Perth trio The Holy Smoke is made up of highly accomplished individuals: Rose Parker has toured extensively throughout Australia, USA and Canada as one half of the Velvet Janes, supporting artists including Arlo Guthrie, Ani DiFranco, Luka Bloom and The Black Sorrows; Delilah Rose is a 2018 WAM Award nominee, 2019 ISC Songwriting Comp nominee and 2019 WA Country Music Award winner, and Karlee Rae is a top graduate from WAAPA, is in her 20th year of vocal and piano coaching, has toured internationally and recorded multiple albums and EPs.
Together, these artists create beautiful harmonies – as contained in their latest single, ‘Cross That River’. The song is, says Delilah Rose, ‘about putting down our screens and tuning into the people and nature around you. Let’s relish in this moment because
all we ever truly have is right now.’ It is a toe-tapping, uplifting song to carry you into the weekend – and if you’re in Perth and would like to experience the joys of The Holy Smoke in person, you can do that on 18 May at Golden Days at Freo Social.
Listen to ‘Cross That River’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes
Singer-songwriter Jasmin Bade hails from Melbourne but after graduating from The
Conservatorium of Music at The University of Tasmania she moved to Nashville in 2018, having dreamt of doing just that since she was six years old.
‘I’m Fine’ may be Bade’s first release but her musical education isn’t hard to detect: she has a warm, well-developed voice (and great enunciation) and the song has a tight country-pop structure with a clear message. The song’s title comes from the protagonist insisting ‘I’m fine, I’m fine’, even when she’s not. Bade says that she hopes the song allows listeners to feel that they aren’t alone in their emotions and that mental health is a topic that needs to be discussed.
Listen to ‘I’m Fine’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Soundcloud | Spotify
Victorian singer-songwriter Simon Imrei has been a touring member for several bands, including Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, and last year released his sophomore album The Sum of Scenes to great acclaim. His new single, ‘Stand Still’, is taken from a forthcoming EP. The first thing to say about it is that it is oh, so easy to listen to – and that is a very enthusiastic compliment. When a song is easy to listen to it invariably means that its creator and everyone who’s had their hands on it, including the singer, the musicians, the producer and sound engineer, have wanted to make sure that the listener has a great experience. But that intention starts with the creator, who, in this case, is also the singer.
‘Stand Still’ is a song about heading down the coast with someone, living out of an old suitcase and, basically, taking the time to stand still. The execution of the song reflects the meaning of the lyrics – it feels laidback, almost cosy, like an invitation to be still. That’s no doubt why it’s so easy to keep it playing in a loop – each listen perpetuates those feelings.
Listen to ‘Stand Still’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Soundcloud | Spotify
Imrei will be launching the single with his acoustic band at the Merri Creek Tavern in Melbourne’s Northcote on Saturday 18 May, with special guests Louie & The Pride. Tickets are on sale now from the venue website: www.merricreektavern.com.au
It has been noted elsewhere on this website that singer-songwriter Fanny Lumsden has many strings to her proverbial bow. She also has a few accolades to acknowledge her prowess with said bow: her latest (second) album Real Class Act debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Country chart (the only independent release to do so in 2017); it was the AIR Independent Country Album of the Year 2018, nominated for ARIA Country Album of the Year, 4 Golden Guitars and 3 CMC Awards.
One of those strings is that Lumsden – and her partner in art and life, Dan Stanley Freeman – make videos for her songs, and they do this so well that the video for ‘Elastic Waistband‘, a single from Real Class Act, won a Golden Guitar. Now Lumsden and Freeman have produced a worthy successor, and a great piece of entertainment in its own right, with the creation of a clip for Lumsden’s latest single, ‘Pretty Little Fools’. Filmed at the local pool in Ungarie, New South Wales, the video documents a small-town rivalry in the form of a synchronised swimming competition. And that description makes it sound altogether too serious, so you’ll have to watch it for yourself:
Later in the year Lumsden and her band will embark on one of her renowned Country Halls Tours – the dates are too numerous to list here but you can find them on her website.
Apple Music | Artist’s website | iTunes | Spotify
The website of South Australian singer-songwriter Kelly Brouhaha states that she ‘spends most of the year around a campfire, travelling in her 1992 Toyota Hiace Van called ‘Pamela Vanderson’. That last piece of information is a clue: namely, it reveals that Brouhaha has a well-developed sense of humour and language. The mention of a campfire is also a clue, because it relates to Brouhaha’s work, which involves a lot of travelling the country playing music, sometimes in the company of Beccy Cole and Libby O’Donovan, and that experience, and Brouhaha’s way with words, leads to the creation of a cracking good song in the form of her new single, ‘40,000 Star Hotel’. The 40 000 stars of the title are not from the Michelin guide but the southern sky, and this robust, appealing song gives us a sense of Brouhaha’s life on the road. It was co-written with Aleyce Simmonds and produced by Shane Nicholson.
This is the first single from Brouhaha’s forthcoming self-titled album, which will be released in June. You can pre-order the album from the artist at www.kellybrouhaha.com.au
Listen to ‘40,000 Star Hotel’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
June 7 Cooee Arthouse, Aldinga
June 8 The Wheaty, Adelaide
June 12 Pistol Pete’s, Geelong
June 15 The Old Church On The Hill, Bendigo
June 16 The Wesley Anne, Melbourne
June 26 Lizotte’s, Newcastle
June 28 The Manly Fig, Sydney
June 30 Flow Bar, Old Bar
July 6 The Junk Bar, Brisbane
July 27 Sol Bar, Maroochydoore
It has been proven true over and over again that age is irrelevant when it comes to Australian country music artists. An emerging artist can be sixteen or sixty, and with the CMAA Academy offering the Junior Academy the teenagers are just as likely to be accomplished as older artists. Queensland singer-songwriter Cassi Marie is seventeen but she’s already studied with artists such as Amber Lawrence, Lyn Bowtell and Ashleigh Dallas, and that experience shows. The four songs on her new EP, Pieces of My Heart, are country-pop gems. Cassi Marie’s voice has a lovely clean tone that enables us to hear the emotion behind and meaning of her lyrics. There is bittersweetness and poignancy on these songs that can’t be taught – it has to come from within the artist.
The EP was produced by Bill Chambers and mixed by Nash Chambers, and while it’s always good to have such heavyweights in the studio, the songs and their singer have to be good in order for the EP to shine, and this EP is a beautiful shiny introduction to this artist.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Each time I interview Lee Kernaghan it is both a pleasure and very interesting. Kernaghan has been at the apex of Australian country music for so long that his popularity could be taken for granted, but each conversation reminds me that he’s there because he is passionate about his music, the stories he’s telling and about connecting with his audience, and he’s really, really good at all of those. His new album, Backroad Nation, will be released on 10 May and Kernaghan will be playing so many places that instead of listing them here I’ll send you to his website. It was wonderful to speak to him once more and find out about his album and his forthcoming tour.
With so many hit songs and albums and tours behind you, it seems as though you keep looking to up the ante. I was reading that you’re going to have different design, a few different elements in this show. How do you keep that momentum going through your career?
I love making music, touring and performing and singing about my country and my people and it’s what drives me.
It seems to me in observing your career, listening to your music, that you keep your audience in mind. You’re really aware of that connection with them. Does it feel to you like you have a relationship with them?
I hate the word ‘fans’ because I then think of them as fans – they’re my mates – and I want to give them music that will be a soundtrack for the parties, for barbecues, for road trips, all kinds of different occasions. And a lot of time goes into it creating those songs. A couple of years of songwriting. I travelled Australia a couple of times over collecting ideas for the album. And then I travelled halfway around the world to Nashville. Some of the greatest writers on the planet are over there and I just wanted to make sure that no stone was left unturned. I wanted to make this record a real good one.
Continue reading “Lee Kernaghan on tour for Backroad Nation”