Porchland Adds Final Artists to Lineup

Porchland
Image Courtesy of Porchland

Intimate South Australian music festival Porchland has just added three more artists to round out its lineup for 2017.

The final artists to make the cut are definitely Timber and Steel favourites including Thelma Plum, Ainsley Farrell and Ryan Martin John. They join an already impressive lineup featuring 30/70, Stu Larsen, Stella Donnelly and Bjear.

Porchland is an offshoot of the hugely popular Porch Sessions house concerts that are held on verandahs and backyards throughout South Australia. The festival takes place at The Range Hall, 45 minutes from Adelaide, on Saturday 2nd December. For more information check out the official Facebook page here.

Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2013

Listening to Records

In what is now an end of year tradition Timber and Steel are following up our own list of the top albums of 2013 with a piece that opens the floor to some of our favourite artists.

We reached out to musicians far and wide, from big international names to local up-and-comers, to get their thoughts on the best albums and EPs of the year and the result is once again incredible. If you ever wanted to know what the artists you listen to are listening to then look no further as we present to you Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2013:

Back on the MilksThomas Busby (Busby Marou)
The Starry FieldBack on the Milks
It’s almost impossible to slot this album into a genre because it covers almost all styles yet somehow it works perfectly. Mark Myers could be from another planet, because this seems to be a soundtrack from another world.

Picture of YouDarren Cross (Jep & Dep, Darren Cross Band)
Guy ClarkMy Favorite Picture of You
Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt have to be mentioned in the same sentence. The masters of the Texan Troubadour Genre- minimal powerful melodies and stories that change your mood-help you live. Townes is no longer around – Guy Clark is in his 70s, his songs getting stronger and more powerful. These guys wrote the rule book. Guy Clark’s latest album is amazing. In a world of autotune – Racscal Flatts / Taylor Swift mediocrity – a true country artist without any of the rhinestone cowboy bullshit is still alive and kicking and relevant and still breaking our hearts. I dare you to listen to “My Favorite Picture of You” or “Hell Bent On A Heartache” and not feel something. A true Inspiration.

Sam AmidonDevon Leger (Hearth Music)
Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
Because Sam Amidon is the most visionary folk artist of his generation. He understands musical traditions deep into his bones, and though he goes very far afield in his interpretations, he’s so grounded in the traditions that his experimentation serves as a vehicle to delve farther into the source material than ever before. He’s an uncompromising artist that reminds me again why I love folk music.

Melody PoolKristy Cox
Melody PoolThe Hurting Scene
The Hurting Scene has to be one of the most amazing debut releases of an Australian artist in a long time. It’s an album that more often than not touches on the topics of hurt and sadness – yet a notion of positivity shines through each of the songs. Melody’s vocals are shine on each track, however it’s her lyrics and the melody in each song that draw you in so you have to keep on listening! By far my favourite release of 2013! This girl is amazing!

Tiny RuinsOscar Lush
Tiny RuinsHaunts
For me, this six track EP has more depth and honesty than any other full length album of 2013. Tiny Ruins is the moniker of UK born, New Zealand based, singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook. Following up from her 2011 album Some Were Meant For Sea, the Haunts EP is a beautifully flowing fusion of modern folk, jazz and old-school country blues. Fullbrook’s rich and captivating vocals roll so smoothly over her laid back picking style as she draws you further and further into the veil of fog that hovers over this charming collection of songs. What I love most about Haunts is the way it pays tribute to so many traditional styles, from the Townes Van Zandt style of guitar on “Cold Comfort” to Fullbrook’s flawless cover of “Rolling Mill Blues”, yet I fail to compare the sound of Tiny Ruins to anything else because it’s also completely of its own world. I promise that this one really is worth all of your time.

Daft PunkKim Churchill
Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
Whilst I’ve been dancing around possible answers in my head I really have to go for one which I’ve barely stopped playing since I bought it. I know the whole world seems to have been won over, but Random Access Memories by Daft Punk has been my favourite album this year. It has such respect for music and its evolution over the past 50 years. It also has most of my favourite session players from as far back as the 60’s as well. Using drummers like JR Robinson and Omar Hakim and experimenting with things like Gorgio Moroder’s monologue over the top of those drums was incredible. Its the kind of music I dream of hearing and the ultimate experimentation in excess. Over a million dollars, 5 years the best studios and session players in the world and the occasional full orchestral and choir movements! Finally though, what mainly draws me to an album is the songs. Though I never thought I would look to Daft Punk for inspiration, the songwriting is really exquisite. Particularly the Paul Williams collaboration, “Touch’.

StreetsMike McCarthy
Isaac de HeerStreets
I am a huge fan of Isaac De Heer, his records are on high rotation here. On Streets Isaac continues on this well built path of unorthodox folk songwriting. Again, as on his previous two records, the production captures his quirky approach to writing and performing music. The melodies are strong, the lyrics are the kind you want to pore over and try to understand. Every broken piano sound and haunting backing vocal has it’s place in a very well thought out and enjoyable EP.

The PreaturesAshleigh Mannix
The PreaturesIs This How You Feel?
I cannot tell you how may times I have listened to this EP since it’s release. Its absolute killer first single “Is This How You Feel?” still has me shamelessly breaking out in dance wherever and whenever I hear it. I actually cannot stop myself! The entire EP is filled with a catalogue of influences – Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Neil Young are a few that I immediately note. Yet at the same time, The Preatures have their own captivating sound that I personally cannot get enough of. Listening to female lead, Isabella Manfredi’s voice makes me want to put on my LBD and leather jacket and paint the town red. While the lead vocals of Gideon Benson in “Dark Times” leaves me completely devastated that I’m not single … It’s funny where music can take you. Is This How You Feel? is the sound of a band doing what they do, and doing it fecking well!

Jim JamesIsaac de Heer
Jim JamesRegions of Light and Sound of God
A couple of years back I was struck by the Yim Yames EP Tribute To which is a collection of George Harrison songs – I loved how rushed the recording sounded, full of pure longing blasted into its delivery. I hadn’t heard anything about the Regions… album but bought it on a whim when I was wandering through Polyester Records, judging from the strength of that EP. What I found was a real grower with a gospel sorta vibe, mixed with huge drum sounds and wonderful imaginative lyrics and soundscapes. The whole album has a naivety and innocence about it that is captivating, flowing from song to song effortlessly, with a great instrumental track halfway through that lets it breathe. It’s well worth a few listens!

Stolen ViolinMark Myers (The Starry Field)
Stolen ViolinTemperate touch, Tropical Tears
I don’t listen to much music outside of the studio but I spent a lot of time with this album. It might not be everyone’s thing with it’s lofi guitars and hard to hear lyrics but I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.

Jimi HendrixJustin Thurgur (Bellowhead)
Jimi HendrixPeople, Hell and Angels
My album for 2013 is Jimi Hendrix’s People, Hell and Angels a previously unreleased studio album that was supposed to be the follow up to Electric Ladyland. This album is full of refreshingly strong, raw, bluesy songs with a healthy funk influence played by instrumentalists who are true virtuosos and unafraid of expressing themselves. The soul pours out of these recordings.

Keston Cobblers ClubRachael McShane – (Bellowhead)
Keston Cobblers’ ClubA Scene of Plenty
This sounds like a really fun band to be in! The rich instrumentation featuring tuba, squeeze-box, banjo, strings, percussion and vocals, coupled with catchy melodies and massed group vocals on the song “Beam” make you want to sing along, put on your dancing shoes and join the party. Keston Cobblers’ Club have a very refreshing DIY attitude to recording and packaging. They designed their CD case as a train set with cut-out-and-stick trains, tents and animals. Well worth checking out their videos on YouTube too.

Jimi HendrixBenji Kirkpatrick (Bellowhead)
Jimi HendrixPeople, Hell and Angels
I would have to say People, Hell and Angels by Jimi Hendrix is my favourite album of 2013. The reasons being I’m a massive Hendrix fan and although there’s nothing really very new on this release it’s a great collection of Hendrix tunes and displays his fluid mastery of the guitar very well. Also some nice cameos from the likes of Stephen Stills and Lonnie Youngblood. Essential stuff for us Hendrix geeks.

Midnight Follows MeJulian Cue (The Barons of Tang)
BJ MorriszonkleMidnight Follows Me
Ridiculous and beautiful, this album is essentially the mad ramblings of a one man band let loose in a studio. I love the every changing and complex compositions, demented keyboard sounds and the delicate balance between “tongue in cheek” and sincerity. Also it seems to me that BJ Morriszonkle is one of the finest male vocalists / crooners playing around at the moment. His voice makes this album. 5 out of 5 exploding cakes

Vance JoyWoody Pitney
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Since first hearing a demo of “Riptide” in 2012, i’ve been a big fan of VJ’s music and his debut EP didn’t disappoint! James Keogh has a killer voice and there isn’t a dull moment throughout the entire 5-track EP. All of the songs are beautifully written, yet simple enough to have you singing along after one listen. With catchy melodies, slinky ukelele strumming and powerful storytelling, it’s clear to see why people compare the great man to the likes of Paul Kelly and Bernard Fanning.

Vic ManuelScott Collins (The Mid North)
Vic ManuelBury Me Deep
Vic Manuel is someone you probably would not have heard of……yet. ‘Bury Me Deep’ is his first solo album and it is a cracker. A melding of folk, old-time and Americana, with lyrics that are as good as Leonard Cohen and Dylan. He can rip your heart out and have you horny as a hound in a matter of a few words. There are road trip songs, ballads, bluegrass toe tappers and dark tales from older days. The song ‘Oh Mother’ will have the hardest of you shedding tears. As a songwriter myself, i hold Vic in awe. I am amazed by him and a little bit (ummm…..whole lot) envious of his talent, he is quite simply Brilliant.

Vance JoyThelma Plum
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Because it makes me feel sad, but good sad.

Liz StringerCara Robinson (Hat Fitz and Cara)
Liz StringerSoon
I actually have been listening to the album Soon by Liz Stringer with its powerful tales of personal experiences written so poetically that grasps my attention every time it is played. With its beautiful delicate and honest intent it is a raw masterpiece. I love this.

Abbe MayEli Wolfe
Abbe MayKiss My Apocalypse
A diverse and experimental artist from WA, with quite few different releases. This album evokes an intense feel, from a strong and highly expressive woman – cathartic in love and release – in a lemon juice squeezed on a paper cut kinda way.

Chance McCoyJimmy Daley (The Morrisons)
Chance McCoy & The Appalachian String BandChance McCoy & The Appalachian String Band
I love old time music and this album by Chance McCoy & The Appalachian String Band is packed full of it. The newest member of Old Crow (replacing Willie Watson), and educator of Old Time Music at The Augusta Heritage Centre, West Virginia, Chance McCoy really knows his stuff. He is an amazing old time fiddle and banjo player with a really sweet sounding voice to top it of. The collection of tunes here feature some of my favourite old time numbers like “Lazy John”, “Greasy Coat”, “Little Birdie” and “Gospel Plow”, while also introducing me to some great tunes I had never heard before, like “Davy Come Back and Act Like You Ought To”. That’s the thing about old time music, it’s an endless well of incredible songs, I don’t think I’ll ever stop digging through them. With fantastic playing and singing, this album has a more slick sound that what you usually get with old time music and in that sense would be a great introduction for someone looking to get into this genre.

CapercaillieEddi Reader
CapercaillieAt The Heart of it All
This is a beautiful traditional album using the tradition and bringing it right up to date. Karen is one of my favourite Scottish vocalists and this album is class as is their live performances. A little bit of Scotland for your ears.

Josh PykeChris Collins (Tigertown)
Josh PykeThe Beginning and the End of Everything
One of the best song writers that we have in Australia, Josh has been a major influence on our music since the start. All four albums are filled with honest stories so it’s cool to be able to follow someone through different stages of their life. For a fourth album, this one seems to have a certain youthfulness and energy to it, which could come from having a toddler running around in this record. It’s a very Australian sounding record which is something we love and would love to harness ourselves one day. This album makes you excited about love, life and family.

Bobby AluBrianne Curran (Takadimi)
Bobby AluTake it Slow
Refreshing, groovy and chilled out all in one. Bobby Alu’s album of 2013 just makes you feel like having a great day!

Melody PoolKevin Mitchell (Bob Evans)
Melody PoolThe Hurting Scene
This is an insanely good debut album. The lyrics and songwriting are so good it’s hard to believe they come from a someone of such a tender age. The production is subtle and honest and Melody’s voice is weighty and substantial. She must be an old soul or something. I can’t get enough of this album.

Katie BriannaAndrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates (The Weeping Willows)
Katie BriannaDark Side of the Morning
Katie’s voice will instantly capture you but it’s her lyrics that will hold you; one part heartbreak, two parts introspection, a dash of sass and one hundred percent original. Her tone may evoke some of the greats (Iris DeMent, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Kasey Chambers…) but Katie holds her own and her album packs a punch. It’s definitely one of those rare finds you can appreciate from beginning to end without any temptation to reach for the “skip” button. Dark Side of the Morning is Americana at its best; at times dark and moody, other times hopeful, even audacious. Our favourite tracks are “What It Means”, “Dark Side of the Morning” and the vulnerable last track, “Risk it All”.

The VaccinesAndrew Davie (Bear’s Den)
The VaccinesMelody Calling
I bloody love this EP. We recently had the honour of touring with The Vaccines on the Mumford and Sons Full English Tour and we just had the best time. An amazing group of people and an incredible band. We listened to this EP religiously in the van between shows and I constantly had “Melody Calling” and “Everybody’s Gonna Let You Down” stuck in my head. Freddie’s guitar parts are so unconventional and interesting and the chord progressions and band dynamics flow in such a beautiful and unpredictable kind of way. It’s an incredibly inspiring piece of work and Justin’s songwriting has always been brilliant but just keeps getting better and better.

Kurt VileJordan Wilson and Benjamin Riley (Georgia Fair)
Kurt VileWakin’ on a Pretty Daze
It’s a beautiful sounding record. He’s a cool cat and has been a favourite of ours for a while. It’s a great record to get you through whatever you’ve been dealt, especially when combined with wine and cigarettes in your lounge room.

0Roscoe James Irwin
Ichiko Aoba0
A super beautiful (if not odd) collection of tracks from this Japanese alt/folk singer-songwriter. It’s strikingly bare, but really intimate as a result. You feel like you’re there with her, listening to her play her songs in your bedroom. The classically inspired nylon string guitar parts, mixed with Ichiko’s etherial vocal melodies create something really unique and honest, (even though I have no idea what she’s singing about). Track 8, “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu” is a standout.

Ghost BoyGregory Alan Isakov
Sanders BohlkeGhost Boy
Beautiful and dark electric landscapes behind songs that make you dream, and remember how important music is.

The DronesMark “Looch” Lewis (Handsome Young Strangers)
The DronesI See Seaweed
This band is so far ahead of the pack it scares me. I didn’t think the Drones could top their last album Havilah – but they have. Gareth Lilliard’s lyrics slowly weave into your brain as always whilst the delivery and more specifically the passion in the delivery still kills me everytime. The final track “Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send” (all 9 minutes of it) is stunning. The best album from 2013 from Australia’s best band. Simple really.

Anna CalviBity Booker
Anna CalviOne Breath
Anna did not start singing until she was in her mid twenties. Now she is singing her hearth out. Her songs explode like colour onto a canvas. She slowly draws the listener into her world. Her guitar is like a voice, sometimes a weep, sometimes a laugh. This album makes me feel close to the beautiful beast she has within.

Josh PykeJackson McLaren
Josh PykeThe Beginning And The End Of Everything
(Ok I might be a bit biased but it’s a great album!). Josh sets the bar high and this record is an absolute cracker. Grappling poetically with legacy and morality. The BIG themes! Beautiful harmonies and clever arrangements. It sounds like Josh is having fun and that’s what I like about it.

Katy PerryGemini Downs
Katy PerryPrism
Yes I know we’re in an indie band and our taste is music is meant to be all indie and alternative – and primarily it is – but everyone has their guilty pleasures, right? For what it’s worth – chuckling at the new “Roar” film clip, feeling creative when looking at the fairyland live sets that this chick pulls off and winding up the windows in the car in order to sing along as loudly as possible was enough to bring Katy Perry to the top of the pile. Plus she got dumped by a tonne of record labels before she cracked it which makes her success all the more impressive.

Cloud ControlJosh Pyke
Cloud ControlDream Cave
I love Cloud Control, and this record really saw them push themselves, whilst still remaining true to the almost primitive innocence that their music captures for me. Al’s voice has taken on a strangled desperation in some songs that makes the whole thing a lot tougher in a very engaging way. Love it.

Sam AmidonBayden Hine (Packwood)
Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
An artist who’s work I’d been meaning to listen to for a few years dropped into my lap when I was asked to support his Australian tour earlier this year. I couldn’t have been happier! His albums are effortlessly beautiful, and his live set all the more so. Sam Amidon reworks American trad tunes from way back when into his own brand of contemporary folk. On his previous two albums he paired up with one of my favourite composers Nico Muhly (Grizzy Bear, Jonsi, Sufjan Stevens), but on Bright Sunny South he mirrored his live set – recording with minimal instrumentation as well as a few guest accompanists (most notably Jazz trumpet legend Kenny Wheeler – so, so cool). The winning track for me is “As I Roved Out” – my favourite choice for singing along to in the car when stuck in traffic. Freaks people out every time!

Christy MooreDamien Dempsey
Christy MooreWhere I Come From
A legendary Irish folk singer. 45 tracks that he wrote or had a hand in. An incredible album full of human spirit and empathy and stories and wisdom and humour, Christy is everything I aspire to be as a singer, a great role model, check out “Viva La Quint Brigada”, “Johnny Connors”, “The Boy from Tamlaghtduff”, “Lisdoonvarna”, “Whacker Humphries” or “Strange Ways”. Sublime.

The NationalIsaac Graham
The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
My brother bought me Trouble Will Find Me for my birthday this year. On his way to buy it he fell off his push bike and fractured his wrist in two places and ended up in hospital for a few days. He was all fine but the whole incident totally overshadowed my birthday. Fortunately he’d bought me such a great present so I forgave him. I’ve always had a passing interest in The National but for me this album is the perfect combination great songwriting, considered progressions, beautiful arrangements and flawless production. Not a bad song on the whole thing.

John SmithGibson Bull
John SmithGreat Lakes
There is something very honest about John’s music. You get the feeling he really believes in the songs he sings. This is certainly the case with Great Lakes. A beautiful album.

Sam BuckinghamHeyMun
Sam BuckinghamI’m A Bird
An album that tickles the senses with its dreamy folk-sical setting whilst hitting the high notes of honesty is one of the valiant traits of Sam as a musician. If she’s in love Oh, Bahbo she’ll say it’s so. If she’s got to Leave This Town, she will, but not without a song. A spirited gem in the indie music scene here in Australia, her recent live performance of this album when on tour with Buffalo Tales was a beautiful delivery of tunes that draws smiles on faces.

Kacey MusgravesFanny Lumsden
Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer Different Park
It surprised me how much I love this album so “trying to be a cool indie kid” wont fly this year for me as it’s a major label country pop album that has done it. It’s my hell yeah to “small town up-bringings” and overall is just a really well crafted album that lyrically has the right percentage of sass, apple pie and trailer parks. (Also I have serious caravan plans so it teams with the theme).

Vampire WeekendRoland K Smith
Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City
I’ve been pretty slack at keeping up with new music this year, but I’m okay with that, the good stuff I missed will find its way to me eventually. One record I did enjoy was Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. The too-cool-for-school Indie rockers seem to have made the jump out of ironic subject matter and into more emotionally effective territory. I think it works for them. The production’s great too – mixing hard blues with vocal pitch shifters in “Diane Young”, the harpsichord is put to good use in album highlight “Step”, and industrial percussion in “Obvious Bicycle”. I’ll get around to listening to more new music once Bob Dylan stops releasing his excellent Bootleg series.

Big ScaryLittle May
Big ScaryNot Art
This is an album that I can listen to on repeat for hours on end, and it reminds me of staying up until 4am drawing and drinking red wine. It is a collection of beautiful songs produced perfectly with everything in it’s rightful place.

Rhye WomanBec Sandridge
RhyeWoman
Great title, magical album cover, a beyond brilliant opening track and sob-worthy film clips. Being a sucker for tales of heartbreaking romances, understated vocal melodies and gentle synths, this Canadian duo definitely have my vote. They had me like a fool playing “Open” on repeat for weeks. (Note: I may very-well still be sobbing and smiling and listening to this track whilst typing this).

VasenGeorge Jackson (The Company)
VäsenMindset
Swedish super group Väsen have produced a new album this year featuring their trademark melodic invention and effortless virtuosity, it’s simultaneously modern while still tradition based, balancing on that fine line, like they always do, with ease. The Fiddle, Nyckelharpa and Guitar trio offers unending creativity of textures throughout the album, defying their seemingly minimal lineup, and of course, there’s plenty of Polska’s to get your feet tapping to. These guys are simply, brilliant. I’ve had Mindset on repeat in my car and on my computer and have even learnt four of the tunes already. If you haven’t heard Väsen, do yourself a favor, this is a good place to start. If you know and love them already, this new offering is another classic.

Frank SolivanMustered Courage
Frank Solivan and Dirty KitchenFrank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen
This album has everything we appreciate in modern bluegrass. Flawless three part harmonies and the kind of virtuosic pickin’ that makes you wanna sell your shit on eBay, or work a lot harder. The band has a unique and modern take of bluegrass, while still maintaining integrity to the tradition.

Buffalo TalesPerch Creek Family Jugband
Buffalo TalesRoadtrip Confessions
We first had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Wes (aka Mr Buffalo Tales) at Wintermoon Folk Festival in May this year. Great voice, great guy, great songs, great performer, and (you guessed it) great album! It’s a gold mine of catchy, rootsy folk gems that always end up stuck in our heads!

Volcano ChoirMatthew Oastler (Little Bighorn)
Volcano ChoirReprave
I thought my fascination/addiction to anything Justin Vernon did hadn’t carried over when I first listened to Repave by The Volcano Choir, however his genius, and the emotions that come with it are slow burning. It has now been the only thing I’ve listened to for 3 months, and I hear something new every time. It feels a lot more anthemic and hopeful than any of his previous works. Only a special few can make you feel like Vernon does, and this album is a classic example.

CirclesLachlan Bryan
Chris PickeringCircles
I got to know Chris on the road in the USA and each night he quietly blew me away with not only his songs, but the way he played and sang them. His music is subtle – delicate but nourishing – filled with the warmth and self-deprecation that are trademarks of his live performance. Whenever Circles comes on my iPod I am reminded that CP is a proper artist, and I can’t imagine paying a fellow songwriter a greater compliment. Bravo Sir!

Kurt VileEdward Deer
Kurt VileWakin’ on a Pretty Daze
Whenever I describe Kurt Vile’s music to someone, I manage to make it sound like something to be avoided. Really long, meandering songs with numerous guitar solos and a guy mumble-singing in almost a monotone. But the textures and atmosphere in his music are so rich and evocative. I kept coming back to this record this year, and it has to be one of my fave driving albums ever.

Volcano ChoirImogen Clark
Volcano ChoirReprave
I’ve never found another artist whose songwriting moves me quite as much as Justin Vernon of Volcano Choir and Bon Iver, which is why I couldn’t wait for this album’s release. I think the best songs often take a couple of listens before you say “yes, I get it, and I love it”, which is what happens to me every time I listen to a project Vernon has been a part of. In Repave, the vocals are so raw and the dynamics so great that it just builds you up and tears you down in a kind of frenzy of emotion. To me, the album sounds like how I imagine listening to someone’s soul would sound – completely pure, heart-wrenching, honest, complex and unpredictable. That’s why I think this record is magic.

Loren KateSarah Humphreys
Loren KateMoving On
Loren is a folk artist like no other, her songs punch me right in the heart til I’m crying my eyes out and her voice is like honey. A beautiful record.

Neko CaseAchoo! Bless You
Neko CaseThe Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
We’ve both been huge fans of Neko Case for a few years, in particular her ’06 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, what an album. This record is just awesome as well. Her voice is beautiful as usual, and her lyrics are bad ass! “Man” is a particular fave. She writes absolute cracking pop songs, and the production of her records are always really rich and lush. I particularly love the edgier kind of grit and distortion that features a fair bit on this one, Neko gettin’ back to her punk roots via whimsical pop. So good!

Ainslie WillsAlison Avron
Ainslie WillsYou Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine
This record gives me all I need in music: tingles and toe taps. The subtle and sexy grooves combined with the beautiful and rich tone of Ainslie’s vocals get me every time. “Weighing The Promises” and “Liquid Paper” are the standout tracks for me. Miss Wills is representing everything that is right about the Australian music scene.

NgaiireSam Buckingham
NgaiireLamentations
I can’t quite say why I love this album. I think it’s a combination of her voice, interesting production and the fact that it’s not like anything I’ve listened to before. It feels experimental but perfectly thought out, bold but humble, surprising but familiar … truly creative and original.

DaughterHayden Calnin
DaughterIf You Leave
I played this album on repeat for the few weeks after hearing it for the first time. It’s depressing, but motivating, which is totally my kind of jam. Stand out track was, and still is “Smother”, with the lyric “I wish I’d stayed inside my mother, never to come out” it pretty much sums up the whole album. Daughter’s blend of shoegazey guitar lines, slow bass and simple, yet well composed drum lines, matched up with her gorgeous vocals and lyrics, is so mature, intricate and worth a listen.

Ainslie WillsAll Our Exes Live In Texas
Ainslie WillsYou Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine
The vocals and arrangements are incredible and Ainslie’s lyrics are so evocative. We particularly love “Liquid Paper” – such a universal sentiment. We listened to the entire album about a million times in the van on the way back to Sydney after we played a show with her in Melbourne. She also happens to be an amazingly good egg.

Mark KnopflerThe April Maze
Mark KnopflerPrivateering
This is actually a 2012 release but we only just discovered it … So it is new to us! A friend of ours who had toured with Mark Knopfler made us a mix CD for our Canadian tour and one of his songs was on there – we loved it, so we went online and bought the rest of the album. It is fantastic. It really takes you on a journey – lots of ups and downs and there are lots of goosebump moments. Our favourite tracks are “Haul Away” and “Kingdom of Gold” – these songs are super folky, just the way we like it. The production and instrumentation are spot on. This is a truly inspirational album for any songwriter. 100 stars.

JoJo SmithLucie Thorne
JoJo SmithStanding In The Lovelight
When it comes to soul not much beats being in the same room as JoJo Smith singing straight in to your heart. But this mighty collection – from one of our mightiest vocalists – comes pretty darn close. A national treasure!

Abbe MaySweet Jean
Abbe MayKiss My Apocalypse
Abbe May’s album is a blistering synth pop romp that takes you through all the ups and downs of imploding love. One of the many great things about this album is that she doesn’t “tell you about her feelings”. Instead, every song actually makes you feel something as a listener, which can be both uncomfortable and uplifting. It’s a funny, dark, smart, poignant and really well put together album.

The NationalEmily Barker
The NationalTrouble Will Find Me
I picked up this record just before heading out on a solo tour across the UK. It was a beautiful summer and I was driving myself around the country doing record shop in-stores and promoting our new record. Trouble Will Find Me quickly became my driving soundtrack. The songs are fantastic. Brilliant lyrics: a combination of abstract, ironic, heartfelt and just plain silly sometimes (ie. “I was teething on roses, I was in guns and noses”). I love the effortlessly, out-of-the-ordinary time signatures they use; the epic, but still intimate, production value; the melodies and arrangements; and Matt Berninger’s croonery, deep voice is always killer. A great record to drive to!

LordeRosie Catalano
LordePure Heroine
Given that we’re in an age where number one singles are as much about taking bootylicious selfies as writing good music, it took me a while to figure out how Lorde managed to dominate the Billboard charts, especially as my initial listen to her album Pure Heroine didn’t register highly on the excitement scale. I’ve happily eaten my words since then as Lorde and her producer Joel Little are a match made in heaven – the harmonies are beautiful, her lyrics take me to another world (albeit a teen world that I’m not sure I’d like to go back to), and I have a soft spot for Kiwis.

Mali MaliJack Carty
Mali MaliGather ’round the Goose Clock
I love this record because it feels anxious and intimate and fragile. The songs are strong, and tell their stories, but they go about it quietly so you really have to tune in to catch them. “Peace In My Chest” is the highlight for me, it feels like an affirmation.

Vance JoyPierce Brothers
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Since seeing him at The Hills Are Alive festival earlier this year, we picked up this EP. It’s a soulful and beautifully paced EP with awesome range from the indie pop rhythms of “Riptide” to the heartfelt and intimate lyrics of “Snaggletooth”. The crescendo in “From Afar” is our favourite. Well done sir. Well done indeed.

PikeletRose Wintergreen
PikeletCalluses
Entrancing from the very first listen (start with the track “Calluses”), this album still tickles my brain in unexpected and exciting ways. I’m not sure I understand it, but it’s unlike anything else I’ve heard, and I keep going back for more. YES!

Mark MoldreJessica Cassar (Jep & Dep)
Mark MoldreAn Ear To The Earth
If Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Jeff Tweedy were pushed out to sea in a rickety old boat they’d come up with something like this. Mark Moldre’s An Ear to the Earth is a boisterous yet soulful musical journey worth the fare. You’ll be stomping and crying and laughing, and if you’re lucky to catch Moldre live, you’ll be doing all three with a whiskey in hand.

PowerlinesBeth Stephen (The Little Stevies)
Mustered CouragePowerlines
I’m a sucker for great harmonies and catchy melodies, and Mustered Courages’ album Powerlines has both, so I’m a big fan. Powerlines was produced by Jimi Maroudas, who also produced our first album Love Your Band. And for me it ticks all the boxes of a great album. The songs remind me of those off Foggy Highway, by Paul Kelly and The Stormwater Boys; strong and well-constructed, front and centre. Followed secondly by great musicianship and vocal harmony to present the full kick-ass package. And although their musicianship is apparent, luckily for these talented lads their songs don’t need to be dressed up head to toe in an overkill of instrumental licks to try and hide a weak song, but instead have successfully shown off their musicianship when it counts and in a very tasteful way. When I listen to the album I hear it as a collection of great pop songs first, and secondly as a bluegrass album. And in my opinion I think that’s clever, and the sign of good bunch of songwriters. There’s also nothing more impressive than when a group can reproduce an already top-notch studio album to an even higher standard live, and that’s what Mustered Courage can do. It’s a tasteful album, one of great energy and diversity in mood and who sings the lead on each song, and I recommend a listen to anyone who calls themselves a music lover.

ArcWhitaker
Everything EverythingArc
The perfect sophomore release, Arc built on all that was good about Everything Everything’s punchy, dramatic and down-right enviable musical style presented by their debut album three years prior. It’s the kind of record we listen to and think “Man, how did they do this? How can we do this?” as we listen through every track on repeat. Incredible production – good luck topping that one boys (they will)!

Vance JoyMark Wilkinson
Vance JoyGod Loves You When You’re Dancing
Emotive vocals and great songs. “Riptide” has obviously been huge, but the rest of the EP really stands up as well.

AgapeCastlecomer
Bear’s DenAgape
Bear’s Den produce an organic brand of music that resonates in its beautiful and powerful simplicity. Disarmingly honest lyrics accompany soaring and often haunting melodies backed by 3-part harmonies, and there are obvious folk influences to their songwriting. These guys are a must-see live act, and seem to be going from strength to strength, recently following up in magnificent style with their new EP Without/Within. There is an unassuming and captivating charm in this EP that is hard to resist.

HaimImogen Bel
HAIMDays Are Gone
There seemed to be a lot of highly anticipated releases this year, and for whatever reason, I missed out on a lot of them! One band that caught my attention early on however, was HAIM. This is a really solid album – so many hooks jam packed into each song, both melodically and rhythmically. I love that these girls obviously love pop music, but they play around with structures and mix things up to keep it fresh and surprising. They are obviously very accomplished musicians but they never let it get in the way of creating fun, interesting pop music. Standout tracks: “The Wire”, “Don’t Save Me”, “Go Slow” (no filler on this album though!).

Steal The LightKyle Vause (The Timbers)
The Cat EmpireSteal The Light
This is my favorite Cat Empire album to date. I seriously can’t fault this album, every song is a winner. My top three tracks off this album are “Still Young”, “Open Up Your Face” and probably the first single “Brighter Than Gold”.

Lucy WiseNigel Wearne
Lucy Wise & The B’GolliesWhen We Wander Far From Home
It makes me very happy to nominate this album as my favourite for 2013. The first time I heard Lucy Wise, I was struck by the originality and honesty of her songwriting. There are so many layers at work in this ten song offering. She’s included songs about organic farming and broken families, sailing, family connections, sculpture gardens and even Google Earth! Three members of the B’Gollies double in their own right as The Sting Contingent and they, with Mischa Herman on accordion, bring sophistication and tastefully woven arrangements to Lucy’s beautiful songs. “Lay of the Land” and “Mother’s Song” are stand-out tracks. A slow-burner that keeps giving.

InnocentsKate Martin
MobyInnocents
This was difficult to narrow down so I’ll say that ONE of my favourite LPs of 2013 is Innocents by Moby. Seven of the twelve tracks are collabs, it’s nice cross-pollination. The highlight track for me is a very moving instrumental called “Going Wrong”.

Step BrothersAidan Cooney (Boy Outside)
PalmsStep Brothers
A vehicle back to care free summers that lasted for ever. Yes that feeling. Play loud! Jump around aimlessly. Throw shapes at friends. A real shot in the arm. This shit works.

Josh PykeDan Acfield (Dan and Hannah Acfield)
Josh PykeThe Beginning And The End Of Everything
I must admit that although I’ve been listening to lots of music that’s new to me this year, most of it was not actually released this year! However, I have been enjoying Josh Pyke’s recent release The Beginning and End of Everything. After watching Josh Pyke perform tunes from this album from side of stage earlier in the year, I went home and immediately purchased the album. It’s deliciously folk-pop with that special (but evolved) Josh flavour which is quite difficult to not enjoy.

Josh RitterJack McNeill and Charlie Heys
Josh RitterThe Beast in Its Tracks
Josh Ritter has always been a favourite listen, he seems to grow more subtly insightful with each new album. A thoughtfully connected collection with the ghost of the Golden Age of Radio walking quietly through it. Ritter has the knack of catching you off-guard, gifted with a quiet wit, a sharper tongue than most and a real eye for the detail.

Warp and WeftEmma Davis
Laura VeirsWarp and Weft
Laura Veirs makes me happy. In fact, I think I would go as far as saying, I love her. Her unique way of phrasing things, her incredible ability to put into words the way that nature effects us, the delicate but interesting production- I couldn’t get enough. Laura’s newest release, Warp and Weft once again seems to deliver that Veirs-y charm that I have grown fond of. It is definitely a more mature album than Saltbreakers and the slightly Fleet-Foxy previous album July Flame. Some of the tracks are a little rockier with the beefy sounds of her Gibson shining through, and the arrangements are loaded full of weird and wonderful instruments, but the songs don’t seem to get lost at any point. Every little thing has its place and works together to carry her strong melodies and endearing way with words. As with her past releases, the album works well as a entire composition, so a little listening time is needed to start appreciating the tracks separately, but I think it makes this record a real grower. Overall, it’s a beautiful and carefully produced album that seems to communicate the warmth of nature and our place in it, so darn well.

Melt Yourself DownJoe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
Melt Yourself DownMelt Yourself Down
This debut is most original album I heard all year, a mix of electronics and afrobeat that is dark and danceable. Saturated sax riffs and tribal drums collide and make me feel euphoric that there’s still sounds out there I haven’t heard. What a great feeling to evoke in a listener!

LuxGordon Wallace (The Crooked Fiddle Band)
AfenginnLux
My album pick of 2013 is Lux by Danish band Afenginn. I have been a fan of the band’s “bastard ethnopunk” for a while now and their back catalog is well worth checking out. Lux is their latest offering and has quite a chilled out/ambient vibe and the most amazing fold-the-cd-digipak-into-a-lantern I have ever seen! Last year we realized we would cross paths at a festival in Sweden, so met Kim the main composer and became friends. The outcome of that is that they will be in Sydney playing at the Basement on the 16th January and Crooked Fiddle are lucky enough to be playing support! A great success of cross-continental mutual musical appreciation!

Big ScaryMark Leahy The Twoks
Big ScaryNot Art
After listening to Not Art I cannot help but walk around with a bounce in my step. This album is so confident, so diverse, so intricate and yet really simple. Fantastic production and really great songwriting. The performances have such dark commitment and awesome personality about them that I cannot help but love it.

Lucy WiseEmily-Rose Sarkova (Chaika)
Lucy Wise & The B’GolliesWhen We Wander Far From Home
I would say Lucy Wise’s newest album, When We Wander Far From Home. Her incredibly personal way of writing songs seems to capture so perfectly the very small delicate goings on of everyday life as well as the touching poignantly on deep environmental and social issues. All in a collection of songs that are truly beautiful and you cannot help but want to sing along with her.

The HeistCJ Shaw (CJ Shaw and the Blow Ins)
I have two:
Big ScaryNot Art
Beautiful and purposeful. Every nook and cranny of this album has been sculpted with the up most of care.
Macklemore and Ryan LewisThe Heist
A powerhouse. Big sound, big ego, big belief, big purpose. It is big and wonderful, makes you think and groove. It enlights and inspires.

WOMADelaide Reveals Full 2014 Lineup

Neko Case
Image Courtesy of Neko Case

WOMADelaide has this morning revealed it’s full 2014 lineup and we have to say it’s pretty amazing. Having teased us with a few lineup additions over the last month or so including Billy Bragg, Sam Lee and Breabach, WOMADelaide have gone the extra mile announcing the likes of Washington, Hanggai, Jeff Lang, Mikhael Paskalev, Neko Case (above), Loren Kate, Thelma Plum, Tinpan Orange and many many more.

WOMADelaide takes place, as the name would suggest, in Adelaide’s Botanic Park from the 7th to 10th March. For more details including a full list of of speakers and kids festival performers check out the official website here. The full lineup of musical acts is below:

Arrested Development (USA), Femi Kuti & the Positive Force (Nigeria), Billy Bragg (UK), Washington (Australia), Fat Freddy’s Drop (NZ), Hanggai (China), Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia), Jeff Lang (Australia), Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen (UK/USA), Sam Lee & Friends (UK), Mehr Ensemble (Iran/Turkey/Australia), Mikhael Paskalev (Bulgaria/Norway), Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), DJ Muro (Japan), Neko Case (USA), Ngaiire (Australia), Osaka Monaurail (Japan), Pokey LaFarge (USA), Quantic (UK), Saskwatch (Australia), Ade Suharto & Peni Candra Rini “Ontosoroh” (Indonesia/Australia), Airileke (PNG/Australia), Ane Brun (Norway), Antonio Serrano (Spain), Asif Ali Khan (Pakistan), Awesome Tapes from Africa (USA), Azadoota (Iraq / Australia), Baby et Lulu (Australia), The Baker Suite (Australia), Balanescu Quartet (UK), Breabach (Scotland), The Brown Hornet (Australia), Buika (Guinea/Spain/USA), Carminho (Portugal), Coloured Stone (Australia), Danyel Waro (Reunion), DJ Yoda (UK), Dub Inc (France/Algeria), The Electrolounge (No Birds, Question Question, Menagerie, Oddessa – with Young Black Youth VJing every night), Emel Mathlouthi (Tunisia), Kutcha Edwards (Australia), La Chiva Gantiva (Colombia/Belgium), Les Gitans Blanc (Australia), Living Room (Austria), Loren Kate (Australia), Los Coronas (Spain), Makana (USA), Red Baraat (USA), Roberto Fonseca (Cuba), Shanren (China), Sitara (Australia), Thelma Plum (Australia), Tinpan Orange (Australia)

The Woodford Folk Festival Announce 2013 Lineup

Woodford Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of The Woodford Folk Festival

Over the weekend The Woodford Folk Festival revealed its 2013 program and it’s pretty darn impressive. With over 500 artists announced in 28 venues over six days Woodford 2013 is arguably Australia’s biggest and most diverse folk festival.

The festival doesn’t really have headliners as such but we’ve spotted a bunch of international and Australian Timber and Steel favourites including Bearded Gypsy Band, Beth Orton, Buffalo Tales, Busby Marou, Castlecomer, Clare Bowditch, Darren Hanlon, Jordie Lane, Rose Cousins, Matt Corby, Sam Amidon, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, The Twoks, Andrew Winton, Claude Hay, Hat Fitz & Cara, Whitetop Mountaineers, Andrew Clermont, Andy Irvine, Spooky Men’s Chorale, Thelma Plum and many many more.

The Woodford Folk Festival takes place from the 27th December to 1st January. Tickets are available now – for more information including the full program visit the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st June

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Wes Carr’s Buffalo Tales project hits the road this Friday for Timber and Steel with dates planned in NSW, VIC and SA. Details here

– Before she heads out on tour supporting Whitley, Esther Holt has a brand new video for the track “Rock Me Through The Night”. Details here

JamGrass announced their second artist lineup including Mustered Courage, Davidson Brothers, Bill Jackson Band, The Rusty Datsuns, Appalachian Heaven String Band, Jimi Hocking’s Blue Mandolin and The Morrisons. Details here

– South Australian singer-songwriter Sam Brittain has announced a national tour through July and August. Details here

– Sydney five-piece Castlecomer are heading out on tour in August and September to support their new EP Lone Survivor. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Vance Joy has announced a headline tour this August. Details here

Okkervil River have announced plans to release their new album The Silver Gymnasium this September and have already revealed the first single “It Was My Season”. Details here

– Justin Vernon’s side project, Volcano Choir, has a new single out called “Bygone”. Details here

– Sydney’s Little Features night has announced it’s June lineup including Matt De, Liam Gale, Baby Lips and The Silhouettes, Charlie Gradon and Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers. Details here

– Brother-sister duo Dan & Hannah Acfield are touring the east coast from the end of the month. Details here

Timber and Steel was lucky enough to be treated to the exclusive first viewing of Sam Buckingham’s new video “Follow You”. Details here

Thelma Plum has released a really sweet video for her latest single “Dollar”. Details here

– Check out the new video from the latest Communion Records signing Nick Mulvey. Details here

Interviews

“We all fell in love with country music at different moments in our lives but I think the main attraction was the potential for some sweet, sweet harmonies. The song titles get us too – my personal favourite is “I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling”.”Katie Wighton from All Our Texas Live In Texas chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“The last couple of shows I’ve played have been truly beautiful experiences. I think I got up on the stage and realised that these people have come to this place to hear something that I get to create. That’s a crazy thing to do, to put yourself out there, to play your songs for a bunch of people. That conceptually, at its fundamental level, is incredible”Matt Corby chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Blog

“I was really made to feel at home and sensed that everyone wanted me to give my best and this made my job so much easier. Unless you are a slightly awkward singer songwriter who has felt the nakedness of revealing your inner thoughts and feelings on stage before an educated and critical audience, you may not know what I’m talking about but a welcoming feeling and friendly atmosphere at a festival goes a long way towards bringing out the best in me”Hugh McDonald talks through his experiences at this year’s Top Half Folk Festival. Blog here

Reviews

Recordings

“The history of Timber and Steel is so closely intertwined with the career of UK singer-songwriter Laura Marling there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to review her latest masterpiece Once I Was An Eagle. And because Marling is so special to us we thought we’d try something a little unique for the review – four Timber and Steel reviewers take on four songs from Once I Was An Eagle as well as giving you some insight into their relationship with the singer” – The Timber and Steel team review Laura Marling’s album Once I Was An Eagle. Review here

Gigs

“The one thing about the Top Half Folk Festival that always makes it a standout for me is the singing. That might seem a strange thing to say, when folk festivals are traditionally full of singing. But these days that singing is more about performers singing to audiences, not ordinary people singing their lungs out with performers” – Jeff Corfield reviews The Top Half Folk Festival. Review here

Releases This Week

Roadtrip Confessions
Roadtrip ConfessionsBuffalo Tales
iTunes

Fever to the Form
Fever to the FormNick Mulvey
Communion Shop

Turbines
TurbinesTunng
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Anne of the Wolves
Anne of the Wolves with Wayward Breed, James Kenyon
Sunday 23rd June – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Buffalo Tales
Buffalo Tales
Friday 21st June – Bucket List, Bondi, NSW
Wednesday 26th June – Folk Club, The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th June – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Official Site

Jep and Dep
Jep and Dep
Saturday 22nd June – FBi Social, Kings Cross, NSW
Wednesday 26th June – City Conversations, Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th June – Green Room, Enmore, NSW

Facebook Event

Gigs Next Week

Dan & Hannah Acfield
Thursday 27th June – Treehouse On Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 28th June – The Loft Chevron Island, Gold Coast, QLD

Folk Club feat. Buffalo Tales, Lily So & The Bellows, Jacob Pearson
Wednesday 26th June – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW

Grizzly Jim Lawrie w/ Canary, Tin Lion, Yeo, Money For Rope DJs
Wednesday 26th June – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Imogen Clark
Sunday 23rd June – The Toxteth Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Martha Wainwright
Saturday 22nd June – Astor Theatre, Perth WA

Matt Walters
Saturday 22nd June – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 23rd June – Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Mustered Courage
Wednesday 26th June – Yinnar Pub, Yinnar, VIC
Friday 28th June – Molly Malones, Devonport, TAS

Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 28th June – Bangalow Bowling Club, Bangalow, NSW

Texture Like Sun, Ella Hooper
Tuesday 25th June – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

The Stillsons
Friday 21st June – Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

Tigertown
Friday 21st June – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 22nd June – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Friday 28th June – The Weatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Wagons
Saturday 22nd June – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“More Than Boys” – Luke Jackson

Sometimes you just hear a song that blows your head back. “More Than Boys” turned up on a podcast I was listening to this week and I just had to seek it out online to listen to again and again and again. Really great stuff from the English singer-songwriter.

New Thelma Plum Video “Dollar”

Thelma Plum
Image Courtesy of Thelma Plum

The latest single from Thelma Plum’s excellent Rosie EP is “Dollar” and it, in turn, has a really sweet new video. Directed by Lucas Thyer, “Dollar” is a really sweet slice of indie-folk-pop. Love it! Check out the video below:

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 17th May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne’s John Flanagan & The Begin Agains have released their brand new video for the track “Autumn Song”. Details here

Achoo! Bless You have managed to find the time during their current east coast tour to release their new video “No Way Of Knowing”. Details here

Thelma Plum has announced plans for a national tour this July. Details here

– The first lineup announcement for the 2013 JamGrass Music Festival reads like a who’s who of Timber and Steel favourites – Patt and Possum (USA), The Company, The Steamgrass Boys, The Green Mohair Suits, Papa Pilko & The Binrats, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Hardrive Bluegrass Band, Strzelecki Stringbusters, James Kenyon and John Flanagan & The Begin Agains. Details here

Communion Melbourne have revealed the lineup for their May show this Sunday including Five Mile Town, Garrett Kato, Miles and Simone, Sean O’Neill and Zack Buchanan. Details here

– UK troubadour Johnny Flynn is making a welcome return to the musical stage after a couple of years concentrating on his acting career – and he’s got an brand new song to share. Details here

– Tom Busby’s (Busby Marou) Americana side-project Good Oak has a new video for “The Bear Song”. Details here

Tom West plays in Adelaide folk band Traveller and Fortune but has a solo project as well – and he’s just released his new single “Jonathan’s Farm” with a tour to go along with it. Details here

Laura Marling has announced a Heavenly Sounds tour as her Splendour in the Grass sideshows. Details here

– Speaking of Laura Marling, there’s a lovely video of her and Eddie Berman covering Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” online at the moment. Details here

– Experimental folk six piece Tunng have revealed plans to release a new album as well as sharing the first single. Details here

– Next weekend monthly Sydney folk night Little Features turns one and they’re celebrating with an amazing lineup – Mark Bulmer, Colin Jones, Arbori, Charlie Gradon, Bec Sandridge and Yetis. Details here

– After attributing the wrong video to Emily Barker last week (so embarrassing) we’re making up for it by posting her new video “Dear River”. Details here

Interviews

“It’s almost like we’re getting used to playing in the duo form again. It’s almost as though we have to simplify everything. We’re so used to playing with a band now because we’ve been doing so for the last six months – and it’s been so fun playing with those guys – at the same time it’s really cool to challenge ourselves as a duo”Patrick James chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“Finding an opportunity to bail Jeff up in the green room (ie the grass behind the tent), Bill whipped out the all-terrain microphone and quizzed Jeff on the sound matter, among others”Jeff Lang chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“The tour has been amazing so far. Kicking off in Sydney in front of our buddies was so rad. It was a real high point for us as a band. It’s so easy when your touring with good mates and sick bands. We have just been losing our shit to each others each night, too fun”The Mountains chat to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“I think it has something to do with our longing for a more simplistic life, something to do with a bunch of the younger city kids actually coming from rural areas, and something to do with the music just being honest, tuneful, and great to dance and drink to”Lucky Luke chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Spotlight On

Winter Mountain

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a solid male duo on the scene. With boots to fill of the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, these two manage to blend their voices in delicious harmonies, complementing their emotive melodies quite simply but effectively, while still retaining their young and contemporary vibe. It’s kind of like Indie-folk without actually stepping into the indie realm”KTBell profiles Winter Mountain. Spotlight here

Blog

“Suddenly, there seem to be people everywhere crowd-funding. I’ve just become one of those people. But we’re all still learning about it. I’m half-way through a 30 day crowd-funding campaign for my new record, and even though they’ve helped multitudes of people raise over $10 million in crowd-funding, even the directors of Pozible, an Australian crowd-funding platform, can’t be sure whether my campaign will succeed”Rose Wintergreen talks Crowd Funding in the first of a four part series. Blog here

Reviews

Gigs

“As soon as this a capella vocal trio started to sing, the room was reduced to complete silence. Unaccompanied, these three talented young women use their voices as diverse instruments, using harmonies, percussive sounds, ooo’s, ahh’s and combined with hand percussion create a sweet, full sound”Hannah Acfield reviews the album launch from Aluka. Review here

Releases This Week

Bright Sunny South
Bright Sunny SouthSam Amidon
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

The Stillsons
The Stillsons with Little Wise, Victoriana Gaye
Sunday 19th May – The Worker’s Club, Fitzroy, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Gigs Next Week

Achoo! Bless You and The Mountains
Friday 17th May – Woody’s Surf Shack, Byron Bay, NSW
Wednesday 22nd May – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW

Bob Evans
Friday 17th May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 18th May – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC

Communion Melbourne feat. Five Mile Town, Garrett Kato, Miles and Simone, Sean O’Neill, Zack Buchanan
Sunday 19th May – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Good Oak
Thursday 23rd May – Gov’s Espresso, Mermaid Beach, QLD
Friday 24th May – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW

Matt Corby with Grace Woodroofe
Thursday 23rd May – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA

MoFo Speakeasy feat. The Rusty Spring Syncopators, Hayfever
Saturday 18th May – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Mustered Courage
Friday 17th May – Coogee Diggers, Coogee, NSW
Saturday 18th May – Karuah Music Festival, Karuah, NSW
Sunday 19th May – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 24th May – The Polish Club, Canberra, ACT

Sarah Humphreys
Saturday 18th May – Lizotte’s Kincumber, Kincumber, NSW

The Starry Field (solo)
Friday 17th May – Jet Black Cat Records, West End, QLD
Saturday 18th May – Pure Pop Records, St Kilda, VIC
Sunday 19th May – The Newsagency, Sydney NSW

The Stillsons
Saturday 18th May – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 19th May – The Worker’s Club, Fitzroy, VIC

Tom West
Sunday 19th May – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Friday Folk Flashback

“As I Roved Out” – Planxty (Christy Moore’s version)

I love how songs, both contemporary and traditional, evolve and change in the world of folk music. I’ve been listening to Sam Amidon’s new album Bright Sunny South and his version of “As I Roved Out” which led me back to the version I know best from Christy Moore and Planxty. They’re so different from each other they could be completely different songs. And they’re both amazing – great stuff!

Thelma Plum Announces National Tour

Thelma Plum
Image Courtesy of Thelma Plum

The career trajectory of Brisbane singer-songwriter Thelma Plum over last 12 months has been pretty astounding. Following the breakout success of her single “Father Said” Plum has followed up with the release of her debut EP Rosie.

To celebrate Thelma Plum will be hitting the road with a series of dates this July (after she wraps up her tour with Emma Louise and Patrick James). Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 4th July – Transit Bar, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 6th July – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th July – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 25th July – Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 26th July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 28th July – The Aviary Rooftop Sessions, Perth, WA

Interview: Patrick James, All About To Change

Patrick James
Image Courtesy of Patrick James

Just as Sydney singer-songwriter Patrick James wrapped up a sold out string of shows launching his brand new EP All About To Change and right before he hit the road supporting Emma Louise on her massive national tour we managed to pin him down for a quick chat. James took so time to chat about the new EP, diving into a couple of the tracks, talked about his love of busking and explained why All About To Change took slightly longer to be released than originally intended.

Gareth Hugh Evans: The new EP is out! When I chatted to you in August you were hoping that it would be out by the end of last year, which obviously got pushed back. Are you happy to happy to have it out in the world now?

Patrick James: Yeah, definitely. We initially planned to have it out by the end of last year but a bit more touring and getting the fan base up and running was really important to me. That’s why we sort of held it back a bit. But now we can’t be happier that it’s out, it’s something that we’re really proud of.

GHE: Because of the delay, and the subsequent touring, was there a part of you that wanted to go back in and tweak anything?

PJ: I think I’m still pretty happy [with the EP]. I think both Scotty [Steven] and I, because we recorded it together, we were really happy with how the process felt. Especially with the touring, that was just something that we discussed as being really important in making the EP as successful as possible when it did come out. We were really hoping to build on our foundations a bit more. And we didn’t want to averagely. It was sort of a cautious think I guess – wanted to build the hype a bit.

GHE: Which I think you’ve done successfully. The shows you’ve been playing recently have been selling out and I’ve been so many good things about them.

PJ: The two Vanguard shows that we had was probably one of the best weekends of music we’ve had. We had Yetis support as well which was great – they’re one of my favourite artists in Sydney – and Achoo! Bless You as well. Those shows were so fun. It was really refreshing to play at a venue like The Vanguard. We’ve never played a gig there before. It felt like it was “mission accomplished”.

GHE: Strike that off the list!

PJ: I’ve always wanted to play there so it was great to do it.

GHE: I’ve had All About to Change on constant repeat since I got it. I’ve been hanging out for it since the first single was released last year so when I saw it had a release date I got very excited. Congratulations on it – I’m really impressed.

PJ: Thank you man.

GHE: I know you’ve done a Track By Track for Timber and Steel but I wanted to dive a little further into some of the songs if that’s cool?

PJ: Yeah, definitely.

GHE: “Brighter Lights” starts with you playing the piano which is pretty different from the guitarist-singer-busking Patrick James we all know. What was the reason behind the using the piano and why is it the opening song on the EP?

PJ: I think because it was so different to everything that I’ve previous done before and so different to the busking as well. That’s why I was so attracted to putting that song first on the EP. The other thing is we just started playing with a different scope of recording and it really became an experiment of how many layers we could chuck in there and how big the song could actually get. I remember writing it originally as an acoustic song and it was something that I could do when I was busking but it became a project in its own, really experimenting with how we can build the song as much as possible. Because it was so different I think that was why we had so much fun with it as well. Especially live – when we’re playing live with that song people who’ve seen us busking say “I didn’t expect that”. Some people say it’s a really refreshing change. The shock factor attracts me definitely.

GHE: What strikes me about the song is the two main piano parts – the rhythmic piano that starts the song and then as the song progresses there’s that, kind of arpeggio’s in the top end of the piano. The tinkling at the top end of the piano.

PJ: The syncopation-y bit.

GHE: Yeah. And it feels to me like, if it’s just you and Scotty playing a gig without a piano, you can cover the rhythmic part with your guitar and he can cover the tinkling part with the banjo. It’s like you’ve written the track with options. Am I on the right track there?

PJ: Yeah definitely. I totally agree. It’s almost to the point with that song that there’s so many options we can sort of experiment – we were even playing around with it the other day as a slow country ballad between the guitar and a banjo. Recording a song one way and then playing it with a band is one thing but sometimes I really like to experiment with how you can change up a song.

GHE: The other song that’s got slightly different instrumentation is “Stay” which has the electric guitar. That’s not something I usually associate with you – is that you again trying to play around with the instrumentation and experiment with the song?

PJ: The electric guitar was something we were really questioning. I think on the recorded version [the electric guitar] went really well with the vibe riff at the start. With that song we were trying to go with an eerie, melancholy feel and I think the electric guitar captured that more than the acoustic. Then again, the harp on about the “Brighter Lights” idea of changing songs up we play that with an acoustic guitar live and Scotty’s now doing it with a glockenspiel instead of the vibe effect on piano. I guess we’ve recorded it in away that sometimes we can pull off these things live and other times we have to mix and match which is also really fun to do. It’s almost like someone’s given you a certain amount of instruments and you have to play around with how many sounds you can make out of them.

GHE: I guess it’s important to have that flexibility as well – if you’re playing your own headline shows it’s fine to have 100 instruments on stage and a whole bunch of different players but if you’re doing a support slot, like with the Emma Louise Tour, you’re probably going to be fairly limited in your resources.

PJ: It’s almost like we’re getting used to playing in the duo form again. It’s almost as though we have to simplify everything. We’re so used to playing with a band now because we’ve been doing so for the last six months – and it’s been so fun playing with those guys – at the same time it’s really cool to challenge ourselves as a duo. We’re really looking forward to getting out on the road in duo mode and playing the new songs off the EP.

GHE: The press release for this EP talks about the influences on the tracks. I’m going to go out on a limb here and add one more. For me the beginning of “Golden Sun”, that sparse part of it, sounds almost Packwood-esque.

PJ: That’s something that I haven’t thought of for a long time. I remember writing that song and the banjo riff came in for the first time and I was like “that kind of sounds like Packwood“. Then I forgot about it because the song evolved and there’s lots of other bits in there. Now that you’ve mentioned that, definitely. I think I talked to you once about being inspired by other Sydney folk artists and jamming with other musos in Sydney and maybe some of that kind of came through. That song sounds like that at the start but then definitely Elton John …

GHE: Well that was going to be the second touchstone for me. Not just Elton John, with the similarities to “Tiny Dancer”, but also that seventies, west coast American music like The Eagles or America or Crosby, Stills and Nash.

PJ: That was the main thing with writing and recording that song. I wanted to capture the old school, retro vibe. Especially with the really acoustic sounding piano in there as well. You totally read my mind with the whole Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young thing – I think we’re going to do a film clip that ties that whole era in which will be pretty fun.

GHE: You’re about to hit the road with Emma Louise for a huge amount of dates – like 21 or something?

PJ: Yeah it’s 21 dates now. She’s added another Melbourne show. She’s selling out those shows pretty quickly. It’s very exciting, they’re going to be fun to play.

GHE: That’s going to expose you to an even bigger audience. You regularly sell out shows but Emma Louise’s blowing up at the moment so that exposure is going to be massive for you.

PJ: I can’t wait to head out on the road with Emma and Thelma Plum as well. It’s just so cool to get these kinds of opportunities. I remember about a year ago I just discovered Emma Louise and she’s become one of my favourite artists. I think most of the artists I’ve played with over the last six months I’ve been huge fans of which I’m incredibly grateful for.

GHE: Are you going to be able to squeeze any busking in? Or any solo shows? Or will it literally be play, sleep, travel, play, sleep, travel?

PJ: It’s pretty much play, sleep, travel. I’m going to be doing some busking in Sydney when I get back. Maybe in Melbourne I might try and do some busking too. But I think we’ll do this support tour, try and get a few more supports and then at the end of the year we’ll do another headline run. I’m really stoked to be just touring at the moment because it’s my favourite thing about music – meeting all those people and getting out on the road.

GHE: I think it’s great that people still discover you through your busking.

PJ: For me I find it to be the most honest way of exposing my music to people at the moment. It’s a really personal way of reaching out to your fans and you can really get a grasp of how quickly it’s moving and that sort of thing as well. I love doing it and I think I’m going to do it as much as I can over the next sort of stretch of time.

GHE: Well I might leave you there mate. I love the EP – I’m so glad it’s out. Good luck with the Emma Louise tour.

PJ: For sure – thanks so much!

All About To Change is available on iTunes here – read the Track By Track here. Patrick James is supporting Emma Louise (along with Thelma Plum) on her national tour – remaining dates are below:

Thursday 16th May – Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 17th May – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 18th May – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra ACT
Sunday 19th May – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 23rd May – Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 24th May – Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 25th May – Paradise Room, The Arts Centre, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 26th May – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 31st May – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
Saturday 1st June – Flinders Social, Townsville, QLD
Tuesday 4th June – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th June – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT
Thursday 13th June – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 14th June – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 15th June – Amplifier, Perth, WA

Track By Track: All About To Change, Patrick James

All About To Change
Image Courtesy of Patrick James

The long-awaited EP from Patrick James, All About To Change, was finally released a couple of weeks ago and the reaction so far from the Timber and Steel bullpen has been ecstatic to say the least. The EP may only be 5 tracks long but it’s 5 tracks that perfectly capture an artist that has come into his own as a songwriter. We asked Patrick James to take us through each of the tracks and he helpfully sent over some lyric videos as well. Check out the All About To Change Track by Track below:

“Brighter Lights” – This is the first track off the EP. I originally wrote this song on guitar and tried to incorporate only a little piano/keyboard line. After recording that version we decided it didn’t work for us in that form and we chose to experiment with how we could change the song up and build on the layers throughout. We had a lot of fun adding the 2 main piano lines and vocal swells and we really wanted to make the recording represent the “wall of sound” that we were going for. This song wasn’t heavily focused on lyrics but rather the production and instrumentation.

“All About To Change” – This song is the title track on the EP. I wrote this about the idea that everyone at some stage is lost or struggling with something in their lives but find a way to turn that around and move on. People can make what they want of the lyrics though. It was a very fun song to record with the country drums and many underlining instruments throughout. We even had some sneaky blues guitar solos going on!

“Golden Sun” – A few years ago I was very inspired by a movie call Morning of The Earth. Its basically a film about surfing in the 70’s and the lifestyle that goes with it. Not to mention the soundtrack is incredible. With a surfing background I really related to this so I wrote this song with that idea in mind, to try and create a vibe that reflected a retro feel but also the times now. Also, the chorus harmonies and instrumentation were influenced by a lot of Elton John and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young songs that I love.

“Burn Away” – When I listen to the EP, it feels like this song is almost the turning point in the mood. It’s a very simple song but again we wanted to create a build up in sound and production, this time in a more gentle way. The song it self is written as a sort of meditation which just flows along and grows at its on pace. The recording features a choral vocal part which was a lot of fun. We went to our old school and got a bunch of kids to sing a line towards the end of the song which is essentially the climax. We got to test out our conduction skills!

“Stay” – I wrote this a little different to other songs on the EP. I had these lyrics floating around but no music, it was just a simple poem. Normally, I tend to write songs through melody first and then lyrics but I was interested by the simplicity of the words so I came up with the chord progression to match after that. It features a vibe motif and electric guitar to create the darker mood. As the last track of the EP, I think it sits nicely and rounds the project off.

All About To Change is available on iTunes here. Patrick James is supporting Emma Louise (along with Thelma Plum) on her national tour – remaining dates are below:

Thursday 9th May – The Yarra Hotel, Geelong VIC
Friday 10th May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC (SOLD OUT)
Saturday 11th May – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Thursday 16th May – Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 17th May – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 18th May – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra ACT
Sunday 19th May – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 23rd May – Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 24th May – Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 25th May – Paradise Room, The Arts Centre, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 26th May – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 31st May – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
Saturday 1st June – Flinders Social, Townsville, QLD
Tuesday 4th June – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th June – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT
Thursday 13th June – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Friday 14th June – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 15th June – Amplifier, Perth, WA

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