Month: September 2019

Single release: ‘Let Us Stand Together’ by Warren H Williams

unnamed-4.jpgOver forty-plus years Northern Territory singer-songwriter Warren H Williams has released ten albums, including the 1998 album Country Friends and Me, which included the ARIA-nominated ‘Raining on the Rock’, a duet with John Williamson.

Williams is soon to release a new, self-produced studio album, These are the Changes, and from it comes the first single, ‘Let Us Stand Together’, recorded with his daughter Ghenise and son Nicholas. The song is an anthem for happiness, urging us to stand together, and work together, to unite as a community by creating love, unity and harmony locally and then letting the happiness spread.

‘It all starts at home with your own family and then spreads from there,’ says Williams. ‘The world should be a happy place – just be happy.’ 

Indeed, it’s hard to be anything upbeat when you listen to this song. While this song has a serious message, Williams delivers it straight and heartfelt; ever the entertainer, he understands how to get his message across in a way that the audience will appreciate and remember – because they’ve had a good time in the process.


Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

Single release: ‘Sing Me a Story’ by Luke O’Shea & Lyn Bowtell

unnamed-3If you’ve been lucky enough to see Luke O’Shea and Lyn Bowtell do their double-act live show, you know how well they work together – as storytellers, as singers, and as entertainers. They both have well-developed senses of humour to ensure the between-songs repartee is never dull – and then they sing, and it’s hard not to be spellbound. They are compelling as individual artists, but it’s a treat when they sing together. Now that treat has been documented, in the form of ‘Sing Me a Story’, the first single from O’Shea’s forthcoming album, There in the Ochre, which will be released in January 2020.

‘Sing Me a Story’ was written by O’Shea with Felicity Urquhart, who has her own connection to Lyn Bowtell as a member of Bennett Bowtell & Urquhart. The song is about the very essence of Australian country music: telling stories. It acknowledges the place landscape and history take in our storytelling, including our most ancient storytelling in the world’s oldest continuous culture, which has existed in this country for tens of thousands of years.

Listen to ‘Sing Me a Story’:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

Luke O’Shea & Lyn Bowtell – Love and Laughter Tour 

11 October 2019
Live @ The Attic, Hotel Blue, Katoomba
Hotel Blue, 88 Lurline St, Katoomba NSW 2780

12 October 2019
Panthers Bathurst, 132 Piper Street, Bathurst, NSW 2795 Australia

26 October 2019
The Brass Monkey, 115a Cronulla Street Cronulla, 2230 NSW Australia

27 October 2019
Lizottes, 31 Morehead Street Lambton, NSW 2299


Single release: ‘ Drive Slow’ by Melanie Gray

thumbnail_1_0.jpgMelanie Gray is a singer-songwriter from Darwin, NT, who recently released the single ‘Drive Slow’, which debuted at number 4 on the iTunes Country songs chart. Although Gray has songwriting accolades on her own – with shortlistings in the Australian Songwriting Competition – this country-pop track was written with the ever-popular Gina Jeffreys and newcomer Max Jackson. It was produced by Rod and Jeff McCormack, with Rod playing all the instruments on the track.

The accompanying video was filmed in the Northern Territory. ‘I want to do my bit for Territory Tourism, with the film clip,’ says Gary. ‘I’m a cheerleader for the Territory and I want people to wonder where that place is and to want to come visit.’

While the song is intended to be a great addition to a road-trip playlist, it also has a more serious message: ‘The song is also about taking your relationship slow,’ says Gray. ‘Even just dating people in this day and age comes with certain conventions you’re supposed to follow. We live in a world where everyone wants everything right now and has access to whatever they want over apps. It’s hard enough navigating it all as adult let alone the pressures often felt by teenagers to be liked and accepted. The song is about stepping out of the formalities of best behaviours, dinner dates and hook-ups to taking your time to get to know someone within a healthy comfort zone – why not take off on an amazing adventure together and explore the great outdoors?’


Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

Single release: ‘From Down Here’ by Georgia State Line

unnamed-6.jpgGeorgia State Line have established such a presence in Australian country music that it seems as though they should have several albums behind them already. Instead, they are currently working on their first, with producer James Cecil, and it will be released in 2020. A glimpse of the album comes in the form of its first single, ‘From Down Here’.

Lead singer Georgia Delves says of the song: ‘This track is my antidote to life’s more challenging moments. We all, at one point or another, find ourselves on paths that we don’t necessarily want to be walking. It takes a lot of strength to accept the process as it is, and trust the greater plan. A lemons-to-lemonade situation, really.’

The song showcases the band’s great musical pedigree and is yet more proof that their increasing popularity is deserved. While next year seems a long time to wait for the album, there is no doubt the band will make it worth their fans’ while.

Listen on:

Apple Music | BandcampiTunes | Spotify

Single launch show:
Sunday 20 October 2019
Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, Vic.
Doors open 7.30 p.m.
Special guest tba

Single release: ‘Second Hand’ by Andrew Swift and Gretta Ziller

unnamed-5.jpgAndrew Swift and Gretta Ziller are two of Australia’s most compelling solo artists, singer-songwriters who excel at both roles. Ziller is in possession of one of the great voices of Australian country and is the creator of the exceptional album Queen of Boomtown and its equally wonderful predecessor, the EP Hell’s Half Acre. Swift’s album Call Out for the Cavalry won the Golden Guitar for Alt Country Album of the Year and also won him New Talent of the Year, deserved recognition for his talent and achievement.

Ziller and Swift have been doing shows and tours together for several years, but they’ve only recently recorded together for the first time. Not surprisingly, the result is outstanding: the song ‘Second Hand’ was written by Ziller several years ago but it sounds as if it was created for the two of them, each singer playing off the other and uniting to make the song even stronger. If they ever decide to record an album together it will likely be something that only enhances their already powerful reputations, just as this short, perfect song does.

‘Second Hand’ is out now through Social Family Records.

Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify

Single release: ‘The Real Deal’ by Kelly Winning

std_28806When she spent time teaching in remote New South Wales, Sydney singer-songwriter Kelly Winning saw the effects of drugs, mental illness and suicide on young people, especially those in remote Indigenous communities. She was moved to write her new single, ‘The Real Deal’ which encourages people to speak up about how they really feel – to ‘give me the real deal’.

‘It is my hope that “The Real Deal” will bring people together to share their hearts,’ says Winning. She has seen the effect of bottling up emotions and not feeling like they can be expressed for fear of shame. While teaching Winning banned the word ‘shame’ in her classroom; she carries on that work by bringing people together to collaborate, through music and spreading her Real Deal message.

Winning is a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music, and the song was arranged by esteemed country music artist Kevin Bennett. It debuted at number 3 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts. She aims to take the song, and its message, to rural and remote communities.

Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunes



Single release: ‘We’re Still Here’ by Tom Curtain

Artwork_Were-Still_Tom-CurtainPart of the function of country music is to tell stories about the country – living on the land, working the land, and loving that same land even when it doesn’t seem to love you back. In times of drought – and a lot of Australia is in the worst drought many of the inhabitants can remember – country music acts as a document of what’s going on and a reassurance to those going through the worst that they are not alone.

Singer-songwriter Tom Curtain – a Golden Guitar and Southern Star winner – lives near the town of Katherine, NT, and his latest song, ‘We’re Still Here’, is a moving record of the challenges but also the determination of those who make their life and living on the land, which lately has involved not only drought but catastrophic floods. While the Northern Territory has its own seasonal challenges related to the wet, dry, build-up and build-down, ‘We’re Still Here’ was inspired by Curtain’s tour through central and western Queensland in late 2018 and early 2019. He grew up near Kingaroy in Queensland, and now runs the Katherine Outback Experience, so he has an affinity with rural, regional and remote communities, and this powerful song comes from a place of deep empathy. It’s also the first single from Curtain’s next album, due for release in November.



Listen on:

Apple Music | iTunesSpotify

Single premiere: ‘Never Look Back’ by Matt Jordan

unnamed (1).jpgThe appeal of certain songs can be rationalised: the melody’s great, the lyrics are meaningful, the chorus is fantastic. But it’s not really our rational selves that are making the decision about whether or not we love a song, or an artist. Our responses to music are immediate and, usually, emotional – ‘I love it’, ‘I hate it’. It’s only then that we try to rationalise why we’ve responded that way, and those rationalisations have meaning, because they come from a place of curiosity. Why do I love that song so much? What are the elements that are so appealing?

So attempts could be made to rationalise why ‘Never Look Back’, the new song from American roots/Americana singer-songwriter Matt Jordan, is great, but it comes down to this: it’s very lovable. (It’s also making its Australian premiere on this site today.) And here are the reasons: there is emotion in this song, and the authenticity of that emotion is in Jordan’s voice; it has a catchy chorus that lingers in the memory; and it’s tight, in that Jordan doesn’t waste time on lyrical or musical flourishes that would obstruct the meaning of the song.

In 2016 Missouri native Jordan released the single ‘Chicago’, which gained him notice in the press and features by The Shotgun Seat and American Songwriter highlighting his country-rock songs. Then he became a father and decided to take some time away from music. This song is his first in three years and while Jordan is likely unknown to Australian audiences, that should change with its release, which will appeal to fans of a few different strands of country music, and of rock.

Listen to ‘Never Look Back’ now on Soundcloud:

After its official release on 20 September you can find it on:

Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify


Single release: ‘The Way God Made Me’ by Josh Setterfield

std_29433-01Singer-songwriter Josh Setterfield came to country music from punk, as we discussed in 2017. That’s not the stretch it might sound, as the disciplined song construction needed in punk can be applied to country. Country arguably allows more room for storytelling and, perhaps, a bigger range of emotions, because the audience expects it and is there for it. Therefore, upon releasing his unforgettable, and confronting, new song Setterfield is sending it out to listeners who will be receptive of his honesty.

‘The Way God Made Me’ is a song about depression and self-loathing. Setterfield wrote, produced and recorded the song himself, and it’s in the country rock style of his earlier releases. That style actually gives his words even more power: if this were a softer, acoustic release – which he could certainly pull off, given his voice – it could feel as though Setterfield was singing for and to himself, whereas this song, as he has recorded it, sounds like it is very much a message for and connection to his audience.

‘They say country music is all about the truth,’ says Setterfield. ‘So I wrote the truth. “The Way God Made Me” is about my struggle with depression and not knowing how to get out or explain it to people when they ask. I hit rock bottom one day and thought it was time to address it.’

You’ll have to listen to the lyrics to understand how brave the song is in terms of what he’s revealing – and the resolution of it is not in the lyrics themselves but in the fact that he has released the song. He wants others to hear this; he wants anyone who feels the same way to know that they’re not alone. It is an example of the power of art and why it’s so necessary: to, often, act as a refuge, a balm and a reassurance.

Listen to ‘The Way God Made Me’:

Apple Music | Spotify



Interview: Adam Brand and the good life

image009.pngLast year Adam Brand celebrated twenty years in Australian country music with the release of his album Milestones; this year he has been relatively quiet – because his life has just changed, in a big and wonderful way. No mystery, then, that the first single from his upcoming album (due for release next year) is ‘Life’s Been Good to Me’. We talked about the song, the very good change in his life, and the reason why his album was recorded a year early.


Your new song is another cracker and you certainly have a knack for catchy tunes. Is that a skill you’ve honed, in identifying those sorts of tunes, or is it innate?

I have no idea [laughs].

But you keep doing it, Adam! You keep finding these great songs and writing these great songs.

Look, the fact that you’ve said that is very touching. Thank you very much. But you know, when you’re writing or even choosing – I don’t write all my own stuff these days, I listen to songs from other songwriters and things like that – I just want to sing stuff that gets me going, that gets me really excited or emotional. So I guess in some ways I’m representative of a normal music fan. If it gets me excited, then it’s possibly going to excite someone else.

And maybe also part of the skill of it is in not overthinking that – it’s actually trusting your response to the song and not sitting there wondering, Am I right about that?

Second-guessing and overthinking are probably an artist’s and songwriter’s worst enemy: ‘Have I done too many of those songs?’ or ‘Will people get it?’ ‘What will they think?’ And all that kind of stuff. I learned long ago that I’ve got to shut those voices out and just go with what my heart feels. Am I excited? Does it feel good? Then it doesn’t matter, you know. Because you aren’t going to please everyone. People aren’t always going to get it. And then there’s that thing called people’s personal taste! [Laughs] They’re just not going to like it, so don’t try. Just make sure that what you’re singing, you believe in it, you love it, you love doing it yourself, and then leave the rest in God’s hands.

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