Single release: ‘I Got You’ by Megan Sidwell

i-got-youMegan Sidwell is a New Zealand artist now living in Melbourne. Her debut EP, Forever on a Sunday, was released in 2013, prior to her relocation across ditch. Sidwell has certainly created an impression in Australia, taking out the Battle of the Bands at the 2016 Tamworth Country Music Festival and making the finals of the 2017 Toyota Star Maker competition. At the most recent Tamworth festival she played a remarkable 16 shows.

Sidwell now has a debut album due for release in 2019. From that album she has released the single ‘I Got You’, an irresistible country rock track with a lovely melody. It was written and recorded in Nashville, and produced by Sam Hawksley, who’s had his own multiple Tamworth appearances in the past.

Listen to ‘I Got You’ below or on:

Apple Music | iTunes |Spotify

Single release: ‘Wendy’ by Hayley Marsten

image003 (2)Queensland singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten released her EP Lonestar in 2017 and revealed herself to be in possession of an abundance of talent and humour, a fantastic singing voice and a hint of quirkiness. All these were evident during the set I saw her play at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival; also clear was the fact that she’s a truly great entertainer.

During that set Marsten played a new song that she said was inspired by her mother – whose name we discovered the first time she sang the chorus. ‘Wendy’ is a tale of heartache told with self-awareness and without self-pity, and includes Marsten’s exhortation to herself to be ‘a little more like Wendy’ – and you should listen to the song to find out what that means. You should also listen to it because Marsten is an emerging artist who should have everyone’s attention.

‘Wendy’ was written with the magnificent Lyn Bowtell; the pair also collaborated on Marsten’s ‘Coming Home’ (from Lonestar), which reached #1 on the Kix Country Chart and #21 on the Australian Country Airplay Charts.

Marsten is currently running a Pozible campaign to fund her debut album – given that these sorts of campaigns are essentially pre-ordering an album, and also given that the high quality of Lonestar and ‘Wendy’ is a good indicator of what to expect on the album, funding this album comes with very little risk. If you’d like to support Marsten’s campaign, go to:

Listen to ‘Wendy’:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

Interview: Ryan Daykin

image001.jpgVictorian singer-songwriter Ryan Daykin has just released a new EP, Keeping Secrets, that combines his wonderful voice with his songwriting talents to produce something that will please country fans and also satisfy those who love a great pop hook. I spoke to him recently about his new work.


The last few years you’ve written with a lot of people, you’ve played so many different places. Do you just manage your time really well?

I’ve kind of had to, jamming as much as I possibly can into the short periods of time I get off. Occasionally I might throw in a cheeky long weekend here or there if I have to. I’ve managed to squeeze a lot into the time [laughs].


You have, absolutely. Even just the list of people you’ve written with is extensive.

I’ve been very fortunate to do a few courses in the Country Music Academy, songwriter retreats at the Dag [in Nundle, NSW] and stuff like that, which I squeeze into my annual leave. And the Tamworth Country Festival and doing multiple things while I’m up there. You learn what you’ve got to do to keep going.


I guess you also need to have that commitment to your mission, in a way, and keep the focus on what you want to achieve.

Exactly. I think you’ve got to really, at the end of the day, that’s the one thing that keeps you going. So you’ve got to really be focused on what the end goal is.


When did that passion for country music start – that vision for wanting to have a career?

Well, it was really probably about 2010/2011 was when I started getting paid to play music. I was, like, I’m doing something I like and I could get paid for it.It was a fascinating thing [laughs]. Then I went to the Country Music Academy in 2012. I applied for that not thinking that I was going to get in, to be honest, and I managed to get in on scholarship. That really kicked it off. And I’m not surrounded by a lot of musical people where I am, so I don’t have a lot of musical conversations with people, I don’t have the ability to talk about the industry or stuff like that as much here. But when I went there I thought, Oh, these people get me, they understand what I’m looking for, they understand what I want to do. And they’re all the same.So it opened up a whole new network of people and avenues to explore.

Continue reading “Interview: Ryan Daykin”

Video premiere: ‘Hillbilly Cider’ by Jed Zarb

Tunecore Hillbilly.jpgAhead of the official release of new single ‘Hillbilly Cider’ by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jed Zarb, the single – and video – are having their premiere here today. And while summer is technically over because Australians like to say it ends on 28 February, seasonally it’s hanging around until the March equinox … which means we can still say that ‘Hillbilly Cider’ and its video are perfect late-summer fare: up tempo, good humoured, and highly entertaining.

The single – which follows ‘Mountain Man’, released late last year – was inspired by the Hillbilly Cider Brewing Company, whose cellar door is in Zarb’s back garden in the Blue Mountains region of  New South Wales. Zarb can see the daily operations of the apple orchards and cider shed from his house; over time, he says, ‘I romanticised the operation into poetry and then a song.’

The song features and is co-written by Dani Young, and the video was directed by Australian actor Aaron Jeffery, who became well known to Australian audiences thanks to the long-running TV series McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats. Jeffery also makes a cameo in the video, which was filmed in Bilpin in the apple orchard that inspired the song. The rest of the cast, however, aren’t actors – they’re Bilpin locals, enjoying the song just as much as you will.


Single release: ‘Hades’ by Emily Hatton

Emily Hatton Hades Cover.jpgMelbourne-based singer-songwriter Emily Hatton has been performing and singing since the age of five, and since then she has been honing her skills – and deploying them in a very impressive debut single, ‘Hades’. This is a country pop gem that is about the dark side of a relationship – specifically, the dark side is a person, represented by Hades, the god of the underworld. While the gods of Ancient Greece don’t often turn up in songs, Hatton uses the metaphor wisely and well.

Growing up, Hatton listened to Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor, and in her late teens started to become influenced by the Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss. With those country artists she shares an ability to convey emotion in an authentic way, leaving the listener with a sense of connection and understanding of her story. ‘Hades’ is a great debut single and hopefully there will be more songs to follow.


Watch the video below or listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes |  Spotify

Video premiere: ‘How Much’ by Four Lions

four-lions-how-much-digital-single-concept.jpgHailing from central Victoria, Four Lions have a roots, rock and country lineage. Their fourth album, Hard Days, will be released in May on the band’s own Verse Chorus Verse label.

Taken from that album, the single ‘How Much’ is a gutsy, layered tune with rock ancestry and some lovely pedal steel to call in the country crowd. It was written by singer-guitarist Shann Lions, who is also the band’s founder, hence the name (although there are actually five members, not four). Lions says the song started life as a ‘rockier-type track with a Replacements’ Stink vibe’, and that influence can be heard, but it’s clear that some sharp corners that might occur in that sound were softened with the influence of other genres. While ‘How Much’ is by no means saccharine, there is some sweetness there.

Now there’s a video to accompany the single – and its making its debut right here!


Four Lions will support the release of Hard Days with a tour, so keep an eye on their website for dates:


EP review: Speak Up by Kiera

KIERA NICOLE Speak Up HIGH RES ALBUM ART.jpgAustralian singer-songwriter Kiera has released a powerhouse three-track EP, Speak Up, the successor to the 2017 release Forever Roam. Kiera has an irresistible voice, both strong and vulnerable, and she has written songs to embrace those qualities. There is pain in these songs as well as resilience and recovery.

Musically, these are anthemic country rock/pop tracks that suit Kiera’s voice, although she could likely perform these songs just as effectively with an acoustic guitar.

This is an EP that can suit a few different moods – great for when you need inspiration but also when you need reassurance, or simply when you want something with substance playing in the car as you need a distraction from the traffic. Music serves several purposes in our daily lives, but it’s not always the case that individual songs can do that job. Those that can are gifts, and while this EP is only three tracks long, they are three tracks that do the work of many.

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify