American singer-songwriter Leslie diNicola has been described as ‘combining the grittiness of Janis Joplin with the vulnerability of Alison Krauss’. The only thing I’d take issue with there is that Joplin had plenty of vulnerability – it’s what made her so compelling and so unforgettable. If all she had been was a big voice, she would not have resonated with so many people.
DiNicola has that same quality – of the strong, sometimes strident voice that has vulnerability in the curves between notes, suggesting that the singer has something to hide and more to tell us, but she’s not going to just yet. Intrigue is hard to come by in a lot of recorded music – the studio environment, with a producer on hand and all the best technology, can eliminate spontaneity and happy accidents. Yet the songs on diNicola’s EP Some Greener Yard give us the sense of a girl standing alone at a microphone, singing hopefully, from her heart, and it’s both the voice and her lyrics that suggest that. It doesn’t sound like she’s about to slip up by way of singing a bum note – more that she might confess something that she didn’t mean to tell us but which we really want to know.
While diNicola’s style is predominantly rock/blues with the odd country strain – and it suits her (although she could also venture easily into anthemic country rock/pop and not skip a beat) – it’s in the more restrained track ‘It’s Alright’ that her skill as a singer is consolidated. Here she is delicate and assured, which is an interesting balance.
Releasing a handful of songs in EP format is a great way to discover new talent. DiNicola is not completely new – she’s released an EP before – but she’s still ’emerging’. It can’t be long, surely, before she has completely emerged.
Some Greener Yard by Leslie diNicola is out now.
City’ just like any record producer, with the advantage that they already knew quite a bit about whose songs they wanted. They have assembled a collection of songs that not only suit the characters and the story, but which also prove to make two great albums of ‘singles’ – for this is not a cohesive album such as one might expect from a sole artist.
One of the best things about being a follower of Australian country music is the consistently very high standard of releases. One of the truly amazing things is that so many of these are independent releases, often made possible by crowd funding. Brisbane singer-songwriter Megan Cooper’s Ghosts, Choirs & Kings is one such crowd-funded album of a very high standard.
Some of you may remember an Australian country music artist who went by the name TJ Dennis. She released three albums, she played a great live show and appeared at festivals around the land. Well, TJ Dennis gave away the country music and became comedian Jenny Talia – and she’s bringing her tour F.O.C.U.S. back to Australia from her current home, Chicago. Jenny is the daughter of Kevin Bloody Wilson, so her comedic credentials are well in place. She’s also fresh off a tour of the United Kingdom, so her new line of work keeps her busy indeed. Not so busy, though, that she didn’t have time to answer some questions before she arrives …
Your TJ Dennis voice was very different to your Jenny Talia voice – is it hard not to slip into ‘TJ singing mode’ when you’re performing your new material?
Jenny’s tour dates:
Friday 13th June 2014 | 8pm
St Mary’s Band Club, OXLEY PARK NSW
411 Great Western Highway, Oxley Park
(02) 9623 1211 | www.stmarysbandclub.com.au
Saturday 14th June 2014 | 8pm
Davistown RSL Club, DAVISTOWN NSW
19 Murna Road, Davistown
(02) 4363 0199 | www.davistownrsl.com.au
Friday 20th June 2014 | 7pm
Fly By Night Musicians Club, FREMANTLE WA
1 Holdsworth Street, Fremantle WA
(08) 9430 5976 | www.flybynight.org
More tour dates to be announced in the coming weeks
For more information, please visit www.jennytalia.com
The canon of Australian country and country-esque music is already rich and varied. There is such a variety of songs and song styles in our country music that sometimes I wonder how anyone will come up with something new. Well, Jenny Queen has – and, perhaps not surprisingly, what is different about her music is her. (And while she may be American, she lives in Australia and has created the album here.)
However, Queen hardly needs help from others (although the value of a great producer like Nicholson shouldn’t be underestimated). She is clearly in command of this album. The only frustrating thing about it is that I’m left wanting more from her. Thirteen songs don’t seem enough – but would fifteen? Twenty? Hopefully we won’t have to wait long to hear whatever she works on next.
While I love, love, love the US drama series Nashville, the range of stories about how country music songs, albums, careers and tours come to be are, by necessity, not fully explored within the context of that show. Troubadour, TX could, therefore, be seen as the complement to Nashville – it’s an Emmy-nominated docu-reality series that follows a handful of artists as they make their way through the country music industry.
As with Nashville, a powerful reason to watch Troubadour, TX is the music – in this case, music as it happens rather than music as it’s being produced for a soundtrack. The stories behind songs – and the stories behind the artists who bring us those songs – have always been an integral part of country music and one of the things that sets it apart from other genres. Troubadour, TX has lots of those stories.
Sadly, as it’s only available to US viewers on The CW, everyone else will have to watch snippets available online – but if you’re in the broadcast area … what are you waiting for?