Hayley Marsten is a singer-songwriter from Gladstone in Queensland who has been steadily building a fan base – and a reputation as a writer and performer of great country songs – through the release of singles and EPs. Last year she recorded and released her debut album, Spectacular Heartbreak, which has been nominated for a Golden Guitar for Alt Country Album of the Year. Attending the awards on Saturday 25 January will be one of Marsten’s many appearances at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which include:
Friday 17 January – The Albert Hotel (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
Saturday 18 January – Capitol Theatre (8 p.m. – 10 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Sunday 19 January – The Albert Hotel (w/ Melody Moko – 5 p.m.)
Monday 20 January – Fanzone (3 p.m.)
Wednesday 22 January – The Dag Sheep Station (11 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – Tudor Hotel ‘Write Like a Girl’ showcase (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Pub (w/ The Buckleys – 5 p.m.)
Friday 24 January – The Press (7 p.m.)
‘It feels really special,’ says Marsten of the nomination, ‘and I can finally not feel like I’m a complete outsider in the country music industry. It feels a little bit like, “Hey, we like what you do.” And I feel like less like I don’t belong in a room with all the industry people now. It feels nice to be getting a pat on the back for all your hard work.’
Fans of Marsten’s will probably not think of her as being outside the country music tent – she is steeped in the country music lineage, drawing on the genre’s musical and storytelling traditions, offering songs and stories that appeal to all ages. Of course, they are offered in Marsten’s style and with her perspective on life, which is what makes them different and interesting. It’s just that, as Marsten says, ‘every artist suffers from self-doubt and I am a huge self-doubter, and the Golden Guitar nomination put that at ease – at least for a little while. I’m sure I’ll start it back up when I start a new album and just question everything. But I’m very proud that my first album is an album of the year finalist.’
Continue reading “Hayley Marsten heads for TCMF with a Spectacular nomination”
Queensland-based artist Brook Chivell is such a dynamic performer that he keeps being invited to festivals around Australia. His energetic country rock style is paired with an incredibly impressive voice, so it’s no surprise that his fan base has been growing. Chivell recently released an album, Fearless Rider, although you won’t yet be able to find it on streaming services – you can, however, buy it at one of shows, including Tamworth Country Music Festival shows on Thursday 23 January at 7.00 p.m. at Moonshiners Bar with Natalie Pearson and Liam Brew, and Friday 24 January at 9.30 a.m. at the Hopscotch Café Songwriters in the Round. Brisbanites can also see Chivell with Andrew Swift, Jade Holland and Natalie Pearson on Saturday 15th February from 11.30 a.m. on the Riverfest Country Cruise.
Chivell has been involved in music since he was young – partly influenced by his parents’ taste in music.
‘My mum and dad’s record collection stops in about 1967, I reckon,’ he says with a laugh. ‘But on the upside it does include the Folsom Prison album and there’s quite a few Johnny Cash albums in there.
‘My favorite was always Buddy Holly. Dad was a big Buddy Holly fan. That’s why I play generally Fender guitars – but not always. But that was the initial spark. We had a keyboard at home and I used to muck around. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just was picking out tunes by ear. And as it turns out that was good training for me for later on. I did keyboards in high school as well.
‘I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 17, in study week of Year Twelve, which is probably not the ideal time to get obsessed with an instrument, but I did. I had a really old acoustic guitar that my parents had bought me – the strings were five centimetres off the frets. Or maybe not, maybe more like five millimetres! But it was a long way. One of the tuning pegs had fallen off so you had to tune all the other strings to that string. It was not ideal. But I literally played until my fingers bled. I was obsessed. And in my uni years I played guitar all the way through. Ten hours a day was nothing for me.’
Continue reading “Interview: Brook Chivell”
In recent days and weeks parts of Australia have been destroyed by fires. Other parts are still threatened by those fires. One of those parts is the area where singer-songwriter Fanny Lumsden lives. Lumsden and her family have evacuated, and in the midst of the oppressive atmosphere caused by the fires, and the fear and uncertainty, she has found time to buy supplies for people in her local town and to keep posting updates to social media, so that those of us who care about her – fans like me and many friends – know what’s going on.
Lumsden is one of the great chroniclers of Australian rural life. Her two albums, Small Town Big Shot and Real Class Act, are classics of country music. That would be reason alone to devote a playlist to her, but in acknowledgement of her bloody awful start to the year, and of the spirit, determination and resilience she has shown, this month’s Spotify playlist is all Lumsden all the time.
Please consider preordering her new album, Fallow: https://orcd.co/flfallow
- Bravest of Hearts
- Land of Gold
- Totem Tennis
- Rattle & Your Roll
- Roll On
- Elastic Waistband
- Real Men Don’t Cry
- Peppercorn Tree
- Peed in the Pool
- These Days
Daisy Spratt is a singer-songwriter living in Melbourne who has been making a splash not just in her home town but in Nashville, where she usually visits twice a year, although she’s only made it there once this year. Each visit sounds like it is jam packed.
‘I do a lot of co-writes when I’m there,’ says Daisy. ‘This trip round [in July] I did quite a few co-writes. We wrote and recorded “Think Again Boy” while we were there as well. And a lot of meet-and-greets. Meetings and introducing yourself to lots of different people. They keep me busy while I’m there. And I did a photo shoot while I there as well. So we try to smash out as much as we can in one hit.’
‘Think Again Boy’ is Spratt’s new single, and she wrote it with Brandon Hood on her most recent trip – the same trip when she recorded it.
‘I wrote it during a time when I felt kind of underestimated and people underestimated me, I guess, as a muso,’ she explains, ‘and people are very quick to judge purely by looking at you. So we created this storyline about a girl at a bar and there’s a guy trying to hit on her and buy her a drink, but he doesn’t even know who she is. It’s a “Why would you buy her a drink and you just don’t even know her?” sort of thing. It’s a very female oriented song, trying to be sort of empowering – “you don’t know me, I can do my own thing, I can be here and being who I am without you trying to pretend that you know me”. So that was the idea behind it and then it ended up turning it to this really, really fun song.’
Continue reading “Interview: Daisy Spratt”
The Buckleys are a trio of siblings from the northern rivers district of New South Wales. They’ve been going to the Tamworth Country Music Festival for years, first busking on Peel Street in 2011 when Molly was 9, Lachlan was 10 and Sarah Grace was 12. That was, in fact, when the band formed – the Buckley family was on holiday in the country music capital when the younger generation decided to start playing, and found themselves in the top ten of the busking competition without even knowing they’d entered.
Now aged 16, 18 and 19, they are managed by Chris Murphy (who also managed INXS) and signed to Petrol Records/Universal Music, they have been nominated for a Golden Guitar in the Best New Talent category,
Currently recording in Nashville, the band will be returning to Australia at the end of the year – and ahead of that they’re released the new single ‘I’m Comin’ For Ya (Love)’. The Buckleys have an irresistible country pop sound – that early experience on Peel Street seems to have honed their instincts for how to capture a listener’s attention and keep them entertained. Although they were unknowns just months ago, this kind of ‘overnight success’ always takes a lot of work – and the proof is there in the songs. And it’s not just themselves they write for: collectively the trio have written well over 100 songs. Sarah was awarded top 5 in the 2014 American Songwriting Awards teen section and the following year both Sarah and Molly were once again nominated for a prestigious ASA Award. One of Sarah’s songs, ‘Strawberry Footprints’, was recorded by Felicity Urquhart for her album Frozen Rabbit.
Apple Music | iTunes | Spotify
Canadian artist Danielle Todd has found success on Australian airwaves this year with her single ‘Crazy’ – and now with the new release ‘Back Burner’. Her style is eclectic while being identifiably country, and it’s all driven by her powerful voice. Todd is heading for the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January – but it won’t be her first visit to Australia.
‘I don’t remember the year,’ she says, ‘but it was a while ago. I really just wanted to travel so I travelled over there and then I really liked it. I ended up getting like a working visa that allowed me to play gigs. But I was just playing little pubs, little hotels, RSL clubs and stuff like that, mostly around the Sydney area. And then I did travel up to Queensland. I went up the coast. I also visited Hamilton Island and Adelaide – I have some family in Adelaide. So I did as much travelling as I was able to do and then performed whenever I could when I was there. I loved living over there and experiencing it. It was just a different lifestyle altogether than my Canadian life.’
Continue reading “Interview: Danielle Todd”
This month’s Spotify playlist is all new releases – see below for the full list.
Fanny Lumsden – ‘These Days’
Brad Cox – ‘Give Me Tonight’
Emma Dykes – ‘The Drovers’
Copperline – ‘Next Year’
Natalie Henry – ‘Water Over Wine’
Tom Curtain with Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer – ‘She Gave Us The Song’
Aly Cook – ‘Southern Christmas Stars’
Andy Nelson – ‘Late Night Letter’
Kora Naughton – ‘Speechless’
Katie Bates – ‘Polka Dot Dress’
Leaving Lennox – ‘Weren’t Looking For’
Brittany Elise – ‘Pit Stop’
Aleyce Simmonds – ‘I Could Dance With You’
Renee Jonas – ‘Blame it on the Wine’
Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife – ‘Catch You’
Brook Chivell – ‘Fearless Rider’
Natalie Pearson – ‘Plan B’
Oh Harlow – ‘Give It A Miss’