Category: jess holland

Jess Holland takes her Miss Demeanour to Tamworth

Singer-songwriter Jess Holland has a brand new album, Miss Demeanour, and she is launching it during the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival. Jess is a fantastic live performer, and the singles she’s released so far from the album – including the latest, ‘Australian Dreamer’ – have built anticipation for a great new release. I had a chat to Jess about her launch show and other Tamworth shows, and about the album.

The album is done – how are you feeling?
Excited. I cannot wait for it now. I think the last time I was talking to you I was releasing my last single and I think I was hinting there was a new album coming out. I’m just so excited because it’s been such a long process and I’m ready for it to be out now.
I remember talking to you quite a while ago when ‘Linburn Lane’ wasn’t even on an album at that time – you were talking about the song and it sounded amazing. So how long has it taken to write the songs for the album, and how long has the recording taken?
I stepped into the studio itself straight after Tamworth [2017]. I started the first week of February and I’ve been recording on and off until about maybe August. All my stuff got done really quickly but because there’s been so many different people on the album as instrumentalists and musicians, it’s been a process of trying to get them when they’re free. Everyone’s just so busy. But it’s so worth it. And prior to that I guess I was probably writing songs for well over a year. So you can see why I’m ready [laughs]. I’ve had these songs under my wraps for so long and I guess I’ve been test running them at gigs but now it’s all but done. I’m ready for it to be released.
Did you have more songs than you needed?
Oh, way too many. I think initially I had maybe 31 songs or something silly. I had to take a step back and say, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I going to do here?’ [laughs] I found myself combining some as well, because I thought, Well, they’re very similar so maybe I can take those lyrics out into this … And it just seemed to mesh really well. By doing that sort of thing, and complete culls as well, I got down to 15 or 16. I sent them away to my producer in Newcastle at Funky Lizard Studios, Rob Long, and said, ‘Mate, it’s up to you now. You need to tell me what’s going to work and what’s not because I’m too close to it now.’ So we got down to the 13 tracks that are on the album.

Continue reading “Jess Holland takes her Miss Demeanour to Tamworth”

Jess Holland Ain’t Quittin’ This Run

Jess Holland is one of the leading lights of the younger generation of Australian country music performers. She has a voice that has power and subtlety in equal measure, and which cuts through the noise of a typical Tamworth Country Music Festival and draws listeners to it. Jess will appear at the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival and in the run-up she released ‘Ain’t Quittin’ This Run’ as the new single from her latest album, Whole Lot to Say.

What did you get up to in 2016?
I’ve been so busy. I’ve been focused on writing the new album. I’ll hopefully be starting to record it at the beginning of February, so I’ve been trying to do as much writing as I can and get it all out of my system, so between that and doing a lot of gigs and festivals, it’s kept me off the streets.
Are you doing a crowdfunding campaign for the new album?
I haven’t decided yet. It worked really well for the last one so potentially – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But I haven’t thought that far ahead at the moment. I’m going to try to do as much as I can just because it’s not going to be as quick a process as it was last time. I’ve had a bit of time to write and think about things. I’ll be going in a very similar direction in that I can’t not write sassy music but on this one there’s going to be a bit more homey-rootsy songs as well.
Do you mean you might record some songs and leave it for a little bit?
Yes. I’ll probably decide on one single to release from the album and really focus on that for a bit and as I’m doing that record in the background and finish the details, so there’s not as much pressure to get an album out. Last time I really wanted to get a full-blown album out because I had so much, I guess, to prove in comparison to my first one. I really wanted to prove that my new sound and my new direction were exactly who I was and where I was up to, whereas this time I haven’t got quite to prove so there’s not as much pressure.
You mentioned that you’ve played festivals and quite a few gigs – have you found that your fans are changing or growing?
It’s definitely growing, which has been such a thrill. I’m just a bit of a bogan country kid and to think now, especially, that I can go to festivals and people are starting to really sing my lyrics, it’s a really weird feeling. I’m still getting used to it, because I go to gigs and to festivals and people know who I am and it’s kind of, like, ‘Whoa!’ I live quite a country bumpkin sort of a life. All week I’m either playing music or I’m writing or I’m out on the farm, so for me to go out to a festival or gig I’m in my own little world, and for people to say, ‘Hey, Jess, I can’t wait to hear you play’, or they’re requesting my songs, it’s a really cool feeling. So I reckon my fan base has definitely grown in the last twelve months.
The album certainly made a statement – it was like a declaration of arrival, in a way.
Well, it was so different to everything else that was brought out at that time and that’s what I loved. And, again, with this new album, I’m not trying to sound like anyone, I’m not trying to mimic. I’m writing songs that I want to write and I’m not trying to fit into a certain box or a genre. I’m writing what I’m writing and whatever comes out, comes out, and sometimes that can be a lot different to people being pressured to sound or look a certain way – and I’m so far from that it’s not even funny. I pride myself on not trying to be a certain way, it just sort of happens.
And that means your music comes from a really authentic place, and no doubt that’s what people respond to – ‘I believe her when she’s up there’.
I hope so. At my gigs I’ve been test driving a lot of my new tracks. As I write them I like to test drive them and see how people react. Especially a lot more of the getting-back-to-my-roots kind of music, people have been really responding to the storyline or the message behind it, which has been really cool. On the new album there will be something for everyone and all ages. I think for me it reflects what I’ve been through in the last twelve to eighteen months. I’ve had a complete … not lifestyle change but it’s been about getting back to my roots. I moved back out of town, whereas I’d spent a little bit of time in town but working out of town. But now I love out of town, I work out of town, I don’t go to town much unless I really need to, so the writing has been a lot more influenced by the country and the people that I meet at my little local pub.
Are you still in the Mungindi area?
No, I moved back to my home town, Mudgee, but I’m living about 20 ks out of town. I’ve been working on my dad’s farm and living in this little farmhouse. It’s been a hard time but it’s been good because it’s been helpful in the writing process.
I’m picturing you out in the stillness of the countryside – is it a good place to let inspiration come to you because you don’t have a lot of noise and distraction? Does it allow space for you to be more creative?
I think so. When I first moved back and into this little farmhouse I did not put the TV on until I felt like I’d finished writing. I could still watch TV if I wanted to – I could go into town to my parents’ place – but I actively made sure I didn’t have any distractions in regards to technology, and where I live you’re lucky if there’s one bar of phone service. It’s actually been a really cool experience. I haven’t had all those distractions like ‘I’ll just quickly look at Facebook’ or ‘I’ll just quickly check an email’ – instead it’s forced me to think. A lot of the songs I’m writing are the history that is wrapped up in this house, and all this cool stuff that I’d never thought I’d write about but because I’ve changed my situation completely it’s all come to the surface.
I can’t wait to hear these songs now.
I can’t wait to put them out. It’s a really weird process because people forget that when you release the album it’s been in the works for a long time, so the artist is really familiar with the songs so it’s a relief when they’re finally out and people can hear them.
You’re in an unusual situation in that you’re able to compare different ways of living creatively  – you’re here now on a farm where you have a bit of space and time but you’ve lived in other places where there are more distractions and more competition for your brain space. It’s great to be able to make that comparison.
Definitely, and I think it comes out in my music. A lot of the stuff I’ve been writing about – some of it is still definitely sassy and Jess Holland at the crux of it, but some of the new stuff I’ve been writing is old school. It’s more of a story. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘bush ballady’ because that’s never been my direction, as much as I love listening to it and appreciate it, that was never my direction. It’s quite … vintage, I suppose.
I guess your voice demands something a little more high-stakes in the storytelling, if that makes sense.
Definitely. One of the songs I’ve had written for probably twelve months now – it’s called ‘Linburn Lane’ and it’s a cool full-circle moment because [the lane] is only about a k from where I’m living and the song is about my grandmother. She grew up on Linburn Lane. When she married she went from Linburn Lane, where all her family were, to the back of the Never Never, a long way away. So she never saw her family; she had nine or ten kids. All these hardships. But I don’t describe it as a bush balladeer thing. It’s her life story in a roundabout way and she’s telling it – the song is like she’s telling it. I’ve just moved back to that area so there’s so much history and I think that’s the reason why I wrote the song.
This is an evolution for you as a songwriter, stepping into this more personal storytelling mode, and this historical storytelling. But I just got a chill down my spine when you said you were singing the song from your grandmother’s perspective. Does it feel strange to almost inhabit an ancestor?
It took me a very long time to sing it. She was my mum’s mother and [the song] came about because when my grandmother passed away I guess I didn’t know a lot about her. I said to my mum, ‘I really want to write something about my grandma and about her life, how she got to where she was.’ I saw her from a certain age, when she got Alzheimer’s, but I didn’t want to write about that side of things. I wanted to write about the hard life she went through. I did a bit of investigation through my aunties and uncles and came up with this. [But] I haven’t been able to sing it until the last six or eight months because it’s quite emotional. You don’t think it will be – ‘It’s just another story.’ But the first time I sang it my mum was in the audience and she started bawling her eyes out and I was, like, ‘Great – thanks, Mum.’ [Laughs] I was trying to choke back the tears and I thought, What are you doing, Jess? I never thought I’d be like that. But I think I’ve tapped into something that a lot of people can relate to and, no word of a lie, every time I’ve sung that I’ve had people coming up and saying, ‘That reminds me of my grandma or my great-grandma.’ People in the area, when I sing it, they say, ‘I remember certain aspects of that song.’ It’s tapping into something that I didn’t think would be so popular and it hasn’t even been released yet.
That’s amazing. I can’t wait to hear it. But you haven’t recorded it yet. Although you have recorded the song ‘Ain’t Quittin’ This Run’ which has been released as a single, so what inspired this one?
This was one of the first songs I wrote for the current album, Whole Lot to Say, and I think a lot of the inspiration behind the album was that I’m sick of people trying to tell me that I should look like this or I should say this or sing like this. And I was getting a bit annoyed, I suppose, because I’m very sassy and people were trying to change me in order to make an album, and I said, ‘That’s not right. I am who I am.’ And part of me was thinking, Imagine who else they’re trying to pressure this onto. So for me it was, ‘No matter what you’re trying to do, I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep being me and true to myself. I’m not going to wear blonde tight curls and high heels and fake this and fake that.’ And I think people respect that I’ve kept to my roots in regards to [the fact that] I’m not going to change for anyone. So that’s really what the song’s about, embodying that attitude of, ‘You can do and say what you want but I’m never going to quit what I’m doing.’
And nor should you. But Australian country music has so many female artists. I would have thought it was the one genre of music where there wouldn’t have been a lot of pressure to be a certain way. I’m curious to hear that it still comes up.
It kind of does, and I didn’t believe it until I delved head first into the industry and I thought, Of course pop is going to be like that because they want to see a certain image, but it’s actually quite puzzling that country music is still trying to produce these doll-like people. It still really gets to me. A lot of these people they’re portraying are gorgeous girls and they’re really nice but if you ask me if they can sing or not, it’s a whole other ball game. That is where I stuck to my guns and say I’m not going to be the next blonde bimbo or the one they’re coming to see because she’s wearing a short, tight skirt. I like to wear sparkles and skirts like everyone else but I’m not portraying myself as one of those doll-type people because I’m far from it.
I think that comes back to the authenticity of what you do, and that’s what your audience wants and what they love about your music. You wouldn’t have been authentic if you’d changed.
And I think I would have kicked myself. I’m from a very down-home family too so if I decided that I couldn’t do something because I’m wearing fake nails or I can’t do that because my hair will get dirty, my dad would say, ‘Get down here and swing off that crowbar right now!’ It just wouldn’t play. So I can’t expect other people to take to me if I was fake – I’d be pulled down to size pretty quickly if I tried all that sort of stuff.
Now to Tamworth – will you be back at the Tudor Hotel?
I will be. I’m excited because I’m doing a variety show this time. Each gig’s going to be different. I’m doing solo, I’m doing duo, I’m doing full band. And then I’ve got a bit of a special trio outfit that’s going to be happening. I’m not going to say too much but it’s just really exciting because we have only really performed together a couple of times at Mildura Country Music Festival and so we’re just having a bit of fun and for us that’s what Tamworth is all about. We get plenty of gigs and a lot of work through the year and we get to catch up with each other at Tamworth.  
Whole Lot to Say is available on iTunes.

Album review: Whole Lot to Say by Jess Holland

Given the high standard of country music in Australia, it’s not often that an artist can exceed my expectations for their new album. I expected that Jess Holland’s album would be strong and bold and entertaining – she has a mighty voice and she knows how to use it. I also expected that the album might veer more towards blues – which her voice certainly suits – than country.

From the first track, ‘Ain’t Quittin’ This Run’, Holland declares that this album can take my expectations and toss them gleefully aside. Musically the album is a very well-rounded piece of work, and that’s because Holland doesn’t just deliver the ‘big’ songs but she gives us a lot of subtlety too. The first song has both, so it grabbed me and held on, and she kept me on the ride the whole way through.
Holland crowd-sourced the funding for this album and, as with all the other artists who have done this, she therefore had control over how this album was put together: who produced it, where it was recorded, who played on it. That the result is such a great album reveals not just that she is a fantastic singer and musician but also that she has a very clear vision for her music – and that this album is a true representation of what she wants to say as an artist. Given that that’s the case, what Australian country music now has is a truly diverse artist who can take a rollicking road song and make it soar, give us a torch song that makes our knees weak and then deliver a straight-shooting narrative that has us sitting up and paying attention. This is an album that should make any country music fan excited about where the ‘younger generation’ are taking the genre: while remaining eminently respectful of tradition, they are finding ways to drive country music forwards, taking the existing audience with them and finding new listeners along the way.

In the song ‘Fine Lines’, Holland sings, ”It’s a fine line between dreams and madness/Be careful how you play your hand’. Jess Holland was playing small pub stages at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival. This album surely has to be her ticket to bigger venues and bigger audiences – she deserves them for this album that is very clearly the result of her playing her hand just right.

Whole Lot to Say is out now.

Jess Holland is heading for the Top End:

Humpty Doo Hotel – 22 August
Darwin Rodeo – 23 August
Darwin Railway Club – 24 August

Interview: Jess Holland

Originally this piece was to be an interview with Mungindi singer-songwriter Jess Holland combined with a review of her new album, Whole Lot to Say, which is why this interview is being posted later than first planned. However, the album really deserves its own post – thus, this is the interview alone. It is always a pleasure to speak to Jess, who is a working musician – and very impressive live, if you get the chance to see her. 

I saw you playing in Tamworth this year, and you did a lot of gigs around about the place, in fact, you were turning up in spots where you weren’t even necessarily advertised as being, I noticed.
Yeah, that’s right.

And I also noticed that there was a group of really active younger musicians and by that, I mean, people like you who were sitting in on other people’s gigs and turning up in spots where they weren’t even listed to play, and I felt, it just seemed to be very vibrant and positive and the whole feeling around it was really great, so I was wondering if that was your experience of Tamworth and, if so, did you make some good connections or good creative connections?
That was definitely my vibe. I went up there with X amount of gigs and by the time it was finished, I’d been guest at so many other different gigs, it wasn’t even funny.  And it was so good, because you get to meet so many other people and it was fantastic, great vibe.

So were these people you’ve met up there or were they people you knew already and it just happened that you all ended up playing together?
A bit of both, actually.  It was good because a lot of people that I knew went – I went to the academy, the CMAA Academy, back in 2011, so it was good to catch up with them again, and go and check them out and have a bit of fun with them, and then also get up and do a few songs with them.  And then from there, it was acquaintances of theirs, so it was all really tightly connected and the people that I knew and then people that they knew and it was fantastic.  It was really great.

Partly what I found interesting was the conception of country music amongst a lot of people is that it’s mainly for older people and certainly there are a lot of older people at Tamworth, but there were a lot of young performers there who did attract an older audience, but also I found that a lot of the performers like you were really knowledgeable about their music.  They really love country music and it’s a really interesting time, I think, in country music in Australia.
It is.  It definitely is at the moment, as you said, a lot of people think country music – they think old, they think twang, they have these really different preconceived ideas of what they expect country to be, but little do they know, as soon as you hit Tamworth, there’s just a whole different vibe.  I mean, yes, it does attract a lot of older crowds, but like you said, there are so many new people that are just so interested in country music and I had a lot of people coming up to me, saying to me, ‘Oh, I didn’t actually think that I liked country music.’

But then I’ll listen to you or I listen to the likes of Harry Hookey or someone else that was a younger performer and they really enjoyed their show.  And that just goes to show that country music isn’t just the twang, it isn’t just attracting old people, it’s attracting all sorts, which I think is great.  And, as you said, it’s very interesting about country in Australia at the moment, because of all the little rifts and everything that’s happening, but I just think it’s fantastic. Tamworth really made the point that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you think country music is, that everyone is in the same boat and they really enjoy the time.

Tamworth itself is a great place for people to make creative connections, and I was reading in your material around this album, that you’ve met Rob Long at Tamworth during StarMaker.  I presume it was in Tamworth, or during the competition?

And also there are musicians playing on the band, like from the Adam Eckersley Band and Adam himself.  I mean, these are all people – you kind of all flow together in the one place in January and then flow apart, but those connections can really have an impact on you throughout the year.
Yeah.  They definitely can.  At Tamworth, like you said, everyone comes into the one hub and if you’re not performing yourself, you go and see as many other performers as you can, and do a bit of bar hopping and that sort of thing.  And it’s then that you really make a lot of friends and you really make a lot of connections as in the music industry.  And then you’ve got those connections for the rest of your life sort of thing, so for me it was really good. I met Rob Long, back in the 2013 at the Toyota StarMaker, which is in Tamworth.  And from there I met Adam and Ben Elliot, who’s the drummer for Adam, and it really helped shaped my album.  So all those people were on the album, which worked out really, really well.

You met Rob in January 2013, so that’s only last year – the album’s about to come out and that seems like a really short timeframe. Even if you had all your songs written, it’s still short, I think, to meet someone, form that relationship, that producer–performer relationship and then get the album recorded. Does it feel like it’s been quick to you or do you feel like, oh, it’s taken forever?
No, it is quite fast, the time period, but as soon as I met Rob Long – we’ve been talking to each other in regards to music and me recording with him for about three or four months prior to StarMaker, and I found out about Rob through mutual musicians that we both know.  He’s actually originally from Gulgong, which is only 20 minutes up the road from Mudgee, my hometown. And so, there was those connections already, and then as soon as I met Rob through StarMaker, it was like an instant connection musically.  We really got along well as mates, and then also we really were on the same wavelengths in regards to the ideas for the album.  And so we really just clicked and it felt like that I known Rob for a long, long time and that I’d been working with Rob for a long time.  So, for me it was very quick for people to look upon and say, oh, man, from the point of time that you met him to when you recorded, it was only January through to August, that’s when I started recording with him.  But it just felt like I’d known him for ages because he knew exactly what sound and everything I was after straightaway, so it worked really well.

In terms of the sound, ‘Fine Lines’ is the single I’ve heard, and it’s a country song, not necessarily in the construction of its lyrics so much, but there are country elements musically in it. In the liner notes for ‘Ain’t Quitting This Run’, you said that people tried to change your sound.  Well, it sounds like you’re firmly country now; so I wondering what those people tried to change you into?
I think because my image and my sound is very unique within the country industry, especially in Australia, there’s probably not anyone else out there like me, which for some people it was a little bit daunting to actually take me on and take on my sound.  But for me, I had a lot of people saying to me, you should be writing more mainstream and you should be doing this and you should look like this.  And I just found it really daunting, because never before had I had anyone say to me you should be doing this, and so it’s really cool to come across the likes of Rob Long and a few others, because they’re like, no, this is unique, this is what people are after, they’re not after the same little blonde people that are trying to be like Taylor Swift.  They’re after something unique and I soon realised that, hey, I was never going to be like those blonde girls that have got the flowing locks and like Taylor Swift. That’s just not my sound at all. 
My sound is country rock and with a slash of blues in there, so for me, that in itself is very unique and I just basically stop worrying about what everyone else is thinking and really make music that I was happy with and that Rob and I both agreed on that worked.  I’m so glad that I did because I’ve really found my niche now, and I could not imagine being happy if I had brought out an album that I wasn’t 100 per cen happy with.  And I am, so I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

People can tell, I think, when you’re not being authentic, particularly if you’ve got a big stage presence, you’ve got a big voice and so you’re the sort of performer that an audience will pay attention to, but they’d be able to tell if you weren’t being authentic about what you’re doing, if you know what I mean?

You’re not a very good liar, Jess, I think is what I’m trying to say [laughs].
Look, I totally agree.  I consider myself to be a very modest, very authentic and what you see on stage, I’m not putting on at all, which I couldn’t even imagine trying to put on.  I wouldn’t even where to start, because the way I talk, the way I sing, is Jess Holland through and through.  If you were to stop me in the street and have a chat with me, I’d be exactly the same.  And I think that’s one of my positives, I suppose.  I am who I am, and I’m not about to dye my hair and wear a pair of brand new cowboy boots.  The thing is, it’s hard, because I do wear cowboy boots everywhere I go, but that’s – I always have [laughs].

It’s just who I am.

Yeah, they’re practical a lot of time, if you’re out in the bush and doing stuff.
Totally, yeah.

The last time I spoke to you, you were about to do a solo tour of Queensland. So you’re used to playing on your own; I was wondering if it was a bit strange to have all these other musos in the studio playing on your songs?
It was fantastic. I actually started off in bands and then obviously as time got on, it’s just a lot easier to tour sometimes as a solo artist, because you’ve only to worry about yourself and what you’re doing.  But this time, I’m actually going to be doing quite a few launch gigs that are with a full band, which I’m really excited about.  And for me, I just really enjoy whether it’s recording or performing or whatever, I enjoy playing with more than just myself, because you can have so much fun and you really connect with people, and I generally don’t play or perform with people unless I connect with them straight up.  And you soon find out whether or not you connect musically with them because they’re easy to get along with and they just have a lot of fun on stage like you do, so I’ve been pretty lucky so far.  Everyone I’ve worked with I’ve really connected musically with, so it’s been great.

How are you going about choosing people for those launch gigs?
For the Newcastle launch gig, it’s actually the majority of the people that I recorded with, which is really easy. Then for the other two, I’m actually performing with a band called Streamline and they’re from Gunnedah, and I’ve already performed with them a number of times before at some gigs, so I go back to the old faithful that I know that are going to work for me and that I really lot have a lot of fun with, and so it makes it a lot easier for me, for sure.

Certainly I do think your voice would sound great with a band, because there are a lot of singers whose voices actually aren’t powerful enough to go over the top of a band, but it sounds to me very much like you could more than do it, if you know what I mean?
[Laughs] So are you saying, I probably would not need a microphone with my howling? I’m really looking forward it to, I’ve always enjoyed and I really love performing with a full band so it should be a lot of fun.

Just on a technical note, because your voice is such a strong instrument: do you do a lot of vocal exercises and warm-ups and practices?
No.  Surprisingly I don’t, because I’ve never actually been trained.  I probably should.  Sometimes I will do warm-ups, not so much warm-downs, but warm-ups, especially if I’m doing a lot of gigs over a weekend or over a week.  If I’m doing a gig every day, it pays to warm up because I always get on stage and it’s a bit croaky or whatever, but generally I’m a little bit probably irresponsible, in the fact that I don’t probably look after my voice as well as I should, just because it’s always worked for me that way, and if it ain’t broke why fix it, sort of thing.

The only thing is the cautionary tale of Troy Cassar-Daley having to go and have surgery last year.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. One thing I do, I definitely keep it really hydrated with water and I know that if I’ve got gigs coming up, I keep very hydrated and I’ve got this rule, I don’t have any dairy on a day off, because sometimes if you have any dairy or milk or whatever, sometimes it can be a bit gluggy in your throat. But, yeah, drink plenty of water, and I definitely do warm up if I’ve got a long line of gigs all in a row, but it’s really very straightforward, you don’t talk too much the day before or the day after, that sort of thing, but generally I don’t do runs or that sort of thing, warming up for me is just make sure that’s it warm and working property … It’s all usually pretty good.

Well, it’s working so far.
Yeah, that’s exactly right [laughs].

[Laughs] So out of the songs on your album, I have to ask: do you have any favourites?  It’s probably like asking you to choose between children, right?
I do.  I like them all for very different reasons.  ‘Fine Lines’ is definitely one of my favourites, hence why I wanted to bring it out first because, I guess, it’s a bit of a close one, like bit personal, hits home.  ‘Leave You Damaged’ is probably one of my favourites because it’s a lot faster and a very sassy, raunchy song.  But probably one of my favourites is number 14, which is called this ‘This Ol’ Guitar’, and basically I’ve stripped it right down.  It’s only vocals and guitar and it’s basically about this old guitar that I was given from a very, very young age and just an old nylon battered thing, and I still have it.  And it went with me everywhere, yeah, it’s old faithful, so that’s what the song’s about.

Now in terms of your live performance, you’re a passionate performer and I would imagine this is a passionate record, but I was also wondering how hard it is to sustain that intensity of feeling across several takes for a vocal track?
It can be quite trying sometimes, because when you’re recording everything that you’re playing or singing or whatever, you do three or four times at minimum, depending on how you’re feeling.  So sometimes it can get a bit trying, but basically you’ve got to keep your vibe up and really just remember what you wrote the song about and really stay in that vibe of it and in that zone. Because as soon as you dip out of it, the take is never as good, and basically you keep going down and down until you have to stop, I suppose.  But really the key for me is just to remember what I wrote the song about and get into the song, in the zone of the song, I suppose, which sounds corny but if you don’t, you really lose your momentum and your vibe for it.  It can be a struggle especially when you can do six, seven, eight, nine songs in a day depending on how you’re going, so it makes for a huge day but it’s well worth it at the end.

It’s not corny at all.  It’s what being that storyteller is about.  If all you’re doing is singing the words and that sound, that doesn’t connect to a listener, but if you’re able to convey the emotion that or the experience behind the song, then that’s the best reward for the listener.
Yeah, that right.  And, I mean, you’re always going to do that on stage, because you’ve only got to sing it once generally, but it can be really hard in the studio, especially if you’re not necessarily used to being in the studio. I’ve only been in the studio a few times, and it took me a little while to get settled in and the nerves and that sort of thing, and just feel a bit more comfortable.  So by the time the vocals came around, see you don’t do the vocals until towards the end, which really helps because by that time you’re comfortable, you’re in your zone and it’s like your home away from home.  So by the time the vocals come around you’re really used to the environment and you’re basically setting aside two or three days to do the vocals and you don’t have to push yourself.  It’s really all up to you and how you’re feeling, but if the momentum’s going I just keep going and it worked really well this time, so that’s good.

You did some crowdfunding on Indiegogo for this album, which obviously worked, ‘cause you’ve made the album. Would you do that again?
Definitely would do it again.  It was a great way for people to contribute to the album, and say, hey, I was part of that album.  And, it’s really cool because all that stuff will be sent out today or tomorrow, which will be very exciting.  And for me it was really great, because I had a few people come out of the woodwork, and they contributed whether it was for a CD or whatever – you don’t have to contribute an X amount of money, you can contribute whatever you want, which I thought was great because people can contribute 10 dollars, 20 dollars or if they want a certain package which I thought it was great, and I really thank all my contributors for that, because it really supported me and made me feel as though, yes, I could do this album and that.  So it worked really, really well.  Definitely recommend it.

I’ve got one last question for you, which is: in the liner notes for ‘Wasn’t Alone’ you say there is no other feeling like music, and I was wondering how old you were when you first realised that?
Look, I don’t really know.

I’ve been pretty lucky.  I’ve really been this tall, since I can remember, and I’ve always had music in my life and I started playing instruments from a very, very young age.  And I just always really enjoyed it, and looking back, I think, I always knew that there was nothing else like music because I was always really happy, no matter what mood I was in or how my day was going, as soon as I listened or performed or played some music, my mood was totally switched, and I was always happy.  And I think you only really get to realise that when you get a bit older, because you become a bit more in tune with yourself and how you feel and all that sort of stuff. Since I’ve been doing it a bit more full time professionally, I definitely realise there is nothing else like music.  And I think I’ve known it my entire life but just only the awareness is only just there in the last probably five years or so, I suppose.

Well, I think what you’re doing is fantastically inspirational for other musicians or other people who are creative.  It sounds like you’re living in creative flow, really.  You’ve dedicated yourself to music and it’s a passion that’s been there for your whole life and you’re living it, and that’s really amazing.  So congratulations.
Oh, thank you. I’m pretty lucky. People think, oh, it’s so easy, but it’s not, there’s so much behind it, and you don’t realise what all the press and all the stuff behind it until you climb straight into and it’s been a huge learning curve, really steep, but I absolutely love it, and I seriously can’t imagine myself doing anything else, so, yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Whole Lot to Say is out now.

Tamworth: the picks of the gigs

Make that my picks of the gigs … These are the artists I’m most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival. [All dates given are January 2014.]

Jess Holland

21  – Tudor Hotel Front Bar,  5.30 p.m.
23  – Qurindi RSL, 6 p m.

24  – Tudor Hotel Back Bar, 12 p.m. 

Ashleigh Dallas
21 – West Tamworth Leagues Club, 5 p.m.

Tori Darke
21 – West Tamworth Leagues Club, 8 p.m.

21 – Tamworth Services Club, 9.30 p.m.

Brad Butcher
22 – Tamworth Services Club, 9 a.m.
23 – Tudor Hotel, upstairs, 10 p.m.

Katie Brianna

22 – Tamworth Services Club, 9 a.m.
23 – Tudor Hotel, upstairs, 10 p.m.

The McClymonts
22 – TRECC, 2 p.m.

Kristy Cox
22 – The Pub, 8 p.m.

Shane Nicholson
23 – The Family Hotel, 7 p.m.

Catherine Britt
23 – The Pub, 8.30 p.m.

Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes
24 – The Family Hotel, 12 p.m.

Audrey Auld
24 – North Tamworth Bowling Club, 2 p.m.

Karl Broadie and Katie Brianna
24 – Tamworth Tennis Club, 4.30 p.m.

Jess Holland and the back of beyond

Mungindi singer-songwriter Jess Holland is hitting the road for a tour through coastal and regional Queensland.

‘I did a tour in 2012 from Mudgee to Melbourne,’ she said when I spoke to her recently. ‘This time I wanted to change it up a bit and I know I’ve got a few people busting to see me in Queensland, so I thought I’d head north for the winter. I’m really excited to be heading off.’

Jess picked this time of year to tour Queensland because the weather will be at its kindest – while she’s used to heat, as Mungindi regularly hits 45 degrees in summer, humidity is harder to bear (and harder on instruments too).

The tour takes in some towns that many country artists may not have even heard of, let alone played in. In planning the tour, Jess says she ‘approached as many towns as I could up the coast and out west. A lot of them were either already booked or didn’t have the dates available. But – and I know it sounds silly – the towns sort of picked me. I sent out as many emails as I could and got a huge response back and they’re the towns that I picked. I picked a few of them because a lot of people have approached me to say, “We’re all the way out here and we’d love to have you out here”, so they were my first points of call, and I tried to connect the dots to keep it flowing for my travels through there.
‘I’m trying to visit smaller towns because a lot of [people there] can’t pack up and leave to go to Brisbane, Toowoomba or Mackay to see a touring artist. I wanted to go and meet the real country music fans.’

Jess is touring solo for the first time. Although, she says, she often travels on her own, this is first time she hasn’t toured with a band.

‘It’s a huge unknown,’ she said, ‘and that’s maybe what I love about it so much – it’s so unpredictable, heading off into the wild blue yonder and playing all my music, having a good time and hopefully everyone else has a good time too.’
Playing alone also means playing three or four sets a night – not that it sounds like she minds. And Jess won’t be entirely alone, either  – she’ll be taking ‘a bit of a menagerie’ of instruments: banjo, mandolin and guitar. As all stringed instruments can be affected by climate and weather, Jess will have to keep them in line, especially the banjo and mandolin, she said – ‘they’re a lot more sensitive even than guitars. There’s a lot of tuning.’
Flying solo means she can adapt her set list to suit the audience each night. Between her own songs and the covers she ‘loves to sing’, she has a wide variety of songs to pick from. 
‘You have to approach every gig as a brand new one,’ she says. ‘You have to engage the audience. Every gig is about making the audience happy.’

While Jess is on the road she’ll also be writing songs for her next album. And, of course, touring rural and regional Australia is a great place to get ideas …

‘You always meet fantastic characters on tour and hear fantastic stories,’ says Jess. ‘I’m certainly not cutting off ties to potential songs.’

On the subject of the next album, Jess has taken a route that is becoming increasingly more prevalent amongst Australian country music artists: she’s crowdfunding it. (Recently Melody Pool and The McMenamins crowdfunded their albums.)

‘I knew Melody Pool took this route,’ says Jess, ‘and for me I wanted control [over the project] and also to give people the opportunity to see what was on offer and be a part of the process. For me that was a huge thing. Not so much my own wants and needs, more that I knew I had a few fans out there and I wanted them to be part of my project.’

Certainly crowdfunding seems more feasible for country music artists – given the passionate, engaged community around country music – than for artists of other genres.

Says Jess, ‘That’s why I love country music – you do have your dedicated followers and I don’t know that many other genres do have that dedication from fans. It is community minded and community spirit. It is about the hard times and the good times. And to know that people will stick by you for your entire career is such a huge thing for an artist to know – to know that you’ll have those people behind you and supporting you. That’s the reason I did launch the indiegogo campaign – to have those supporters feel that they are a part of my career and they’re the reason why I’ve got to where I am, because of their support.’
Of course, putting together an album this way means that even if Jess is not producing the actual album, she’s still producing the enterprise of the whole thing – she has to pull everything together.
‘One of the things about being an indie artist is you have to fend for yourself,’ she says firmly. ‘I am involved with every step of this process. I have sourced a producer. I will be there with them day and night when they’re mixing. I’m throwing myself right into the process and into the recording. I will put my two bobs’ worth into everything – the artwork, who’s mastering it. It’s very important to be involved, especially when it’s something you have to be proud of for the rest of your life, especially when you’re trying to get that music out there.’
Doing everything herself, though, is a job she took on when she decided to become a full-time musician, leaving behind the security – but also the restrictions – of her occupation as an agronomist.

‘At the very beginning I was very nervous,’ Jess says of her decision to make the change, ‘because a muso’s life can be very unpredictable and very unstable. But I can tell you that it has been the best move for my music career that I’ve ever made, because I can officially say that I’m a million per cent confident and definitely wholeheartedly in it for the long run. All the distractions are taken out and I’m focusing on that primary thing. It was something I had to do if I wanted to further my country music career.’
Jess says that she is very structured in how she goes about managing and organising that career, but that her songwriting moves in a very different way.
‘I’m not the sort of person who can sit down and say, “Today is Wednestly and from 9 until 12 I’m going to be writing”. My brain doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. I’d love it if it did.  But I have to be in the right state of mind and the right mood, I suppose. The downfall of that is that I can be asleep and something wakes me up at 2.30 in the morning and I have to get up and start it there and then. I have to let it come. There’s no use forcing it because then I get material I’m not happy with. 
‘I go with the flow. You’re going to get some crap and you’re going to get some good stuff but at the end of the day you can generally make sense of some of it, hopefully.’
It is no surprise that Jess needed to concentrate on her music full time: apart from her tour and the next album, she is still involved in the Hickory Sisters with Allison Forbes and Greta Ziller. Although Jess says they are ‘more of a group that we perform in at festivals’, they are still hoping to write and record an EP soon – while still maintaining their own solo projects. And they are in touch all the time, as they’re ‘the best of mates’, as Jess says.
By Jess’s own reckoning she has a lot of work ahead this year: once the tour is over she plans to start  recording the album and, hopefully, releasing it by the end of the year – just in time for Tamworth. And, no doubt, another full year of singing, songwriting and finding fans all over Australia.
Support Jess’s indiegogo campaign here.
Visit Jess’s website here.

Tour dates:
Saturday 15 June 2013 

Showgrounds, Eulo Polo Cross, EULO QLD 
Pitherty Road, Eulo 
Sunday 16th June 2013 
Commonwealth Hotel, ROMA QLD 
75 Wyndham Street, Roma | ph: (07) 4622 1286 
Friday 21st June 2013 
Porters Plainland Hotel, Ipswich QLD 
Warrego Highway, Plainland | ph: (07) 5465 6547 
Thursday 27th June 2013 
Coal & Cattle Hotel, MOURA QLD 
63 Dawson Hwy, Moura | ph: (07) 4997 1511 
Friday 28th June 2013 
Blackwater Hotel Motel, BLACKWATER QLD 
14-16 Railway Street, Blackwater | ph: (07) 4982 5133 
Saturday 29th June 2013 
Tieri Brolga Hotel Motel, TIERI QLD 
11 Malvern Ave, Tieri | ph: (07) 4984 8555 
Sunday 30th June 2013 
Jolly Collier Hotel Motel, DYSART QLD 
14 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Dysart | ph: (07) 4958 1155 
Monday 1st July 2013 
Hotel Mackay, MACKAY QLD 
179 Victoria Street, Mackay | ph: (07) 4951 1120 
Tuesday 2nd July 2013 
Blacks Beach Tavern MACKAY QLD 
Cnr Blacks Beach Rd & Slater Ave, Mackay | ph: (07) 4944 4800 
Friday 5th July 2013 
Artesian Hotel, BARCALDINE QLD 
85 Oak Street, Barcaldine | ph: (07) 4651 1691 

Interview: Jess Holland

Jess Holland is making a name for herself as a solo performer and also with her country music trio, the Hickory Sisters, and she’ll be appearing in both guises at the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival (dates at the end of the interview). I spoke to Jess recently to talk about both of her projects, and to find out a little more about her.

I wanted to start off by saying having read your bio, what an interesting person you are.
Thank you [laughter].
But I couldn’t work out if you were still a teenager or early 20s, so I’m going to start off by asking you if you had that voice when you were a teenager but if you’re still a teenager, then I don’t know how to rephrase it [laughter].
I’m actually 26, so not a teenager. I’ve always had quite a big voice and I guess it’s just developed with age.
No one ever knows where voices come from, right – every singer has their own voice – but it seems like it’s coming from this big reservoir within you, so I was wondering, I know you have a musical history in your family, so it sounds a bit to me like your voice draws on your whole family history, if that makes sense?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely you’re right, music is definitely a family orientated type thing, like it’s in my blood and, yeah, I guess it’s always been with me and all of the influences, whether it be family or external, I guess they’ve gone to make up my unique style.
Your voice and your singing style sound like you could go jazz, you could go blues, you could go country, could go rock, and I guess you’ve got these two bands that you’re playing with in Tamworth who have different styles, so it seems like you’ve obviously got a lot of creativity to explore?
I consider myself to be pretty creative and I like all subgenres of country music, if that makes sense. Because these days country isn’t just flat out one thing – it entails a lot of different subgenres and incorporates blues and rock and all that sort of stuff. For my own music, I market myself as country rock because I do have rock ’n’ roll and I love blues and that sort of thing. I’ve always played and grown up with and listened to country music, so I guess that’s where that side of the influence comes from. With my other band the trio, the girls, Hickory Sisters we’ve all come from different backgrounds and we all love different styles of country music and that sort of thing, so we’ve tried to incorporate all of those and all of our, I guess, different uniqueness, because we’re all very different, so we tried to incorporate that into our band.
It says in your bio that you like Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette and I was wondering, since you’re in a vocal trio, if you’ve heard the album Trio with Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt?
Yeah, I have, I have and we love that sort of stuff.  We all love the Emmylou Harrises and the Gillian Welchs and that sort of thing. We’re not trying to be like anyone, these are our influences, and I guess we’re just basically saying this is our sound, you know, like it or leave it.  But we’re not trying to be or sound like anyone because we all come from different country music backgrounds and coming together we all work very well and we connect very well musically, but we do have very different tastes and I guess that’s what makes the sound so great, because there’s nothing else like it out there.
Do you have to work at your harmonies – because I presume in the trio that you’re harmonising, so some people harmonise naturally, some people have to work at it.
We’ve actually been very lucky because we’ve all just done it automatically.  We actually first met each other at the CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth in 2011, and we didn’t actually play that much together at the academy, it wasn’t until the following Tamworth Country Music Festival that we all sort of decided to busk together and that sort of thing. We just pulled it off really well and we decided well, hell, why not try and do it and get ourselves out there as a trio professionally. So we don’t have to work at it, which is actually really easy, but we all live in different areas of Australia, one of us is here in Mungindi, one of us is in Melbourne and the other is actually in Tamworth.  So we don’t get a lot of time to catch up in person and it would be great or easier if we can just pick up where we left off and we do that both as friendship and musically, so we’re very lucky.
Do you ever rehearse over Skype or over the phone?
Not really rehearse, I guess we’re more likely to write music over Skype or over the phone. We talk all the time and we’re all best mates and we don’t have a lot of time to, I guess, practice, but we don’t need to I think we all know what we’ve got to do and we all practice individually anyway and it just seems to come together really well.  We catch up and talk all the time and we haven’t really needed to work at it, which is great.
It sounds like it’s meant to be, if it flows together so easily.
Yeah, and it has literally been that black and white, and initially we weren’t sure how well because we all live in different places, but it has honestly been one of the easiest bands I’ve ever been in.  Literally, we just drift into place and sing and it was fabulous, it was a great feeling.
You have an EP and an album out and you’re writing songs for the Hickory Sisters, so in your own head, do you kind of split off the songs that you’re going to do and keep some for you on your own and then some for the group?
Yeah, absolutely.  Like, I just sort of write. I don’t say, ‘Okay, well today I’m going to write for the Hickory Sisters, tomorrow I’m going to write for myself’.  I sort of write whatever comes out and whatever influences me and whatever I’m feeling at that time. And if it works out that it’s something that I want to pursue for my personal album,  well, that’s what I do, I take it for myself.  If it’s not necessarily something that I would want to put in my album I take it to the girls and we decide that way, and we all do the same thing, because all three of us are actually individual  artists as well as in the Hickory Sisters. We’re all writing frantically all the time, it’s not like we’re putting it into categories, if that makes sense.
I actually think that’s probably quite unusual to have three people who have distinct careers and paths and interests of their own to be able to work together, so really it does seem like it was just meant to be.
We’re so happy with how it’s all worked out, and like I said, we are only brand-spanking new, so it can really only go up from here and we’re just so excited for Tamworth because that’s going to be our next major festival, and that’s where we really will be showcasing ourselves as the Hickory Sisters. We’re not worried about it at all, not nervous or anything, so that’s great, really excited.
For you, though, having two different acts to play with at Tamworth, does that mean that during Tamworth itself you’re kind of running around trying to get some rehearsal in with both.
Not really.  The way I’ve actually worked it, it was quite, quite easy because I’m actually doing gigs and we’re going to incorporate a feature artist, I suppose, which is going to be the Hickory Sisters. And at each of any of our gigs that we’re doing, we’re going to do a sort of a half-hour or 45 minute set in our gigs so it showcases us at the same time. So it’s not like, you know, ‘I’ll finish here and have to go to a Hickory Sisters’, we’ve all done it so it makes it easy on all of us and sort of incorporate it with what we’re already doing, so  it’s going to roll really well.
So is there anything you’re looking forward to at Tamworth apart from your gigs?
I love Tamworth because I just love to stroll the streets and see all the young busking that’s coming up, because, really, anyone that you see  busking is the future of country music, and it’s so good to see that so many people are enthusiastic about country music, and for me the vibe is just incredible, it’s like no other festival that you can ever go to because it’s a week and a half, two weeks jam packed of country music and with excited and enthusiastic fans. So it truly is fantastic.
I agree, I think it’s unique in the world as far as I can tell and it’s certainly the most friendly festival you can ever imagine, and I think I often say it’s because people aren’t trying to be cool.
Yeah, absolutely.  People are coming from everywhere and just to come and experience Tamworth and it is where everyone comes together, no one’s trying to, I guess, outdo anyone, we’re all in it together and it’s just such a great vibe and friendly atmosphere and it’s really all about the music, it’s not about competition. So that’s why I love it.
For you I guess it’s a bit of a homecoming, because you went to CMAA and that was obviously a really beneficial experience?
Yes, it was. It was honestly the best experience for my country music career and the best step towards a professional full-time career. You learn everything from stage presence to the business side of things. And it really, I guess, drilled into me that that’s exactly what I want to do, where I want to be with my life and I really haven’t looked back since then, it’s just cemented it in  for me.
You grew up in Mudgee now, I’ve been the Mudgee, I can’t recall that there were a lot of venues for country musicians to play, so I’m wondering if that’s the case or is there a good country music scene around Mudgee?
I think it’s grown.  There’s definitely a huge music scene in general in Mudgee and I’m really lucky because I’ve been a part of that music scene in Mudgee ever since I was at school, you know, I would play with other bands that I knew ever since I was really quite young. So for me it’s perfect because they don’t really discriminate – there’s not ‘this venue is country music, this venue is rock’, it’s all pretty well incorporated in as one music town, and Mudgee is really good like that because there are pubs and then there’s also a wine bar and a brewery and that sort of thing, so whether you’re country music or rock or jazz or blues, you get a good run.
It sounds like it was a good place to grow up then.
I loved growing up in Mudgee. I was also involved in music and theatre groups and all that sort of stuff and it really has a lot of opportunities for music. So it was fantastic.
I read that you’ve got 13 songs, I think, for a new album for next year, so have you started recording those or are they done?
I’ll actually be recording in Newcastle from February, so at the moment I’m just in the early stages or mid stages really of doing all the particulars and getting them right, so when the band and I go to record, we can just zip in and do what we’ve got to do and have it all sounding right for the recording. I’m really excited about that – I can’t wait to get my new stuff out there and just keep the ball rolling.
So the band you record with, is that the same band you play with?
Yeah, the Silver Spurs, so it really makes it really good for us because not only are we recording together and, I guess, bonding that way, but it’s the same people, we’ve got great chemistry on stage and I’ve just been so lucky with my musical journey because I’ve got great musicians and people around me, so it makes it very easy.
And you’ve recently or, I think, fairly recently given up your day job to become a musician; has that been scary?
I will admit, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been scary, but, look, I just can’t wait. For me it’s just, you know, the next step to a full-time professional career and that’s what I ultimately want – I want to be out there with my music and people enjoying my music and come to my shows, and it’s very difficult to juggle a fulltime music career and a full-time career. So, I had to take the difficult step and just do it.
It’s always the challenge with anyone in the arts finding that balance and I really think it’s amazing when people do what you’ve done, which is a leap of faith as much as anything else.
Yes, and look, I struggled for so long because I loved my job and I love my music, so it’s not like I’m leaving on bitter terms or anything, I loved my job and if something happens and I have to go back to my job, look, I would love it. But at the moment my primary focus is on my country music career and I’m stoked, I’m ready to go.
So that means, I guess, a lot of well, you’ve already done a fair bit of playing around the country, but I guess even more getting out there, booking gigs, getting to meet people?
Absolutely, and I guess in the last sort of 6 to 12 months I’ve definitely expanded my orientation not just around the area that I live. I’m getting myself out there and after I recorded my album, I did a Mudgee to Melbourne tour, so I went all down the east coast and around Sydney and Newcastle and that for me was the best experience, because I’m building my fan base all around Australia, not just in one area. So I will continue to do that and next year, after I record my second album, I’m actually planning a Call Girl Tour so I’ll be touring the entire state, so I’m pretty excited about that.
So when you do that tour, is that you and a guitar or do you take the band with you?
I’m actually going to take the band again on tour, so I really want to get the most out of this tour and show people exactly what Jess Holland is made of and what the style of music is like, and the best way to do that is with a full band.
Do you play any covers in your sets?
I do.  I try not to play too many covers because I’m trying to get myself out there with my music, but I love playing music from artists that have influenced me, like Janis Joplin and Johnny Cash and that sort of thing. So I’ll incorporate that into my show and everyone loves it.  I think it’s also important to show people who you are as well, not just your music, so that for me is the best way to  show where I’ve come from and what my influences are as a person and not just musically. It makes a bit of fun as well.
[Laughter] I asked because this interview is a bit about what you’re doing in Tamworth, so it’s so audiences know what to expect. 
Because I do a lot of solo acts as well, I try to do 50/50 and so people know not just my music but they’re also interested in my style, and I play songs that are true to my style and who I am as a country artist. So, yeah, that’s what you can expect from me.
And I forgot to ask you before, when we were talking about your songwriting, which instrument do you write on?  Piano or guitar?
Both, actually, I write on a range of instruments, not just those two.  It just depends on my mood and what the songs involves. I’ll write predominantly on the guitar or piano, but I’ve written a few songs on the mandolin and newly I’ve just picked up the banjo. I try and keep it fairly diverse and interesting.
So you’re a true musician, then it sounds like you can turn your hand to pretty much anything?
I like to play a few different instruments and I always have played a wide variety. So I like to incorporate that in my shows because people remember you for not just your singing abilities but what you can do, in your talents and how you portray yourself as a musician.  A lot of people sing and play guitar and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s good to take yourself away and have people remember you for something else as well.
It sounds like you’ve got all the elements in place and this is just a matter of building your career now and getting audiences out there to see you. The first time I was listening to your music, I thought it was such a great sound and it’s the sort of sound that I can imagine in a live setting would really welcome people in, if that makes sense you know, that kind of warm sound.
Yeah. And I try to stay true to myself and sort of keep everyone happy and incorporate all styles of music, but I stay true to myself and my style and what I like, but I like to make sure everyone has a good time. There’s nothing more you can really want from a show is to walk away and say ‘Yeah, that was fantastic, I had a lot of fun and the music was great’, and I hope to have that in my show.

2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival dates

Friday 18th January 2013 | 1.30pm
Saturday 19th January 2013 | 1.30pm
Tudor Hotel [front bar]
with special guests Hickory Sisters

Sunday 20th January 2013 | 2.15pm
Tamworth Songwriter’s Association Showcase
Outback Bar, Wests Leagues Club

Thursday 24th January 2013 | 5.30pm
Imperial Band Room

Thursday 24th January 2013 | 7pm
Tudor Hotel [back bar]
with special guests Hickory Sisters

Friday 25th January 2013 | 4pm
K-MART Stage, Peel Street

Saturday 26th January 2013 | 12pm
Tudor Hotel [back bar]
with special guests Hickory Sisters