balor’s Cajun Combo
Sunday 12th February – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

James Taylor w/ Kasey Chambers, Bernard Fanning
Saturday 11th February – Sirromet Wines, Mt Cotton, QLD
Sunday 12th February – Hope Estate Winery, Pokolbin, NSW

Jess Locke, Shiny Coin, SNAPE, Okin Osan
Friday 17th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Kasey Chambers w/ Thelma Plumb
Friday 10th February – Taronga Zoo, Mosman, NSW

Kasey Chambers and Bernard Fanning
Tuesday 14th February – Orange Ex Services Club, Orange, NSW
Wednesday 15th February – Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury, NSW
Friday 17th February – Eastbank Centre, Shepparton, VIC

Katie Brianna
Saturday 11th February – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 12th February – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Lucie Thorne & The Yearlings
Friday 10th February – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 12th February – Lot 19, Castlemaine, VIC
Wednesday 15th February – Saint Monday, Yackandandah, VIC
Thursday 16 February – 505, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th February – Sunset Studio, Newcastle, NSW

Luke Collings w/ Lyn Taylor, Peter Conaty
Wednesday 15th February – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Matt McHugh
Thursday 16th February – Baha Tacos, Rye, VIC
Friday 17th February – Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC

Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
Friday 17th February – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Miriam Lieberman Trio
Friday 10th February – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Paul Hayward and Sidekicks
Saturday 11th February – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Pekka Kuusisto and the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Sam Amidon
Friday 10th February – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 11th February – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 12th February – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney, NSW
Monday 13th February – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 14th February – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW

Ray Mann
Thursday 16th February – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Riverboats Music Festival
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th February – Echuca Moama, VIC

Sam Brittain & Meg LaGrande
Saturday 11th February – Rockford Wines, Barossa Valley, SA
Friday 17th February – The Wheatsheaf, Adeladie, SA

Sancha & the Blue Gypsies
Thursday 16th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Singer-Songwriters Solo feat. Bec Taylor, Evan Buckley, James Fahy
Saturday 11th February – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Sunday Arvo Sesh at Fractangular feat. Mystery Duo, The Stragglers, Quinton Trembath, The Dominic Francis Grief Ensemble, Ryan Garth, GT Mongrel, Spinks, Hannah & Magnus, The Dead Maggies
Sunday 12th February – Fractangular, Buckland, TAS

Sunday Sundown feat. Ngaiire, All Our Exes Live in Texas
Sunday 12th February – The Newport, Sydney, NSW

Taasha Coates
Friday 17th February – Spiegeltent, Adelaide, SA

The Cat Empire & Xavier Rudd
Saturday 11th February – Glenelg Beach, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 12th February – Stuart Park, Wollongong, NSW

The Jimmy Davis Duo and Luke Escombe
Friday 10th February – The Acoustic Picnic, Sydney, NSW

The McClymonts
Friday 10th February – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave, VIC
Saturday 11th February – York On Lilydale, Mt Evelyn, VIC
Friday 17th February – Country Club, Launceston, TAS

The Morrisons
Friday 10th February – Franks Wild Years, Thirroul, NSW
Saturday 11th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 12th February – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 16th February – Moonshine @ The Steyne, Manly, NSW

The Spooky Men’s Chorale
Wednesday 15th February – TAS Hoskins Centre, Armidale, NSW
Thursday 16th February – Capital Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 17th February – Royal Theatre, Quirindi, NSW

The Trippy Hippy Band
Friday 17th February – Ku-ring-gai Folk Club, Rear Willow Park Community Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Sunday 12th February – Levantine Hill Estate, Coldstream, VIC

Timberwolf
Thursday 16th February – Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Tori Forsyth
Saturday 11th February – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC

Tubular Bells for Two
Friday 17th February – Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, SA

William Crighton
Saturday 11th February – McDonald Park, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Sunday 12th February – Wade Park, Orange, NSW
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th February – Riverboats Festival, VIC

Winterbourne
Friday 10th February – Rad, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 11th February – The Lair, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 16th February – Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD
Friday 17th February – 38 Berwick, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Never Going Back Again” – Fleetwood Mac

This week is the 40th anniversary of the release of Rumours

Track By Track: The Morrisons – The Morrisons

The Morrisons
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

The long awaited debut album from The Morrisons launched this week full of songs we’ve come to love from their live show over the last few years. James Morrisons, Jimmy Daley and Anna McInerney took some time out to run through the tracks on The Morrisons and give us an insight into the stories behind the songs.

“Cumberland Plain” – [Jimmy Daley] An old friend of mine from the mountains once told me a story about how when he was young they used to sing “Cumberland Gap” (one of my favourite old time folk songs) and change the lyrics to “leaving Balmain for the Cumberland Plain”. At that time (50’s/60’s), he told me that Sydney was changing, becoming more expensive and people who couldn’t afford it were getting forced out, much like what is going on now. Using his story as its genesis, the song deals with class divide between east and west in Sydney.

“Ruby” – [Jimmy Daley] I wrote this song a long time ago for my old band Bellyache Ben & The Steamgrass Boys. At the time I was listening a lot to the Osborne Brothers and The Country Gentleman. Those bands were so good at merging the sounds and traditions of bluegrass with pop sensibility, songs like ‘Rocky Top’, ‘Matterhorn’, ‘Fox on the Run’. It’s my favorite period of bluegrass music.

“Sugar Cane” – [Jimmy Daley] Another old one from the Steamgrass Boys days. I wrote this song when I was traveling around North Queensland. I was listening to Uncle Dave Macon – in particular his classic tune “Way Down The Old Plank Road” – and wanted to write something like that. In old-time music the hook that just goes ’round and ’round ’til your feet drop off. It’s so infectious. I love it. The claw-hammer banjo intro is a nod to Uncle Dave.

“Two Years In The Mines” – [Jimmy Daley] This song is about Gyzele Osmani, a refugee who came to Australia in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis. I have vivid memories of watching the crisis on the news as a young boy but having no idea of the gravity of what I was seeing. Gyzele’s story was the subject of an award winning essay and radio show. It’s a truly remarkable story of courage and determination in the face of terrible adversity (well worth a read). Unfortunately our own government created a significant amount of that adversity. She was held in detention in Port Headland for 7 months, with her 5 children. One of them had a broken leg and was denied adequate medical treatment. Gyzele was brought to Australia as part of our humanitarian response to the crisis and this is how we treated her, it’s absolutely disgraceful. The thing that made me really angry when I read about her story, was that our government talks about detention centres acting as deterrents to people who come here illegally, but here’s a woman who was brought here by the government under the banner of humanitarianism and she was kept in detention with all her children. It’s absolute bullshit! Thankfully though this story has a happy ending and she now lives and works in Canberra.

“Melina (Not For Long)” – [James Morrison] While in a low point in an in-between, on-again off-again, post separation/pre reparation stage relationship, I fell for a girl. She would remind me intermittently that she knew it wouldn’t be a forever relationship (although I don’t think I was aware of that at the time) because of my mess. She was right, and she was amazing.

“Whisky on the Brain” – [James Morrison] For three hours every Tuesday night for a year (2013-14), our band would wedge ourselves into the corner of Corridor in Newtown. We had to stack our instrument cases on the awning above King St to make space, and even then the room would be full with 50% band members. We would sweat, sing too loud and drink a lot, and this song is the memory.

“Route March” – [Jimmy Daley] As soon as I read Lawson’s poem “The Route March” the rhythm and melody started to form in my head, it just reads like song lyrics. A lot of his poems are like that, I’ve actually been working on a side project of writing an album of a capella music for a bunch of his poems, but knowing how long it takes me to finish stuff I’ll probably have that out in 2030.

“Good Christian Man” – [Jimmy Daley] This is a deeply personal song about doubt, self-reflection and religious contradiction, and about how in the absence of belief we try and find ways to be moral and decent to each other.

“Emmeline (Deeds Not Words)” – [Jimmy Daley] In her mid 30’s my grandmother decided she wanted to become a school teacher. She hadn’t had the opportunity to get much of an education as a child so she had to go back and do her HSC. So as a 30-year-old mother of two she donned the school uniform and did it! She then went to uni and became a primary school teacher. By this time she was married to my grandfather and thus had taken his last name, Pankhurst. The local paper did a story on her saying something like “The ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst rides again”. The surname is no coincidence either; my grandfather is a distant relation of Richard Pankhurst, Emmeline’s husband. The Pankhurst women, Emmeline, and in particular her daughter Sylvia, are some of the most important and inspirational historical figures I have ever encountered. In my mind they should occupy the same space in our cultural psyche as people like Martin Luther King and Ghandi. One thing we are really proud of is that we will be releasing the song as a single in conjunction with the UN Women Australia Group on 8th March, International Women’s Day. It will be a pay what you want thing with all the proceeds going towards UN initiatives to help disenfranchised women around the world. The theme for the day this year is “empower a woman, empower a nation”, very appropriate when speaking of Emmeline Pankhurst.

“Rabbit Skin Cheques” – [Jimmy Daley] My Grandfather grew up on a farm in Tamworth. They didn’t have much money and they also had a problem with rabbits. So he would kill the rabbits, skin them and then sell the skins to a shop in town to make some extra pocket money. What a great topic for a country song!

“Turn the Light On” – [James Morrison] This was one of our first songs, but was long forgotten and buried. After a cathartic moment walking home between recording sessions, it seemed relevant again, not as the lighthearted song about being in the doghouse, but now as a plead to not be shut out of a relationship.

“Wild Eleanor” – [Jimmy Daley] Another old one from The Steamgrass Boys, we released this as a single last year and won an award at the Australian Song Writers Association for folk/acoustic song of the year. We also played it on The Bachelor, ha. It’s been such a staple song for The Morrisons that we decided to record it again and chuck it on there. It’s very live, warts and all. That is a reflection of how we recorded the whole album really. We tried to do it as live as possible, without overdubs etc. That means you have to accept a few mistakes here and there but the spirit and intensity of your performance stays intact, which is much more important than your ego staying intact. Multi tracked, slick folk/bluegrass recordings for me miss the point of what is so powerful about this kind of music.

“Long Time Traveling” – [Jimmy Daley] I love harmony singing! It’s my favourite thing to do in music. If I could, I would sit at my computer all day every day writing, arranging and recording vocal harmonies. I wrote this song whilst traveling around China. I’m not sure where the tune came from but I’d just been humming it to myself the entire trip. The melody has a very pentatonic “asian” quality to it, perhaps it just seeped into my subconscious. We then went up to Inner Mongolia and the lyrics just poured out. It’s an incredible landscape but at the same time it’s marred by destruction and rapid urban development. Like the rest of China it’s a place of insane contrast. I remember sitting waiting for a bus and looking around me at this desolate construction site wasteland and seeing that just over the horizon cows and horses were roaming across the stunning Mongolian steppe the same way they had for centuries. The same grasslands on which Genghis Khan rode his horse. It was bizarre.

“Southern Flavour” – [Anna McInerney] A classic instrumental tune by the father of bluegrass Bill Monroe, “Southern Flavour” is a favourite of The Morrisons and has been in our set list for a long time. It wasn’t originally scheduled for the studio but the idea came up, we did a few takes and we had our album closer.

The Morrisons is available now from all the usual outlets. Download on Bandcamp here. For details of their upcoming tour check out the dates here as well as our review of the album here.

The National Folk Festival Announces Over 40 More Acts for 2017

Jessie Lloyd
Image Courtesy of Jessie Lloyd

As the first hot cross buns hit our supermarkets you know that Easter is not that far away – and that means neither is The National Folk Festival.

And now it’s time to get even more excited because The National has just added 30 more artists to its lineup.

First up we have the First Peoples’ program celebrating Aboriginal artists. This lineup includes Genise and Nicholas Williams, The Mission Songs Project (curated by Jessie Lloyd, above), Tilly Thomas, David Spry, Dr Jared Thomas, Kutcha Edwards, Dubmarine, Wiradjuri Echoes and The Djaadjawan Dancers.

As well as the First Peoples’ program The National has added a bunch more artists from around the country including Mic Conway’s National Junk Band, The Mae Trio, Heath Cullen, The String Contingent, The Barleyshakes, Kate Burke, Luke Plumb & Ruth Hazleton, The Morrisons and many more.

The National Folk Festival is held from the 13th to the 17th April in 2017 – for more information and tickets check out the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 20th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney bluegrass band The Morrisons announced an east coast tour to support their upcoming album. Details here

– We posted the full lineup for this year’s Port Fairy Folk Festival including Willie Watson, Melody Pool, Lior, Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Afenginn, Boo Hewerdine, Charm of Finches, Eddi Reader, Folk Uke, Gretta Ray, Martha Tilston, Mel Parsons, Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen, The Changing Room, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Dead Maggies, The Waifs, The Wilson Pickers, The Young Folk and many more. Details here

– Rising alt-country star Tori Forsyth released her new video “New Wall”. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter night The Cake & Cordial Sessions returns to the Tamworth Country Music Festival with a lineup that includes Ben Salter, Paddy McHugh, Harry Hookey, Megan Cooper, Matt Henry, Melody Moko, Andy Golledge and Sam Newton. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Musketeer has announced plans to release EP Seven Long Years. Details here

Laura Marling released her new single “Wild Fire”. Details here

– Queensland singer-songwriter Josh Rennie-Hynes has announced an Autumn east coast tour. Details here

– Adelaide based singer songwriter Ryan Martin John released his new single “Mexico”. Details here

– English singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn announced plans to release his new album Sillion. Details here

Amber Lawrence released her single “Cheers to the Girls” featuring Catherine Britt and Fanny Lumsden and the three ladies are heading out on tour. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Trent Williams released his new single “What Do You Call a Man”. Details here

– Folk legends The Waifs announced a huge 25th anniversary tour. Details here

Releases This Week

Jordan Ireland
Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra – Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra
Spunk Records

Dragonfly
DragonflyKasey Chambers
iTunes

The Long Johns
Last Man StandingThe Long Johns
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Handsome Young Strangers w/ Sim Shame & Jim Mongrel, Steph Miller

HYS

Sydney folk-punk legends Handsome Young Strangers bid farewell to their long time bass player Jim Mongrel at fan favourite venue The Botany View Hotel in Newtown, Sydney

Friday 20th January – Botany View Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Acoustics Anonymous feat Duncan Woods, Sabrina Soares
Wednesday 25th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Adam Young
Thursday 26th January – The Loft, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Peel Inn, Nundle, NSW

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 20th January – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Alice Terry
Wednesday 25 January – Village Stage, Meriton Festival Village, Sydney, NSW

Allison Forbes
Friday 20th January – Shoppingworld, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 20th January – Medicine Show Sessions, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Country Music Cocktails, SSS Bar, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – The Albert, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Medicine Show Sessions, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Royal Flying Doctor Fundraiser, Stockmans Motel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Medicine Show Sessions, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Tamworth Nashville Sister City Show, The Big Golden Guitar, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – The Albert, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Hopscotch, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Australia Day Concert, Bicentennial Park, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Medicine Show Sessions, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Amanda Palmer
Saturday 21st January – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Americana in the Park feat. Tim Wheatley, Peasant Moon, Small Town Romance, Andrew Swift, Tori Forsyth, Jason Walker, Katie Brianna, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Tuesday 23rd January – Toyota Park, Tamworth, NSW

Andrew Swift
Saturday 21st January – Peppertown Cafe, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 21st January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Toyota Star Maker Grand Final, Toyota Park, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Americana in the Park, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Albert Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Fanzone, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Hogs Breath Cafe, Tamworth NSW

Andy Irvine w/ Luke Plumb
Friday 20th January – Fairlight Folk Acoustic Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Kindlehill Performance Space, Wentworth Falls, NSW
Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th January – Newstead Live! Music Festival, VIC

Australia Day Celtic Festival
Thursday 26th January – St Leonards Park, Sydney, NSW

Barren Roots feat. Lou Bradley and The Wayward Henrys
Friday 27th January – Frog & Toad, Tamworth, NSW

Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart
Wednesday 25th January – Wests Blazes, Tamworth, NSW

Bernard Fanning and Kasey Chambers
Thursday 26th January – Wests Blazes, Tamworth, NSW

Bluegrass Comes to Tamworth feat. Pete Denahy, Kristy Cox, Karen Lynne, Dean Perrett, The Weeping Willows
Friday 27th January – Capitoal Theatre, Tamworth, NSW

Brad Butcher
Sunday 22nd January – Country Turns Pink, Wests Blazes, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Southgate Songwriters, Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Fly Doctor Fly, Stockmans Motel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – The Medicine Show Sessions, The Tudor, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Rich’s Roundup, Dag Sheep Station, Nundle, NSW
Thursday 26th January – In Store Performance, Big Golden Guitar, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Songwriter Round, Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Toyota Fanzone, Peel Street, Tamworth, NSW

Busby Marou & Harry Hookey
Wednesday 25th January – Longyard Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Cake & Cordial Sessions feat. Ben Salter, Paddy McHugh, Harry Hookey, Megan Cooper, Matt Henry, Melody Moko, Andy Golledge and Sam Newton
Friday 27th January – St Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, Tamworth, NSW

CloudBird
Sunday 22nd January – The Golden Barley, Sydney, NSW

Coda, Veronique
Friday 27th January – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Colin Buchcanan & Fanny Lumsden
Friday 27th January – North Tamworth Bowling Club, Tamworth, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Jordie Lane
Friday 27th January – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Leroy Lee
Friday 20th January – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Deep Down South feat. Ange Boxall, Jed Rowe, Jemma Nicole, Bill Jackson Music with Pete Fidler, Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Sunday 22nd January – Stag and Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Deep Down South feat. The Weeping Willows, Jemma Nicole, Jed Rowe, Ange Boxall, Bill Jackson
Tuesday 24th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Don McGlashan
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Mofo, Mona Foma, Hobart, TAS

Easy Street
Wednesday 25th January – The Tamworth Hotel,
Thurs 26 – 2pm – 3pm

Fairlight Folk feat. Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb
Friday 20th January – Fairlight Folk, Sydney, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 20th January – Fanzone Performance, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – TCMF Secret Pop-Up Show, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Tamworth Bowling Club, Tamworth, NSW

Fly Doctor Fly feat. Jen Mize, Gretta Ziller, Allison Forbes, Andrew Swift, Brad Butcher, Brendan Nawrocki, Renae Nawrocki, Kevin Bennett, Jeff Gibson, Kelly Cork, Megan Cooper, Hayley Wilson, Emma Dykes, Kalesti Butler, Graham Howle, Brett Clarke, Brendan Smoother, Jasmine Atkins, Tammy Moxon, Matt Thomson, Jason Kearney, Mackenzie Timms
Monday 23rd January – Stockmans Motel, Tamworth, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Colin Jones and The Delta Revue, MoSoul
Wednesday 25th January – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Fourwinds
Friday 20th January – The Unorthodox Church of Groove, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Tuesday 24th January – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 25th January – House Concert, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 26th January – Four Winds Festival, Bermagui, NSW

GG
Monday 23rd Januray – The Front, Canberra, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Mr Falcon’s, Sydney, NSW
Friday 27th January – House Concert, Jindivick, VIC

Gretta Ziller
Sunday 22nd January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – The Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Stockman’s Motel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Albert Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Richo’s Round Up at The Dag, Dag Sheep Station, Nundle, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Fanzone, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Hog’s Breath Cafe, Tamworth, NSW

Handsome Young Strangers w/ Sim Shame & Jim Mongrel, Steph Miller
Friday 20th January – Botany View Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Hat Fitz & Cara
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Thredbo Blues Festival, Thredbo, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Yackandandah Hall, Yackandandah, VIC
Wednesday 25th January – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 26th January – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Friday 27th January – Bowral Bowling Club, Bowral, NSW

Heath Cullen
Saturday 21st January – House Concert, Mittagong, NSW

Hideaway 2nd B’Day feat. The Dead Love, The Red Gazelle, Arteries, Scarlett’s Revenge, The Bottlers
Saturday 21st January – The Hideaway Bar, Sydney, NSW

Hinterlandt
Sunday 22nd January – Mona Foma, Hobart, TAS

HONK! Oz
Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st January – Wollongong, NSW

Hootenanny feat. Mark Lucas & The Dead Setters
Sunday 22nd January – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

James Thompson & The Strange Pilgrims
Thursday 26th January – Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Jen Mize
Monday 23rd January – Fly Doctor Fly, Stockman’s Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Stockman’s Songwriters, Stockman’s Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Richo’s Roundup, Dag Sheep Station, Nundle, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Late Night Alt, Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Fanzone, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Medicine Show Sessions, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Jeremiah Johnson
Saturday 21st January – Tomerong Hall, Tomerong, NSW

Kasey Chambers and Bernard Fanning
Thursday 26th January – West Tamworth Leagues Club, West Tamworth, NSW

Katie Brianna
Monday 23rd January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Americana In The Park, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Frog & Toad Listening Room, Tamworth, NSW

Kenta Hayashi
Friday 20th January – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Kristy Cox
Saturday 21st January – The Tamworth Opry, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Great Country Love Songs, Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Bluegrass Comes To Tamworth, Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Monday 23rd January – Americana in the Park, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Songhouse Sessions – Downstairs at The Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – The Frog and Toad Listening Room, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Wests Diggers, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Country Music Cares Charity Concert, Tamworth Townhall, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Alt Country at The Dag, Nundle, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Scullion Sessions, The Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Frog and Toad Listening Room, Tamworth, NSW

Late Night Alt
Wednesday 25th January – Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW

Lime & Steel
Thursday 26th January – Foghorn Brewhouse, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 27th Jauary – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW

Live n Lounging feat. Winter Wilson, Bill Hunt, Niq Reefman
Sunday 22nd January – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Mat McHugh
Friday 20th January – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Saturday 21st January – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Mayumi Mullins, Willowy, Slow Ships
Wednesday 25th January – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Melody Moko
Friday 20th January – Gina Timms Ladies of Country, Wests Leagues, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Secret Pop Up Show, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Writers in The Round, South Tamworth Bowlo, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – ABC Stage Peel St, Nundle, NSW
Friday 27th January – Cake & Cordial Sessions, St Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, Tamworth, NSW

Melody Pool & William Crighton
Monday 23rd January – Grand Junction Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Tuesday 24rd January – Grand Junction Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Tamworth Regional Art Gallery, Tamworth, NSW

Michael Carpenter
Wednesday 25th January – Tamworth Town Hall, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – ABC Stage, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – The Longyard, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Econolodge, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Concert in the Park, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Late Night Alt, Service Club, Tamworth, NSW

Mike Love, Bobby Alu
Wednesday 25th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Newstead Live Music Festival
Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th January – Castlemaine, VIC

Nigel Wearne
Friday 20th January – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, TAS

Numeralla Folk Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Numberalla, NSW

Paul Dempsey
Friday 20th January – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC
Friday 27th January – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC

Passenger
Friday 20th January – Riverstage Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 21st January – Munro Martin Parklands, Cairns, QLD
Wednesday 25th January – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 27th January – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Peasant Moon
Saturday 21st January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Fanzone, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Peel Street, Nundle, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Post Office Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Americana In the Park, Tamworth, NSW

Pierce Brothers
Friday 20th January – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 21st January – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Friday 27th January – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC

PJ Harvey
Sunday 22nd January – ICC Sydney Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Russell Morris, Luke Escombe
Wednesday 25th January – Camelor Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Shane Nicholson
Wednesday 25th January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW

She Was Real feat. Amy Vee, Emma Beau and Deb Leaney
Saturday 21st January – The Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Smith & Jones
Saturday 21st January – The Glasshouse at Goonoo Goonoo Station, NSW
Saturday 21st January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – The Peel Inn, Nundle, NSW
Thursday 26th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Post Office Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW

Some Singer Songwriters on Sunday feat. Dan Crestani, Peppermint & Fox, Bronwyn Æather Music, sooze, Luke Escombe, Richard Cuthbert, Sam Newton
Sunday 22nd January – The Townie, Sydney, NSW

Songhouse Sessions
Monday 23rd January – Tamworth Service Club, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Tamworth Service Club, Tamworth, NSW

Southgate Songwriters
Monday 23rd January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Southgate Inn, Tamworth, NSW

Summer Sets at Hither & Yon feat. Banjo Jackson
Sunday 22nd January – Hither & Yon, Willunga, SA

Taasha Coates
Friday 27th January – Robert Johnson Winery, Lobethal, SA

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Georgetown, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 29th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Tamworth Opry feat. Catherine Britt, Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, Dean Perrett & Jeff Brown, Kirsty Lee Akers, Kristy Cox, Roo Arcus, The Weeping Willows, Travis List, Liam Kennedy-Clark, Rebecca Lee Nye, Billy Bridge
Saturday 21st January – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW

The Cat Empire & Xavier Rudd
Thursday 26th January – St David’s Park, Hobart, TAS

The Drowsy Maggies, Rebecca Bastoli
Tuesday 24th January – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

The First Annual Afternoon of Americana Music on Australia Day feat. The April Family, Michael Carpenter, The House Band
Thursday 26th January – The Longyard Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

The Glorious North
Thursday 26th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW

The McClymonts
Wednesday 25th January – TRECC, Tamworth, NSW

The Medicine Show Sessions
Friday 20th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

The Ocean Party w/ Milk Teddy, Jordan Ireland, Hot Palms
Thursday 26th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 27th January – Frank’s Wild Years, Thirroul, NSW

The Pigs
Wednesday 25th January – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Longyard Hotel, Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW
Friday 27th January – Longyard Hotel, Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW

The Porch Sessions On Tour feat. Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson, Tim Moore
Friday 20th January – Sydney (Croydon Park), NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Sydney (Chatswood), NSW

The Spooky Men’s Chorale
Saturday 21st January – Village Stage, Meriton Festival Village, Sydney, NSW

The Sweet Jelly Rolls
Friday 20th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Glasshouse Restaurant, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Peel Inn, Nundle, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – The Pig & Tinderbox, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

The Vanns, Elwood Myre
Thursday 26th January – Hotel Steyne, Sydney, NSW

The Vegetable Plot
Friday 20th January – Summer Playground at the Opera House, Sydney, NSW

The Wayward Henrys
Saturday 21st January – Harrington Hotel, Harrington, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – The Muswellbrook Hotel, Muswellbrook, NSW
Friday 27th January – Frog & Toad, Tamworth, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Saturday 21st January – Country Music Cocktails – SSS BBQ Barn, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Tamworth Opry – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 22nd January – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Post Office Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Peel Street Stage, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Medicine Show Sessions – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Toyota Festival FM 106.1, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Toyota FanZone – Peel Street, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Deep Down South – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – ABC Stage – Peel Street, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Bill Chambers Sessions – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – TSA Songwriter Sessions – City Bowling Club, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 25th January – Country Music Cares – Tamworth Town Hall, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – The Songwriters Showcase with Melissa Robertson & Friends – South Tamworth Bowling Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – The DAG Sheep Station, Nundle, NSW
Friday 27th January – Bluegrass Comes to Tamworth – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – Deep Down South – The Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

The Whitetop Mountaineers
Friday 20th January – Harvester Moon Café, Bellarine, VIC
Saturday 21st January – Caravan Music Club, Oakley, VIC
Wednesday 25th January – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th January – Newstead Live Festival, VIC

The Wilson Pickers
Wednesday 25th January – The Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – The Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Tamworth Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Thompson Springs w/ Maia Marsh
Friday 20th January – Club 54, Launceston, TAS
Sunday 22nd January – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 22nd January – Suburban Bar, Hobart, TAS

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Thredbo, NSW

TinPan Orange
Thursday 26th January – The Rocks Australia Day Festival, Sydney, NSW

Tom Dockray and Mitch Power
Fruday 20th January – Billy Roys Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC
Thursday 26th January – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Friday 27th January – Antojitos, Newcastle, NSW

Tori Forsyth
Saturday 21st January – Tamworth Family Support Service Family Concert, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 23rd January – Americana in the Park, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 24th January – Toyota Fanzone, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 26th January – Frog and Toad, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 27th January – The Barn, Tamworth, NSW

Underground Roots
Tuesday 24th January – The Loft Art Studio, Tamworth, NSW

Vanishing Shapes
Friday 20th January – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 21st January – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW

We Lost the Sea w/ Crooked Fiddle Band, Wartime Sweethearts
Saturday 21st January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Winter Wilson
Friday 20th January – Humph Hall, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st January – Canberra Irish Club, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 22nd January – Live ‘N’ Lounging, Leumeah, NSW
Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th January – Newstead Live Festival, Castlemaine, VIC

Yabun Festival
Thursday 26th January – Victoria Park, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Within The Rose” – Matthew And The Atlas

The Morrisons Announce East Coast Tour

The Morrisons
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

It may have felt like a long wait but it looks like we’re finally going to be getting the debut album from Sydney’s favourite bluegrassers The Morrisons.

The Morrisons spent the latter half of 2016 posting lots of photos to social media of their time in the studio which definitely got us excited. While details of the album are still to come The Morrisons have announced an east coast tour for February and March.

Check out the full list of dates below (with a Sydney show to be added soon):

Friday 10th February – Franks Wild Years, Thirroul, NSW
Saturday 11th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 12th February – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 16th February – Moonshine @ The Steyne, Manly, NSW
Saturday 18th February – The Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 3rd March – Treehouse On Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 4th March – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 18th March – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 24th March – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 25th March – Oceans Rhythm Festival, Old Bar, NSW

Ten Artists to Watch in the First Half of 2017

Bob Dylan

With the new year upon us it’s time to look ahead at some of the great folk, roots and acoustic music that will be coming our way in 2017. And it’s already shaping up to be an amazing year with a bunch of very exciting albums already announced (see the list at the bottom of this piece) and even more in the works. We had a stab at picking 10 artists we think you should be keeping an eye on in the coming months but as always this is far from exhaustive. We hope you enjoy and a happy 2017!

All Our Exes All Our Exes Live in Texas

A perennial for this yearly article it would seem. Somewhere in between tour commitments last year All Our Exes Live in Texas found time to get into the studio and record their debut album When We Fall. The album was produced and engineered by Wayne Connolly (Sarah Blasko, Silverchair, You Am I) and will likely hit stores around March. Expect to see a lot of All Our Exes Live in Texas in the coming months – they’re set to explode.

Davidson Brothers Davidson Brothers

Late last year Australian bluegrass duo Davidson Brothers headed to Nashville to record with Larry Marrs at Mark Thornton for an upcoming album. The Davidson Brothers released their last album Wanderlust back in 2014 so a new record is very much anticipated and if you’ve managed to catch them live yet this year you’ll know they continue to be one of the most exciting live acts in the country. Stay tuned for news of their new album soon!

Fleet Foxes

While there’s been no official announcement of a new Fleet Foxes album this year, their first since 2011’s Helplessness Blues, all signs are pointing toward a release very soon. Frontman Robin Pecknold has been hinting at a new Fleet Foxes long player (plus a solo album) over the last couple of months and the band also reassured fans via social media that they wouldn’t have to fly to an announced show in Ireland in July because “we’ll be doing a full world tour in 2017-18 so no need to spend a lot on travel”. Watch this space for more information when it’s announced!

Husky Husky

Don’t be surprised if Husky’s 2016 single “Late Night Store” makes an appearance in this year’s triple j Hottest 100 – the national youth broadcaster has been hammering it of late. The track is the first taster from the Melbourne indie-folk duo’s third album which is due for release at “some point” in 2017. That’s all the information we have now but expect some more news to drop soon.

Jordan Jordan Ireland

The ex-member of The Middle East announced plans to release his new album Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra on the 20th January. The first track from the album “East Coaster” is a lot more acoustically driven than Ireland’s previous project Stolen Violin, but that’s not to say the rest of Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra will follow suit. We’ll have to wait and see what the album brings but I have a feeling it’s going to be something special.

Laura marling Laura Marling

A new album from Laura Marling in 2017 – Semper Femina due on the 10th March – is in itself not a surprise. The prolific singer-songwriter has released five albums over the last nine years with Semper Femina marking her sixth long player. But on hearing the first single “Soothing” it’s clear that Marling is experimenting with her sound and Semper Femina may not be as “folk” as we’re used to from her. The album will apparently focus heavily on female characters and creativity, a theme Laura Marling explored in her excellent 2016 podcast Reversal of the Muse which we highly recommend you download.

Punch Brothers Punch Brothers Side Projects

While things are pretty quiet on the Punch Brothers front the various members are keeping themselves very very busy. As well as hosting the new season of A Prairie Home Companion mandolinist and singer Chris Thile will release his album with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, on the 27th January. Banjo player Noam Pikelny’s new solo album Universal Favorite is due for release in March this year and was produced by Punch Brothers fiddle player Gabe Witcher. Witcher has also produced a solo album for guitarist Chris “Critter” Eldridge which will hopefully come out this year. Bassist Paul Kowert is prepping a new album as well with his trio Haas Kowert Tice (featuring Brittany Haas and Jordan Tice). All in all this might be the biggest year ever for fans of Punch Brothers.


Rhiannon Giddens Rhiannon Giddens

With her new album Freedom Highway due on the 24th February and an Australian tour this April (including an appearance at Bluesfest), 2017 could well be the year Rhiannon Giddens solidifies her Australian fanbase. Freedom Highway delves deep into black American history with songs based on slave narratives of the 19th century through to the civil rights movements of the 1960s. This may be Giddens’s most powerful work to date.

The Morrisons The Morrisons

There was a time when you couldn’t move in Sydney without bumping into a gig from The Morrisons. But over the last 18 months or so The Morrisons have become a little more scarce as the members focus on their side projects, although they continue to shine with their Paul Kelly and O Brother Where Art Thou? theme shows. In recent months the band have started posting photos from the studio and as we write this it looks like The Morrisons are on the verge of announcing the release of their debut album and a bunch of tour dates – 2017 is going to be the year The Morrisons come back in a big bad way.

Timberwolf Timberwolf

Adelaide based indie-folk singer-songwriter Timberwolf has been quietly plugging away at the scene for a while now and I feel as though 2017 will be his year. Having already garnered attention from triple j for his new single “Washed Out” Timberwolf is about to release his debut album and has a bunch of tour dates through the end of January and the start of February. Once the album is announced expect to see Timberwolf through 2017.

2017 Album Release Schedule

6th January: 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory – Dropkick Murphys
13th January: Gentlewoman, Ruby Man – Flo Morrissey & Matthew E. White
13th January: Laws of Gravity – The Infamous Stringdusters
13th January: Endless – The McClymonts
20th January: Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra – Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra
20th January: Dragonfly – Kasey Chambers
27th January: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau – Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
27th January: Seven Long Years – Musketeer
27th January: Stitch of the World – Tift Merritt
3rd February: Big Machine – Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band
10th February: Memories Are Now – Jesca Hoop
10th February: Best Of – Old Crow Medicine Show
17th February: Windy City – Alison Krauss
17th February: Postcards From The Shell House – Busby Marou
17th February: Life Will See You Now – Jens Lekman
17th February: Highway Queen – Nikki Lane
17th February: Prisoner – Ryan Adams
24th February: Freedom Highway – Rhiannon Giddens
27th February: Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood – Sun Kil Moon
March – Universal Favorite – Noam Pikelny
3rd March: When We Fall – All Our Exes Live In Texas
3rd March: Ironbark – The Waifs
10th March: Semper Femina – Laura Marling
16th March: The Order of Time – Valerie June
31st March: Life Love Flesh Blood – Imelda May

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 1st July

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Alt-country singer-songwriters Megan Cooper and Brooke Russell have teamed up for a Victorian tour this week. Details here

– Sydney nu-folk stompers Citizen of the World released their new video “Embers”. Details here

The Weeping Willows are currently on tour through ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. Details here

Aidan D. Cooney released his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky”. Details here

Mumford & Sons released their video “Wona” featuring collaborations with Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg

– Irish born singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell is currently heading up the east coast on a bunch of tour dates. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth released her amazing new single “Black Bird”. Details here

Taasha Coates from The Audreys is heading out on a solo tour this month. Details here

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry announced their album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. Details here

Leah Flanagan released her new single “Chills” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney alt-country singer-songwriter Katie Brianna released her new video “Birmingham”. Details here

Gregory Alan Isakov released his new single “Master And A Hound” with the Colorado Symphony. Details here

Caitlin Park and BANFF released their collaborative video for “My Love, My Lover”. Details here

Reviews

Gigs

“James “Morri” Morrison is an affable front man whose easygoing stage presence kept the audience enthralled throughout. I love the way he personalised Paul Kelly’s songs with his introductions, espousing his personal connections to the material. Morri was joined by a band of fine musicians – Anna McInerey on fiddle, Jimmy Daley on mandolin, Dr Zane Banks on banjo (and even a little bit of guitar!), Iain Tallis on bass and Miles Fraser on lead guitar – who in turn reproduced the musical accompaniment of Paul Kelly’s bluegrass albums and also made the songs their own. For a brief moment I wondered how close the players were getting to the solos and melodies of the original albums and then I realised it didn’t matter – each song was pitch perfect”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews The Morrisons’ show Smoke on a Foggy Highway: The Bluegrass Albums of Paul Kelly. Review here

Releases This Week

Liz Stringer
All The BridgesLiz Stringer
iTunes

Oh Pep
Stadium CakeOh Pep!
iTunes

Todd Sibbin
The Bottled Ship Got FreedomTodd Sibbin
Bandcamp

Tracy McNeil
ThievesTracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Aidan D. Cooney

Aidan D Cooney

Aidan D. Cooney brings us some brand new music with the official launch of his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky” in Sydney.

Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Aidan D. Cooney
Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Áine Tyrrell
Saturday 2nd July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – FogHorn Brewhouse, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

BBQ & Blues feat. The Plough
Wednesday 6th July – Surly’s American BBQ, Burgers & Beer, Sydney, NSW

Bello Winter Music Festival
Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th July – Bellingen, NSW

Brooke Russell and Megan Cooper
Friday 1st July – The Skylark Room, Upwey, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 3rd July – The Post Office Hotel, Coburg, VIC

Citizen of the World
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Colin Jones w/ Lazy Colts, Grand Oyster Parade
Thursday 7th July – Slyfox, Sydney, NSW

Colin Lillie
Friday 1st July – Night Quarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 8th July – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Coopers After Dark feat. Ash Grunwald
Thursday 7th July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Finders Keepers Markets Brisbane
Saturday 2nd July – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

FolkSwagon feat. Joseph Van Der Hurk, Olly Friend, The Cafe Loungers
Wednesday 6th July – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Hootenanny feat. The New Savages
Sunday 3rd July – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Imogen Clark
Friday 8th July – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD

Joe Mungovan
Sunday 3rd July – Little Village, Margaret River, WA

Lloyd Spiegel
Friday 1st July – The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – Baby Black, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Friday 8th July – Hickinbotham Winery, Mornington, VIC

Music Makers Club feat. Citizen Of The World, Love Drunk Hearts, The Talentless, Youngsmith
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Shifting Sands, Jep and Dep
Sunday 3rd July – The Lord Gladstone, Sydney, NSW

Strayaway Child
Saturday 2nd July – Winterfest, Parramatta, NSW

Sweet Jean
Friday 1st July – Music on The Hill, Red Hill, VIC
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-Together
Saturday 2nd July – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Beards
Friday 1st July – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

The Paper Kites
Friday 1st July – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Saturday 2nd July – Norwood Town Hall, Adelaide, SA

The Weeping Willows
Friday 1st July – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 6th July – The Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD
Thursday 7th July – Bangalow Hotel, Bangalow, NSW
Friday 8th July – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW

Todd Sibbin
Saturday 2nd July – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Friday 1st July – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Mayfield, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – Grand Junction, The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th July – Baha’s, Rye, VIC

Vanishing Shapes w/ The Squeezebox Trio, Ess-Em
Friday 1st July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Vincent Cross
Friday 1st July – Illawara Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Shack, Narrabeen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – Hotel Blue, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – House Concert, Nabiac, NSW

Winterbourne
Friday 1st July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“O Death” – Ralph Stanley

Review: The Morrisons, Smoke on a Foggy Highway: The Bluegrass Albums of Paul Kelly

The Morrisons

The Morrisons
The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th June, 2016

A year ago I was lucky enough to sit in on Sydney bluegrass band The Morrisons as they practiced for an upcoming show. But this wasn’t any ordinary practice – The Morrisons were putting the finishing touches on Smoke on a Foggy Highway, their tribute to the bluegrass albums of Paul Kelly. And it was just magic.

Just over a week ago I found myself at The Basement in Sydney watching The Morrisons make their way through Smoke and Foggy Highway with a deftness and grace that was a testament to just how good these guys are. Despite a building a reputation off their Paul Kelly and O Brother Where Art Thou? shows, The Morrisons are no mere tribute band. They are some of the finest musicians in Australia bringing their favourite music to the stage.

For a cold winter’s night in Sydney The Basement was surprisingly packed and I found myself jostling for a position near the bar to catch a glimpse of the band. I suspect Sydney’s Vivid Festival had drawn a few people out of their houses for the show but it’s safe to assume that the majority of people were there on the reputation of the show alone – since its debut last year Smoke on a Foggy Highway has garnered something of a cult status in the folk community as a must see show.

And The Morrisons didn’t disappoint. Kicking off the show by running through Paul Kelly & Uncle Bill’s classic album Smoke and then returning for a second half exploration of Paul Kelly & The Stormwater Boys’ Foggy Highway The Morrisons made these songs come alive. Their skills as musicians meant the material was elevated above impersonation or parody – the band treated it as respectfully as they would any other part of the bluegrass canon.

James “Morri” Morrison is an affable front man whose easygoing stage presence kept the audience enthralled throughout. I love the way he personalised Paul Kelly’s songs with his introductions, espousing his personal connections to the material. Morri was joined by a band of fine musicians – Anna McInerey on fiddle, Jimmy Daley on mandolin, Dr Zane Banks on banjo (and even a little bit of guitar!), Iain Tallis on bass and Miles Fraser on lead guitar – who in turn reproduced the musical accompaniment of Paul Kelly’s bluegrass albums and also made the songs their own. For a brief moment I wondered how close the players were getting to the solos and melodies of the original albums and then I realised it didn’t matter – each song was pitch perfect.

By far my favourite parts of the night were the songs that were driven by a capella and harmony singing. From “Until Death Do Them Part” to “Shy Before You Lord” to the amazing “Meet Me in The Middle of the Air”, The Morrisons proved themselves as some of the finest harmony singers around, not just fantastic instrumentalists.

The other highlight for me this time around was Morri’s solo acoustic version of “They Thought I Was Asleep”. We don’t often get to see Morri picking out a tune on a guitar by himself as it’s easy for him to get over shadowed by the other amazing players in the band, but watching him deliver this classic Paul Kelly track all on his lonesome was truly special.

When the band finished up the night performing their own track “Wild Eleanor” I found myself grinning from ear to ear. There’s a reason that Paul Kelly is considered Australia’s finest songwriter and there’s no better band than The Morrisons to bring his music to life. These songs have grown beyond their maker and it is amazing to see bands like The Morrisons treating this material with the seriousness and reverence it deserves. Next time you see The Morrisons advertise their Smoke on a Foggy Highway show – hell, any time you see The Morrisons advertise any show – make sure you snap up tickets. You can be assured it’s going to be magic.

Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2015

2015

Ok, so we have one final best of list to round out the week and then I promise you we’re done. Our illustrious Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans has sifted through the wealth of music that’s been released this year and whittled it down to his top 25 tracks of 2015. Some of these are album tracks that haven’t been released as singles, some are singles from albums that were released last year and at least one or two have only seen light as live versions – but one thing that’s certain is that this is a pretty good snapshot of all of the music we’ve been loving throughout the year.

So without further ado please enjoy Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2015.

1. Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
While I loved the direction that Sufjan Stevens took with his Age of Adz album, when “Should Have Known Better” dropped earlier this year I almost wept. This was Stevens leaning back into to his acoustic roots without denying where his sound has evolved in recent years (the electronic middle eight in the track is a nice nod to Age of Adz). Despite the heavy subject matter of the track (“When I was three, three maybe four, She left us at that video store”) it is overwhelmingly uplifting and I can’t help but smile as I let the melody wash over me. It’s good to have you back Sufjan!

2. John Flanagan – “The Last of the Cassette Men”
A core element of “folk music” as an overarching genre is the story song and John Flanagan has written the best story song of the year, recounting the time Flanagan was tasked with driving his songwriting hero Paul Kelly to a show. John Flanagan’s easygoing, personal narrative style works perfectly in this track, almost aping the songwriting style of Kelly without descending into parody. With this track John Flanagan has proven himself a songwriting force to keep an eye on.

3. Packwood – “All Smoke Must Find Its Way Home”
With four EPs released this year there’s a wealth new Packwood material to choose from, but I can’t help but come back to “All Smoke Must Find Its Way Home”, his first single from 2015. The track is everything I want from a Packwood song – soaring melodies, delicate finger-picked guitar, orchestral arrangements (including a choir!) and Bayden Hine’s vulnerable vocal style. Another work of genius from Australia’s king of chamber folk.

4. Patrick James – “Bugs”
“Bugs” has been a standard of Patrick James’ live set for much of his career, including his time as a busker, but it’s only in 2015 that it’s been released as a single thanks to his debut album Outlier. What makes “Bugs” such a great song is hands down the chorus: a catchy, loopy piece of music that always stimulates a sing along. With live versions of “Bugs” available on the internet for years now I’m glad James has not gone crazy on the production of this track, keeping the arrangement subtle and familiar.

5. The Morrisons – “Wild Eleanor”
Despite being probably the most recognisable Bluegrass band in Sydney the amount of recorded music available from The Morrisons is pretty light on the ground. Which is why I’m so chuffed they’ve chosen to record and release one of my favourite of their tracks, “Wild Eleanor”. The frantic single shows off just how skilled each of the members of The Morrisons are. And yes, I even like the hokey clip shot at Sydney’s Hibernian House.

6. Laura Marling – “False Hope”
This is Laura Marling’s Dylan-going-electric moment. When “False Hope” hit earlier this year the first thing that fans noted was just how rock driven it was- Marling has swapped the acoustic guitar for a choppy electric and surrounded herself with a traditional rock lineup. But Laura Marling’s lyrical style and vocals shine through – you know this song is unmistakably a Laura Marling track despite the instrumentation and for that reason alone it’s something special.

7. Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton – “Waly Waly”
I was trying to put my finger on what it is about “Waly Waly” that stands out for me on the excellent album Declaration from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton and it hit me – about halfway through the song Ruth Hazleton brings in this minor led banjo lick that just, well, grooves. It’s that lick, and the minor arrangement over the chorus, that gets my toe tapping and my head bobbing every time. It’s not often that you mention the word “groove” in reference to a Child Ballad but that’s how clever Declaration from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton are.

8. Mumford & Sons – “Ditmas”
“But this is all I ever was, And this is all you came across those years ago, Now you go too far, Don’t tell me that I’ve changed because that’s not the truth, And now I’m losing you”. Could this be the catchiest chorus of 2015? Forget that Mumford & Sons ditched the banjo and the acoustic guitar – what they’ve created in “Ditmas” is the perfect Mumford & Sons song. Restrained verses, blistering choruses and lyrics you want to sing along to at the top of your lungs.

9. The Paper Kites – “A Silent Cause”
To be honest “Electric Indigo” has been the track on highest rotation from twelvefour for me this year, but every time I’m listening to the album from start to finish I always have to go back and listen to “A Silent Cause” again and again. It’s such a simple song – lead vocals, guitar and subtle vocal harmonies – but it’s just mesmerising. It’s a nod to The Paper Kites’ earlier work and there’s a real Paul Simon feel to the way its been written. “A Silent Cause” has not (yet) been released as a single from twelvefour but it’s definitely the standout for me.

10. Fanny Lumsden – “Soapbox”
Fanny Lumsden’s incredibly catchy single “Soapbox” is the driving force behind the success of her album Small Town Big Shot. The track’s driving back-beat courtesy of the clapping percussion drives the song forward and that banjo riff is so hum worthy. I love how crisp Lumsden’s vocals are on this track – you get to follow the narrative elements of the song without having to distance yourself from the rest of the instrumentation. It’s a great track to see live as well!

11. William Fitzsimmons – “Pittsburgh”
There’s such a lean-in quality to William Fitzsimmons’ voice – it’s so delicate over the top of his acoustic guitar and the result is beautiful. The album version of this song is supplemented by subtle piano, electric guitar and backing vocals but if you’ve managed to hear any of the live versions floating around Youtube you’ll know just how good this song is with just Fitzsimmons and his guitar.

12. Matt Corby – “Monday”
The first new music from Matt Corby in quite a while ends up being classic Matt Corby. That layered, looped vocal and hand percussion. The blues inspired melody. That voice. It’s good to have you back Matt Corby.

13. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “S.O.B.”
The transformation of Nathaniel Rateliff from sensitive acoustic singer-songwriter to full blown gospel-blues master has been one of the unexpected joys of 2015. Together with his outstanding band The Night Sweats, Rateliff released one of the year’s catchiest tunes in “S.O.B.” complete with a Blue Brothers inspired video.

14. Bellowhead – “Roll Alabama”
Bellowhead tempered the news that they’d be wrapping things up this year with the release of their new single “Roll Alabama”. The track is filled with Bellowhead’s usual bombast but also manages to balance this with fine arrangement – at no point is the song overwhelmed by the instrumentation. The clip for “Roll Alabama” is a loving ode to Bellowhead as a live band, making me wish they’d made the trip to Australia at least once.

15. The East Pointers – “The Drift”
I love that the tenor banjo, after being maligned by its five stringed cousin in recent years, is making a bit of a resurgence. And Canadian trio The East Pointers are leading the tenor banjo charge. I love the way “The Drift” plays with tempos and instrumentation, building and dropping throughout, providing texture to the traditionally inspired music. A highlight from Secret Victory which is stuffed full of amazing tracks.

16. Yetis – “Luckiest Guy Alive”
Yetis were another band that we said goodbye to in 2015 but who left us with an amazing goodbye track. “Luckiest Guy Alive” is beautiful – five part harmonies over a solo piano – and it just seems to sore. I’m not sure Yetis every really reached their full potential and I would have loved to have seen more from them before they went their seperate ways – but “Luckiest Guy Alive” is a nice way to say goodbye.

17. Boy & Bear – “Walk the Wire”
Boy & Bear have embraced the 70s and early 80s on their new album Limit of Love and the greatest example of this is “Walk the Wire”. Embracing synths and crisp guitars, “Walk the Wire” still has that undeniable Boy & Bear groove to bop your head along to. The video is also hilarious – don’t just listen to this track on YouTube in the backgound, make sure you give it your full attention.

18. Ruby Boots – “Wrap Me In A Fever”
No this is country music. Ruby Boots’ big voice just powers through this track as the drums shuffle, the steel guitar twangs and an organ adds just a touch of class. “Wrap Me In A Fever” is a song full of heartbreak and lonliness but Ruby Boots also imbues a sense of strength into it with her big voice.

19. Gurrumul & Paul Kelly – “Amazing Grace”
The moment I heard that Gurrumul was turning his voice to gospel music for his latest album my first thought was “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”. The fact that he’s joined by Paul Kelly on possibly the most iconic gospel song of all time is just incredible. Here are two artists at their best breathing life into a classic and reinventing it for an Australian audience.

20. Passenger – “Fools Gold”
The ever prolific Passenger this year released an album (Whispers II) and then a series of videos for brand new songs that were shot while he toured the world. To be honest I could have picked any number of the songs that Passenger released this year but this is the one that stuck in my head. The song is textbook Passenger – delicate vocals over finger-picked guitar – but that little lick at the start and the “Hey-ey-ey” of the chorus are what gives “Fools Gold” the ear-worm quality.

21. Josh Pyke – “Hollering Hearts”
From the opening ukulele to the “oh oh oh” backing vocals there’s something insanely catchy about this song. No one quite writes folk-flavoured pop music like Josh Pyke and “Hollering Hearts” is pretty much a perfect Josh Pyke tune. I’m not sure how I feel about the lyric video (if you’re going to go to that much effort animating it why not just make a video?) but at the end of the day this is all about the music.

22. Falls – “When We Were Young”
I chose to post the live version of this song purely for the nostalgia of it. This is Falls performing at the Hotel Hollywood in Sydney during one of their rare visits back to our shores – and for these guys this is where it all started. I love how infectious this song is, almost willing you to clap along and stomp your feet. Of all the new material on Omaha this is the track that really captured me – I feel like it’s the bridge between their Hollywood EP and the tracks they’ve been writing since they’ve relocated to the USA.

23. Sam Amidon – “Blue Mountains”
“Blue Mountains” is not taken from Sam Amidon’s 2015 album of home and field recordings Home Alone Inside My Head but is rather the final single from his amazing 2014 record Lily-O. This is Amidon at his most coherent and accessible – the track has a pretty conservative structure and vocal line which is something he’s not always known for. I love the 6/8 drum beat that comes in about half way through this song giving it that extra drive, and of course Amidon’s meandering fiddle lines are just beautiful.

24. We Banjo 3 feat. Sharon Shannon – “The Fox”
This is traditional music at its most polished, with none of the rough edges you’ll find on other versions of this classic track. But that’s not a bad thing – We Banjo 3 have perfectly captured the rollicking fun of “The Fox”. Strangely Sharon Shannon’s accordion seems to be relegated to the back of the mix until they break into the reel two thirds of the way through (known as “Clumsy Lover” for those of you playing at home) – but I guess that’s why this is We Banjo 3 featuring Sharon Shannon and not the other way around.

25. Nick Payne – “Old Sydney Town”
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Nick Payne workshopping his convict folk song at jam sessions and festivals over the past 18 months and what he’s managed to capture on tape is pretty bang on what you’ll get live. I love the old time feel of this track and the fine group of musicians he’s managed to amass to accompany him (including many members of his band Dear Orphans) elevate the song to another level. I love the “behind the music” style of the video as well – very nice.

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…

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