Album review: Open by Tanya Ryan

4PAN1TListening to any song, or collection of them, there’s usually one thing that stands out straightaway. In the case of Canadian singer-songwriter Tanya Ryan and her new album, Open, it’s her voice. Not just because it’s technically so good but because it’s strong and warm, inviting the listener into her songs while also letting you know that she’s going to make sure you’ll enjoy the experience. Authority is not a quality that is often ascribed to voices, but it’s an important one: it’s the quality that tells the listener they’re in really good hands, and it stems from an artist being confident not just in that voice but in their songs.

Ryan has good reason to be confident in the songs on this album. Stylistically they cover country rock, and pop, ballads and uptempo tracks. Lyrically Ryan examines different types of love: romantic, maternal, as well as love of self, and of ambitious pursuits. Ryan handles the range of styles and moods with that aforementioned authority and also with great tenderness. It’s the care taken by an artist who wants to do the best by the audience as well as by the songs.

Ryan has been developing these skills for quite some time. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she wrote her first song at age seven, and kept singing, songwriting, and playing various instruments before moving to the Alberta Foothills. Once there, she won the Calgary Stampede’s Nashville North Star Contest in 2012 and was one of six artists chosen for the Canadian Country Music Association’s 2014 Discovery Program. That amount of dedication and experience to her craft is evident in these songs, some of which are gloriously uplifting and some of which will break your heart, in the best way (and in the case of the last track, ‘My Heart Song’, it’s both). Ryan is prepared to access her own emotions in order to help us access and understand ours – this is one of the roles and responsibilities of an artist, and it’s clear from Open that she takes that seriously, and has produced a seriously good album accordingly.

Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

www.tanyaryan.ca

Album review: There in the Ochre by Luke O’Shea

91BeZwEOI6L._SS500_If you’ve seen singer-songwriter Luke O’Shea perform you’ll know he’s a very funny man with a good line in dry wit, and self-deprecation where appropriate. You’ll also know he’s able to balance telling funny stories with bringing heartfelt, intelligent songs to his audience. Last year he met his match in Lyn Bowtell, who is not only one of the most majestic performers in Australia, if not the world, but who manages the same balance as O’Shea. It’s therefore no surprise, or mystery, that Bowtell appears on three songs on O’Shea’s new album, There in the Ochre. What is perhaps a surprise is that with a presence as strong as Bowtell’s, the songs are firmly O’Shea’s. That’s because at this stage of his career, five albums in and with Golden Guitars behind him, O’Shea is a force – of nature, for good, however you’d like to phrase it.

There in the Ochre is described as a celebration of Australian history and stories, but it’s also a reckoning. The core of the album is ‘Happy Australia Day’, which features beloved singer-songwriter Kevin Bennett. O’Shea does not resile from the very difficult parts of our history, one of which is the date of the national day. His lyrics are as thoughtful, as always, and they’re also thought provoking. O’Shea is passionate and emotional in his song, and it’s a clue as to the range he explores on the rest of the album. O’Shea’s experience as a teacher no doubt informs how he writes a song like this, but the song is in no way heavy handed  because it comes from the heart and there is fire rather than zealotry behind it. O’Shea is a voice of conscience, and of consciousness.

Fundamentally, this an album about love: for country, for people, for close relationships (‘Firewood’, ‘Last Line on Your List’, ‘Where You Go’), for life. It’s an album about difficulties, too, but love and recognition and acknowledgement are woven through these (‘Coastal Town’, ‘Open Cut’). The outstanding Ashleigh Dallas appears, in addition to Bowtell and Bennett. There’s not a song on here that hasn’t been created with love and care, and it’s something the listener can detect immediately, and even more on repeat listenings, because that love and care is there for us. O’Shea the teacher is also a great communicator, and the best compliment we can pay him is the one he pays us: offering his time and attention, so that we can all be enriched by the experience.

It’s been three years since O’Shea’s last album and he’s clearly spent that time making sure that every single track on this album is worthy of being there. While that makes for an incredibly rich listening experience, that doesn’t meant it’s always easy – O’Shea challenges the listener to examine their own presumptions and expectations about all sorts of things, not just on the scale of our nation but our small, daily interactions with each other. If that means the songs lodge themselves in your head, making you think, making you feel, that won’t be a bad thing – There in the Ochre is a wonderful companion.

Buy the album from the artist: https://lukeoshea.com/shop/there-in-the-ochre/

Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

 

lukeoshea.com

 

 

Andrew Farriss AM on what makes a ‘Good Momma Bad’

Andrew-Farriss-Good-Momma-BadAt the start of this year Andrew Farriss was preparing to release a new single and play at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Then right in the middle of that festival came the announcement that he’s now Andrew Farriss AM – that is, he’s been made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the performing arts. And while no one who knows anything about Farriss’s career as a member of and songwriter for INXS, as a producer for other artists and many other music-related roles besides, could dispute that he’s worthy of this honour, when asked about it laughs and says, ‘I was trying to work out at first what the “AM” meant. I thought it might’ve meant “average musician”!’

In all seriousness, though, Farris says, ‘I’m really, really thrilled and happy for my family too. I really dedicate the times and years that I spent running around previously and now. I’m doing the things I’ve done and they put up with me.’

He’s also very pleased ‘to see the other artists who also received that recognition, it was great for them … On a bigger scale it’s great to see Australia recognising its musicians and artists and creative people because in the world we live in today, those sorts of great artistic pursuits tend to travel around the world, especially in the internet era we’re in. So for Aussies to show that they’re proud of their Aussies is good for Australia, in my opinion.’

Continue reading “Andrew Farriss AM on what makes a ‘Good Momma Bad’”

Single release: ‘Everything’s Alright’ by Hello Jane

400x400bbHello Jane is the new project from Brisbane singer-songwriter Madeleine McCaw, born from a desire for simplicity when it comes to all things surrounding her music, from writing to recording and releasing. Simplicity can mean sparse, but in the case of Hello Jane’s debut single, ‘Everything’s Alright’, it means clarity and elegance, of meaning and execution.

‘Everything’s Alright’ is a delightful song, and that’s partly because McCaw has married the meaning of the lyrics with the way they’re delivered – when she sings ‘Everything will be just fine’, you believe her, and you also know that the act of listening to the song will actually help achieve that. Music is medicine, amongst other things, and this song is a tonic.

Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

 

Live dates:

21st Feb – Foxy on Coolum (Sunshine Coast)

22nd Feb – Frankie’s Cafe (Woombye)

28th Feb – Studio 188 (Ipswich) – band show

14th March – Miami Marketta (Gold Coast)

 

hellojanemusic.com

Single and video premiere: ‘And Then We Dance’ by Vixens of Fall

Vixens of Falls_And Then We Dance_3000pxVixens of Fall is a trio of sisters from Far North Queensland. Kristina (Nina), Adrienne (Wren) and Anneliese (Lulu) have been immersed in music and performance since childhood. They formed Vixens of Fall in 2014 and since 2016 they have played numerous country music festivals, including the Tamworth and the Gympie Muster.

Last year they released an EP, A Love Like Ours, and from it comes their fantastic new single, ‘And Then We Dance’, which was recorded by Michael Moko at The Pool Room and at Mick McCartin’s Black Wolf Studios on the Sunshine Coast, and which has its premiere on this website today.

‘And Then We Dance’ is, the sisters say, ‘a small revelation into a world of sassy romance, a portal into a mystical world of allure and seduction surrounded by flame and passion.’ The video captures this perfectly – and its also having its debut here today. It was shot by Jazmyn Bowman of Jazmyn Produces in Wamuran Basin, Queensland, at the girls’ drummer’s property and captures ‘that moment in time when you look across the room and feel an instant connection, an overwhelming compulsion to be part of that person’s journey. It’s when the body and mind is overloaded with sensory stimulus, when lucid thought leaves the real world and nothing is as important as that single moment.’

 

The single and video release may be coming near the start of the year but Vixens of Fall have already made a splash in 2020, winning the Battle of the Band competition at the recent Tamworth Country Music Festival and coming in as runners-up in the Aristocrat Entertainer of the Year. You can see them live on the following dates:

Friday 14th February – Single & Video Launch – Redcliffe Leagues Club, Redcliffe – QLD
Saturday 14th March – Redcliffe Leagues Club, Redcliffe – QLD
Thursday 9th April – Redcliffe Leagues Club, Redcliffe – QLD
Saturday 30th May – Redcliffe Leagues Club, Redcliffe – QLD
Friday 12th June – The Waves Sports Club, Bundaberg – QLD
Saturday 13th June – The Waves Sports Club, Bundaberg – QLD
Thursday 18th June – Redcliffe Leagues Club, Redcliffe – QLD
Saturday 4th July – Twin Towns, Tweed Heads – NSW
Saturday 26th September – Twin Towns, Tweed Heads – NSW
Friday 4th December – The Waves Sports Club, Bundaberg – QLD
Saturday 5th December – The Waves Sports Club, Bundaberg – QLD

 

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

www.vixens-of-fall.com

 

 

Single premiere: ‘Let it Go’ by Roz Pappalardo

unnamed (7)Roz Pappalardo is a woman of many talents and different musical roles: she is a member of beloved Queensland duo Women in Docs as well as a solo artist, and she’s an actor who has recently performed in The Impossible Dream (Paronella Park) along with JUTE Theatre Company new works What are the Odds? (Angela Murphy), Paradise is Singing (Kathryn Ash) and her own production Rosa. Meanwhile Pappalardo has also performed her powerful one-woman show, Banging on the Door, nationally and overseas.

While Pappalardo can obviously play other people, she is gloriously herself in her new single, ‘Let it Go’, which has its premiere on this website today. Taken from her upcoming album Sound the Alarm, the song is, says Pappalardo, ‘about wanting to be the change. It’s about a desire to do things differently in my life with bravery and passion. I wrote this song in less than an hour and I feel a like a frickin’ roaring lion when I sing it … This was the first vocal take on the first song we put down and it pretty much stayed. It just felt right.’

From Pappalardo’s first notes it’s clear that her instinct was correct, because the vocal is irresistible. It is, therefore, the perfect ambassador for the album – as Pappalardo says, ‘writing and recording the album has been a deeply personal process driven by a simple desire to hold nothing back’. ‘Let It Go’ sees her in full flight, captivating the listener as she takes off.

Listen on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

The upcoming album features a number of guest musicians, including long-time collaborator Rob Sherwood on guitar, Damon Joel on drums and percussion, and Enzo Russo on bass. Salliana Campbell plays strings, Silas Palmer is on keys, Anthony Dettori on mandolin and vocals, and Danny Widdicombe on pedal steel and vocals, along with Brisbane outfit Bullhorn.

Pappalardo’s honesty shines through in the upcoming single and is sure to connect with fans, with Roz stating that “writing and recording the album has been a deeply personal process driven by a simple desire to hold nothing back.”

See Roz Pappalardo live:

March 7  What’s Golden (W/ Sennett and Hirst)    Brisbane, QLD
March 20   Tanks Arts Centre (W/ The Black Sorrows)    Cairns, QLD
March 21   Dalrymple Tavern (W/ The Black Sorrows)   Townsville, QLD

rozpappalardo.com

Single release: ‘Kerikeri’ by Lucille

Lucille_Press-0001With her first two singles, ‘The Killing Season’ and ‘Best of Me’, Melbourne artist Lucille established herself as an eclectic, fascinating artist with considerable talent. Her third single, ‘Kerikeri’, consolidates that early impression. Taken from her forthcoming album, Come On, Fly, it has a country tempo and Lucille’s unique, powerful vocals.

It’s a nostalgic song that is in no way mawkish. Kerikeri is a place in Northland, the tip of New Zealand’s North Island, where the weather is warmer than in Lucille’s childhood home of New Plymouth. Lucille’s family would visit Kerikeri for holidays, and it’s to those times that Lucille harks on this song. It’s the details that make the song so resonant, along with Lucille’s ability to convey the emotion of being in that place and time. She sounds not just as though she’s remembering happy times but that she is in them. This is captured in what she says of Kerikeri, the place: ‘All in all it is a paradise and looking back to how I felt as a child it was all sunlight. I’m sure most of us have that special place we can think of. It’s like a feeling where over time you feel like your vision has dulled, and you can’t see the colours like you saw them back then. There was yellow sand, and blue sky like I can’t see it now. That is what it feels like anyway.’

Given Lucille’s output thus far, Come On, Fly will likely prove to be a trove of musical treasures, mostly unexpected, always intriguing. ‘Kerikeri’ is a sample of what to expect.

Listen on:

Apple Music| iTunes

musicbylucille.com