Category: aleyce simmonds

Single release: ‘Heart You Saved’ by Aleyce Simmonds & Lachlan Bryan

unnamed (6)Golden Guitar winners Aleyce Simmonds and Lachlan Bryan do just fine – more than fine, in fact – as artists in their own right, Simmonds as a solo artist and Bryan with his band, The Wildes. Simmonds’s most recent album is More than Meets the Eye and Bryan and the Wildes put out Some Girls (Quite) Like Country Music earlier this year.

This new single, ‘Heart You Saved’, was originally from neither album but appears on the new bonus edition of More than Meets the Eye. It’s an achingly bittersweet song with both singers’ voices bearing tinges of longing and regret. It is truly a joint production, with Simmonds’s talent for open-hearted songwriting and Bryan’s for unexpectedly lovely melodies combining to create a song that is different from their previous releases yet appealing to fans of both. It’s a song for lovers of music, and those whose who don’t mind a beautiful song with a melancholic seam. It’s also a song that sits well in the canon of both artists.

Listen to ‘Heart You Saved’ on Soundcloud.

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Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

www.lachlanbryanandthewildes.com

Apple Music | iTunes | Amazon

Single release: ‘Last Word on My Lips’ by Aleyce Simmonds

unnamed (3)Aleyce Simmonds started the year by winning the Golden Guitar for Female Artist of the Year, a deserved recognition of her work over the past few years – Simmonds is an accomplished singer-songwriter and also a stalwart of Australian country music, playing alongside other artists and joining them on tour, showing up to support them and encouraging of new talent.

‘Last Word on My Lips’ is the fourth single from Simmonds’s latest album, More Than Meets the Eye, and it was written by Simmonds and veteran songwriter Allan Caswell as a gift to Simmonds’s sister Karlee on her wedding day. It was performed at the ceremony – and it’s not hard to imagine that it will find a place in other wedding ceremonies too. It is a love song, of course, but it avoids the schmaltz (and lyrical predictability) that can often feature in such songs, focusing on the emotion of the wedding day.

Watch a live performance of ‘Last Word on My Lips’ below:

iTunes

Amazon

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Single release: ‘Anchor’ by Aleyce Simmonds

Aleyce Simmonds lends her talents to several other Australian country music artists, appearing in their shows and on their songs. Thankfully she still has time to write and release her own music, and she has written the lovely ballad ‘Anchor’ for her third studio album, More Than Meets the Eye.

Says Aleyce about the song, ‘People enter our lives for different reasons. Some stay a while, some come and go. Sometimes the impression that they make far outlives the physical presence. At the time of writing Anchor, I was in love and happy. Most of all, I was grateful that my life had been changed for the better and I wanted to put it into song that regardless of the fate of the relationship, I’d be forever thankful for that. Maybe I did that so that I couldn’t change my mind and become bitter!!’ 

Watch the video for ‘Anchor’ below.
Buy More Than Meets the Eye on Bandcamp or

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Single release: ‘Only a Moment’ by Aleyce Simmonds

Before he died earlier this year, Karl Broadie wrote many wonderful songs. One of my favourites is ‘Only a Moment’, from the album One Million Emeralds. Karl’s version, produced by Matt Fell, features that characteristic ache in his voice, that sense of time lost and pain not quite past. Aleyce’s version stands on its own; she brings her own experiences to the song and pays tribute to Karl at the same time.

Aleyce’s ‘Only a Moment’ is one of the songs appearing on the forthcoming tribute album, which will be released on 18 November 2016. Watch Aleyce’s live version of this song below.

Interview: Aleyce Simmonds (part II)

**Part I of the Jolene interview with Aleyce Simmonds is available here.**

So you’ve toured with Dianna Corcoran and Amber Lawrence. The country music community in Australia – from the punter’s point of view, at least – seems to be very supportive, especially of new artists. Did you find that when you emerging from Telstra Road to Tamworth and getting your first recording contract?

Definitely. I think that the fans, in particular, in country music – I’m not sure if it’s the same in other genres but from what I’ve heard it’s not – they embrace you. The industry as well, but more so the fans – they embrace you from a very young age in talent quest world and all that sort of stuff, and they follow through with you. They don’t drop you. They help you along the road. I still see people at my gigs that I saw ten years ago at the talent quests, and they’ll say to me, you know, ‘We love that song’ or ‘Maybe you could do this differently’ or ‘You’ve improved so much’, and they’ve sort of come on the journey as well, and it’s really quite beautiful.

It must be incredibly rewarding, particularly when you’re in that storyteller vein – you’re not up there singing songs that you don’t believe in. So I would think to have audiences connect to the stories that you’re telling, it possibly influences the stories you go on to tell.

Oh, absolutely. As a songwriter you’re always looking for inspiration, and having these amazing experiences that we are able to have in this industry, being a singer and a songwriter, with these amazing opportunities … Last weekend I just got back from Mildura and up there the inspiration’s everywhere – there are all these creative people around, there are all these wonderful fans who are more like friends, I guess. It feels weird saying ‘fans’ because they are more like friends, and they have such huge input into the music we create.

Just on the songwriting process – how did you find co-writing songs on your album? Was there any disagreement with anyone about who was going to do what?

It depends on who you’re writing with. I had a lot of that in Nashville I was writing in Nashville as an eighteen-year-old and I really had no clue. I’d only had a couple of co-writing sessions here in Australia and I went over there and really didn’t know what I was doing, so I found that to be very difficult. But back here I found a few different writers who I really connected with and it just flowed really easily. Sometimes, like with my producer Rod McCormack, it was always a great outcome, we always came out with a song that was good. But with other people I would sort of write a song and it would just be a waste of the day – well, not a waste, because we still learned a lot from the experience, but it just didn’t work. And I guess co-writing is all about being able to bounce off each other and throw your ideas around and coming up with a whole new perspective that you never even thought of.

And since writing your first album, have you met anyone who you think would be good to work with as a songwriter for the next album, whenever that is?

Yes. There are lots of people I’ve come into contact with since then. I would definitely love to go back to Nashville and write with a bunch of Nashville writers, now that I’ve got more experience and have a better idea of what I want. I think it takes a lot of courage as a co-writer, as well, to be able to stand up and say, ‘That’s a nice idea, but it’s really not for me’, and go off in a different direction. So I would like to go to Nashville, but we have so many great writers here that I’d love to write with also.

You’re a young artist and you have your first album out, and you’ve emerged at a time when it seems that there are a lot of extra demands on musicians, in particular, in terms of social media and connecting with fans. Do you think it’s harder work now to keep up with everything, particularly when you have a job and you’re trying to have a relatively normal life as well?

I think that it’s definitely harder now – just even in my short career it’s getting harder and harder with the emergence of all the illegal downloads and everything like that, and lack of live music venues. Keeping up with social media side, it’s not so hard – it is very time consuming, but it has created this amazing opportunity for us to get our music out to a wider audience so easily. It’s just so great. You can post something and five minutes later have thirty comments and different points of view, which is just amazing.

You don’t find sometimes that it’s too much feedback?

Sometimes it is. People can be brutally honest but also brutal, you know. I guess you have to be careful sometimes with what you do put out there, because you’re putting everything out there in the public eye and it can be very daunting and scary.

You live in Sydney, and that makes sense in terms of accessing record companies and thing like that. But country music audiences tend to be in rural and regional Australia, so how do you find that balance of living in the city and trying to get out and tour, or even do the odd gig, when Australia’s so big?

It is difficult. I actually work a lot around Newcastle. I have a full-time job, so I’m doing that and then doing my music after hours and every weekend, and there are a lot of gigs around Newcastle and western Sydney, certainly not much in the CBD. But the funny thing is that something like four million people watch CMC just from inner Sydney, so where are they at our gigs? There must be this huge contingent of country music followers who are sort of closet country music lovers.

I think that’s true. Also because the venues aren’t there necessarily, people think the music isn’t available, and there’s no process whereby audiences can demand it. I’d be at country music gigs every weekend in Sydney if they were on, but they’re not.

No, they’re not!

Interview: Aleyce Simmonds (part I)

Aleyce Simmonds is relatively new to Australian country music, in that she’s young – although she’s been performing for quite a while. Her first album, Pieces of Me, was produced by Rod McCormack, who is one of the busiest country music producers in the land, along with Nash Chambers and, increasingly, Shane Nicholson. Pieces of Me was released in January 2011 and introduced a singer-songwriter who is more accomplished and mature than ‘first album’ would suggest.

I spoke to Aleyce soon after she’d returned from performing at the 2011 Mildura Country Music Festival in late September. (For reasons of length, this interview will be split into two parts.)

Have you always loved country music?

Yes, I have. I grew up listening to it – in the family we always listened to American country music mainly and I guess I just fell in love with it from a really early age.

Were there any artists in particular at that young age who you really loved?

I’ve always loved Martina McBride and Faith Hill, and they were just emerging at the time that we really started getting into country music, so they influenced me, I guess, a lot as a singer and as a songwriter.

You spent some of your younger years in Tamworth .

I was born in Port Macquarie and moved over to Tamworth when I was about eleven.

I was wondering what the festival would have been like for you as a young resident.

It was awesome – it was just the most exciting time of the year. I would go in the one talent quest in Tamworth – the biggest talent quest, which was called the CCMA – and it was definitely my favourite time of year. It was great having all these people just inject into Tamworth.

I’ve heard a lot of families in Tamworth get out of town at festival time, but clearly yours stayed around.

Yes, definitely. I can’t believe so many do get out.

Are your folks still in Tamworth?

Yes, they are.

So you can stay there when you go back for the festival?

Yes, free accom – it’s the best!

It seems that there are a few talent quests around the festival – you were in the CCMA but you were also in the Telstra Road to Tamworth. Do they overlap? What’s the process?

The Telstra Road to Tamworth’s only been around for six or so years, so it wasn’t around when I was younger. I guess there are a bunch of talent quests that have been there for years but the Toyota Star Maker and the Telstra Road to Tamworth are the two big ones and they’re more for … once you’ve finished those young sort of talent quests then you move on to the more serious career-opening ones.

Where did you do your first heat for the Road to Tamworth?

It was in Armidale, so we drove an hour and a half to Armidale just to get a thousand dollars just to go back to Tamworth!

That wouldn’t have been that early in your performing career, then, if you’d already done CCMA?

Well, I’d done those but I was eighteen when I won the Telstra Road to Tamworth. It was the first big award that I’d won and I was still very green.

Do you enjoy live performance?

I do – I love it. It didn’t come as easy for me as I think it does for other people. I prefer to – or I always have preferred to – sing in a studio and all that sort of stuff. I really struggled with my nerves with my live performance, for a really long time, and it’s really just now that I feel I’m more confident and comfortable on stage, and I guess I’ve had to find what it is about me that works live. It’s not being that live, vibrant entertainer – it’s more singing my songs and telling the crowd about why I wrote the songs and the stories behind the songs, and creating more of an intimate vibe.

In country music it seems like the performers really feel that there’s a relationship with the audience, more than you’d get in a rock gig, for example, so there is a lot of talking that goes on – in a good way. There is that telling the background of the story that’s in the song and that’s really important to the audience.

Definitely.

And that’s how you’ve found your niche – to be that storyteller.

Yes, definitely. That’s what I love about country music, that it evokes so much emotion in the listener – it’s not just a song about a random thing, it’s a song about emotion and real-life things that people can relate to and I guess that that’s what I like to convey to the audience.

I can understand why you might have been nervous when you started performing – you have a really ‘big’ voice, and your voice is clearly a very important part of who you are, and I think it would be difficult to go out every time wondering, ‘Am I going to damage it? Am I in a club where it’s smoky? Am I going to have to strain to be heard over a band?’

That is a factor. It was great when clubs took the smoking areas outside because it is so damaging on your vocal cords and it is a worry, especially doing back to back performances. I also try to keep in with my training and make sure that I sing correctly. A lot of people look down upon classically trained singers, but in my opinion classical training is a perfect foundation – it’s just like learning how to drive a car before you can go out and drive along the freeway or whatever. It’s just a foundation, and it’s so important in any trade or anything to have the training behind it.

You have a big, almost a gutsy voice – it’s not something you often hear in people when they’re younger, as singers tend to grow into their voices a bit. Did you find your voice through your training, or have you always had that sound?

I think I’ve always had a fairly big voice – I just usually call myself a boofhead and say I have a boofhead voice. It’s funny, because when I was growing up, in school and performing in choirs and things, I would always audition for the choirs and they would say that my voice was too different, it would stick out too much. I sang a lot in choirs, but I guess because I’ve got sort of a loud voice it’s … I don’t know why I have it, or how.

It’s not so much that it’s loud but it’s a mature voice. You sound like you’re singing about things as if you’re really feeling them, and one tends to think that it’s only as you get older that you feel things and they can come into your voice.

I think with age it definitely does get easier to convey your messages and things, it’s just even unbelievable how I wrote all the songs for my album a couple of years ago and I did vocals on them back then on the demos, and listening to them now and then listening to my album vocals, there’s just so much more emotion in my album vocal, because even though it’s the same song and I wrote it back then, because I’ve felt different things since then – I’ve had my heart ripped apart and all that sort of stuff, stuff that comes with age, definitely.

And you play guitar as well – a Fender guitar, I saw in your liner notes.

I do, I play a Guild guitar. I’m endorsed by Fender but I play a Guild guitar – they own Guild as well.

You obviously appreciate instruments, and I noticed in your liner notes something about you telling [producer] Rod McCormack that you wanted more banjo and more mandolin, so I was wondering if you’re particularly fond of those instruments or if you just like that ‘country sound’.

I love those instruments. Something I love in music in general is contemporary-sounding songs but with traditional instruments, so a more contemporary country song but with mandolin and banjo all over it – that, to me, is just perfect.

Do you play the banjo or the mandolin?

I’d love to be able to play the banjo. I can play the mandolin, but very badly.

From what I hear, the banjo’s quite hard.

I think so. I haven’t even attempted it, but from what I hear it is quite hard, yes.

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