Interview: Brendon Chase on Elvis and Cruise N Groove

ElvisIt’s good to mix things up on a country music website – although, as Elvis Presley was a bluegrass performer at least some of the time, interviewing an Elvis performer is not mixing things too far.

After over 20 years of performing Elvis tunes, New Zealander Brendon Chase earned himself the title of ‘Australasia’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Act’ in 2017. He is one of the world’s premier Elvis performers – not to mention the busiest in New Zealand, by the sound of it – and he is appearing on Cruise N Groove, with the theme Elvis Meets the Legends. The 2018 Cruise N Groove music festival at sea departs from Sydney on 6 November and runs till the 13th. I spoke to Brendon recently.


How old you were when you discovered Elvis?
I would have been seven years old, I guess.

And was that because your parents were playing Elvis music?
No, it was the Elvis Aloha concert beamed around the world and I watched that in 1973.

Is that a distinct memory, seeing him for the first time?
Yes – it blew me away that he was such a cool dude and I thought I want to be cool like that one day.

So, given that you were so young and you get exposed to a lot of music over a lifetime was Elvis like your favourite artist as a child and a teenager?
Yeah, for sure. And probably Motown was my next, but Elvis is up there with the best of them.

Continue reading “Interview: Brendon Chase on Elvis and Cruise N Groove”

Interview: Gina Jeffreys on Cruisin’ Country

2014background.jpgThe line-up of this year’s Cruisin’ Country 8 could hardly be more illustrious, bringing together brings together over 40 artists, including John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell and Amber Lawrence. Joining them will be Gina Jeffreys, who is, without a doubt, one of Australia’s favourite country music artists. She’s also a delightful person to talk to, as I found out recently.

How many Cruisin’ Countries have you done?

This will be my third. We haven’t been in a couple of years. I did one on my own and I did one with the Songbirds [a trio consisting of Gina, Beccy Cole and Sara Storer]. But this is my third. Lots of the artists go nearly every year. It’s kind of a family holiday for them. I’m super excited to be heading back. It’s the funnest thing ever. It really is a blast. Awesome food, drinks, go to a show every night, lie by the pool. It’s just a dream come true.

Part of me wonders whether it’s a bit like the Tamworth Country Music Festival on the water?

That is exactly what it’s like. That’s the best way to explain it. For the people that come that love country music, everything is paid for. When you go to a different vessel you’re paying all the time for different shows, whereas this is a floating country music festival. There’s no doubt about it. But you get to really mingle more, I think, with the artists. We see all the fans at breakfast and lunch and dinner, and you’re having a holiday with country music lovers. It’s really unique. And it’s really fun actually. I really enjoy it.

Continue reading “Interview: Gina Jeffreys on Cruisin’ Country”

Single release: ‘Be Mine’ by Casey Barnes

image1.jpegQueensland artist Casey Barnes has released a cracking new single, ‘Be Mine’ from his album The Good Life – for more on that you can read this interview from last year.

Barnes started 2018 as a finalist in the Golden Guitar Awards, then performed at the huge CMC Rocks event. He is set to perform at Groundwater Music Festival and Gympie Muster over the next few months, with other gigs in between – see below.

Watch the video for ‘Be Mine’:

Saturday 30th June 6pm
Gold Coast Suns v Collingwood
Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast QLD

Saturday 21st July 12pm
Mackay Wine & Food Day
Mackay, QLD

Friday July 27th to Sunday July 29th
Groundwater Country Music Festival
Gold Coast

Saturday 11th August 7.00pm
Newcastle Entertainment Centre, NSW
PBR Newcastle Invitational

Thursday 23rd August – Sunday 26th August
Gympie Music Muster (with Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Ian Moss, Travis Collins, Beccy Cole, The Wolfe Brothers and more)

Saturday 8th September and Sunday 9th September
RedFest, Redland Showgrounds, Cleveland QLD

Saturday 27th October 6.00pm
VDMfest, Biloela Showgrounds, (with Matty Cornell, Baylou and more)
Biloela QLD

Sunday 10th November 12.00pm
Kick The Dust Up Festival (with Christie Lamb, Baylou, Hurricane Fall and more)
Canberra ACT

Saturday 17th November 7.00pm
AELEC Arena, Tamworth NSW
Iron Cowboy PBR Australia

Saturday 24th November 7.00pm
Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, QLD
PBR National Finals

Saturday 1st December 7.00pm
Hisense Arena, Melbourne VIC
PBR Melbourne Invitational

Saturday 8th December 7.00pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre SA
PBR Adelaide Invitational


Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Interview: Troy Cassar-Daley on Cruisin’ Country

CruisinOne of the luminaries of the 2018 Cruisin’ Country line-up in October is Troy Cassar-Daley, one of Australia’s most popular country music performers and the creator of some of our greatest country songs. He joins John Williamson, and others, on the cruise and it was a real treat to be able to talk to him about it recently.

When you have so many albums and you have to put set lists together, of course not all songs are top of your mind – you have to go back and practise.

You’re absolutely right. First of all, it just means you’re getting old, when you’ve got a lot of records out, and second of all the set lists get harder. But next year will be a lot different, because I’m going out with a greatest hits set list. That’s going to be a lot easier to pick because they have to be chart songs.

Do you like that, though, or do you feel like you’re missing out on some of your favourites?

I like it for the fact that it’s easy to put the set together. When I’m doing a touring set and I have to include maybe six songs from the new record and then I have to go through the old catalogue and work out which ones have been in the long yard for a while, which ones need to come out, which ones you really love to play. I don’t think I do a show without doing ‘River Boy’ – I don’t know why, I can’t really leave that out. There’s different ones – ‘Born to Survive’ – that people do ask for a lot but which can’t be particularly fun to play. It’s very, very hard to put them together but, honestly, this cruise it’s going to be really easy to put this set together, because I look at this list of people and I just know there’s going to be people jumping up on [other] people’s shows – it’s going to have that vibe – and I like that. I like the fact there are going to be cross-pollinations, because I go from John Williamson here to Graeme Connors, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan and Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell, Amber Lawrence, and that’s just to start. And I’ve toured with Tania Kernaghan and Sara Storer and Anne Kirkpatrick. I’ve been on the road with Gina Jeffreys when I was twenty-four. She took me on the road as a solo act to introduce me to her crowd. So I’ve got big history with all these people, and I can’t wait to see them let alone enjoy the company of some people on a cruise.

Continue reading “Interview: Troy Cassar-Daley on Cruisin’ Country”

Raised by Eagles on the run in winter

image001.pngMelbourne alt-country outfit Raised by Eagles are on tour this Australian winter, bringing their 2017 album I Must Be Somewhere (and other songs) to audiences. They’re one of our finest acts and well worth braving a cold night to see.

The remaining dates are:
Sunday June 24
Chapel On Little Ryrie GEELONG VIC
More info here

Saturday June 30
More info here

Friday July 6
Caravan Music Club BENTLEIGH VIC
With special guests
More info here

Saturday August 4
Spotted Mallard BRUNSWICK VIC
With Georgia State Line
More info here

Wednesday August 15
More info here

Thursday August 16
More info here

Friday August 17
Heritage Hotel BULLI NSW
More info here

Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 August
Grand Junction MAITLAND NSW
More info here

Watch the video for ‘Nightwheel’, the latest single from I Must Be Somewhere:


Single release: ‘Turn Back Jimmy Creek’ by Gareth Leach

unnamed-4Echuca singer-songwriter Gareth Leach released his debut EP in 2016 and is set to release his first album, Death & Taxes, in September. From the album comes the single ‘Turn Back Jimmy Creek’, which was written after Leach’s journey to the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival – and anyone who has driven the New England Highway to that festival will relate to Leach’s lyrics about long drives.

Prior to embarking on a solo career, Leach was already an an established songwriter and musician, as well as being a producer and sound engineer for his bands Strathmore and Bateman. He has also written music for film and has collaborated with musicians from the country, folk, punk and pop industries.

‘Turn Back Jimmy Creek’ has a rollicking country-rock sound to accompany Leach’s gutsy, intriguing vocals, and also features Gretta Ziller on vocals.

Watch the video for ‘Turn Back Jimmy Creek’ below:


Apple Music | iTunes


Single release: ‘Gypsy Girl’ by Zoey Mills

unnamed.pngTwenty-year-old Zoey Mills comes from Mackay in Queensland but she has been travelling around Australia, playing at country music festivals and talent quests, since she was fourteen. Her parents accompanied her on those early journeys and their experiences are documented in Mills’s uplifting new single, Gypsy Girl, from her forthcoming debut EP. The EP was produced by the extraordinary Catherine Britt and the song was co-written with Amber Lawrence and Kevin Bennett, who Mills met at the DAG Sheep Station Song writing Retreat in 2017. She has also attended the Junior (2016) and Senior (2017) Academy of Country Music in Tamworth.

Proving that ‘gypsy girl’ is a way of life, not just a song title, Mills has just finished renovating a 1978 model Millard caravan ready for her to travel and tour Australia in. And when she’s not doing that, she can be found working as a florist, which suggests that creativity is a way of life for her.

Listen to ‘Gypsy Girl’ on Soundcloud.

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon