Month: July 2018

Single release: ‘Hot as Hell in Heaven’ by Montgomery Church

unnamed.jpgMontgomery Church is a New South Wales duo from the Snowy Mountains, comprised of Cielle Montgomery and James Church. Their new album In the Shadow of the Mountain is a glorious collection of songs, and from it they have released the single ‘Hot as Hell in Heaven’ , which tells the story of an ex-con finding that life on the outside is not so heavenly after all. It exemplifies the style and quality of the album and, therefore, provides a great introduction to this accomplished pair’s work.

 

Listen to ‘Hot as Hell in Heaven’ on Soundcloud.

Montgomery Church have toured extensively throughout Australia over the past two years, playing numerous sold out shows, house concerts and festivals including Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, National Folk Festival, Inland Sea of Sound Festival, Summer Hill Folk Festival, St Alban’s Folk Festival, Maleny Music Festival, Hill End Arts Festival, Escape ArtFEST, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival, Cullulleraine Music Festival, The Great Alpine Pick, Peak Music Festival, as well as appearing at Woodford Folk Festival.

In the Shadow of the Mountain is out now.

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

www.montgomerychurch.com.au

 

Interview: The Glorious North

TGN_TheWidow_cdsize_hi.jpgMelbourne band The Glorious North recently released their debut album, Welcome To The Glorious North, and have a new single out: ‘The Widow’, which is a twist on a murder ballad.

The band play regularly in Melbourne and have performed at festivals including Beer InCider Experience in Brisbane, Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Fat Yak BBQ Festival in Melbourne. Recently I spoke to singer/guitarist PJ.

 

Do you all have stage names?

No, we don’t. I mean my schoolyard nickname was PJ because I am Patrick James. So I use it as a slight degree of separation from my real life and The Glorious North life. Our guitarist you know as Tele Dee but that is not his real name. He has the real full onstage name.

 

I also like the fact you have made a distinction between real life and musical life. Your music isn’t integrated into your real life?

Well, it is to a very large degree but it does help with dislocating the responsibility of day jobs and fatherhood from drinking a lot of beer and carrying on onstage.

 

I like to do research before I do interviews but there is actually not a huge amount about your band that I could find – which is good, because it means I get to ask you questions like how did the band form? How do you all know each other and how long ago did you get together?

The nucleus of the band is myself and Tele, our guitarist, and we have been playing together for 20 years in and out of different outfits. We are kind of refugees from indie guitar rock, if you like. And then, as we have got a little bit older and wiser, we have moved increasingly towards more balanced-style songwriting and storytelling, which ended up where I began, really. I began as a little, little boy listening to country music. So we started playing as a duo and we were pouring out all these country songs and we, over a beer one day, said, ‘Let’s find another couple of people to play in a band.’

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Interview: Brendon Chase on Elvis and Cruise N Groove

ElvisIt’s good to mix things up on a country music website – although, as Elvis Presley was a bluegrass performer at least some of the time, interviewing an Elvis performer is not mixing things too far.

After over 20 years of performing Elvis tunes, New Zealander Brendon Chase earned himself the title of ‘Australasia’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Act’ in 2017. He is one of the world’s premier Elvis performers – not to mention the busiest in New Zealand, by the sound of it – and he is appearing on Cruise N Groove, with the theme Elvis Meets the Legends. The 2018 Cruise N Groove music festival at sea departs from Sydney on 6 November and runs till the 13th. I spoke to Brendon recently.

 

How old you were when you discovered Elvis?
I would have been seven years old, I guess.

And was that because your parents were playing Elvis music?
No, it was the Elvis Aloha concert beamed around the world and I watched that in 1973.

Is that a distinct memory, seeing him for the first time?
Yes – it blew me away that he was such a cool dude and I thought I want to be cool like that one day.

So, given that you were so young and you get exposed to a lot of music over a lifetime was Elvis like your favourite artist as a child and a teenager?
Yeah, for sure. And probably Motown was my next, but Elvis is up there with the best of them.

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Interview: Gina Jeffreys on Cruisin’ Country

2014background.jpgThe line-up of this year’s Cruisin’ Country 8 could hardly be more illustrious, bringing together brings together over 40 artists, including John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell and Amber Lawrence. Joining them will be Gina Jeffreys, who is, without a doubt, one of Australia’s favourite country music artists. She’s also a delightful person to talk to, as I found out recently.

How many Cruisin’ Countries have you done?

This will be my third. We haven’t been in a couple of years. I did one on my own and I did one with the Songbirds [a trio consisting of Gina, Beccy Cole and Sara Storer]. But this is my third. Lots of the artists go nearly every year. It’s kind of a family holiday for them. I’m super excited to be heading back. It’s the funnest thing ever. It really is a blast. Awesome food, drinks, go to a show every night, lie by the pool. It’s just a dream come true.

Part of me wonders whether it’s a bit like the Tamworth Country Music Festival on the water?

That is exactly what it’s like. That’s the best way to explain it. For the people that come that love country music, everything is paid for. When you go to a different vessel you’re paying all the time for different shows, whereas this is a floating country music festival. There’s no doubt about it. But you get to really mingle more, I think, with the artists. We see all the fans at breakfast and lunch and dinner, and you’re having a holiday with country music lovers. It’s really unique. And it’s really fun actually. I really enjoy it.

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Video premiere: ‘Running Now’ by Jamie McDell

jamiemcdellI’ve been enjoying New Zealand singer-songwriter Jamie McDell’s album Extraordinary Girl so much that I haven’t wanted to stop listening long enough to write about it … which is why the premiere of the video of her new single, ‘Running Now’, has presented the opportunity for an excellent compromise (of sorts).

 

The album was recorded in Nashville in 2017. Says McDell: ‘Nashville was me getting out of my comfort zone and finding my way back to it. I like to write songs quickly and alone and quite frankly when I feel like it, and I think being away from home helped me get back to that headspace.

‘The listener is getting a sincerely true collection of stories that haven’t been tampered with since they were written. They are exactly what I felt like saying/singing at the time – raw, unpolished and deeply honest.’

McDell lives in Auckland and recently toured Australia with Busby Marou. If you missed her , however, start with ‘Running Now’, fall in love with her voice, her lyrics and her sound, then you’ll soon find yourself running to the album.

 

Extraordinary Girl is out now.

Apple Music | iTunes

www.jamiemcdell.co.nz

Interview: Tori Forsyth

image003Singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth has just released her debut album, Dawn of the Dark, but she was already a force in Australian country music, playing shows with other artists and clearly impressing established hands. The reasons for her rise are clear on the album, which is a rich work from an artist who is at the start of her career yet already accomplished. I interviewed Tori before the album’s release and she is now on tour.

I love the album. I have been listening to it a lot and it is one of those albums that you can’t put it on in the background which is great because it really demands attention but so it means I have a very good, deep listen to it and it is a really fantastic piece of work so congratulations.

Thank you so much.

I would like to start by asking about your musical education – what you grew up listening to.

I grew up listening to a lot of different music. My parents didn’t really have any specific type of music style that they only listened to. So I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks’s solo work was a pretty big part of growing up. A lot of Melanie Safka, a bit of Jimmy Barnes. It was pretty eclectic.

Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks is fantastic pop music in terms of the song structures and the melodies. Are you interested in how pop works as much as any other genre?

Definitely. I think more so back then, kind of, pop music styles and sounds, more than what is considered pop at the moment – but, yes. I love how pop is structured, I love the catchy choruses and tag lines and all that sort of thing. So I definitely do have a place for pop in my playlist.

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