Category: interview

Interview: Cameron Daddo

Cameron-Daddo-SonandMoonEPV3Cameron Daddo has extensive experience as an actor and presenter on screen and radio, in Australia and the United States. He also started releasing music in 1993, with the album The Long Goodbye. There have been albums and singles in between, including  Songs from the Shed in 2016 – and now there is the EP Son & Moon, produced by Michael Carpenter, with the heartrending title song featuring on recent episodes of Seven Network TV series Home and Away, working in with the storyline for a character played by Daddo.

Daddo says that when he got the the role on Home and Away, ‘Michael and I were already working together on this EP. At Home and Away they were aware that I could play but they weren’t aware that I had CDs out there. They said they had Mushroom back catalogue available but I said, “Why don’t we use my catalogue? I’ll send you the CDs and you let me know which song you like and we can do that. Or just trust me to come up with stuff in scenes.” All the noodling bits I did in that no one said, “Can you play this song?” I’d just feel what I wanted to do. And they were all my tunes that I was doing.

‘Then “Son & Moon” – the story had this concert that was coming up. I rang the producers and said, “I have this idea that Evan [his character] didn’t know he had a son but he found out after the fact. He knew she was pregnant but then the baby had been born, but he was somewhere in Middle America playing in a pub when he found out and he wrote that song when he found out that he became a dad.” They said, “Yeah, we love it”, and I said, “Well, here’s the song I think we should do.” I had “Son & Moon”. Actually, I had another song called “La Luna”, which didn’t have a chorus, so I grabbed two verses off “La Luna”, which is about my love for the moon and the fact that I could look at things with perspective when I sat on the moon and looked back on the earth. Then I retooled “La Luna”, wrote the chorus, wrote the bridge and wrote another verse or two, and called it “Son & Moon”. And it’s funny because the chorus ended up being “La Luna”. But that song was really told to work with the story in Home and Away.’

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Interview: Scarlet’s Way

Promo Pic 3Perth duo Scarlet’s Way recently released the rock-infused country track ‘Tell Me It’s Over’, into an uncertain environment for Australian country music artists: not only has COVID seen gigs disappear but CMC also vanished, which means it’s harder for artists to connect with an audience.

‘We’ve been waiting for the perfect time,’ says singer Katey Gabel of the single’s release, ‘and then just realised that there’s just no perfect time. So we bit the bullet. It’s just been a nuts world online. It’s hard to break through a lot of the noise.’

‘We’re not saying we timed it perfectly,’ adds guitarist Shayne Savic, ‘but we hoped for the best. In some ways we’ve second guessed ourselves nonstop. People are locked at home, maybe they could do with something to listen to. At the same time there was so much evil stuff going on in the world we didn’t want to see out song get swept up in anything that was going to hide it from anybody. So it was a tough one to make the call on. That’s why we recorded it a year ago and it sat there.’

‘Tell Me It’s Over’ is the first single that wasn’t recorded in the duo’s home studio, where they made their first EP and the single ‘Move Your Body’. The recording happened when they were on tour on the east coast.

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From Fallow to ‘Fierce’: Fanny Lumsden

Fanny Lumsden - Fierce IMG-07047Earlier this year – on 13 March, to be precise – Fanny Lumsden released her acclaimed third album, Fallow. The release came after an intense period in the life of Lumsden, her husband and collaborator, Dan Stanley Freeman, and her brother and band member, Tom Lumsden, when their home in the Upper Murray region of New South Wales was almost lost to the largest of the intense bushfires that consumed not just land but a great deal of the Australian summer, with the most dangerous period in the waning days of 2019 and early days of 2020. It also came on ‘COVID Friday’ – the day when it became apparent that Australia was about to lock down. Lumsden managed to have a magnificent last hurrah – the album launch in her local town of Tooma – but then she, along with the rest of the country, went home and stayed home. The timing was acutely bad, and obviously out of her control.

‘I’ve been through many emotions this year,’ she says of the run of events. ‘I feel like I’ve felt them all. [But] I feel pretty good right now. To be honest, I think I really needed lockdown. It was terrible timing with the album coming out the day everything was cancelled, and cancelling everything for the album was a bit of a blow. So it was a bumpy start and [we were] readjusting to that and expectations about stuff that we’d work towards, just like so many other people, I suppose.

‘But once I got my head around it and I just started slowing down … We’ve been working every day, we haven’t really had much time off, but in a really slow, normal kind of fashion,’ she says with a laugh. ‘But I think I’m becoming much more human. It’s taken me a few months to really wind down … I pushed it too hard. So I’m actually quite grateful.’

Prior to the fires, Lumsden and co toured for six months and were getting the album ready. ‘The exact time we were meant to have off was when the fires came,’ she says. ‘So then I went to a totally new level of stress that I’ve never felt before in my life, and then went straight into Tamworth and then straight back on tour and then put an album out. And, yes, adrenal fatigue was a thing I was dealing with, for sure.

‘But we’re good. Silver linings. I live in a beautiful spot. This last few months, I feel so lucky to be living where I live, even though I didn’t feel so lucky in January. And I’ve had my family around me and I’ve done so much stuff that I never had time to do. That I’ve never made time to do.’

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Interview: Julian Taylor

Julian Taylor 2B4A2758The first thing to notice about Canadian singer-songwriter Julian Taylor’s new album, The Ridge, is his voice. It is crisp and clear while also being warm and inviting. The artist who immediately springs to mind as a comparison is the legendary Ella Fitzgerald – whom Taylor says is one of his favourite artists, so much so that his daughter is named Ella. Frank Sinatra is another possible comparison, although, as Taylor will explain, Sinatra is not an influence.

It’s not the voice Taylor has always had, he says: ‘When I was a teenager and I put out my first record, I was listening to a Pearl jam and I was listening to the things like that. And basically it was 90s hip hop and 90s grunge, that was my thing. And so I didn’t enunciate at all. When I was growing up, music that I did listen to was the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Not Frank Sinatra, because my family is black and indigenous and it’s not a slight against Frank, but nobody in my family from my grandparents’ era was really into that.

‘My grandfather had huge issues with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It was not cool. He thought they were stealing people’s music and he was not impressed. So we never listened to that until I got out of the family dynamic and was old enough to go out on my own and listen to things. You’d hear Marvin Gaye. You’d hear Motown because of my mum and her sisters. You’d hear gospel-ly music because of my dad. He loved Andraé Crouch and Stevie Wonder specifically, but also played classical piano. So a lot of classical music was in my house.

‘And then on my indigenous side it was a lot of country music and rhythm and blues, because of that upbringing. You had Willie Dunn. Gram Parsons was pretty prevalent on people’s stereos at that time. Kris Kristofferson was there. And then on the rhythm and blues side, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Sonny, Terry, Brownie McGee. So American music, really.’

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The McClymonts release Mayhem to Madness – and bring joy

unnamed-14For the uninitiated, The McClymonts are a trio of sisters originally from Grafton, NSW. Oldest sister Brooke is the guitarist; middle sister Samantha plays bass and youngest sister Mollie plays mandolin. While Brooke is the lead singer, the standout feature of the band is their harmonies – immediately distinctive recognisably glorious over their six albums and all live shows. The sisters’ synergy can’t be manufactured but nor do they take it for granted – they tour regularly, even when they’re between album releases, keeping their collective instrument sharp.

For evidence of this, look no further than their latest album, Mayhem to Madness. Recorded last year – before Brooke gave birth to her second child early this year – the album was long ago scheduled for release in June, and the band pressed ahead despite the fact they’re releasing it into an uncertain world. Like all of their albums, it has its own identity – and this one is more reflective than their last album, Endless, although that wasn’t necessarily done on purpose.

‘The three of us girls have just been so busy with motherhood and balancing the career [each band member has two children],’ says Brooke. ‘I don’t want to say there was no thought put into the album – because there definitely was. [But] we live in [different places] too. Mollie’s in Wollongong, I’m in the mid north coast [NSW] now, Sam’s in Brisbane, so when it comes to getting our songs together this time it was more like, “I really love this one” and “I really love that”. We kind of jigsaw-pieced them all together. I feel like it came together really well considering how busy we all were.’

The cohesion of the album, despite the busyness of the band’s members, no doubt partly comes from the fact that they have been working together for so long, and by now they should be able to rely on all that playing and writing together to form a solid base for everything they do. Brooke agrees, and adds, ‘We also don’t like to sing about anything that’s not real to us. It just feels really weird and so uncomfortable. There’s one song on this album called “Wish You Hell” which was about my friend, but it sounds like I’m going through all this stuff but I have to explain that if I’m singing it live or just in interviews. “No, I haven’t been through that” – well, not yet and I hope not,’ she says, laughing.

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Brook Chivell on his new single ‘In My Life’


Gold Coast-based singer-songwriter Brook Chivell is known for his high-energy live shows and his powerful country rock sound – but he’s always had a musical and lyrical balance within his music, and his latest single, ‘In My Life’ is a heartfelt ballad that become his new single for a very good reason: his fans asked for it.

‘It was the one my hardcore fans kind of chose, really,’ says Chivell. ‘I listen to what they say. If they say, “I really love that song”, and I hear it enough times, I think I’ll put that one out next.

‘The first single that I ever released was chosen by people I knew. I didn’t have any fans at the time but they chose the song, because I like what I like for different reasons, other people like what they like for different reasons, but when a bunch of people say it, that’s something to listen to.’

The McClymonts’ song ‘Forever Begins Tonight’ has become a wedding song staple, and ‘In My Life’ would be a good candidate for that too. When that idea is put to Chivell, he says, ‘I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of songs that have been seen that way. One in particular – I did a duet on my first album called “Always You”, and it’s a waltz, in three/four time, and I know that’s been used in a few weddings. It’s an easy waltz and the topic’s nice as well.

‘Any time that people use one of my songs for any reason that’s big in their life – even when people say, “That song really got me out of a hard time” – those things really mean a lot because it means that your lyrics have connected and resonated with somebody. That’s huge to me, because that connection is what it’s all about.

‘If it’s a song I’ve written by myself it’s nice for me because I can realise I’m not the only person going through this. A lot of times you write songs because it’s a bit of therapy. Sometimes you do think, I’m the only person who’s ever been through this, and that’s part of the human condition, I guess. There’s a lot of people out there feeling pretty horrible because they think they’re the only people. But I don’t think anyone’s been through anything new in a really long time.’

‘In My Life’ appears on Chivell’s most recent album, Fearless Rider, which he released on CD last year. It’s not yet available on streaming services because, as he explains, ‘of the way that Spotify is now – you can’t pitch a playlist if the song’s already on Spotify – so I’ve had to release the songs from the album one at a time and hopefully I can group them together at the end.’

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The Wolfe Brothers take off the brakes


The Wolfe Brothers are a Tasmanian band who have used the Apple Isle as a springboard to the rest of Australia over the past few years, travelling constantly for their own shows as well as being Lee Kernaghan’s touring band. They have steadily built fans and accrued accolades, including ARIA nominations and Golden Guitar wins. That success has led them to a recently announced global recording deal with BMG, which will take the music of the Wolfe Brothers far beyond their island home.

‘It’s amazing,’ says Nick Wolfe. ‘There’s not too many deals like this that have been done, that’s a global umbrella of the company, coming from Australia. Usually the traditional path is that Australian country guys want to have a crack overseas and that involves moving there and mowing lawns for years. So we’re pinching ourselves that we’ve gotten this opportunity, and we just can’t wait to see where it takes us. We’re ready to work hard and make it happen.’

The Wolfe Brothers have never been afraid of working hard, but, of course, currently they can’t play any shows. Once they’re able, however, ‘we’d like to take our music to different parts of the world through this,’ says Nick. ‘We’d like to make an impact in the States and Canada. We were planning to tour Canada later this year but that’s been put on hold through what’s happening. But I’m sure we’ll get there. At the moment we’re just excited to have a new song out. While everyone’s at home isolating they can chuck that on and have a bit of fun.

‘The worst thing about it all is that no one really knows when things are  going to get back to normal, so we’re just waiting to see the next move. But for now we’re just doing what we can online, writing a bunch of songs, shooting videos and keeping the ball rolling as much as you can.’

The extra time to write songs has meant they’ve been able to set up co-writes that might otherwise never have happened.

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Interview: The Buckleys

unnamed-3-2Australian 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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Natalie Pearson lets ’em talk

Let 'Em Talk - Single ArtworkQueensland singer-songwriter Natalie Pearson is carving out her own niche in Australian country music, with her catchy, memorable country rock/pop songs and her dynamic stage presence. Towards the end of 2019 she released the single ‘Plan B’ and she has kicked off 2020 with the release of ‘Let ‘Em Talk’. If you ever needed motivation to stop worrying about what other people think, this song will give it you. Not that it means that you’ll find it easy …  Pearson says she has struggled with it herself.

‘I think as an artist you always care about what other people think of you,’ she says. ‘You always want people to like you. I think that’s just a human nature thing as well but more so when you’re an artist. But sometimes that gets in the way of you doing things. Or sometimes if people are saying things to other people, that can get in the way of things as well. So this is about, “Just don’t worry about that and just do what you do because at some point in time what you’ve created will have its own shine for what it is. And the people who are going to love it are going to love it. And the people who don’t care about it or don’t like it, they’re not your people anyway.” So that’s a really universal thing that everybody can take on board: not everyone is going to be your people and that’s okay. You just focus on the people who are your people and don’t worry about the rest.’

This is something that Pearson says she has to put into practice on a regular basis: ‘I think it’s still a realisation that I have to remember myself. Sometimes I get caught up in what other people think, and I just have to say, “Don’t worry about it.” It’s a learning process,’ she says with a laugh.

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Kristy Cox releases new album No Headlights

unnamed-6Originally from South Australia, bluegrass artist Kristy Cox has made her home in Nashville for the past few years, originally with a songwriting deal. She has continued to write songs, and has also continued to release music while returning to Australia for the Tamworth Country Music Festival and tours, and winning Golden Guitar awards.

Cox’s sixth album, No Headlights, was released at the end of February, and she managed to fit in the recording around another very important commitment in her life.

‘We did the band tracks when I was 40 weeks pregnant,’ says Cox. ‘A week before [second child] Ryman was born. I didn’t even know if I was going to get into the studio to do them, to be honest. Jerry [Salley, the album’s producer] was all teed up to sing the guide tracks just in case I couldn’t get in there.

‘Ryman was six or seven weeks old [during recording] and you definitely have to retrain those muscles. It’s like not going to the gym and then trying to run a run a mile. Hang on, no, you need baby steps into it. And I didn’t give myself as many baby steps as I probably should have, so I definitely made it a lot harder on myself.

‘But I was just so excited, I wanted to get in there and get the album done,’ she says, laughing. ‘I said, “Right, baby’s out – album time!”‘

Jerry Salley has been Cox’s producer for all six of Cox’s albums. She says of him, ‘Jerry does a really good job of getting the best out of me. I don’t think I would be the artist that I am today without him, that’s for sure. He challenges me. He knows what I’m capable of more than what I know what I’m capable of. So he will throw me songs and say you need to do this, or he’ll say, “You need to sing a trill”, and I’ll say, “I can’t do that.” And there’s been times where I’ve literally walked out of the studio in tears because he’s said, “You need to do it”, and I’ve said, “I can’t do that.” “Yes, you can.” “No, I can’t.”

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