Earlier this year Sydney-based singer-songwriter Cassidy-Rae released the single ‘More’, a moving song that showcased her talents and debuted at number 3 on the iTunes Country Music chart. Since then she’s been busy, performing on Carnival Cruise Lines in the Caribbean – and recording a new song, the delightful ‘Throwback’, with producer Michael Carpenter. ‘Throwback’ is a song about falling in love the old-fashioned way and celebrating all the little glories as two people fall in love with each other.
The equally delightful video for ‘Throwback’ makes its debut on this site today. Just like the song, it will put a smile on your face – a perfect upbeat track just in time for summer. The video was shot by Jackson Speed in various locations around Nashville and Sydney.
Cassidy-Rae will be performing at the Ballina Country Musical festival on 2 and 3 November, and will no doubt appear at the next 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival, as she’s a regular there. This versatile artist has also performed all over the world with the Australian Girls Choir. She never stays in once place too long, so catch her when you can!
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
My first introduction to Andy Golledge and his music came recently, in the exceptional TV series Robbie Hood (if you haven’t seen it, make it a priority – it is too wonderful to be properly described here so you’ll just have to do yourself a favour and watch it). Golledge plays Robbie’s father, who is a musician, and Golledge’s original songs are a feature of each episode. Other than that, there wasn’t a lot of recorded music available.
That situation is changing, with the release of a new single, ‘Run to the River’, and a video to go with it, and the announcement that he’ll release an EP, Namoi, on I OH YOU/Mushroom in February. Golledge says that the song was written for his twin brother, who was having seizures for two years, which doctors attributed to an anxiety disorder. Golledge and his brother love to fish when they’re together, and Golledge wrote the song to encourage his brother to reach out and talk to others, to get out of the house and go fishing – ‘whatever he can do to help himself get better and take charge of his life’.
From only a few notes in it’s clear that this is a powerful song on its own, and the video only enhances that impression. A song that comes so clearly from a place of love and care is also an act of love and care for anyone who listens to it.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
See Andy Golledge live:
Thursday 21 November
Marrickville Bowlo | Sydney, NSW
Friday 6 – Saturday 7 December
Fairgrounds Festival | Berry, NSW
Shane Hicks – the man behind Dusty Miles – is a founding member of Brisbane blues-rock band The Blackwater Fever. His new venture is more in the singer-songwriter vein, edging into country music, and it’s the album Fireroad Vol. 1. There is very little other information to be found about Miles apart from the fact that he wrote, performed, mixed and recorded Fireroad Vol. 1 as well as doing the cover artwork. And what that does is force a reviewer to accept the music as the only possible biography there is – but even then Miles is not a songwriter in the confessional vein. Fireroad Vol. 1 is a collection of stories that take a while to get to know, and the reason you’ll want to spend the time to get to know them is because the music lodges into your synapses. Snippets of these songs pop into the mind at random times and each one calls you back to the album.
Fireroad Vol. 1 seems to contain a song cycle, describing a man in flight and also in pursuit, one who has regrets but who isn’t letting them stop him moving forwards, and moving on. The music is evocative of space and distance, across landscape and time. There’s sadness in it, especially in ‘Lead Me Home’, and there’s also insouciance, as in ‘Laying in the Sun’.
All of that is an effort to describe what can be indescribable – to rationally explain an emotional and visceral response to music, which is what a lot of writing about music seeks to do. The truth of this album is that it’s catchy without having obvious musical hooks; it’s memorable because its purpose not narrowly defined, and therefore not easy to figure out. It will make you want to laze around and listen to it, although it’s also a very good accompaniment to a long walk – and any music that is a great companion is serving that bigger purpose of art: to help us navigate life, to stimulate our senses and our brains, to reward our curiosity, and to, often, simply be great entertainment. Fireroad Vol. 1 does all that and more.
Listen to Fireroad Vol. 1 on:
Apple Music | Bandcamp | iTunes | Soundcloud | Spotify
Sometimes a country music blogger intends to have a day off, because there are other things going on, such as a little thing called the ‘day job’. However, such intentions are for nought when Fanny Lumsden releases a new single right out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, and it’s accompanied by the news that she’s signed with independent label Cooking Vinyl Australia, while she’s in the middle of an epic Country Halls Tour. Not only that, but she’s made a video for the single. If anyone could achieve all that at once, it’s Lumsden – and, of course, the single is wonderful and so is the video, because excellence is her minimum standard of output.
So please enjoy ‘Peed in the Pool’, which is a song about someone who is ‘more into guidelines and less into rules’ – and who may have peed in the pool one time. It is a worthy addition to Lumsden’s growing canon of great country songs – the work of an artist who is such an integral part of Australian country music that it’s hard to remember what it was like without her.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Queensland singer-songwriter Chloe Styler has released two truly enchanting songs in the past year: the bewitching ‘When Your Light Burns’ and her new single, ‘Patient Heart’. Styler has been a musician from a very young age, and has been developing her skills as a performer and songwriter since her school days. I learnt more about her, and ‘Patient Heart’, when we spoke recently.
You saw your first live concert when you were five. Whose concert was it? And did it change what music you listened to?
It was a Lee Kernaghan concert. It definitely opened my eyes to the country music world. I know I was only five, so I’m probably assuming a lot of things here, but I do know that my parents played a lot of country music when I was young and a lot of Aussie country music, which is definitely different to American country music. And I’m so glad that they did bring me up on Australian country music. I think that really shaped the way that I then wrote my own songs and I started writing music at about thirteen. I found that what naturally came out was in the style of country.
Were there other concerts you went to as a child?
After that first one I had a bit of a hiatus from concerts, probably because my parents realised it was really bad for my ears. But then I went and saw The Veronicas and lots of pop acts. So I have been very open to all sorts of genres and of course I always see country acts whenever they are in town. I just love all sorts of music and I really enjoy going to live music to remind myself that there are many other ways I could write a song and not to constrain myself in certain ways that I do write music.
Are there favourite musical artists you had while you were growing up who are still favourites now?
Yes – Fleetwood Mac. I was brought up on my mum’s radio station when we would drive to school. It was the Gold Coast 92.5 Gold FM and it played hits and old school, or something like that. Lots of old classics, so Fleetwood Mac were a regular. And then Mum would play Fleetwood Mac on CDs. I actually only saw them a month ago now live in Brisbane and they’re still as amazing as they’ve ever been. I just adore them. They are definitely a huge inspiration of mine.
Continue reading “Interview: Chloe Styler”
Laura Frank is a singer-songwriter from south-east Queensland who’s had quite a varied run-up to the launch of her first country music song, ‘Things I’d Rather Do’. She was a yodelling champion in Year Five, qualified as a tap dance teacher, owned a cafe and operated a mixed martial arts gym. And while she was recording ‘Things I’d Rather Do’ she was building her own house. On the music side of things she played in the duo Bamford Cook, spent three years in musical theatre, and has supported a range of artists including Sarah McLeod and Tones and I.
‘Things I’d Rather Do’ is a funny yet reflective song about life’s long to-do list – and the distractions that get in the way of ticking things off it. Frank says she hopes the track sparks some kind of emotion, ‘whether that be joy, sadness or excitement. I guess the worst response would be the feeling of indifference – I’d rather people hate the tunes than not think anything of them.’
The song was produced by ARIA and Golden Guitar winner Jordan Power. The video for ‘Things I’d Rather Do’ makes its premiere on this site today – and you can see it below.
See Laura Frank live:
Saturday 9th November | Banshee Bar | Ipswich, QLD
Jeff Gibson was raised on a wheat and sheep farm, and sheep have remained part of his life since – he started work as a shearer in his early twenties, around the same time he began performing as a singer-songwriter, have started writing songs at the age of 17. Since then, Gibson has followed both paths.
His latest song is the powerful, heart-wrenching but ultimately uplifting ‘Hole in my Heart’ – uplifting because Gibson validates the experience and expression of emotion. The song was originally written with Gibson’s late father and brother in mind, but it also honours Karl Broadie, who was meant to help Gibson finish writing the song but died before it could be completed. The song’s producer, Glen Hannah, has also died since recording the song. Those losses are a reminder to live vividly, and not resile from saying what we mean to others – and that is what is expressed in this song. Gibson is prepared to say what he means, and we are lucky to be able to hear it.
Apple Music | iTunes
Earlier this year Perth trio The Holy Smoke released the single ‘Lay Your Head Down’, which was an example of just how much beauty can be created when three talented and accomplished individuals decide to make music together, as they been doing since meeting at a creative retreat in 2016. They have extensive musical experience: Rose Parker has toured extensively throughout Australia, USA and Canada as one half of the Velvet Janes, supporting artists including Arlo Guthrie, Ani DiFranco, Luka Bloom and The Black Sorrows; Delilah Rose is a 2018 WAM Award nominee, 2019 ISC Songwriting Comp nominee and 2019 WA Country Music Award winner, and Karlee Rae is a top graduate from WAAPA, is in her 20th year of vocal and piano coaching, has toured internationally and recorded multiple albums and EPs.
Happily, that single was just the entree to their sound: they have now released the five-song EP The River. Water is the common theme for all of the songs, although each song is quite different. There is a range of moods on the EP, but overall the trio’s gospel, country folk and soul sound is sublime. This is the sort of music that you can listen to when you need a motivating start to the day, or you want to reminded that there is beauty in the world – or you simply want to be transported, because it’s easy to lose yourself inside these harmonies and wish you could stay there for a while.
The River is available now:
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Singer-songwriter Tanya Ransom lives in the Kimberley but that remote location hasn’t stopped her from travelling around Australia, supporting artists like Kate Miller-Heidke, Boy & Bear, John Butler, Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan, appearing at Nannup Music Festival, North West Festival, Fairbridge Festival and WAMFest.
Her new single, ‘Armour’, is a powerful expression of anger and what it conceals; the protagonist is willing to fight – to don armour for it – but also to stand down. As Ransom sings she sounds resolute without a hard edge. There’s strength in her voice and lyrics, and the sense that she’s willing to yield but not cede her ground.
Ransom released her debut album It Is What It Is in late 2013, after two years spent in Melbourne and a return to the Kimberley. The album resulted in nominations for WAM Regional Act of the Year and WAM Song of The Year, and in 2017 Ransom released her second album, The Art of Departing. She’s currently working on an EP, to be released in 2020, and ‘Armour’ is the first single.
Listen to ‘Armour’ on:
Apple Music | iTunes | Soundcloud | Spotify
Armour Single Tour
20 October – Matsos Brewery, Broome WA (w/ Tracey Barnett)
24 October – Froth Craft Brewery, Exmouth WA (w/ Tracey Barnett)
25 October – Carnarvon WA (w/ Tracey Barnett)
26 October – Monkey Mia Resort, Monkey Mia WA (w/ Tracey Barnett)
27 October – Finlay’s, Kalbarri WA (w/ Tracey Barnett)
8-10 November – Blues at Bridgetown, WA
8 December – Croydon Lane, Cronulla NSW
22 December – The River, Margaret River WA
**more dates to be announced**
Queensland singer-songwriter El Cosgrove grew up on the Darling Downs, and since then has travelled in the Northern Territory and the Rocky Mountains of Canada, developing an awareness and appreciation of place that is evident on her new song, ‘Honey’, which has its premiere on this site today.
Cosgrove also grew up with regular family jams, and that early, steady musical education no doubt served her well when she attended the CMAA Academy of Country Music in 2016 – and all that experience has resulted in this wonderful new track, which is a song about the meaning of home.
It is the first release since her debut EP Guitars & Cigars, which announced that she was an outstanding new talent. In the two years since she’s clearly kept honing her already well-developed songwriting skills, as well as supporting artists including Brad Cox and Luke O’Shea, and appearing at festivals such as the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Gympie Muster.
Listen to ‘Honey’:
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify