Category: katie brianna

Album review: Take Me to Town

TMTTCov-700x622.jpgTake Me to Town may count as one album but it’s actually three CDs full of Australian alternative country music artists, some of whom will be familiar to readers of this blog – such as Tracy McNeil, The Weeping Willows, Lachlan Bryan, William Crighton and Jen Mize – and some who may be unknown simply because they are new.

Take Me to Town is the creation of Dave Favours from Sydney label Stanley Records, in concert with Chris Hamilton of Americana site Post to Wire, and Areatha Bryant of Mother Hen Touring. The trio decided on a list of artists and also secured some tracks that are exclusive to this release, from Ben Leece (who is about to release his debut album) and the always-compelling Katie Brianna, Sam Newton, Den Hanrahan, Peta Caswell and the increasingly prominent Michael Carpenter. Indeed, almost half the songs are exclusive to the compilation, so if you’re a country music fan who is wondering if it’s worth purchasing, that alone should convince you.

I’m fond of saying that country music is a broad umbrella and this compilation is proof that alternative country, too, deserves that description. The 47 tracks demonstrate that alt-country is flourishing around the land and pushing that genre, and Australian country music in general, into bold territory. There are elements of traditional country forms in these songs, reworked in a contemporary way or with a vocal flourish that creates something interesting. In some ways the compilation is an education about how country music is being interpreted and fashioned by new or new-is artists, and also how the work of more established artists like Lachlan Bryan and The Weeping Willows compares with songs from emerging artists. In this way the compilation also serves an almost anthropological purpose: the artists on this album are all pretty much from the same generation, yet how they approach their work is 47 ways of different.

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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.

Album review: Dark Side of the Morning by Katie Brianna

There is always something incredibly touching about the sound of someone laying bare their heart in a song or on an album. From the first verse of ‘What it Means’, the first song on Katie Brianna’s new album, Dark Side of the Morning, that is what we hear: her heart, plaintive and yearning. What that immediately signifies is a brave performer – a brave songwriter, too – who is prepared to show all of her cards right from the start.

It’s a dangerous gamble: the performer can’t control the listener’s reaction. Being so exposed to the listener may go wrong, especially when we venture into the second, title, track and there is that heart again, coming through the arc of Katie’s voice. But it doesn’t go wrong. The vulnerability that is on display from the start of this album is also its strength – and the strength of its creator. When an artist makes such a gamble – to show her entire hand – she shows us that she has nothing to hide and also, perhaps, that part of her knows that we will like what we hear. So there’s an audaciousness there, too, and it starts to emerge by the third track, ‘Oh Night’, and by then we are definitely on the ride and there until the end.
The musical influences on Dark Side of the Morning are strongly alt-country and Americana but there are some traditional Irish sounds there too. Country music is a genre steeped in traditions; to acknowledge them in a substantial way – within the structure of a song rather than throwing out a random sound or bar here and there – is a mark of respect to the artists who have come before. 
This album seems like a work of respect and tradition and of a young woman who is finding her own musical path through them. By understanding where she’s come from, Katie can better chart where she’s going. Leading her through is her distinctive voice, which is full bodied and sure. It is a voice that could have found its way to jazz, yet it sounds perfectly at home in country music. 
Dark Side of the Morning is an accomplished piece of work. It is hugely interesting – to me, at least – that in a short space of time we’ve had Melody Pool and now Katie Brianna, both women in their early twenties, releasing very sophisticated albums, both as independent releases. I don’t know whether they have both chosen to be independent artists or if events just turned out that way, but if anything independence has allowed them both to choose the best people to work on their albums, with the attendant outstanding results. 

Dark Side of the Morning is a debut album that promises much about its creator – and because she has taken her time to craft it and release it, I have every confidence that its the first step in a long career. I genuinely cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
Dark Side of the Morning is out now.