Anaconda Campfire Concert – 6 June 2020

image013Australia’s country music artists have been keeping us entertained while we’ve all been at home, putting on live shows via Facebook and Instagram. These shows have also served as a reminder – if one was needed – of how much incredible talent is in the industry. Now, several of those very talented folks are appearing in a one-off event – a free digital Campfire Concert – this Saturday, 6 June 2020 at 5 p.m. AEST, thanks to outdoor adventure retailer Anaconda.

The event will be streamed on Anaconda’s Facebook page:

And YouTube channel:

Now to the line-up:

  • Seven-time Golden Guitar winner and American CMA ‘Global Artist’ award winner Travis Collins.
  • Four-time Golden Guitar winner Amber Lawrence.
  • Ten-time Golden Guitar winner Colin Buchanan.
  • Three-time Golden Guitar Winner and two-time ARIA Award nominee Fanny Lumsden.
  • Four-time Golden Guitar nominee Matt Cornell.
  • Golden Guitar Best New Talent 2020 winner Blake O’Connor.
  • Golden Guitar finalist Gretta Ziller.

If you want to set the scene you could have  a campfire of your own – Anaconda invites you to share your most memorable outdoor experiences during the Campfire Concert and you could win one of five $500 Anaconda Gift Cards. Head to to submit your photo for your chance to win.


Single release: ‘Passing Through’ by Anna Georgia

400x400bb-2Sydney singer-songwriter Arna Georgia is a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music and a finalist in the 2019 Toyota Star Maker competition, as well as appearing in multiple festivals and playing support slots for other Australian country music artists. If you’ve seen her play live, her popularity will be no mystery: she has a fantastic voice and a brace of great songs to showcase it, as well as an extensive background in performance.

Georgia released Midnight Carousel in 2017; at seven tracks long it was halfway between an EP and an album. An album, Yes Girl, is coming in July, and she has now released the single ‘Passing Through’. It’s a road song with a compelling beat, with the protagonist telling she has a rambling heart and has ‘learned how to say goodbye’. It just begs to be the first song on your playlist once you’re able to go on long country drives again.


Listen on:

Apple Music | Spotify


June 2020 playlist

As has become the custom, this month’s Spotify playlist features singles released by Australian country music artists during the past month. The full track listing appears below the playlist.

Andy Penkow – ‘Chasing the Sun’
Arna Georgia – ‘Passing Through’
Bec Lavelle, Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae – ‘Nervous Girls’
Bella Mackenzie – ‘Dance in the Rain’
Brad Butcher – ‘Suburban Myth’
Clint Wilson – ‘Couldn’t Promise You Rain #4’
Dom Italiano ft Gretta Ziller – ‘The Arsonist’
Felicity Urquhart – ‘Speck of Dust’
Freya Josephine Hollick – ‘Impossible to Love’
Gareth Leach and Michaela Jenke – ‘My Crime’
Jack McDougall – ‘Negatiivity’
Jay Seeney – ‘Castle on the Hill’
Jayne Denham, Jasmine Rae, Amber Lawrence – ‘Porch Party’
Jed Zarb – ‘Stay for a While’
Joel McKay – ‘Easy Street’
Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes – ‘You Remind Me of Myself’
Lucille – ‘Come On, Fly’
Matt Joe Gow and the Weeping Willows – ‘Too Far to Go’
Mitch Dean – ‘A Face in a Long Line’
SaltbushSix – ‘Come On In’
Sammy White – ‘Lay it On Me’
The McClymonts – ‘Open Heart’
The Silverline – ‘Home Sweet Homeless’
Travis Collins – ‘Rainy Day’

Video premiere: ‘Ash & Dust’ by Blake Dantier

IMG_3163-EditAfter Sydney singer-songwriter Blake Dantier released his single ‘Ash & Dust’ in late April it was quickly added to ABC Country, Kix Country and Australian Country Radio, its heartfelt lyrics connecting with listeners around Australia. Of course, Dantier has not been able to go out and play to those listeners himself – and it would have seemed that making a video was also out of the question, but he found a way.

‘I wasn’t initially going do to a clip because of social restrictions,’ he says, ‘but we decided last minute to pull together a small crew. We had a general idea in mind about how the clip would look, but decided exactly what spots to shoot in on the day.’

The video was directed by Bruce Dawson and shot by Lawrence Lim – both from Tribal Apes – in and around their studio at Fox Studios in Sydney’s Moore Park. The video has its premiere on this website today.

Dantier appears alone in the clip but when a song has as much impact as this one does, no embellishment is required. There was, however, one downside to making the video.

‘I was really hanging out for some KFC but it took us all afternoon and night [to shoot the video],’ says Dantier. ‘We shot for so long that KFC wasn’t open by the time we got there.’

Given that gigs are still a while off – although Dantier and partner Cass Hopetoun recently played a drive-in gig in Sydney – this video will be the most direct interaction the audience can have with Dantier. And as it perfectly complements his wonderful song, it’s worth watching over and over again.

Album review: Seasons by The New Graces

a0139668036_10When a band is made up of performers who have been in other bands or had solo releases, it’s tempting to say that the new entity is ‘more than the sum of its parts’, as if that new entity has conjured some kind of magic that wasn’t there in previous efforts. In the case of The New Graces and its members – Melanie Horsnell, Kate Burke and Robyn Martin – the sum is just as extraordinary as its parts would suggest.

Horsnell has released over ten albums, written songs with artists such as Catherine Britt and Wendy Matthews, and written music for film and television. Burke is a multi-instrumentalist and singer who has been in a folk duo and and Irish/Australian traditional band, and also works as a scientist and science communicator. Martin started playing bass at age 13 in the family band, and since then has played in many festivals, and with other artists. Individually their pedigrees are excellent, and combined they have almost immediately become a powerful force in Australian country and folk music, with the release of The New Graces’ first album, Seasons.

Lead vocal duties are shared across the twelve songs, with the other two singers contributing harmonies that enrich each song, bringing complexity and, often, robustness. These are songs with earth under their fingernails, lyrically and musically; songs of lives well and deeply lived, of land loved, of heartbreaks and wonders. These are the sorts of songs you’d hope to eventuate when three artists like this come together to create something new, but of course there’s no formula for joy – and listening to this album is truly a joyous experience, every single time.

While some works of art offer escape from the world, this album holds up real life and says: You can’t escape it, but there’s beauty here and we’ll show you. A lot of that beauty is in the execution of the songs: the way each singer understands what to offer to the song, either as the lead or in harmony; the ease with which they work together, the sort of ease that only comes from years of work; the fact that the songs are reassuring yet can also tilt you off your axis. Although the harmonies are glorious, this is actually not an album to make you comfortable. It wants to bring the listener close, and ask them to get inside the stories that are offered, to feel everything the singers feel. That makes for a whole-body and whole-heart experience, and one that can’t help leaving you wanting more, hoping there’s another album not far away – or even, one dares to hope, the chance to see The New Graces perform in person.

Buy the CD, vinyl or digital album from Bandcamp.

Apple Music | iTunes



Single release: ‘Black to Blue’ by John ‘K’ Krsulja

400x400bb-2John Krsulja – or Johnny K, as he is known – is the owner of the DAG Sheep Station in Nundle, New South Wales. The DAG is well known by country music artists and fans as it hosts twice-yearly songwriting retreats that have produced many great collaborations and songs, and each year it is part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival program. No doubt one reason why Krsulja is able to create such a supportive and fertile creative environment for artists is because he’s one himself, with his second album, Burden of the Fool, due for release on 19 June.

The first single is ‘Black to Blue’, which Krsulja wrote shortly after the death of close mate and producer of his first album, Travellin’, Karl Broadie.

‘Karl and I often talked about the music industry and finding our place within the industry,’ says Krsulja. ‘Karl would share his thoughts, trials and tribulations, that eventually led him to give the advice of “your music is art, and if you aim to please everyone, then it’s just not art”.’

In the song Krsulja describes what it’s like to meet someone who shines light into your life, only to lose them and be lost to the dark.

‘It is the memory of love and loss that replaces the darkness and allows the light to return one’s black to blue,’ he says, and his rich singing voice handles the transition between emotions in such a way that the listener feels the light and the dark, as well as the sense that it’s better to move forwards with love rather than wallow in the past.

The track was recorded by Matt Fell and Glen Hannah at Love Hz in Sydney, with Hannah on acoustic guitar – then Hannah died four weeks later. So the track has become, for its creator, a tribute to both Broadie and Hannah, two much-loved artists.


Apple Music | Spotify


‘Nervous Girls’ featuring Bec Lavelle, Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae

Nervous Girls V2When the single ‘Nervous Girls’ was announced the line-up of its singers was immediately noteworthy: Bec Lavelle, who first became known to Australian audiences as the key singer in the television drama McLeod’s Daughters; Kora Naughton, who has been releasing great singles, with ‘Speechless’ being the latest; Jem Cassar-Daley, who is making a name for herself as a singer/songwriter following national touring in 2019; Academy of Country Music graduate Kaitlyn Thomas, who recently released the popular ‘First Kiss’; and the fantastically entertaining Ingrid Mae. Individually they have produced wonderful songs; together they have created an enthralling, thought-provoking single.

‘Nervous Girls’ was recorded remotely, during recent weeks, with artists spread across three countries, including the musicians: Little Big Town’s Hubert Payne on drums and percussion, Greg Carrillo on guitars and bass, and Pier Luigi Salami on piano.

Apple Music | Spotify

All five singers kindly answered questions via email, to give some background to this extraordinary release and an insight into their creative processes over the past few unusual weeks.

Continue reading “‘Nervous Girls’ featuring Bec Lavelle, Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae”