Single release: ‘A Town Called Lonely’ by Rose Zita Falko

unnamed-2.jpgMelbourne singer-songwriter Rose Zita Falko has appeared at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and participated in the DAG Songwriting Retreat at nearby Nundle, NSW, co-writing with the likes of Felicity Urquhart and Kevin Bennett. Her debut EP is Original Son and from it comes the evocative ‘A Town Called Lonely’, which has hints of the Wild West and of Lindi Ortega, and showcases Falko’s outstanding voice, which promises trouble and mystery and all sorts of other intriguing things.

Falko says that the song considers the idea that our state of mind can lure us down metaphorical and literal roads, away from the main highway. She took visual inspiration from her regular travels along the roads of country Victoria and New South Wales. The song earned Falko a semi-final berth in the 2017 International Songwriting Competition, and will no doubt also earn her fans looking for strong lyrics, a great beat and an arresting voice.

Listen to ‘A Town Called Lonely’ on Soundcloud.

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Buy the EP on Bandcamp

rosezitafalko.com

 

 

Interview: John Williamson on Cruisin’ Country

Cruisin.pngAcclaimed as one of Australian country music’s most highly anticipated events, the music festival on the high seas Cruisin’ Country returns in 2018, celebrating a massive eight consecutive years. Departing from Sydney in October, Cruisin’ Country 8 brings together more than 40 of Australia’s most respected country musicians for a seven-night cruise aboard the luxury liner Radiance Of The Seas to idyllic holiday ports Noumea and the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. Embracing the theme of Looking Forward, Looking Back, Cruisin’ Country 8 presents a journey through song of Australian country music’s past, present and future. 

The 2018 line-up includes John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell and Amber Lawrence – and it was my privilege to talk to country music legend John Williamson about the cruise, and his illustrious career.

This will be your fourth time on Cruisin’ Country – do you remember your first time?

The first time I didn’t do the whole cruise – I flew to Vanuatu and jumped on board there. I was a bit worried about being on a cruise full of punters, but after that I realised that everyone’s pretty cool and you make a lot of friends. From then on I’ve done the whole thing. What I like about it now – the last cruise I think we had the best of country musicians that exist, all on a boat, and all the jam sessions that went on after all the shows were probably as much fun as doing the shows themselves.

Performance takes a lot of energy, and you have to gear up for a performance and wind down afterwards. So you do need to preserve yourself.

Oh yes. Any day I have a show I have a sleep in the afternoon. You do need a lot of energy. It’s not just about physical energy – it’s about having your head very clear. My show normally I do thirty songs. 

And just back to your point about the jam sessions – that’s a feature of Tamworth as well. There are so many great musicians in one place, and these wonderful spontaneous collaborations happen, so I can imagine in a closed environment like a ship that’s heightened to the nth degree.

It’s quite a big family. Obviously there’s disappointments at awards because people think they should have got something they didn’t, but in the long run the country music fraternity is quite a big family, and t’s a lot of fun really, working together. I think generally the whole standard of musicians in the last twenty, thirty years has grown. It’s incredible. We have world-class players now.

I completely agree. Tamworth has a bit to do with it – everyone in the same place.

Tamworth’s done a lot to promote it, because that’s where a lot of young ones have been encouraged to start. I had nothing like that when I started. I went down to Melbourne and New Faces. If I hadn’t done well there I probably would have given the whole game away [laughs]. But at Tamworth you can go every year as a youngster and you can get [exposure] and eventually there will be room for you if you’re good enough. And you’ve got to have that dexterity and believe in yourself.

And the level of competition is so high.

And that’s good.

Continue reading “Interview: John Williamson on Cruisin’ Country”

Album release: Silver Lined by Good Will Remedy

unnamed (9)Brisbane band Good Will Remedy have released a glorious new album, Silver Lined, as the successor to their self-titled debut album. The album was recorded in Brisbane and features some luminaries of the local scene, including Danny Widdicombe. Good Will Remedy cite influences that include Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and the Black Crowes, although there is plenty of energy from illustrious Brisbane bands (such as The Go-Betweens all the way to Regurgitator) to be found in their sound.

To celebrate the album’s release, the track-by-track notes for the album can be read exclusively here – just click on the Soundcloud image to listen while you read …

Good Will Remedy

Continue reading “Album release: Silver Lined by Good Will Remedy”

Single release: ‘Outback Australia’ by Kevin Sullivan

unnamed.jpgAustralian country music has many flavours, some of them with hints of music from other lands. There is also Australian country music that is so redolent of this land that you expect to smell eucalyptus each time you hear it. Often these are the songs that have Slim Dusty and Joy McKean in their DNA – sonically straightforward, with a driving beat and a catchy chorus that enables the listener to learn it quickly so as to sing along. This doesn’t mean the songs are simple, just the structure is solid after years of being perfected, usually on the road in front of all sorts of crowds.

‘Outback Australia’ is such a song, and it comes from Kevin Sullivan’s forthcoming album, Belonging. Inspired by Sullivan’s travels throughout the Australian outback for over 18 years, it features award-winning artists Lyn Bowtell and Kevin Bennett on backing vocals.

You can watch a performance of ‘Outback Australia’ at the Longyard Hotel in Tamworth below:

 

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www.facebook.com/kevinsullosullivan

Album news: Greenbah by Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders

greenbah_cover_spotify.jpgSo I missed this one in January, when I meant to review it. Consequently this will be a shorter ‘album news’ piece so no more time is lost … because Greenbah is worth your time. The eight songs on this third album from Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders are packed with guitars and piano, echoing Australian pub rock from a bygone era – without sounding intentionally nostalgic – but also drawing on country and folk influences to create something compelling.

The band has quite the work ethic, releasing new music regularly, and the experience shows. The songs are tightly constructed and while there’s a lot of instruments in each one, nothing is wasteful.

This is not an album for a quiet afternoon – it’s something to keep you alert on a long drive, it’s a rowdy gathering with friends, it’s a morning pep-up. And because of that above-mentioned work ethic, you know there will be plenty more where that came from.

Greenbah is out now.

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Single release: ‘Living Heart of the Anzac’ by Mitch Lynham

unnamed.pngEach year ANZAC Day, 25 April, is marked by Australians all around the country. The memorial has also produced many a fine song, but I don’t often cover them here – not because the day means nothing, because I go to a dawn service every year to honour a great-grandfather who served on various fronts in World War I and a great-uncle who served in World War II, both of whom never recovered from their experiences. So I take the day seriously.

I’ll admit that what made me want to listen to this new song from 24-year-old Queenslander and 2018 CMAA Academy graduate Mitch Lynham is that it’s co-written with the profoundly wonderful Fanny Lumsden. What kept me listening to it on repeat, though, is Lynham. It’s clear that this song means something to him – this is not lip service to a national tradition. This is a story full of heart and emotion, which Lynham brings to the song. It’s a fitting accompaniment to what is, for many, The One Day of the Year.

Listen to ‘Living Heart of the Anzac’ on Soundcloud.

www.instagram.com/mitchlynham

Single release: ‘Heart You Saved’ by Aleyce Simmonds & Lachlan Bryan

unnamed (6)Golden Guitar winners Aleyce Simmonds and Lachlan Bryan do just fine – more than fine, in fact – as artists in their own right, Simmonds as a solo artist and Bryan with his band, The Wildes. Simmonds’s most recent album is More than Meets the Eye and Bryan and the Wildes put out Some Girls (Quite) Like Country Music earlier this year.

This new single, ‘Heart You Saved’, was originally from neither album but appears on the new bonus edition of More than Meets the Eye. It’s an achingly bittersweet song with both singers’ voices bearing tinges of longing and regret. It is truly a joint production, with Simmonds’s talent for open-hearted songwriting and Bryan’s for unexpectedly lovely melodies combining to create a song that is different from their previous releases yet appealing to fans of both. It’s a song for lovers of music, and those whose who don’t mind a beautiful song with a melancholic seam. It’s also a song that sits well in the canon of both artists.

Listen to ‘Heart You Saved’ on Soundcloud.

aleyce.com

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www.lachlanbryanandthewildes.com

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