Month: April 2018

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.

Single release: ‘My Voice’ by Melinda Schneider

unnamed (7)Australian country music star Melinda Schneider has lent her powerful voice to a powerful cause with the release of the anthemic ‘My Voice’, a song supporting NOW Australia, journalist Tracey Spicer’s not-for-profit initiative to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Profits from ‘My Voice’ downloads will help fund safe workplace programs.

The song is Schneider’s first original release in a decade and will appear on her new album, due in August. It is accompanied by an equally powerful video that features other country music artists such as Luke O’Shea and Amber Lawrence.

It’s a song about transforming pain to empowerment, and Schneider is in full, expressive voice. It’s bound to become a tune you can’t get out of your head, for all the right reasons.

Watch the video below:


Buy/stream ‘My Voice’ here:

Album review: Twilight on the Trail by Jen Mize & Mark Sholtez

Twilight_ON_The_Trail.jpgAustralian country music artists often cover American country songs, which is, of course,  completely fitting: our country music can trace a certain amount of its lineage from the United States. However, while many of those Australian artists do a wonderful job with those covers, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job than American-born now Australian-resident Jen Mize and Brisbane artist Mark Sholtez, who have released the album Twilight on the Trail, a collection of old American cowboy songs such as the traditional ‘Home on the Range’, ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’ (originally sung by Doris Day in Calamity Jane) and ‘Cow Cow Boogie’ (sung by artists including Dorothy Dandridge and Ella Fitzgerald).

Continue reading “Album review: Twilight on the Trail by Jen Mize & Mark Sholtez”

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.

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Single release: ‘Don’t Say It if You Don’t Mean It’ by Renee Jonas

unnamed (7).jpgSinger-songwriter Renee Jonas will be known to some people as a lead soloist in The Ten Sopranos. Jonas developed her singing skills growing up in northern New South Wales on 100 acres of subtropical rainforest with no TV or radio – singing developed as a way of entertaining herself.

Recently she returned to her alt-country/folk roots, and with great effect: she won the 2017 TSA APRA AMCOS New Songwriter of the Year Award; she was a finalist with 4 songs in the Songsalive Song Comp 2017 and a finalist in 6 categories of the 2017 ASA Awards including a Rudy Brandsma nominee and 8th place in the Open category.

It goes without saying that Jonas’s new single, ‘Don’t Say It if You Don’t Mean It’, has a lovely vocal – or perhaps it doesn’t, as moving between musical styles doesn’t necessarily come naturally. But you’ll hear on this song that Jonas has a beautiful tone that well suits her alt-country style and the lyrics on this tale of heartbreak. Her vocals are lushly layered to great effect, ensuring a song that will get under your skin.

Watch the video below:

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Single release: ‘Jesus, Jail or Texas’ by James Scott Bullard

JSBSmilebnwcopySouth Carolinian James Scott Bullard has said, ‘All my songs are about making bad decisions.’ While one could speculate about the nature of the bad decisions, they’re clearly good fodder for songs, as he proves on the single ‘Jesus, Jail or Texas’, taken from his forthcoming album Full Tilt Boogie. The title refers to the ways the narrator’s exes might get away from him … while he’s ‘one more drink away from getting over you’.

Bullard makes country music that will appeal to fans of Johnny Cash and also to those whole like their honkytonk. This is straight-up entertaining fare – musically and lyrically – and I could take a whole album of it. Luckily, there’s one on the way.

Listen to the song here.

Apple Music | iTunes

Album review: Country Heart by The Wolfe Brothers

unnamedThe Wolfe Brothers have a reputation – a good one. It involves them being a country rock band, and always putting on a great show, and being very, very entertaining. They will put the same amount of energy into three songs at  the Peel Street Fanzone as a massive festival show. They’ve been Lee Kernaghan’s touring band for years, as well as playing in the support slot at his shows, so they’ve had lots of opportunities to develop their skills and they’ve taken them. Nothing at all is wrong with what they’ve been doing, so it wouldn’t make sense to change it. More than that, they’d have to be brave to change something their fans love. Yet change it they have.

Country Heart is the Tasmanian band’s fourth studio album, and when I last interviewed guitarist Brodie Rainbird he mentioned that it was going to be very different to the first three. For the first time they had asked popular producer Matt Fell to work on an album with them, and Fell’s direction was not just completely different to what they were used to but they loved it. And that enjoyment of the experience is evident all over this record.

Continue reading “Album review: Country Heart by The Wolfe Brothers”

Single release: ‘The Roses Fall’ by The Weeping Willows & Allan Caswell

unnamed (6).jpgVictorian duo The Weeping Willows have released a new single, written by Willows member Andrew Wrigglesworth with country music veteran Allan Caswell. The song is set at the end of World War I – the centenary of which falls this year – and tells the story of a couple separated by war. The couple in the song was created to tell story of the effect of the War on ordinary Australian people.

‘The Roses Fall’ is beautifully sung as a duet by Wrigglesworth and the other half of the Willows, Laura Coates, although it won’t be appearing on an album of theirs – instead it will be on Caswell’s upcoming release, Mexico.

Listen to ‘The Roses Fall’ on Soundcloud.

Apple Music | iTunes



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Album news: Don’t Talk About It by Ruby Boots

Ruby Boots_Album_Cover_Don't_Talk_About_It.jpegRuby Boots started her musical trajectory in Perth and it has taken her all the way to Nashville, where she is now resident – although paradoxically that trajectory has also taken her somewhat away from country music and towards rock.

Her new album, Don’t Talk About It, is indeed a rock record but the structure and storytelling of country music are apparent in its ten distinct and beautifully formed songs. Also apparent is her rock lineage, but not in a way that suggests appropriation so much as interpretation. All artists have influences, and one of Boots’s talents is that she’s able to find the alchemy in those influences and create something that is wholly her.

Don’t Talk About It is out now.

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Ruby Boots will play some dates in Australia in May. For details:


Interview: Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley

Adam-and-Brooke-WB1.jpgWell established in their separate bands, The McClymonts and The Adam Eckersley Band,  Brooke McClymont and her husband, Adam Eckersley, took a recent detour to create an album together, with spectacular results. It is was my great pleasure to talk to them both recently about the decision making behind the project and the experience of making it.

I’m a longtime fan of The McClymonts and, Adam, I love your band – I had a little bit of nervousness before listening to your album, wondering if it would be as good as both of those bands, but of course it was.

A: We certainly felt that a little bit too. Not that it worried us, but we didn’t know stylistically what to make – we [just] knew it had to be reasonable [laughs].

Because you both have fans. Part of your work as musicians, and country musicians, is having access to your fans and them having access to you. That does more pressure on a situation.

B: Definitely.

A: We’ve been stoked with how it’s been received. You never know when you release anything how it’s going to be received – you just hope that people like it. We just wanted to make sure we were proud of what we’d done.

B: We trusted each other too, didn’t we.

A: Yes. And we’ve been blown away with the response so far.

It’s because you put out something fantastic and if you do the work, people tend to recognise it. Given that you both have your separate schedules and separate bands, when did you first discuss the idea of creating an album together?

B: We’ve always spoken about wanting to do an album together eventually, but honestly we thought we would not get to it until ten years or more down the track. But then the opportunity just presented itself because the girls [sisters Sam and Molly] were having babies, and that was leaving me really … I wasn’t going to be doing much. The girls and I have been gigging but it hasn’t been a lot – which has been fine, but I get itchy feet. I wanted to do something. Adam was doing his third album with The Adam Eckersley Band and kind of put that on hold, because we thought, Why don’t we do our thing now? We’ve got this time, we might as well jump on it and go with it. And I’m so glad we did, because I feel like everyone’s really responding to this album. People are getting the lyrics and they’re really listening. This album has been a real game-changer for me. It’s been fun, too, and fresh but the lyrics and what we’re doing is really touching people, and that’s a great thing as a musician and singer-songwriter to have that happen.

Continue reading “Interview: Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley”