This new song from South Australian artist Paula Standing evokes dusty roads, broken dreams, love gone wrong and revenge about to be taken. You know when a song contains a lyric about fluid being drained out a brake, something is about to turn bad … Standing’s narrator means business, and Standing sounds like the business as she sings the story.
Standing is a classically trained singer, which accounts for her fantastic tone and control; she is newer to guitar, which she took up in 2010. Standing is set to release her new EP Good Heart soon, the follow-up to her 2015 album All Fun & Games.
Watch the video for ‘Pity Me’ on YouTube.
As more proof of my theory that some of the most interesting country music is coming out of Los Angeles, The Sound of Ghosts is a band that combines traditional country sounds with Americana with brass and some rock and blues. The result is the powerful, irresistible sound heard on their new single, ‘Fall Apart’ from their upcoming album Delivery & Departure, a song about being ‘perfectly imperfect’ with lead vocals from Anna Orbison, who also plays uke. She’s one of five members of the group along with James Orbison (vocals, bass), Anna Orbison (vocals, ukulele), Ernesto Rivas (lead guitar), Phoebe Silva (fiddle) and Jon Sarna (drums).
Listen to ‘Fall Apart’ on Soundcloud.
Brisbanite (Brisvegan? Where are we landing on that these days?) Anais is 17 years old and has already had a life-changing moment thanks to social media. After placing second in the Ekka Country Music Showdown, she posted a photo on Instagram and was noticed by producers Will and Michelle Gawley of Lighthouse Records in Nashville. Despite initially thinking their message was a joke, Anais soon found herself travelling to Tennessee between school terms to record her debut EP, Push Through.
Her new single from that EP is ‘To Our Home’ and it’s clear very quickly why Anais would have received the opportunity offered by the Gawleys: she has a well-developed country music voice and style. She’s already attended the CMAA Country Music Academy, and Tamworth festival goers can look our for her this coming January.
New Zealand/Australian singer-songwriter Vanessa Delaine has released Wild & Free, a country-blues album that had its beginnings in the end of an 18-year relationship. It’s likely not surprising, therefore, that this is a personal and somewhat confessional album – and from the sound of these songs, and Delaine’s voice, she’s doing just fine. As she sings on the third track, ‘Good Advice’, ‘I don’t need anybody tellin’ me what to do’.
Delaine has a background in country music, having studied it several years ago, although she took a break for a few years and didn’t return to performance until her fortieth birthday party, when she performed for her guests accompanied by a neighbour who played guitar. Now she has Michael Barnard as her guitarist and another Michael (Carpenter) produced the album. Delaine doesn’t sound like she took a break from music – she’s a natural singer – but the advantage of coming back to it might have been that she had life experience to bring to her songwriting, resulting in a mature work that balances light and dark, and offers some very sweet moments.
Wild Free is available now.
Emily Markham is from the South Coast of New South Wales, and played to audiences there recently when she opened for Amber Lawrence and Travis Collins on their Our Backyard tour. Emily’s new single, ‘Got Me Fallin”, can be found on her debut EP, Come on Over. It’s a lovely song about the beginning of a relationship – with its great tempo and Markham’s smooth voice, just the thing to play to put a smile on your face.
Markham is working on some new material to be released in early 2018 – and keep an eye out for her in the Star Maker competition at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Watch the lyric video for ‘Catch Me Fallin” on YouTube.
The amount of music I’m being sent these days is far outstripping my ability to keep up – but instead of being paralysed by choice, I’m going to try to cover as much as of the good stuff as possible even if it means I can’t always do a full album review, as these can take a few hours.
Which leads me to this very first ‘album news’ piece – not a review, but not not a review. A shorter review, if you will.
Aurora is the debut album from Missouri-born New York City resident Case Garrett. This is backwoodsy, bluesy country music that tells stories of travels around the countryside and to Garrett’s interior. There is tradition and humour, and Garrett’s voice holding true throughout.
I’ve seen this album described as alt-country but I tend to think that label gets applied to work that is actually quite traditional in its lineage – in other words, not alternative to country. Garrett strikes me as a traditionalist in that you could draw a straight line from his work back a few decades and find its roots. That doesn’t mean his music sounds old – it means he knows his country music, and he is drawing on it to fine effect on Aurora.
Aurora is out now.
Josh Taerk is a Canadian singer-songwriter who was playing a show in his home town, Toronto, when he was spotted by Max Weinberg, the drummer for Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. Impressed, Weinberg invited Josh to open for him at his sold-out show. That was in 2010, and since then Taerk has been writing, recording and performing – and steadily building his following. He released his debut album in 2013. He then set to work on his second album, which was recorded in Nashville.
His latest single is ‘Learning to Let Go’, which is about taking leaps of faith – and not getting in your own way. Taerk certainly knows how to write a pop hook and layers that into a country-rock sound, and he has a great voice, so this is a song that has my favourite combination: it’s meaningful and entertaining.
Watch the video for ‘Learning to Let Go’ on YouTube.