Shane Nicholson is known as a songwriter and singer with many exceptional albums to his credit; over the past few years he’s also established himself as a producer in great demand, and as a mentor of up-and-coming country music talent. He is a fixture at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, appearing on the following dates:
Monday 20 January – Friends of Goonga’s Girls – West Tamworth Leagues Club
Wednesday 22 January – The Pub
Thursday 23 January – The Press (Dwayne Picklegun Show)
Friday 24 January – RUOK Show – West Tamworth Leagues Club
Ahead of the festival he released a new single, ‘The High Price of Surviving’, co-written with young Queensland songwriter Leyon Milner. It’s another great song amongst many in his catalogue, which begs the question: is he capable of writing a bad song?
‘Well, I’ve certainly written a couple,’ he says with a laugh. ‘I try and hide them as much as possible and don’t let other people hear them. I certainly wouldn’t try and record them. There are always bad songs. What I’ve learned though is that the more time goes on, the more songs I write, the more albums I make, I don’t actually finish the bad ones any more. I used to. You’d have a pile of songs and then decide your favourite or the best ones for a record. It doesn’t really get to that point now. So if the song’s not working or if it’s not going to be great, I can seem to identify it earlier. And I don’t bother finishing it. So the last few records I’ve made, the only songs that are written and finished are the ones that actually are on the record.’
Continue reading “Shane Nicholson heads for Tamworth with a new single and a packed schedule”
Emily Barker is a hugely talented and accomplished singer and songwriter across a range of genres, including writing for film and TV. She’s originally from Western Australia; she’s been living in the United Kingdom for the past few years but has returned to home shores for a string of dates that includes appearances at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, ahead of the release of her album Shadow Box at the end of this month:
Sunday 19 January – Fanzone – (2.40 p.m.)
Monday 20 January – Americana in the Park – Toyota Park – (7.00 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – Women’s Refugee Centre Fundraiser – Welder’s Dog (3.30 p.m. – 3.50 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – Welder’s Dog – Tamworth, NSW (5.00 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.)
Emily’s Tamworth plans started when she had an invitation from a music industry contact who’s an artist manager she met in Nashville at the Americana Fest, who happens to be Fanny Lumsden’s manager.
‘Fanny and I are friends,’ Barker explains, ‘and our managers met and became friends. And since then we’ve had this nice communication going with us sort of helping with any questions on the UK and him helping with any questions on Australia, even though I’m Australian, obviously, [but] I’ve lived over there for such a long time. So he’s been really helpful and he’s one of the people who’s who does some of the organising and bookings and things like that. So he got an invite and sent my stuff around to a few people and then various other things came from that. I think we’re doing about four shows and the one that he was a part of was Americana in the Park.’
The other places she’ll be playing are mostly venues she’s played before, although there is a bigger plan behind the tour schedule.
Continue reading “Interview: Emily Barker”
Last year Blue Mountains band Copperline released their debut album, Rusty Fords and Weatherboards – and this year they make their debut as a band at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, playing:
Saturday 18 January – Post Office Hotel
Sunday 19 January – Tamworth City Bowling Club
Sunday 26 January – Toyota Fanzone Stage
It’s not the first Tamworth for singer and guitarist Brad Christmas, though.
‘I’ve been to Tamworth before and I’ve played with different projects,’ he says, ‘but this is the first time Copperline’s played at Tamworth. So we’re really excited about our Tamworth debut and sharing all these songs with the Tamworth crowd. I’m just really looking forward to seeing how people react. The biggest thrill about this whole project is that it’s such a long journey from when you write songs and record them to you actually getting out there and play them, so I love that moment when you first play a song and you see what people’s reactions are. And I’m looking forward to catching up with his friends who are playing and seeing their shows and just being part of it. Tamworth feels like a big family get-together.’
And even though ‘debut’ implies that the band is a relatively new entity, they’re not.
‘We’ve actually been been playing together for a long time – 10 or 15 years,’ says Christmas. ‘We’ve been in cover bands and event bands, and we’ve even got a little side project as a kids band that we do from time to time. For age we’d been talking about doing a new original country project. We were really waiting for the right time, till everyone could really throw themselves into it, writing and recording an album and touring. Last year ended up being the right time. We had a bunch of songs that we’ve been putting together over a number of years and we really wanted to work with Shane Nicholson, and we found a time that he was available and keen to get us up to the studio. So it all came together around that.’
Continue reading “Copperline are taking their Rusty Fords to Tamworth”
Queensland singer-songwriter Camille Trail made quite an impact with her debut single, ‘Humming Chain’, released last year. Now she’s heading for her first visit to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, not just as a performer but as a spectator. She is, she says, ‘trying to block out all the expectations and just go there and enjoy it. I kind of put a lot of pressure on myself, so I’m just telling myself just enjoy it.’
Trail will be playing on these dates:
Saturday 18 January – The Albert Hotel (w/ Allison Forbes) – The Press (12 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – The Press (3 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Press (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Sunday 26 January – The Press (8 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
Trail first started playing music at the age of eight, when she began piano lessons. She grew up in a household that embraced music.
‘When I was little, every time I would wake up I’d always go out into lounge room and my dad would be sitting in the lounge room, stacks of CDs around him,’ she says. ‘Every morning those CDs were piled everywhere and it was always Fleetwood Mac and Creedence and all like the 60s to 80s music playing.’
Continue reading “Interview: Camille Trail”
Victorian singer-songwriter Kaitlyn Thomas is nineteen years old – although she has several years of experience as a writer, performer and recording artist. She’s also about to appear in the Tamworth Country Music Festival, with multiple shows:
17 January – Ladies of Country with Gina Timms, Tamworth Wests, 7.00 p.m.
18 January – Jayne Denham Live, 8.00 p.m.
19 January – Fanzone, Peel Street, 10.30 a.m.
19 January – Dolly for Dolly Fundraiser, 3.00 p.m.
20 January – Red Door Cafe and Lounge Bar, 11.00 a.m.
20 January – Red Rebel Music Showcase, 5.00 p.m.
22 January – DAG Songwriting Retreat Showcase, 10.00 a.m.
22 January – Storytellers with Nia Robertson, 1.00 p.m.
22 January – Capitol Theatre, 2.30 p.m.
24 January – DAG Songwriting Retreat Showcase – 11.00 a.m.
24 January – Hillybilly Hut Showcase with Simon Johnson, 3.30 p.m.
24 January – Red Door Cafe and Lounge Bar, 6.00 p.m.
Thomas grew up in a musically eclectic family, saying she heard ‘very different genres playing when I was younger. When I was a baby Mum used to always leave the radio on because I couldn’t handle complete silence. She listened to what she grew up on – 80s, 90s music. My dad was really into the rock thing, so I got exposed to that at a really young age, but I was iistening to Sheryl Crow when I was younger and she was one of my all-time musical influences, I love her so much. Mum was listening to Linda Ronstadt. My grandma and my great-grandmother, they were really into that country scene so I was exposed to that a little bit. It’s not really until now that I have my own taste in music.’
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Hayley Marsten is a singer-songwriter from Gladstone in Queensland who has been steadily building a fan base – and a reputation as a writer and performer of great country songs – through the release of singles and EPs. Last year she recorded and released her debut album, Spectacular Heartbreak, which has been nominated for a Golden Guitar for Alt Country Album of the Year. Attending the awards on Saturday 25 January will be one of Marsten’s many appearances at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which include:
Friday 17 January – The Albert Hotel (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
Saturday 18 January – Capitol Theatre (8 p.m. – 10 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – The Albert Hotel (w/ Melody Moko – 5 p.m.)
Monday 20 January – Fanzone (3 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – The Dag Sheep Station (11 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Pub (w/ The Buckleys – 5 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Press (7 p.m.)
‘It feels really special,’ says Marsten of the nomination, ‘and I can finally not feel like I’m a complete outsider in the country music industry. It feels a little bit like, “Hey, we like what you do.” And I feel like less like I don’t belong in a room with all the industry people now. It feels nice to be getting a pat on the back for all your hard work.’
Fans of Marsten’s will probably not think of her as being outside the country music tent – she is steeped in the country music lineage, drawing on the genre’s musical and storytelling traditions, offering songs and stories that appeal to all ages. Of course, they are offered in Marsten’s style and with her perspective on life, which is what makes them different and interesting. It’s just that, as Marsten says, ‘every artist suffers from self-doubt and I am a huge self-doubter, and the Golden Guitar nomination put that at ease – at least for a little while. I’m sure I’ll start it back up when I start a new album and just question everything. But I’m very proud that my first album is an album of the year finalist.’
Continue reading “Hayley Marsten heads for TCMF with a Spectacular nomination”
Gold Coast-based singer-songwriter Natalie Pearson is a fantastic country pop artist who has over 500 000 streams on Spotify – and late last year she added to that with the release of ‘Plan B’, her catchy new single. Pearson is appearing at the including Tamworth Country Music Festival shows on Thursday 23 January at 7.00 p.m. at Moonshiners Bar with Brook Chivell and Liam Brew, and Friday 24 January at 9.30 a.m. at the Hopscotch Café Songwriters in the Round. Brisbanites can also see Pearson with Andrew Swift, Jade Holland and Brook Chivell on Saturday 15th February from 11.30 a.m. on the Riverfest Country Cruise.
Audience members will likely get to hear ‘Plan B’, which was written in Melbourne – apparently over a few glasses of wine – with Luke Austen and Jake Sinclair.
‘I travelled down to Melbourne a couple of years ago,’ says Pearson, ‘while I was on tour with Jay Seeney, and I knew that Luke and Jake had their weekly writing sessions and I’m good mates with them too. So I went around and we just caught up for a bit and then discovered that Jake and I were going through something similar at the time. We decided to write a few songs that night, but “Plan B”, I think, was the first one. We’ve got another couple of songs as well that I will be releasing later on down the track that were written with them too. So we we’re a good team.’
The track was produced by Matt Fell, one of the busiest producers working in Australian country music. Pearson says she’d heard great things about Fell, ‘and I always like to try new things.
‘With “Plan B” I didn’t really have [an idea of] what I wanted it to sound like. I’d done it acoustically so much that that was all I could really hear. I knew that I wanted it to be pop country, but I didn’t really know like what, and I knew that Matt Fell is quite creative with his sounds and he likes to be very on trend. So I let him fly with it on this one.
‘I went in and we played the demo and I played him some other things that I’d released previously and also things that I was really digging at that moment by other artists. He really took everything on board. He works very differently to other producers, I think. He’s a bit heads down, bums up at the screen and you’re not really sure what’s happening,’ Pearson says with a laugh, ‘and there’s all these weird sounds coming out that he’s playing with him. But then it all comes together and it sounds amazing. So I really liked working with Matt and I’m really proud of how the song came out.’
Continue reading “Interview: Natalie Pearson”