Sydney singer-songwriter Arna Georgia is a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music and a finalist in the 2019 Toyota Star Maker competition, as well as appearing in multiple festivals and playing support slots for other Australian country music artists. If you’ve seen her play live, her popularity will be no mystery: she has a fantastic voice and a brace of great songs to showcase it, as well as an extensive background in performance.
Georgia released Midnight Carousel in 2017; at seven tracks long it was halfway between an EP and an album. An album, Yes Girl, is coming in July, and she has now released the single ‘Passing Through’. It’s a road song with a compelling beat, with the protagonist telling she has a rambling heart and has ‘learned how to say goodbye’. It just begs to be the first song on your playlist once you’re able to go on long country drives again.
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As has become the custom, this month’s Spotify playlist features singles released by Australian country music artists during the past month. The full track listing appears below the playlist.
Andy Penkow – ‘Chasing the Sun’
Arna Georgia – ‘Passing Through’
Bec Lavelle, Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae – ‘Nervous Girls’
Bella Mackenzie – ‘Dance in the Rain’
Brad Butcher – ‘Suburban Myth’
Clint Wilson – ‘Couldn’t Promise You Rain #4’
Dom Italiano ft Gretta Ziller – ‘The Arsonist’
Felicity Urquhart – ‘Speck of Dust’
Freya Josephine Hollick – ‘Impossible to Love’
Gareth Leach and Michaela Jenke – ‘My Crime’
Jack McDougall – ‘Negatiivity’
Jay Seeney – ‘Castle on the Hill’
Jayne Denham, Jasmine Rae, Amber Lawrence – ‘Porch Party’
Jed Zarb – ‘Stay for a While’
Joel McKay – ‘Easy Street’
Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes – ‘You Remind Me of Myself’
Lucille – ‘Come On, Fly’
Matt Joe Gow and the Weeping Willows – ‘Too Far to Go’
Mitch Dean – ‘A Face in a Long Line’
SaltbushSix – ‘Come On In’
Sammy White – ‘Lay it On Me’
The McClymonts – ‘Open Heart’
The Silverline – ‘Home Sweet Homeless’
Travis Collins – ‘Rainy Day’
After Sydney singer-songwriter Blake Dantier released his single ‘Ash & Dust’ in late April it was quickly added to ABC Country, Kix Country and Australian Country Radio, its heartfelt lyrics connecting with listeners around Australia. Of course, Dantier has not been able to go out and play to those listeners himself – and it would have seemed that making a video was also out of the question, but he found a way.
‘I wasn’t initially going do to a clip because of social restrictions,’ he says, ‘but we decided last minute to pull together a small crew. We had a general idea in mind about how the clip would look, but decided exactly what spots to shoot in on the day.’
The video was directed by Bruce Dawson and shot by Lawrence Lim – both from Tribal Apes – in and around their studio at Fox Studios in Sydney’s Moore Park. The video has its premiere on this website today.
Dantier appears alone in the clip but when a song has as much impact as this one does, no embellishment is required. There was, however, one downside to making the video.
‘I was really hanging out for some KFC but it took us all afternoon and night [to shoot the video],’ says Dantier. ‘We shot for so long that KFC wasn’t open by the time we got there.’
Given that gigs are still a while off – although Dantier and partner Cass Hopetoun recently played a drive-in gig in Sydney – this video will be the most direct interaction the audience can have with Dantier. And as it perfectly complements his wonderful song, it’s worth watching over and over again.
John Krsulja – or Johnny K, as he is known – is the owner of the DAG Sheep Station in Nundle, New South Wales. The DAG is well known by country music artists and fans as it hosts twice-yearly songwriting retreats that have produced many great collaborations and songs, and each year it is part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival program. No doubt one reason why Krsulja is able to create such a supportive and fertile creative environment for artists is because he’s one himself, with his second album, Burden of the Fool, due for release on 19 June.
The first single is ‘Black to Blue’, which Krsulja wrote shortly after the death of close mate and producer of his first album, Travellin’, Karl Broadie.
‘Karl and I often talked about the music industry and finding our place within the industry,’ says Krsulja. ‘Karl would share his thoughts, trials and tribulations, that eventually led him to give the advice of “your music is art, and if you aim to please everyone, then it’s just not art”.’
In the song Krsulja describes what it’s like to meet someone who shines light into your life, only to lose them and be lost to the dark.
‘It is the memory of love and loss that replaces the darkness and allows the light to return one’s black to blue,’ he says, and his rich singing voice handles the transition between emotions in such a way that the listener feels the light and the dark, as well as the sense that it’s better to move forwards with love rather than wallow in the past.
The track was recorded by Matt Fell and Glen Hannah at Love Hz in Sydney, with Hannah on acoustic guitar – then Hannah died four weeks later. So the track has become, for its creator, a tribute to both Broadie and Hannah, two much-loved artists.
Apple Music | Spotify
When the single ‘Nervous Girls’ was announced the line-up of its singers was immediately noteworthy: Bec Lavelle, who first became known to Australian audiences as the key singer in the television drama McLeod’s Daughters; Kora Naughton, who has been releasing great singles, with ‘Speechless’ being the latest; Jem Cassar-Daley, who is making a name for herself as a singer/songwriter following national touring in 2019; Academy of Country Music graduate Kaitlyn Thomas, who recently released the popular ‘First Kiss’; and the fantastically entertaining Ingrid Mae. Individually they have produced wonderful songs; together they have created an enthralling, thought-provoking single.
‘Nervous Girls’ was recorded remotely, during recent weeks, with artists spread across three countries, including the musicians: Little Big Town’s Hubert Payne on drums and percussion, Greg Carrillo on guitars and bass, and Pier Luigi Salami on piano.
Apple Music | Spotify
All five singers kindly answered questions via email, to give some background to this extraordinary release and an insight into their creative processes over the past few unusual weeks.
Continue reading “‘Nervous Girls’ featuring Bec Lavelle, Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae”
Melbourne singer-songwriter Mitch Dean released an EP, Suburban Speakeasy, in 2017 and his new album, Holding Back the Levee, will be released on 19 June. Recorded in Melbourne with producer Colin Leadbetter, it features Damian Cafarella (Lachlan Bryan & the Wildes) on drums and electric guitar, James Gillard (The Flood) on bass and backing vocals and Sam See on piano and organ.
The first single is ‘A Face in a Long Line’, which is a song about what happens when work dries up, and also about what work means. Dean delivers it lyrically straight and emotionally rich – that is, he knows how to tell a story and do it with meaning, and that’s no doubt because he has been developing skills over several years, through garage-rock band The Marzies and country rock band The Distance. The result is a beautifully crafted song – and, no doubt, a great album to come.
Apple Music | iTunes
Singer-songwriter Andy Penkow released his debut album, Sad Love Songs, in 2018. Since then he has been at work on a new EP, Chasing the Sun, and the title track has now been released, with the EP itself to be released in late July.
Penkow’s musical influences include Kasey Chambers, Sam Outlaw, The Eagles and Bob Dylan. Co-written with the always-magnificent Lyn Bowtell and produced by the in-demand Shane Nicholson, both extaordinary artists in their own right, ‘Chasing the Sun’ nevertheless has a musical identity of its own. Penkow has a voice that can be sweet and sorrowful (sometimes all at once), and the song is an exploration of what it means to spend life metaphorically – or literally – chasing the sun.
The EP is now up for pre-order, with a second track, ‘Wildflowers’ also available.
Apple Music | iTunes