Video premiere: ‘Drifting Too Far from Shore’ by Van Walker

VANW 20006Ahead of the release of his new album, Ghosting, on 28 August, Tasmanian singer-songwriter Van Walker released one outstanding single, ‘Spirit World’, then three singles at once: ‘Long Night’s Journey to Day’, ‘When You Were Mine’ and ‘Drifting Too Far From Shore’. The latter now has a video – which is having its premiere on this site today (below).

The song is about being literally and metaphysically unmoored, its lilting, almost hypnotic beat giving the listener a false sense of security when we really know that the protagonist is all at sea. Except it’s his very awareness that he’s out there which offers the promise of salvation: he just needs to make his way back to shore.

After releasing six albums between 2008 and 2010, these songs are the first released under Walker’s name in ten years. He’s been involved in plenty of other music in the meantime, including with bands The Livingstone Daisies and Goatpiss Gasoline. The four tracks already released from Ghosting promise an album that is lyrically rich and musically stirring. Walker is a songwriter of tremendous power as well as subtlety – ‘Drifting Too Far from Shore’ is proof of that.

Interview: Cameron Daddo

Cameron-Daddo-SonandMoonEPV3Cameron Daddo has extensive experience as an actor and presenter on screen and radio, in Australia and the United States. He also started releasing music in 1993, with the album The Long Goodbye. There have been albums and singles in between, including  Songs from the Shed in 2016 – and now there is the EP Son & Moon, produced by Michael Carpenter, with the heartrending title song featuring on recent episodes of Seven Network TV series Home and Away, working in with the storyline for a character played by Daddo.

Daddo says that when he got the the role on Home and Away, ‘Michael and I were already working together on this EP. At Home and Away they were aware that I could play but they weren’t aware that I had CDs out there. They said they had Mushroom back catalogue available but I said, “Why don’t we use my catalogue? I’ll send you the CDs and you let me know which song you like and we can do that. Or just trust me to come up with stuff in scenes.” All the noodling bits I did in that no one said, “Can you play this song?” I’d just feel what I wanted to do. And they were all my tunes that I was doing.

‘Then “Son & Moon” – the story had this concert that was coming up. I rang the producers and said, “I have this idea that Evan [his character] didn’t know he had a son but he found out after the fact. He knew she was pregnant but then the baby had been born, but he was somewhere in Middle America playing in a pub when he found out and he wrote that song when he found out that he became a dad.” They said, “Yeah, we love it”, and I said, “Well, here’s the song I think we should do.” I had “Son & Moon”. Actually, I had another song called “La Luna”, which didn’t have a chorus, so I grabbed two verses off “La Luna”, which is about my love for the moon and the fact that I could look at things with perspective when I sat on the moon and looked back on the earth. Then I retooled “La Luna”, wrote the chorus, wrote the bridge and wrote another verse or two, and called it “Son & Moon”. And it’s funny because the chorus ended up being “La Luna”. But that song was really told to work with the story in Home and Away.’

Continue reading “Interview: Cameron Daddo”

New singles: Raechel Whitchurch, Angus Gill, Rachael Dee

unnamed-20Singer-songwriter Raechel Whitchurch is preparing to release an album in early 2021 – and her new single, ‘My Father’, almost didn’t make it onto that album, as Whitchurch only presented it to producer Matt Fell on the last day of recording. Whitchurch says of the song, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a song about my dad and how we are such similar people, but it felt like I would never be able to find the right words. I’d been working on the song for three years and felt like I’d finally said everything that I needed to, but I never imagined that a song so personal would make it on to my record.’

Angus Gill has been writing and recording from a young age, releasing three albums, andunnamed-21
was nominated for a Golden Guitar this year. He has a new project, Angus Gill & Seasons of Change, working with some members of Paul Kelly’s band. Their first single is ‘3 Minute Movie’, the result of Gill spending a few weeks in Nashville to wrie, and there is an album on the way.

Rachael-Dee-Braveheart-3000pxRockhampton artist Rachael Dee has released her second single, ‘Braveheart’. Using the central image of a storm, it’s about managing the difficulties of life: ‘People need to know they are not alone, that it is okay and necessary to allow yourself to feel,’ says Dee, ‘and to know that we all have the strength to persist and come through the storm. There has never been a better time to release this song.’

Album review: Yes Girl by Arna Georgia

unnamed-19In the long-ago days when live music was a thing, it was a treat to see Arna Georgia play live. She has a fantastic voice, clear and smooth, and performs with humour and heart. She’s the sort of performer whose set you never want to end. And you won’t want her debut album, Yes Girl, to end either, as she brings those qualities into the recording of ten songs, nine of them originals and one a cover of Delbert McClinton’s ‘Two More Bottles of Wine’.

It’s clear that Georgia loves traditional country music and song structure, yet doesn’t sound like she’s trying to be from another time or be another age. She’s a young woman, and her songs reflect her experiences, as they should. But she’s also a proper, pragmatic adult with a measured view of the world that doesn’t veer into or indulge in cynicism, or overplay emotion for the sake of it.

Yes Girl is, in subtle ways, a handbook for living. ‘1998’ is a song about grief but there’s no wallowing – in this way it becomes a song that could actually comfort someone who’s grieving. ‘Story for the Kids’ takes the long view on the missteps of life. ‘Passing Through’ gives us permission to not stay stuck.

The album was recorded with Nash Chambers in Nashville, and while Georgia no doubt benefited from Chambers’s experienced hand, these are her songs and each is a carefully crafted, intriguing story that takes the listener on a journey then carries them on to the next. You can savour each short journey or take the whole trip, but what’s for certain is that you’ll want to travel that road over and over again.

Yes Girl is out now.

Apple Music | iTunes

August 2020 playlist

The latest Australian country music singles, from the past month. For previous months, go to the Playlists page. The track listing appears after the playlist.

Adam Brand – ‘Just a Love Song’

Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds, Kirsty Lee Akers, Dianna Corcoran – ‘True Blue’

Andy Penkow – ‘Wildflowers’

Angus Gill & Seasons of Change – ‘3 Minute Movie’

Benny Allen – ‘The Battle of Point Nepean’

Cass Hopetoun – ‘Typical Bride’

Chelsea Berman – ‘Can You Just Not’

Corey Legge – ‘Fireball’

Dean Perrett – ‘Six Decks to Darwin’

Gareth Leach – ‘Honey’

Gene Bradley Fisk – ‘Kaanglang Dreaming’

Grace Amos – ‘Listen Real Closely’

Gretta Ziller – ‘Unlikely Believer’

Hayley Marsten – ‘Pretty’

James Ellis and the Jealous Guys – ‘I Wish That I Was Honky Tonkin”

Kaitlyn Thomas – ‘Coulda Shoulda Woulda’

Katrina Burgoyne – ‘It All Falls Down’

Leigha Moore – ‘Lightning Bolt’

Lucie Tiger – ‘Greenwood’

Matt Scullion – ‘Big’

Matt Ward – ‘Tattoos, Trucks and Country Music’

Melody Moko – ‘Last Cigarette’

Michelle Cashman – ‘Please Forgive Me’

Michelle Little – ”Nice to See You’

NeillyRich – ‘My Town’

Peachfield – ‘Map Drawn from Memory’

Rachael Dee – ‘Braveheart’

Raechel Whitchurch – ‘My Father’

Riley Catherall – ‘Leave Me Out to Dry’

The April Family – ‘Fortune Teller’

The Bloomvilles – ‘The Rain and the River’

The McClymonts – ‘Free Fall’

The New Graces – ‘Misty’

Travis Collins – ‘Girl Outta the Country’

Album review: Lion Side by Jasmine Rae

JR-LoinSide-CoverFINAL3-sRGBThe first definite signal that Jasmine Rae’s new album, Lion Side, was not going to be like her previous albums was her most recent single, ‘Don’t Do it for the Haters’. A response to an episode in Rae’s recent past when she was the target of some online vitriol, it gave new context to the previous single, ‘Green Light’, which sees Rae questioning herself, about many things.

Once the album arrived the total picture became spectacularly clear. The title track is Rae’s announcement of just who she has become in the five years since her last album, Heartbeat. The song sounds deceptively light: it’s not a rock ‘n’ roll roar. But Rae’s intent is in her vocal delivery. She is one of the most powerful singers around, not just because of the strength of her voice but her tone and command. There’s not a nook or cranny of her voice that she’s not in command of – command being different to control. A controlled performance would be one in which Rae gives us not much of herself. The commanding performances on Lion Side are the result of her decision to share a lot of herself, with all the vulnerabilities and pain and doubt that might involve, from what’s on ‘Green Light’ to the contents of the third track, ‘Fraudulent’.

The first four songs seem to be Rae working through the past, and everything she’s learnt from it; after that point her heart bursts wide open – as she telegraphed in ‘Don’t Do it for the Haters’ when she sings that she doesn’t do it for the haters because ‘it’s the love that does it for me’. We go from that song into the beautiful ‘Jessica’, co-written with Lyn Bowtell, who knows her way around a heartbreaking song. This sounds like one kind of song of love and loss and becomes something else: a gentle rebuke. It’s not the only song on the album in which Rae gives us a sleight of hand (or lyric) – ‘Party on the Couch’ has a title that suggests it could be in the established country music party-song tradition, and musically it could fit there, yet really it’s been inspired the fact that Rae was spending a lot of time at home, literally on the couch.

Rae wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks on the album. Seventh track ‘Love Is’ is hers alone and was begun years ago. It is devastating and memorable, as is the tenth and last track, ‘Carrying the Flame’, a tribute to a departed mentor. The answer to ‘Green Light’ comes in track eight, ‘Right Now’, in which Rae has no qualms issuing the recommendation to ‘just do whatever makes you feel better’ – no judgements about what that may be. Because perhaps, finally, Rae has stopped judging herself.

In Rae’s decision to let love guide her work and her actions, she has offered fans a gift: an extraordinary album which is infused with love and the prices we can pay for it – grief, confusion, loneliness, despair. In the end, though, the message is that it’s worth it. Rae emerges on this album as the heroine we didn’t know we needed, not because she set out to be but because she didn’t. She set out to create songs that people would love. She has achieved that, and so much more.

Lion Side is out now through ABC Music/Universal Music Australia.

Signed albums available at

Apple Music | JB Hi-Fi | Sanity








New singles: Emily Barker, Corey Legge, Michelle Little

[In an effort to keep up with the great singles being released every week, some ‘single releases’ posts will feature more than one artist. This is not because the artists don’t deserve their own posts – it’s simply a matter of trying to post more content in a timely fashion.]

Emily Barker – ‘The Woman Who Planted Trees’

Western Australia-born London resident Emily Barker is a highly accomplished musician who also happens to have a wonderful singing voice. While this is not a country music song, it’s too glorious to not include here. Barker’s next album, A Dark Murmuration of Words, will be released on 4 September.


Corey Legge – ‘Fireball’

‘Fireball’ is the first single for talented Wollongong singer-songwriter Legge since his debut album, Driving Out of Eden, was released last year. His second album is due for release later this year.


Michelle Little – ‘Nice to See You’

This is the first original release from singer-songwriter Michelle Little in
over a decade. A lovely, uplifting song in the western swing genre, it features fiddle from Luke Moller and pedal steel from Jy-Perry Banks, and was produced by Michael Carpenter at LoveHz Studios.

Interview: Scarlet’s Way

Promo Pic 3Perth duo Scarlet’s Way recently released the rock-infused country track ‘Tell Me It’s Over’, into an uncertain environment for Australian country music artists: not only has COVID seen gigs disappear but CMC also vanished, which means it’s harder for artists to connect with an audience.

‘We’ve been waiting for the perfect time,’ says singer Katey Gabel of the single’s release, ‘and then just realised that there’s just no perfect time. So we bit the bullet. It’s just been a nuts world online. It’s hard to break through a lot of the noise.’

‘We’re not saying we timed it perfectly,’ adds guitarist Shayne Savic, ‘but we hoped for the best. In some ways we’ve second guessed ourselves nonstop. People are locked at home, maybe they could do with something to listen to. At the same time there was so much evil stuff going on in the world we didn’t want to see out song get swept up in anything that was going to hide it from anybody. So it was a tough one to make the call on. That’s why we recorded it a year ago and it sat there.’

‘Tell Me It’s Over’ is the first single that wasn’t recorded in the duo’s home studio, where they made their first EP and the single ‘Move Your Body’. The recording happened when they were on tour on the east coast.

Continue reading “Interview: Scarlet’s Way”

Single release: ‘It All Falls Down’ by Katrina Burgoyne

unnamed-17Singer-songwriter Katrina Burgoyne grew up in regional New South Wales, and now calls Nashville home. She will be familiar to Australian country music fans thanks to some earlier single releases, which garnered two Golden Guitar nominations and top 10 chart places. Those singles are not available on streaming – but many of the songs Burgoyne has written or co-written are, including tracks recorded by Amber Lawrence, Taylor Moss and Travis Collins. As a songwriter Burgoyne has secured indie and major label cuts in North America, Australia and the UK, so in the years since she last released music in Australia she has certainly not been idle.

Burgoyne now has a dynamic new song of her own in the form of ‘It All Falls Down’, co-written with Nashville recording artists Jordan Brooker and Palmer Lee. Burgoyne may be great at writing songs for other people but this song proves that she also deserves to be back in the spotlight as a performer. Hopefully there are some other songs tucked away that she’ll record and release very soon.

Apple Music

Album review: Gaslighter by The Chicks

THE-CHICKS_Gaslighter_Album-Cover_FinalNatalie Maines, the lead singer of The Chicks (formerly The Dixie Chicks), has never resiled from showing us what is on her mind and in her heart. Her voice is an instrument of truth in that whatever she’s feeling can be heard in it. Either she recognised early on that it would be like that or she decided that that’s how it would be, but it has to have shaped the songs The Chicks write – and that means her bandmates, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer, have to commit to the truth as well.

The Chicks’ last studio release, 2006’s Taking the Long Way, was written and recorded in the wake of Maine daring to express an opinion onstage when apparently she was meant to ‘shut up and sing’. The Chicks were ‘cancelled’ before that verb was used in that way, and their response was to come roaring out with an album that was not only their best but which reaffirmed that they were a trio of talent, skill and passion, united in their vision. They showed their work, and it was phenomenal. ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ remains one of the best, most articulate cries of defiance in modern culture, Maines’s exhortation to herself to not do what was expected of her – to make nice – and, in the process, telling her audience it’s all right if they don’t want to make nice either.

It is clear on their new album, Gaslighter, that they are still not ready to make nice – actually, they will never be – and we are all the beneficiaries of that. This album is also a cry of defiance and, as with Taking the Long Way, The Chicks are not pretending its context is something other than what all their fans know it to be: in this case, the end of Maines’s marriage.

Continue reading “Album review: Gaslighter by The Chicks”