Tag: Australian music

Single release: ‘Secondhand Heart’ by Melody Moko

unnamed (16).jpgNewcastle singer-songwriter Melody Moko released her debut album, The Wreckage, last year and in recent weeks released its second single, ‘Secondhand Heart’. Moko’s pop-inflected country has the right balance of sweetness and seriousness, in her voice as well as the lyrics and music. Given this combination, it’s not surprising that she chose Catherine Britt to produce the album alongside her husband, Michael Muchow (a member of Britt’s band as well as a solo artist).

Moko has said ‘Secondhand Heart’ is unashamedly a love song, and an acknowledgement that everyone brings history to a relationship: your heart may be secondhand but that doesn’t mean it can’t be new. It’s a knowing and hopeful song – with a lovely video to match, as you can see below.

 

Apple Music | iTunes | Sanity | Spotify

 

www.melodymoko.com

Single release: ‘Blowout’ by Paul McManus

36632999_2001067666633786_4204747964599500800_nMelbourne singer-songwriter Paul McManus has released the single ‘Blowout’ from his forthcoming second album, Postcodes. McManus cites his influences as Ryan Adams, Justin Townes Earle, Augie March, The Kinks and Ron Sexsmith, which suggests an alt-rock/Americana lineage via Australian independent pop/rock (Augie March) – but it doesn’t account for how gloriously Australian this song is, in a way that recalls the best of You Am I (and that band’s main songwriter, Tim Rogers, has since revealed his country credentials by forming the Hillbilly Killers with Catherine Britt and Bill Chambers). McManus allows his strong singing voice to have an Australian inflection in this tale of suburbia and finding identity.

‘Written in a time of high house prices and disposable incomes,’ as the press release says, ‘the song finds comfort in living in the present.’ It’s also hard to be anything other than present with it: it’s a tightly written song that is also rambunctious and infectious.

Listen to ‘Blowout’ on:

Apple Music | Spotify

www.facebook.com/paulmcmanusmusic

 

Single release: ‘My Heart, My Land’ by Bradley Hall

c828f103a0bed63dabd89cea052dd18f3502ecbfSinger-songwriter Bradley Hall is from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. He started playing guitar at the age of 15 as a way to pass the time living in remote communities and then while working on mine sites.

His new song, ‘My Heart, My Land’, is a love song to the Australian landscape, with ‘rocks as old as the Dreamtime, this is the land that made me’. It is the story of Hall’s history with the land, and of those working on outback stations, amongst others, but leaves plenty of room for listeners to put themselves in the story too. It is a heartfelt song that uses enough sentiment to convey its message without overindulging. The backing vocals from Golden Guitar winner Amber Lawrence are a lovely complement to Hall’s voice.

‘My Heart, My Land’ is taken from Hall’s new album, Back to Country. The accompanying video is beautifully shot and worth watching more than once.

 

Back to Country is available now.

Apple Music | iTunesSpotify

bradleyhallmusic.com.au

 

Album review: Boom Town by Steel City Sue

a4256143155_10.jpgSteel City Sue is a singer-songwriter from Newcastle, NSW, whose debut album, Boom Town, was recorded with Truckstop Honeymoon in Lawrence, Kansas. Sue is a fiddle player, and that traditional instrument of country music is an integral part of this album, which has already received accolades, with the title track winning the Karl Broadie Award for Best Song in the Australian Roots Music Awards and the album nominated for ARMA Best Album.

Sue writes songs about the place she lives in (‘From the Valley’ and ‘Coal Town’) and places she hasn’t yet been (‘Red Dirt Track’). Her lyrics are evocative of places, people and experiences; they are individual stories which, taken together, form a world view. These are songs of daily life and small challenges, as well as bigger changes such as the industrial changes in Newcastle. The lyrics are often personal yet delivered with some restraint – which is not a criticism, as it suggests a courteousness to the listener. The honesty and authenticity are there. But between any songwriter who has themselves as a subject and the listener on the other side there is a getting-to-know-you dance; therefore, on a first album some restraint is fitting.

The songs range through musical styles that all fit within the country umbrella, verging towards rock in some cases and pop in others. There are different moods, too, and all expressed by Sue’s compelling voice, which is sweet and sharp and knowing by turns.

Many Australian country music artists are interested in telling audiences about authentic experiences, and part of the beauty of the genre is how many different ways there are to do that, from Slim Dusty and Joy McKean to Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Lachlan Bryan, Sara Storer and Catherine Britt. Steel City Sue fits into the pantheon of very fine singer-songwriters in this country while offering something new and different: her stories told her way.

Boom Town is out now. Order the CD or download from:

steelcitysue.bandcamp.com

Single release: ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’ by Sinead Burgess

Praising God, Raising Hell Sinead Burgess Cover SML2.jpgSinead Burgess is a Brisbane singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist now resident in Nashville who recently released an album, Damaged Goods. Burgess is now an independent artist after being signed to a major label as a teenager and, as with so many independent Australian artists, she has produced music that has blossomed with the freedom that seems to come from independence. The quality of so much of this independently produced music is very high, the result not just of the availability of very good producers but also, one suspects, because artists feel free to explore parts of their music, and themselves, that might be more controlled under different circumstances.

Burgess has a winsome voice even when the song is about hard experiences, as is the case with her new single, ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’. Burgess wrote all of the songs and played most of the instruments on her album – this, too, must give her a sense of freedom  even as it increases the work, but her love of what she’s doing is evident. This song is a fine example of a very good album that fits within the country-pop genre and which also sounds like nothing so much as Burgess sitting across from you on a stool, singing you her stories with heart and intention. It’s a privilege to be allowed to intimately into an artist’s world, and Burgess has captured that on this song and this album.

Listen to ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’ here: https://sineadburgessmusic.lnk.to/PraisingGodRaisingHell

Damaged Goods is available now.

www.sineadburgessmusic.com

 

Interview: Lyn Bowtell of BBU

7E2D6F5D-372D-497D-B058-324CB1F98A41.jpegElsewhere on this site I have written about the extraordinary Lyn Bowtell, who is one of our finest solo artists and one of my favourite country music artists. When, in 2015, I read that she would be playing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival with another of my favourite artists, Felicity Urquhart, and with Kevin Bennett from renowned band The Flood, I thought it might have been a dream: how, in reality, could these three wonderful singers have decided to join together? That show, ‘Country Heart and Soul’, was the beginning of the group that became Bennett Bowtell & Urquhart, or BBU. In 2016 BBU released their debut eponymous album and in 2017 won two Golden Guitars for it. This September they  released their second album, Weeds. The band doesn’t play many shows, given the schedules of its members individual careers (Urquhart also hosts ABC Radio’s ‘Saturday Night Country‘), so if you have the chance to see them, you must. It is, without fail, an evening of world-class music from three of our best singers and performers.

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to Lyn Bowtell about the formation of BBU and their latest album.

Congratulations on the new album because it’s just wonderful, as I knew it would be, and as the last album was too. And, so when did you individually or the three of you start writing for it?

Well, I was trying to work this out before, and I think I told a furphy, and I said it was March but that’s not true. We actually started writing end of last year. We really wanted to have a go at writing it all ourselves this time. The first album, we were incredibly proud of that, but it was kind of one of those things, we said we’re going to do this now and we made the decision and it happened incredibly fast, and there were some great tracks on there but they weren’t our own that we just adore singing and love doing, and exactly the same thing happened this time. We looked for other material outside of our own writing pool, because I think sometimes artists miss the point, and they’re always trying to record their own songs, but they’re not always the right choice. So we were looking outside of that, outside of ourselves, but we did start writing early on together.

The way that works is, one of us will bring an idea to the table. So when we get together, we plan to write three songs within the space of a day. We bring an idea each. And it doesn’t always end up that way. Sometimes we’ll have two and a half songs or one song, you just don’t know. Songs don’t always stick to a schedule, but the idea is we bring a song each, an idea each that we could, as KB [Kevin Bennett] puts it, we could have easily finished at home but when we write it together, it definitely ends up having its own life. Because of iPhones being so incredible these days, with your voice memos on them, I was going through voice memos the other day and listening to the way I had originally written these songs, some of the tunes that I’d brought the ideas for, and some of it is exactly as I first wrote it – like, one verse is exactly the same – and then the chorus just goes completely opposite direction and has an amazing life to it now that it would never have had I been writing that by myself.

Continue reading “Interview: Lyn Bowtell of BBU”

Gord Bamford joins the Wolfe pack

5a56674388af2300013aea8a_Neon-Smoke_Square_v3.jpgAustralian-born Canadian country music artist Gord Bamford is back in Australia and joining the Wolfe Brothers and Jody Direen on the Wolfes’ Country Heart tour, in support of his latest album, Neon Smoke. Bamford has won more Canadian Country Music Awards than Shania Twain, and his fan base in Australia grows with each visit. I spoke to him not long before he kicked off his latest visit to Australia at the Deniliquin Ute Muster.

You’re coming to Australia for the Deni Ute Muster and then you’re going on tour, and you taking the Wolfe Brothers with you and Jody Direen. This is obviously now a long association with the Wolfes – what are they like as touring buddies?

Oh, they’re great.  They’re just very positive guys and just great people to hang around. Obviously we know how talented they are, so I just feel really lucky to be able to kind of ride on their backs and into their fan base and be with them. Lee [Kernaghan] has been really good to me, and we’re going to try and get the Wolfe Brothers over to Canada too, to return the favour. That’s the thing, you just never know what’s going to happen.  We’re not genies in a bottle, but if we can put each other in front of a fan base, give each other an opportunity to play our music, and you just never know, it’s been really good for me in Australia.

I know you brought your own band last time, but when you come out this time, are the Wolfes going to act as your band or will have your band with you?

I’m actually bringing my band again this time. [Manager] Steve [White] has been looking around, this will be the last time I do bring my band.  I feel it’s important to use musicians that are Aussies, so we’re going to hire our own band in Australia, because I’m going to be coming back there a lot and I really want to dedicate my time in that market. And obviously I was born there, and have a lot of family there, and I want my family to come over and experience it some more.  But this time, our band is coming from Canada and it will be great, it will be fun.

Continue reading “Gord Bamford joins the Wolfe pack”