Ahead of the official release of new single ‘Hillbilly Cider’ by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jed Zarb, the single – and video – are having their premiere here today. And while summer is technically over because Australians like to say it ends on 28 February, seasonally it’s hanging around until the March equinox … which means we can still say that ‘Hillbilly Cider’ and its video are perfect late-summer fare: up tempo, good humoured, and highly entertaining.
The single – which follows ‘Mountain Man’, released late last year – was inspired by the Hillbilly Cider Brewing Company, whose cellar door is in Zarb’s back garden in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales. Zarb can see the daily operations of the apple orchards and cider shed from his house; over time, he says, ‘I romanticised the operation into poetry and then a song.’
The song features and is co-written by Dani Young, and the video was directed by Australian actor Aaron Jeffery, who became well known to Australian audiences thanks to the long-running TV series McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats. Jeffery also makes a cameo in the video, which was filmed in Bilpin in the apple orchard that inspired the song. The rest of the cast, however, aren’t actors – they’re Bilpin locals, enjoying the song just as much as you will.
Hailing from central Victoria, Four Lions have a roots, rock and country lineage. Their fourth album, Hard Days, will be released in May on the band’s own Verse Chorus Verse label.
Taken from that album, the single ‘How Much’ is a gutsy, layered tune with rock ancestry and some lovely pedal steel to call in the country crowd. It was written by singer-guitarist Shann Lions, who is also the band’s founder, hence the name (although there are actually five members, not four). Lions says the song started life as a ‘rockier-type track with a Replacements’ Stink vibe’, and that influence can be heard, but it’s clear that some sharp corners that might occur in that sound were softened with the influence of other genres. While ‘How Much’ is by no means saccharine, there is some sweetness there.
Now there’s a video to accompany the single – and its making its debut right here!
Four Lions will support the release of Hard Days with a tour, so keep an eye on their website for dates:
New South Welshman Jack Tully and his band, The Seers, recently released their album Harkness Lane, which has influences as diverse as alt-country and psychedelic rock. Tully’s first, solo album was The Keeping, released three years ago and with a more stripped-back sound. Tully has said of the new album: ‘A lot of life can happen in three years and these songs reflect some of this transformation: growth, change, making peace with our stories, psychotherapy journeying, fatherhood. I’m trying to cut away the stuff that doesn’t matter and make space for what does. Some of the album does touch on the darker parts of life but overall I think there is definitely more light this time around.’
The latest single from the album is the atmospheric ‘The Great Tragedy’, and it is an honour to premiere the video here.
Harkness Lane is available now.
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