Canberra-born and now resident in Sydney, Tara Favell has been writing and performing songs since the age of 14, and that teenage practice has turned into professional success, as Favell has appeared at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Nelson Bay Country Music Festival and the Sydney Royal Easter Show three years running. And her new EP, Wild Heart, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country chart.
Wild Heart is pure country pop – and if your tastes are anything like mine, that’s a very good thing. Favell’s voice is just right for this genre: adept, assured and with great range. Track 3, ‘Starting Over’, features rising country star Josh Setterfield, and ideally that won’t be their last collaboration as their voices work very well together.
Country pop and country rock are the genres that tend to drive audience attendance at large festivals around Australia. They may not suit the purists, but there has never been a form of music that has not evolved. If artists like Favell can bring their brand of country to new listeners, that is good for everyone under the country music umbrella, because she embodies some of the best qualities of country: she is authentic to her lineage and influences, and she produces great songs that are clearly constructed, written and performed from the heart.
Watch the single ‘Heart-Break’ on YouTube.
Wild Heart is out now.
American singer-songwriter was born and raised in Vermont, where he still lives. He has three albums behind him, as well as instrumental tracks that have appeared on various television shows.
The title track of his latest album, Hide Away (from the Sun), was written shortly after the death of Pronto’s mother after a ten-year battle with cancer. It is, therefore, a personal song, and Pronto does not shy away from honest lyrics and emotions. That’s not to say that the album is maudlin – it is not at all. Pronto’s voice contains within it the balance of light and dark, cheekiness and seriousness. Given the context of the album’s creation, the inclusion of a cover ‘What a Wonderful World’ could be ironic, but Pronto sounds sincere without being sappy.
Hide Away (from the Sun) contains eight tracks, each with their own flavour – and, accordingly, each evoking different experiences for the listener. Sometimes he sounds like a good ol’ boy (’74 Dodge Dart’), at other times the gentle son. His style as named as folk and Americana, but there’s definitely rock and pop in there too. In other words: he knows how to write a solid song, he knows how to entertain, and this album proves it.
Hide Away (from the Sun) is out now.
This is actually old album news, as Vacancy by Melbourne duo Broads was released almost a year ago. But given that the internet facilitates serendipitous discoveries of all sorts, and albums are hypothetically available forever, I feel it’s another better-late-than-never situation.
I first heard a Broads song on ABC Country online radio – a great place to discover new music, even when your inbox is in regular receipt of news about new music – and immediately got their album. The vocals and harmonies of Kelly Day and Jane Hendry are completely irresistible on this album of slow croons and blissful melodic seductions. Don’t believe me? Just play the video for ‘Nod Off, Dream’ and try to not fall in love with them.
Watch on Youtube
Vacancy is also available on Bandcamp or you can listen to it on the Broads website, www.broadsmusic.com
The Western Saloon is Western Australia’s home of alt-country and Americana music – and Christmas has come early for country music fans, with the release of a very special Christmas Mix Tape featuring some of The Western Saloon’s most festive performers.
‘Mele Kalikimaka’ by Simone and Girlfunkle
‘Silent Night’ by J.A. Rogers
‘So This Is Xmas’ by the Lindsay Drive Choir
‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas’ by The Little Lord Street Band
‘White Christmas’ by Michael Savage
‘Family of Friends’ by Coyote Sands and Francis Midnight
‘Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant’ by Wayward Johnson
‘Santa Baby’ by Delilah Rose & the Gunslingers
Proceeds from the Mix Tape benefit Pia’s Place, a fully accessible, inclusive playground in Perth’s Whiteman Park.
Delilah from The Western Saloon kindly answered a handful of questions about the project:
When did the Western Saloon come into being?
The Western Saloon is the brain child of Natasha Shanks from The Little Lord Street Band.
When did the idea for this EP first come about?
I LOVE Christmas carols and it’s been a dream of mine to put out a Christmas EP for a couple of years now. After finding a kindred spirit in Michael Savage, and a few other artists, we thought we’d have a go at it!
How did you come to choose Pia’s Place to be the recipient of proceeds?
We were on the hunt for an appropriate charity to team up with when Pia’s Place came into our periphery through a friend and the fit was right! Sometimes things just happen that way.
Out of the artists on the EP, who is naughtiest and who is nicest?
Wayward Johnson is definitely the naughtiest, Chinese-eating cat in town with Simone and Girlffunkle being the most nicest, hip-shaking, Hawaiian hunnies you’ve ever heard!
Buy the EP: thewesternsaloon.bandcamp.com
Learn more about Pia’s Place: piasplace.wixsite.com/piasplace
Facebook event: facebook.com/events/1120701001398916/
New Zealand/Australian singer-songwriter Vanessa Delaine has released Wild & Free, a country-blues album that had its beginnings in the end of an 18-year relationship. It’s likely not surprising, therefore, that this is a personal and somewhat confessional album – and from the sound of these songs, and Delaine’s voice, she’s doing just fine. As she sings on the third track, ‘Good Advice’, ‘I don’t need anybody tellin’ me what to do’.
Delaine has a background in country music, having studied it several years ago, although she took a break for a few years and didn’t return to performance until her fortieth birthday party, when she performed for her guests accompanied by a neighbour who played guitar. Now she has Michael Barnard as her guitarist and another Michael (Carpenter) produced the album. Delaine doesn’t sound like she took a break from music – she’s a natural singer – but the advantage of coming back to it might have been that she had life experience to bring to her songwriting, resulting in a mature work that balances light and dark, and offers some very sweet moments.
Wild Free is available now.
The amount of music I’m being sent these days is far outstripping my ability to keep up – but instead of being paralysed by choice, I’m going to try to cover as much as of the good stuff as possible even if it means I can’t always do a full album review, as these can take a few hours.
Which leads me to this very first ‘album news’ piece – not a review, but not not a review. A shorter review, if you will.
Aurora is the debut album from Missouri-born New York City resident Case Garrett. This is backwoodsy, bluesy country music that tells stories of travels around the countryside and to Garrett’s interior. There is tradition and humour, and Garrett’s voice holding true throughout.
I’ve seen this album described as alt-country but I tend to think that label gets applied to work that is actually quite traditional in its lineage – in other words, not alternative to country. Garrett strikes me as a traditionalist in that you could draw a straight line from his work back a few decades and find its roots. That doesn’t mean his music sounds old – it means he knows his country music, and he is drawing on it to fine effect on Aurora.
Aurora is out now.