Towards the end of last year Victorian singer-songwriter Michael Waugh released his wonderful album The Weir, a successor to his Golden Guitar-nominated What We Might Be that received two GG nominations of its own. The Weir is a lyrically and emotionally rich album that was produced by Shane Nicholson, and the title track is a reminiscence about a country childhood.
As Waugh explains, ‘”The Weir” is about the Lake Glenmaggie Weir in Victoria’s East Gippsland – the place where we’d go as kids to swim, fish, drink and chuck tennis balls in for the dogs to retrieve. It’s also the irrigation reservoir for the dairy farming communities in Gippsland where I grew up – it was the life blood of who we were.’
With backing vocals from luminaries Felicity Urquhart and Lyn Bowtell, in ‘The Weir’ Waugh creates a world from a memory and invites the listener into it; the accompanying video brings that world to visual life. Created by Duncan Toombs at The Filmery, it has its premiere here today.
‘I really think that Duncan has captured the spirit of this uniquely Australian story,’ says Waugh. ‘It hisses along like cicadas on a hot Aussie summer day. In a world where most of us are facing a challenging winter, socially isolated in uncertain times, Duncan has brought back the fun and humour of nostalgic Australian summers with your best mates, and classic car tapes that keep you dancing in the front seat with the window down.’
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Queensland singer-songwriter El Cosgrove released her second EP, Spring Tides, at the end of March and from it comes the single ‘Some Fools’. Cosgrove writes and sings from a place of unflinching authenticity, as is apparent in this song.
Cosgrove grew up on the Darling Downs and, surrounded by musical family members, developed her love of singing and songwriting from an early age, then honed her skills during travels to Canada and the Northern Territory, as well as at the CMAA Senior Academy of Country Music in 2016. She has supported artists such as Brad Cox, Luke O’Shea and Liam Brew, and appeared at festivals including the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster. The new EP is the follow-up to Guitars & Cigars, with both EPs bringing aspects of Cosgrove’s upbringing in a small rural town to audiences around Australia and the world.
‘”Some Fools” is a reflection of my own life in a lot of ways,’ says Cosgrove, ‘by owning the mistakes that I may have made along the way because of the acceptance that these experiences are simply what make me exactly who I am. No matter where I’ve been in the world the people who I have grown to love and get along with the most have always been able to share a great story and have a laugh at themselves and experiences they’ve found themselves in because of being exactly who they are.’
The song was written in an airport in California, ‘whilst my flight was yet again delayed,’ she says. ‘I began watching various characters pass through the terminal and wondered if their own stories may be anything at all like mine or whether anyone really did “have it all together”.’
The video for ‘Some Fools’ has its premiere here today.
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Tony Kennelly is a cattle farmer from the northern tablelands of New South Wales who also had extensive experience playing in bands before he decided to focus on raising his family. With his children now grown he once again had time to create and play music, releasing an album, Hittin’ the Wall, in 2017 and seeing three of his songs place in the top 30 of the Australian Songwriters Competition.
His latest release is the single ‘Leave the Gate Open’, is from his upcoming album; it covers subject matter Kennelly knows well: life on the land and the troubles that so many farmers have experienced in recent years.
‘I had a call from a friend in the far west of NSW – a fourth-generation farmer – who has been in drought for seven years,’ he says. ‘The bank won’t carry his debt, they’re going to give him notice to vacate and it’s happening to people all over the country, so I felt like I had to write a song for them … It’s a powerful story that people will relate to, and even if they’re not from the land they will feel the desperation of the lyrics as this last drought, which still isn’t over for so many, won’t be forgotten for generations to come.’
The song is hard to ignore and harder to forget, with Kennelly so effectively conveying the story and the message. It was produced by Shane Nicholson, who also played a number of instruments on the track, while Michael Carpenter produced the video, which was filmed on Kennelly’s property with some of the locals appearing.
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Callum and Jackson McPartlane are 16-year-old twin brothers from the Mornington Peninsula with Gunditjmara heritage, and together they are Bo’Ness, with the band name derived from their maternal grandmother’s home town in Scotland. In 2019 they graduated from the CMAA Academy of Country Music, where they studied with artists such as They are also graduates of the 2019 CMAA Academy of Country Music where they studied with artists such as Fanny Lumsden, Lyn Bowtell and Amber Lawrence.
Bo’Ness recently released their debut single, ‘We Don’t Need This Town’, and reached number 10 on the iTunes Country Chart and the top 100 on the overall chart. This success is not surprising, given the calibre of the song and it’s uncompromising approach to its subject matter.
Written with Golden Guitar winner Lachlan Bryan, it describes the twins’ escape from domestic violence with their mother and younger brother – there are no allusions or metaphors in the song, nor is there regret or recrimination. The message is simple: they need to leave their town for a better life.
The song was produced by Matt Fell, while family friend Sam Hawksley played guitars on this track and the soon-to-be released ‘Fight Me’.
‘Sam has been a big part of our lives from a young age and was teaching us guitar from the start,’ says Jackson. ‘It was really great to have Sam play on the tracks because of that connection and it was Sam and Adam [Brand, the twins’ godfather] who were the ones who were helping us through those times that the single is written about.’
The brothers are also Kind Is Cool ambassadors and ‘We Don’t Need This Town’ is endorsed by 1800-Respect.
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Anzac Day is a significant day for many Australians – primarily, of course, for those who served and continue to serve, and also for those whose families have been affected by any of the wars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And that’s pretty much all of us. The dawn service is a ritual and it takes place across the country, and in some locations overseas. There will be no dawn services this year, for obvious reasons; no two-up, no gathering of mates at the pub. So we need to find different ways to commemorate the day.
Music is an integral part of any Anzac Day service, and each year usually a few songs are released just before Anzac Day, offering a different kind of musical service. Kevin Sullivan is a singer-songwriter from the south coast of New South Wales. A former forensic police crime-scene investigator, he attended the CMAA Senior Academy of Country Music in 2018 and released his debut album, Belonging. He’s now released ‘Pilgrimage’, a song for Anzac Day. If you are trying to find a new way to mark the day this year, spending four minutes with this song would be an appropriate way to honour the spirit of Anzac. It describes, in part, the pilgrimage of Sullivan and his brother to Gallipoli and France in 2015, and the service of their grandfather, uncles and relatives.
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Hunter Kaine is an established Australian country music artist, as the lead singer of Deep Creek Road, with whom she’s performed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. She has now recorded a solo single, ‘Long Way from Lonely’, as well producing it herself.
The song was written in Nashville by Australian songwriter Phil Barton, who has also written for Lee Kernaghan and the Wolfe Brothers. Kaine heard a duet in the demo and knew that Golden Guitar and ARIA winner Shane Nicholson was the only person to record it with her.
‘He has all the right ingredients,’ she says, ‘both as an artist and a person. It was a wonderful, unique and inspiring journey that I’ll never forget.’
Nicholson appears in the video for the song, which was co-produced by Kaine and Ian Ritter, and filmed at a 1960s-era motel in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon. The video has its premiere on this site today, with the single officially released tomorrow.
The video is the perfect accompaniment to the wistful yet hopeful tone of the song. The song, says Kaine, ‘is really at the core of what we all seek in life – true connection. It’s a very real, open and honest piece of music.’ Kaine’s impeccable vocals are perfectly matched by Nicholson’s, proving that her instinct to record with him was the right one.
Kaine will release her debut EP later in the year, and ‘Long Way from Lonely’ is so good it will, no doubt, win her many fans before then.
Isolation has affected everyone differently. Some of us – those who are introverts, most likely – have crawled into proverbial shells with Netflix or equivalent. Some are itching to get out and are taking advantage of the rules that allow for walking and running and swimming. Some musicians have been streaming live from their living rooms. And one, Melbourne singer-songwriter Lachlan Bryan, has created an actual show, Drunken Piano Bar. What started as Bryan playing an assortment of covers and songs from his back catalogue had, by its second week, become a show with structure, and segments featuring some of his bandmates from The Wildes, Shaun Ryan and Damian Cafarella, and even a guest artist, Catherine Britt, streamed in to play a duet. By week three the streamed-in guest was in the USA: Hannah Aldridge, with whom Bryan recently shared a stage (along with Ben Leece) in the inaugural Tenuous Rounds shows. You can see highlights from that show below:
Bryan is taking requests – via video selfie only – and all songs are played on piano. The selection is eclectic and interesting – and the arrangements often unique to this format. In short, in its short life the Drunken Piano Bar has become a must-see musical experiment, with the benefit for the audience of knowing that the quality of music will always be great. You don’t have to know Bryan or his music to enjoy it, but it does help if you bring a sense of curiosity and humour, and a willingness to sit back and be entertained for an hour.
That hour happens on Monday nights at 10 p.m. AEST. Live on Facebook www.facebook.com/lachlanbryanmusic1/ and Instagram www.instagram.com/lachlanbryan/
Kylie Gale is a singer-songwriter from Caves Beach, NSW, who released her debut single, ‘Pushback’, last year. It was recorded by Simon Johnson from Hillbilly Hut, and Johnson was also at the helm of Gale’s new song, ‘Fading to Grey’, as well as taking bass and backing vocal duties; the track also features Golden Guitar and ARIA winner Shane Nicholson on guitars, with Rod Motbey on electric guitar, Brad Bergen on drums and Kristy James on backing vocals.
‘Fading to Grey’ is, says Gale, ‘a love story song about past love and it’s how I imagine it would happen if you ran into someone you were in love with in the past. It’s a song about how you’ve moved on and gone your own ways.’
As with ‘Pushback’, Gale explores strong emotions and experiences that leave a mark. But there’s something about her strong, warm voice that tells the listener that everything is going to be all right, and she says that ‘Fading to Grey’ is ‘also an empowering song to know that’s a feeling you’ve had but you’ve moved on and found new love.’
The single debuted at number 5 on the iTunes Country chart, and Gale is planning to record an EP later this year, at Hillbilly Hut.
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American singer-songwriter Casi Joy will be known to Australian audiences – and in her home country – because of her appearance on The Voice. Her country-pop sound turned all four chairs in the audition, and she chose Blake Shelton as her coach. With over 27 million video views and 250 000 followers on social media, Joy has clearly become a fan favourite – and she’s now released a poignant new song, ‘Poor Angel’, as the follow-up to her 2019 EP The Bright Side. With its introspective, heartfelt lyrics, the song gives comfort to anyone who is searching for meaning – and also offers hope. Joy’s voice conveys the emotion of the song and demonstrates her ability to be powerful and subtle.
Joy is originally from Kansas City but moved to Nashville, then spent quite a lot of time on a tour bus, and she has shared the stage with artists such as Maren Morris, Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Easton Corbin, Dustin Lynch, and LOCASH. Joy is also an advocate for children and animals, and has done extensive charity work for a range of organisations. She also spent many years teaching students and special-needs children voice, piano and guitar.
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Australian band The Buckleys introduced themselves to audiences with the single ‘Daydream’, an infectious tune that combined country sounds with influences from pop and other genres, and also established the band’s sound. Their second single was ‘I’m Comin’ For Ya (Love)’. Then, just as people around the world started to head indoors, they released their first global single, ‘Money’. Each song has its own characteristics, but they all have one element in common: they’re irresistible. It’s almost impossible not to feel uplifted after listening to a Buckleys song, so in that way their music is right for a time when we probably all need a positive distraction.
The members of The Buckleys are siblings Sarah Grace, Molly and Lachlan, who come from the Byron Bay area of New South Wales and are 20, 19 and 17 years of age respectively. While they’re still young, they’ve been a band since 2011 – although the formation of the band wasn’t really a surprise because, as Sarah says, ‘We have always been playing music. We grew up in a musical family so it’s always been something we’ve done.’
‘I feel like it was Dad’s dream,’ says Molly. ‘Before he even had kids with Mum he was saying, “We need to have a family band!” He’s always been a muso and Mum was telling us the other day that he was always into the fantasy of all of us playing music together … We’ve always had a massive connection to music since we were younger. Wanting a career out of it. And we all performed as we grew up.’
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