Month: August 2018

Single release: ‘Buried Alive’ by Catherine Gunther

 

Buried Alive ArtworkSydney-based singer-songwriter Catherine Gunther already has two EPs behind her: Livin’ on the Land​, released in 2015, and Bittersweet Memories​ in 2016. She has been nominated for a number of awards over the years, most notably Emerging Artist of the Year and People’s Choice Award Top 10 at the 2016 Gold Coast Music Awards, as well as performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Urban Country Music Festival and Bleach* Festival.

‘Buried Alive’ is her new single, and Gunther’s impressive voice carries this tale of love lost and painful goodbyes. It’s a rich, emotional song with a dirge-like beat that befits its title.

Prior to its release Gunther spent two years living on the Gold Coast while writing and recording, and that time marked a shift in her sound towards Americana. The song is the first of six tracks she plans to release over the new few months, all recorded with producer Jared Adlam.

Listen to ‘Buried Alive’:

 

Apple Music | Spotify

catherinegunther.com

Single release: ‘Love or Money’ by Bennett, Bowtell and Urquhart

BBU.jpgWhen Kevin Bennett, Lyn Bowtell and Felicity Urquhart first joined forces in 2015 to form Bennett, Bowtell a Urquhart, it seemed like the best kind of gift to Australian country music audiences. Each has a glorious voice and a catalogue of standout songs; together they are, simply, magic.

BBU released an eponymous album in 2016 and are now set to release their second LP, Weeds, on 7 September. The first single, ‘Love or Money’, is out now. Watch the video below – and, if you can, see them play live. The magic is even better in person.

 

Weeds will be released on 7 September. Order a signed CD from the artists here.

bennettbowtellurquhart.com

Apple Music | iTunes

Tour dates:

Fri, Sep 14
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm BBU Sydney Album Launch – The Acoustic Picnic
The Music Lounge, Sydney NSW

Sat, Sep 15
7:30 pm – 11:00 pm BBU Newcastle Album Launch, Lizottes
Lizottes, Lambton NSW

Fri, Sep 28
8:00 pm – 10:30 pm BBU Central Coast Album Launch – Hardy’s Bay Club
Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardys Bay NSW

Sat, Nov 17
8:00 pm – 10:30 pm BBU Melbourne Album Launch, The Spotted Mallard
The Spotted Mallard, BRUNSWICK VIC

Album review: Sunday Morning Cinema by Dan Parsons

DanParsons_SMC CoverWEB.jpgCountry music is, more than most other genres, the music of evocation. Songwriters conjure emotions of relationships and situations, sometimes long past; they describe worlds and places. It’s then up to the singer to call on their own experiences to bring out nuances that even the songwriter may not have been aware of, even if they are that songwriter. Sometimes the singer sounds like they’re calling the faithful to worship, and anyone who has fallen under music’s spell knows that transcendent feeling of listening to a song that feels spiritual in nature because those elements of writing and performance create something that connects so deeply to you.

It is no surprise that Queensland-born singer-songwriter Dan Parsons has created an album’s worth of such songs on his new album, Sunday Morning Cinema: it’s his fourth long player and it sounds like the work of someone who has developed a great interest in connecting with his listeners – and that requires honing your songs so that their meaning is always clear, and performing in a way that brings them fully to life.

Parsons has a great baritone voice that recalls James Taylor at his best, and the style of the songs does suggest that era of American songwriting (no bad thing) as well as some laidback West Coast country rock. The songs are so well written that nothing should get in their way, and accordingly the production on Sunday Morning Cinema is sparse without being spare. Steel guitar is given a prominent role (as it should be) but never competes with Parson’s voice, which brings us the many colours and shades in these songs.

Parsons is clearly a storyteller and he has created an album that delivers nine stories, all with their beginnings, middles and ends. This is an album for those who like their music intelligent and thoughtfully made; you can listen to this album over and over and it will always bring you something new each time. You can also simply close your eyes and let Parsons’s baritone call you closer, getting nearer to the centre of his story with each note.
Sunday Morning Cinema is out now.

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity

The album launch show will be at Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on 2 September. Tickets here.

www.danparsonsmusic.com

Single release: ‘Forever Won’t Be Long Enough’ by Hayley Jensen

unnamed (3)The new single from singer-songwriter Hayley Jensen’s album Turning Up the Dial is the love song ‘Forever Won’t Be Long Enough’. Some love songs are schmaltzy, of course, and they’re not for everyone – but when they’re done right, as this song is, they can certainly make you smile.

The song was co-written with Jerry Salley in Nashville not long after Jensen’s husband proposed to her, and the video features footage from their wedding. Watch the video below:

 

Turning Up the Dial was released in May, landed at #2 on the iTunes Country Albums, #14 iTunes Overall Albums, #4 ARIA Country Albums, #3 ARIA Australian Country Albums, and #16 ARIA Australian Albums charts.

Turning Up the Dial is out now through Social Family Records.

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity

www.hayleyjensen.net

Interview: Kora Naughton

unnamed-4.jpgKora Naughton is a singer-songwriter new to country music – yet she’s already released her first album, Ride or Die, at the age of 16. She’s a passionate, inspiring young woman and that energy can be heard in each song. I spoke to her recently.

 

Congratulations on the album, you must be thrilled to have your debut album out.

It’s pretty awesome. Thank you very much. I recorded this album with songs that I’d written having no intention of releasing – I love writing music and they were just songs that came from wherever when I was bored. I picked 10 that I really liked and I made them into an album and due for release on Friday, so I’m really excited.

 

You said you had no intention of releasing them but it doesn’t sound to me like they were things you were dabbling in, these are really well-constructed songs. So at what point did you start thinking about releasing them?

I released my first single last year in June, and it had nothing to do with this album and it was recorded with an entirely different studio. I recorded it actually as a part of an application process for something and I thought, well, I’ve got it recorded, I may as well release it. It’s called ‘Wrong’. And it ended up winning me the Southern Star Independent Rising Female Star last year. Which was kind of crazy because I never intended to release the song … it just kind of all happened, and that was awesome. So then I wrote another song, ‘I Don’t Want To Grow Up’, with David Carter [of Carter and Carter] at the [CMAA] Junior Academy last year. I released that song through Country Rocks Records, who were doing a spotlight artist thing for me at the time, which was exciting. I didn’t intend to have [the song] on an album but I guess I had these other songs sitting there and we just thought, why not? I put everything into it, I gigged, I worked hard to pay it off and I’m still paying it off, but I gig every weekend and all the money goes back into producing more and selling more albums. But it’s been the best thing I’ve done, I’m thrilled to be where I am, and these 10 songs mean the absolute world to me. So releasing them is scary but it’s also really, really exciting.

 
Continue reading “Interview: Kora Naughton”

Single release: ‘Shout the Land a Drink’ by The Hay Balers

unnamed (13).jpgAs the saying goes, you’d have to be living under a rock to not know about the devastating drought currently affecting large parts of Australia, with 100 per cent of New South Wales drought declared and other states also in desperate need of a drink. Now you can ‘Shout the Land a Drink’ with the new single by that time to be released on 27 August, from The Hay Balers.

The Hay Balers are the creation of Golden Guitar winner Matt Scullion, who wrote the song and has joined forces with Charles Alder from Rural Aid/Buy A Bale. The other Balers are his good friends Tania Kernaghan, Drew McAlister, Simply Bushed and James Blundell.

Produced by Shane Nicholson at Sound Hole studios, ‘Shout the Land a Drink’ was written by Scullion on a recent trip to Tamworth, where he was overwhelmed by the effects the drought was having on the community.

All profits from the sale of the song online will be donated back to the people who need it most: our farmers, who are an integral part of Australian life and the primary producers we depend on for wheat, beef, wool and a whole lot of other things.

BUY SHOUT THE LAND A DRINK ON ITUNES NOW
AND HELP THE FARMERS

http://smarturl.it/ShoutTheLandADrink

 

www.buyabale.com.au

Interview: Adam Brand reaches a Milestone

244056-L-LOEarlier this year Australian country music star Adam Brand marked his 20 years in the music industry with the album Milestones20 Years, a collection of hits and fan favourites from those two decades, as well as two new songs. Adam has taken those milestones on the road, and is currently touring the country. I spoke to him in between shows.

Your tour’s only just started.

Well, it’s kind of started. The album just came out but I actually started doing these Milestones shows back in May because I figured it’s not just about the album this year, it’s about the year, the whole year of just the anniversary year, so I started earlier.

Speaking of your anniversary, now 20 years as a performer, I am wondering how that’s possible when you still look 25.

You’re too kind. It might be called Photoshop, it might be called bad eyesight on your part, it might be called, I don’t know [laughs].

But it really seems not possible because obviously you’ve had a long career but 20 years sounds like a very long time when you still are a young man actually.

Sometimes I sort of think about it myself and I go, Wow, where did that go? or Can that really be true? Can it be that long? It’s been an amazing ride and not only that, I started late, I was a late starter.

I don’t believe that.

My first album didn’t come out until I was 28 – [for] a lot of people [it’s] in the early 20s or even teens.

Do you think that was an advantage starting later, because you knew you really wanted it by that age, it wasn’t just a laugh or anything like that?

Yeah, I’d already done an apprenticeship. We had a couple of little business things and worked with different people and travelled a bit, so when I made that decision and thought, Now I want to try this, I went into it without just stars in my eyes, I went into there thinking, Okay, I’m going to have a go at this, I’m going to really, really put everything I’ve got into it, rather than just spinning the lottery wheel.

Continue reading “Interview: Adam Brand reaches a Milestone”

Single release: ‘Blackwater’ by Blake O’Connor

unnamed (12).jpg‘Blackwater’ is the new single from New South Wales singer-songwriter Blake O’Connor’s debut EP, which was released in June. It’s a dark, bluesy country song and when you hear it you will probably think you’re listening to quite a grown-up fella who has lived a bit of life. Well, you are not: O’Connor is in his late teens, even if his voice sounds like it has been spending years developing its depth and timbre.

However, O’Connor has already graduated from the CMAA Academy of Country Music and toured in support of Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley on their Queensland run, so while he’s young he has earned the experience that is so evident in this song. It’s his voice that will get you first, though, and if you like it on this track you may wish to see him play live – tour dates below, right after you’ve watched the video.

 

Blake O’Connor tour dates:

August 18 Brisbane Ekka
August 19 Brisbane Ekka
August 24 Crowbar Gympie Music Muster
August 31 Leadbelly Newtown *Guest of Brad Cox
October 20 Wingham Acoustic Festival
October 27 River Country Howdown Clarence Town
September 14 Gaol Break Old Dubbo Gaol
September 22 Panthers Tap Bar Port Macquarie
September 29 Bago Tavern Port Macquarie
Saturday November 3 Ballina CMF *Guest of Adam Brand
November 10 Tunes on the Turf Dunedoo

Apple Music | iTunes

https://www.facebook.com/Blakeoconnormusic/

 

unnamed (12).jpg

Interview: The McClymonts on tour, with plus ones

268x0wThis post begins with my usual disclaimer: I am heavily pro-McClymonts. The trio of sisters originally from Grafton in New South Wales have been lighting up country music for the past twelve years, and I have been a fan for every one of those years. So, with that out of the way, let’s move on to my recent interview with lead singer and guitarist Brooke McClymont. After touring recently with her husband, Adam Eckersley, for the release of their joint album, Brooke is now on the road with sisters Sam and Mollie – and some plus ones in the form of their babies. While touring needs different logistics now than it did 12 years ago, it’s clear that Brooke is just as excited about it as ever. We spoke while the band was waiting to appear on a morning TV show.

 

It’s wonderful to see you all out on tour again but of course touring.

We’re so excited.

 

Touring now requires more logistical planning than it used to because you all have children. How long did it take to plan?

Oh, a good eight months. We like to be organised, because with the kids and we’ve only got one mum that we’ve got to share between us. And our partners all work. So it’s just being organised but it’s something that we love doing and we’re pretty good at it, so we’ve gotten used to it now anyway. We’re just really pumped to get back out on the road.

 

I saw that you and [husband] Adam [Eckersley] took Tiggy on tour with you, so she’s obviously used to the touring lifestyle.

Oh, she’s amazing. We thought, you know, pulling her out of school, we’re going to be those parents … but the teacher said, ‘We encourage you, it’s so good for the kids to get out there and learn on the road’, and she really did, she had such a great time and she got to see what we do for a living. Which is really good.

 

 

Looking at your schedule for your McClymonts tour, you’re obviously going to quite a few places, but are there any places you’re playing that you haven’t been to for a while, so you’re returning to them after absence?

We are doing 22 shows on this one, and there are quite a few that we haven’t done for a while. The Melbourne Palms Crown Casino, which is amazing, that’s such a massive room, the girls and I haven’t done that for a couple of years. We’ve never done Aussie World, which is on the Sunshine Coast. We haven’t done Mackay for a while, and it will be good to get back. And we’re also going to Lightning Ridge, never played at Lightning Ridge ever. We said, you know what, [there are] a lot of places we really haven’t been, and especially being on the road with my hubby and we thought, wow, out west a lot of people can’t get away, and it’s a long way from everywhere. and we thought, Let’s go to them. So we’re really, really looking forward to getting into all these new places that we haven’t been before.

 

The three of you started playing together as children, and on the song ‘Blood is Thicker than Water’ there’s reference made to you all playing guitars. But, of course, only you play guitar in the band now, so who decided who got what instrument?

Well, actually, me, I told everyone because I was the boss back when we were little, so I told Sam and Mollie, I said ‘Sam, you need to play bass, and Mollie, you’re playing mandolin.’ I was a bit of a dictator back then. But they kind of thanked me for it as they got older, because look, they play those instruments now in our band, so it’s paid off. [But] I’m not the dictator anymore. None of us are. We know what needs get done, so it’s a really good balance and I think the older we get – we’ve been touring for 12 years now – we feel like we’re such old veterans, even though that’s not a long time, but, you know, we’ve worked with each other all our life, especially being sisters and working together, we’ve definitely found a work–life balance with each other.

 

I can proudly say that I went to your very first band show at Blazes in Tamworth.

Oh really?

 

Yes. I was at the festival and you’d released your EP and I loved it.

Oh god love you, that’s great.

 

I remember saying to everyone, ‘I’m so excited I’m going to The McClymonts.’

That’s so good. You know what, that EP did really well for us and it kind of set us up in the Australian country music industry, and everyone just seemed to have loved it. We’ve been so lucky and grateful that we’ve been able to continue to do what we’re doing. When we had kids we continued to keep going and make records, and we do pinch ourselves and go, jeez, we’ve got a good job, got a good life.

 

And you’ve created it, I think. It’s consistency and hard work.

I hate saying it’s luck because it’s not. You create your own luck. But it’s definitely been something that the three of us have really worked out, we’ve always been focused on it, we’ve taken pride and cared for our career, and we still are like that today.

 

I concur, as someone who observes your career. Do you need much rehearsal time these days?

Yes. We like to give ourselves a few days, two full days, and usually by the end of it our heads are really sore. But that’s how we like to operate – we like to know that we’re going out putting on a good show for the fans, and I think that’s why people keep coming back because we do take care in the show, especially our songs and making sure that everything’s right because we are bit of perfectionists, the three of us. I think I love about us as well. So yes, definitely every tour we also rehearse with the band. It’s full-on, intense but it’s still fun and that’s the main thing.

 

And for me as a fan a crucial question is always what’s in the set list. Now I know ‘Shotgun’ I think has fairly permanent place on it.

No it hasn’t, we’re not doing it this one either.

 

Oh no!

I know, isn’t that crazy. That’s not making a comeback at all because we feel like we’re going to put ‘Endless’ [there] because of the new album – we kind of replaced ‘Shotgun’ with ‘Endless’. The set for this tour is a pretty up, rocking style, so I’ve got to get fit again because I’ve literally thought, How the hell am I going to last nearly two hours on stage doing what we’re doing? Literally I’m going to have to be like an athlete.

 

And also you all tend to play in heels.

See, that’s another thing that I’m really not good at anymore. I’m getting old now, I hear my knees cracking, but, you know, what I’ll do what I have to do.

 

I don’t think anyone would mind if you wore flats.

Oh good, I pretty much do comfort now, I’m more sensible as I’m getting older.

 

Highly reasonable. Now, are your parents proud of you all or do they take it for granted that they have such accomplished children?

I have no idea. I’m pretty sure they’re proud, but – and you know these days, they want to see the grandkids more than anything and I don’t think they ever talk about us any more, they’re just so excited because they’ve got really young little babies in the family, like Mollie had Elky and Sam’s little man, Wilder, he’s only one, and my daughter’s five, so we’re at that age, at that time in our lives the kids are so awesome to be around. There’s a lot of young kids and it’s just really cool.

 

And, as mentioned, Tiggy’s been on the road with you, but do you think there’s any chance of a McClymonts children opening act? Band?

I have no doubt that there will be, probably at some stage. When you have kids and they turn five it’s amazing. They can do things for you. And my daughter’s such a goody two-shoes too, which is fantastic. I don’t know where she gets that from, Adam or me, but she’s amazing and she’s such a joy to be around and I love it. So I’m sure there will be plenty more times when they’ll be hitting the road with us, for sure.

 

Every time I go to a McClymonts show I see a lot of big smiles around the room, so I tend to think of your job as giving joy to people, but I’m wondering what you think your job is?

It is [that]. I really feel that. I really think that’s such a great way of seeing what we do. You know, whatever people are going through, the fact that they want to come and spend their couple of hours, three hours with us, on the weekend after they’ve had a whatever kind of week they’ve had, either at work or home life, they can escape for three hours and we give joy. Our job is, hopefully, to give people a really fun night out. And that’s the great thing. That’s what I love about it. It’s nice to know that people take the time out to come and see you and give their time. It’s amazing.

 

I think you honour the audience. Every time I’ve seen you play there is a lot of joy in the room and I’ve taken people who don’t actually know your music and they all walk out saying it was fantastic.

Oh good. See, in life that’s all you have to do. If only one person walks away feeling that, you’ve done your job. I mean, actually, if only one person walks away you’ didn’t really do your job, did you? You’ve just played on a whole room! But you know what I mean.

 

I do.

But that’s the aim. We’ve never taken it for granted.

 

I’ll ask you one more question so you can go on TV in good time. Are you working on new material?

Not at this stage. The album came out at the beginning of last year but it’s kind of new for us girls, because the girls all went and had babies. We have to pencil in it in when we need to write together, which won’t be too far off but there will definitely be new music in the works sometime soon. But right now Sam and Mollie have to be mamas and we’re just giving them time to enjoy their babies because they’re not babies for long. And we’re going to be around forever, so we’re making sure we get our priorities right, especially now that the kids are here.

www.themcclymonts.net.au

Tour dates:

SAT 11 AUG        MT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO   MT ISA, QLD

FRI 24 AUG         GATEWAY HOTEL. GEELONG, VIC

SAT 25 AUG        THE PALMS AT CROWN, MELBOURNE, VIC

FRI 31 AUG         INVERELL RSM, INVERELL, NSW

SAT 1 SEP             CASINO RSM, CASINO, NSW

FRI 7 SEP              CANBERRA SOUTHERN CROSS CLUB, CANBERRA, ACT

SAT 8 SEP             FORBES SERVICES MEMORIAL CLUB, FORBES, NSW

FRI 21 SEP           WESTS NEW LAMBTON NEW LAMBTON, NSW

SAT 22 SEP          EVAN THEATRE – PANTHERS, PENRITH, NSW

FRI 5 OCT             CLUB OLD BAR, OLD BAR, NSW

SAT 6 OCT            THE CUBE, CAMPBELLTOWN, NSW

FRI 19 OCT          NORTHS LEAGUES CLUB KALLANGUR, QLD

SAT 20 OCT         MACKAY ENTERTAINMENT & CONVENTION CENTRE, MACKAY, QLD

FRI 2 NOV            ALEXANDRA HILLS HOTEL, ALEXANDRA HILLS, QLD

SAT 3 NOV          AUSSIE WORLD – THE SHED, SUNSHINE COAST, QLD

FRI 9 NOV            OLD MILL HOTEL, HAHNDORF, SA

FRI 23 NOV         WEE WAA BOWLING CLUB, WEE WAA, NSW

SAT 24 NOV        LIGHTNING RIDGE BOWLING CLUB, LIGHTNING RIDGE, NSW

FRI 7 DEC             YORK ON LILYDALE, MT EVELYN, VIC

SAT 8 DEC            WEST GIPPSLAND ARTS CENTRE WARRAGUL, VIC

Single release: ‘Villains’ by Ben Leece

unnamed (11).jpgIf you’re taking the time to read about music, you’re probably a person a bit like me: music infuses most of your waking hours, and one song can take over your day to the point that it can make you feel happy, sad, or whatever it’s meant to do. You feel like there’s not enough time in the day, month, year, lifetime to listen to all the music you want to, and you worry that you’re going to miss a great song. You will also, from time to time, get a shiver up your spine (in a good way) when you listen to a song for the first time – and when that same song keeps causing the same response, you know that it’s not only a great song but it has another dimension to what’s going on – not a dimension you can name or even visit, but it’s just there, and you know you will keep going back to that song for years to come, not necessarily trying to figure out what it is but just to keep experiencing that magic.

That was my reaction to ‘Villains’ by New South Wales singer-songwriter Ben Leece. Now based in Newcastle, originally from Quirindi, Leece recorded the song during sessions with Shane Nicholson for an upcoming album. Leece’s voice is an instrument of mystery and wonder, leading the listener into a story and holding them there. It cracks and bends its way through the song, and never lets you off the hook. But it’s such a compelling place to be that you won’t mind – and, like me, you’ll probably keep going back for more.

Listen to ‘Villains’ on:

Soundcloud | Spotify | Apple Music

benleece.net