Last year Melbourne singer-songwriter Emily Hatton released a debut single, ‘Hades’, which announced her as an artist to watch. Hatton has been a singer since a young age, studying voice and participating in choirs and other vocal groups throughout her teens. At the age of 17 it became clear that her voice was most suited to country music, and the country pop-rock sound of her songs works so well with her voice. She has the power in that voice to work with strong backing – and with another strong singer.
In Hatton’s new single, ‘Maybe’, she is matched with Troy Kemp, an Australian country music artist who is a popular solo artist as well as half of the duo McAlister Kemp. In ‘Maybe’ Hatton’s and Kemp’s voices work together in the chorus and separate for the verses, and that pattern works to embody the story of the lyrics: a couple coming together and moving apart, the push and pull of ‘maybe’. It’s quite a different song to ‘Hades’ but still indicative of Hatton’s ability to take on big themes and a soaring melody and really deliver.
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Hannah May is a singer-songwriter from New Zealand who’s now resident in Brisbane. She was one half of Mae Valley, who released an outstanding EP in 2016 and opened for Kelsea Ballerini, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. This year May was one of the finalists for the highly competitive Toyota Star Maker competition (May is no stranger to competitions – Mae Valley placed highly on The X Factor NZ).
Not May has released the self-penned track ‘Passenger Seat’, which was produced by Peter Holz, who has worked with acts such as The Veronicas. May has a beautiful pop tone in her voice, and as her melodic sensibilities tend towards country music, country pop is a great fit for her. ‘Passenger Seat’ is a love song with gentle lyrics and a catchy pace that suggests. Its appeal is irresistible on two fronts – May clearly has the ability to write songs that become earworms, and also songs that you want to listen to because they make you happy.
May is working on some more new music, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we have more songs that make the day better simply by existing.
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El Cosgrove, Billie Rose and Laura Frank are three singer-songwriters who sit under the country music umbrella yet have diverse styles and sensibilities. They have united to bring together their fantastic individual sounds under the banner Femmestomp, with a debut show at the 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival on 24 January at The Welder’s Dog.
The trio were brought together by the team at Footstomp after Billie Rose talked to them about a tour of her own. While they didn’t know each other prior to embarking on the tour, there is the prospect of collaboration, with Billie Rose saying, ‘I think it’d be awesome to do some songwriting with the girls down the track.’
Only three shows are planned for now, which means punters should make sure not to miss out – although they haven’t ruled out other shows, coordinating schedules could take some time so there are no guarantees!
The other two dates on the tour are:
30 January – The Bearded Lady – Brisbane
31 January 31 – Home Of The Arts – Basement – Gold Coast
For those not yet familiar with the work of these three artists, tracks are available below.
Billie Rose | El Cosgrove | Laura Frank
Last year Blue Mountains band Copperline released their debut album, Rusty Fords and Weatherboards – and this year they make their debut as a band at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, playing:
Saturday 18 January – Post Office Hotel
Sunday 19 January – Tamworth City Bowling Club
Sunday 26 January – Toyota Fanzone Stage
It’s not the first Tamworth for singer and guitarist Brad Christmas, though.
‘I’ve been to Tamworth before and I’ve played with different projects,’ he says, ‘but this is the first time Copperline’s played at Tamworth. So we’re really excited about our Tamworth debut and sharing all these songs with the Tamworth crowd. I’m just really looking forward to seeing how people react. The biggest thrill about this whole project is that it’s such a long journey from when you write songs and record them to you actually getting out there and play them, so I love that moment when you first play a song and you see what people’s reactions are. And I’m looking forward to catching up with his friends who are playing and seeing their shows and just being part of it. Tamworth feels like a big family get-together.’
And even though ‘debut’ implies that the band is a relatively new entity, they’re not.
‘We’ve actually been been playing together for a long time – 10 or 15 years,’ says Christmas. ‘We’ve been in cover bands and event bands, and we’ve even got a little side project as a kids band that we do from time to time. For age we’d been talking about doing a new original country project. We were really waiting for the right time, till everyone could really throw themselves into it, writing and recording an album and touring. Last year ended up being the right time. We had a bunch of songs that we’ve been putting together over a number of years and we really wanted to work with Shane Nicholson, and we found a time that he was available and keen to get us up to the studio. So it all came together around that.’
Continue reading “Copperline are taking their Rusty Fords to Tamworth”
Queensland singer-songwriter Camille Trail made quite an impact with her debut single, ‘Humming Chain’, released last year. Now she’s heading for her first visit to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, not just as a performer but as a spectator. She is, she says, ‘trying to block out all the expectations and just go there and enjoy it. I kind of put a lot of pressure on myself, so I’m just telling myself just enjoy it.’
Trail will be playing on these dates:
Saturday 18 January – The Albert Hotel (w/ Allison Forbes) – The Press (12 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – The Press (3 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Press (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Sunday 26 January – The Press (8 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
Trail first started playing music at the age of eight, when she began piano lessons. She grew up in a household that embraced music.
‘When I was little, every time I would wake up I’d always go out into lounge room and my dad would be sitting in the lounge room, stacks of CDs around him,’ she says. ‘Every morning those CDs were piled everywhere and it was always Fleetwood Mac and Creedence and all like the 60s to 80s music playing.’
Continue reading “Interview: Camille Trail”
Hayley Marsten is a singer-songwriter from Gladstone in Queensland who has been steadily building a fan base – and a reputation as a writer and performer of great country songs – through the release of singles and EPs. Last year she recorded and released her debut album, Spectacular Heartbreak, which has been nominated for a Golden Guitar for Alt Country Album of the Year. Attending the awards on Saturday 25 January will be one of Marsten’s many appearances at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which include:
Friday 17 January – The Albert Hotel (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
Saturday 18 January – Capitol Theatre (8 p.m. – 10 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – The Albert Hotel (w/ Melody Moko – 5 p.m.)
Monday 20 January – Fanzone (3 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – The Dag Sheep Station (11 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Pub (w/ The Buckleys – 5 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Press (7 p.m.)
‘It feels really special,’ says Marsten of the nomination, ‘and I can finally not feel like I’m a complete outsider in the country music industry. It feels a little bit like, “Hey, we like what you do.” And I feel like less like I don’t belong in a room with all the industry people now. It feels nice to be getting a pat on the back for all your hard work.’
Fans of Marsten’s will probably not think of her as being outside the country music tent – she is steeped in the country music lineage, drawing on the genre’s musical and storytelling traditions, offering songs and stories that appeal to all ages. Of course, they are offered in Marsten’s style and with her perspective on life, which is what makes them different and interesting. It’s just that, as Marsten says, ‘every artist suffers from self-doubt and I am a huge self-doubter, and the Golden Guitar nomination put that at ease – at least for a little while. I’m sure I’ll start it back up when I start a new album and just question everything. But I’m very proud that my first album is an album of the year finalist.’
Continue reading “Hayley Marsten heads for TCMF with a Spectacular nomination”
Gold Coast-based singer-songwriter Natalie Pearson is a fantastic country pop artist who has over 500 000 streams on Spotify – and late last year she added to that with the release of ‘Plan B’, her catchy new single. Pearson is appearing at the including Tamworth Country Music Festival shows on Thursday 23 January at 7.00 p.m. at Moonshiners Bar with Brook Chivell and Liam Brew, and Friday 24 January at 9.30 a.m. at the Hopscotch Café Songwriters in the Round. Brisbanites can also see Pearson with Andrew Swift, Jade Holland and Brook Chivell on Saturday 15th February from 11.30 a.m. on the Riverfest Country Cruise.
Audience members will likely get to hear ‘Plan B’, which was written in Melbourne – apparently over a few glasses of wine – with Luke Austen and Jake Sinclair.
‘I travelled down to Melbourne a couple of years ago,’ says Pearson, ‘while I was on tour with Jay Seeney, and I knew that Luke and Jake had their weekly writing sessions and I’m good mates with them too. So I went around and we just caught up for a bit and then discovered that Jake and I were going through something similar at the time. We decided to write a few songs that night, but “Plan B”, I think, was the first one. We’ve got another couple of songs as well that I will be releasing later on down the track that were written with them too. So we we’re a good team.’
The track was produced by Matt Fell, one of the busiest producers working in Australian country music. Pearson says she’d heard great things about Fell, ‘and I always like to try new things.
‘With “Plan B” I didn’t really have [an idea of] what I wanted it to sound like. I’d done it acoustically so much that that was all I could really hear. I knew that I wanted it to be pop country, but I didn’t really know like what, and I knew that Matt Fell is quite creative with his sounds and he likes to be very on trend. So I let him fly with it on this one.
‘I went in and we played the demo and I played him some other things that I’d released previously and also things that I was really digging at that moment by other artists. He really took everything on board. He works very differently to other producers, I think. He’s a bit heads down, bums up at the screen and you’re not really sure what’s happening,’ Pearson says with a laugh, ‘and there’s all these weird sounds coming out that he’s playing with him. But then it all comes together and it sounds amazing. So I really liked working with Matt and I’m really proud of how the song came out.’
Continue reading “Interview: Natalie Pearson”