Month: May 2018

Single release: ‘Scars and Memories’ by Maddi Lyn

unnamed (2).pngNew South Wales singer-songwriter Maddi Lyn had her first performance at the age of six at the Camden Valley Country Club. She’s not six any more but there is history in her voice in ‘Scars and Memories’, a touching song about family and home. Co-written with Jeremy Barnes and Troy Kemp, this is a country-rock song with heart and power.

Maddi Lyn has had success at many country music competitions, including wins at the NSW Country Music Regional Awards at Forbes, Illabo, South Coast and Bluebell and local winner of the Macarthur Country Music Awards. In 2015 Maddi won the Australia Country Talent Seekers Quest in Parkes, the youngest person to ever win this competition.

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Album review: Easy, Sleazy and Greazy by Andrea Colburn & Mud Moseley

greazyOn the ‘about’ page of Andrea Colburn and Mud Moseley’s website there is this: The King and Queen of the Hillbilly Underground from North Georgia – which is a declaration and a story all in itself. In this way the statement is a very suitable introduction to Easy, Sleazy and Greazy, the new album from Colburn and Mud Moseley.

There are stories galore on this album, some of them exploring dark underbellies and darker emotions, some stepping straight into the toe-tapping traditions of country. Colburn doesn’t so much sing as you call you in, to pay attention to her (although she does have a great singing voice). She’s accompanied by guitar parts – presumably played by Moseley – that have their own stories, although at first you’ll want to listen to Colburn’s voice telling you what’s what.

This is not a beginner’s introduction to country music, particularly if you’re used to lyrics that sound like a repeat of so many other love songs. This is country music for those who love the storytelling side of country, and the side where people aren’t afraid to bring their real selves to their work. Colburn and Moseley seem so real that they could set up their gear in the corner of your living room and play just to you, and you’d think they’re singing just to you, but in the way of true artists their work is not only intimate but universal, familiar and strange all at the same time.

Easy, Sleazy and Greazy is out now.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

andreaandmud.com

 

Single release: ‘Unfixable’ by Kayla Woodson

kaylaKayla Woodson released her debut EP in 2016 and has now followed it up with a mighty new country-pop song, ‘Unfixable’.

At the age of seven Woodson started playing the Texas/Louisiana Opry circuit and, by age ten she was fronting her own band and performing at parades, parties, and festivals across the region. Her musical roots are in country, rock, and soul, and her influences include Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Guns ‘N Roses, as well as Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood.

It’s clear from her background that Woodson appreciates strong vocals and melodies, as well as understanding that the artist is only half of the equation in any song: the audience also has to be considered. Woodson sounds like she’s singing her heart, and heart’s sorrow, to someone standing right in front of her, and that willingness to connect, and her fantastic voice, are what you’ll find on ‘Unfixable’.

Watch ‘Unfixable’ below:

 

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

www.kaylawoodson.com

Single release: ‘Stay’ by Timothy James Wright

unnamed (1).pngCairns singer-songwriter Timothy James Wright has recently toured the east coast of Australia and opened for Busby Marou in North Queensland, so there will already be audiences familiar with his first EP, King Pig. He has now released a new song, ‘Stay’, from his forthcoming eponymous album.

With echoes of British pop and a lovely melodic line, this bittersweet song may be about someone who doesn’t want to be abandoned but nevertheless it is just right to lighten the darkening autumn days – and suitable to put on repeat, because you’re unlikely to grow tired of it.

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

https://www.facebook.com/timothy.james.wright.band/

Single release: ‘Watered Down Man’ by Riley Catherall

Riley cover.jpgCanberra-raised, Melbourne-resident singer-songwriter Riley Catherall is a young man with, it may be said, an old soul – if his new song, ‘Watered Down Man’, is anything to go by. This is the tale of a ‘watered down man in a whiskey coat’ who seems to be full of regretful self-awareness, with Catherall’s voice holding wariness and acceptance at the same time – the sort of knowing that tends to come with experiences both good and bad.

But that’s perhaps to be expected, because Catherall started studying classical guitar since the age of six before moving to jazz studies in his teens. That musical background explains the structure of the song, which is simple in the way that usually only comes with maturity: the story is allowed to shine, with Catherall’s voice and guitar in service of it. This is a great, classic country-tinged song, and the herald of a longer release that one can only hope will be available soon.

Listen on Spotify

Apple Music | iTunes

https://www.facebook.com/rileycatherallmusic

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.

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

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”