Tag: Australian music

Single release: ‘Unlikely Believer’ by Gretta Ziller

unnamed-16Melbourne singer-songwriter Gretta Ziller has a voice that makes you feel like she’s known you forever and is going to tell you secrets – she has the ability to really make the listener feel like they are right up next to her, and that the warmth in her voice is for you alone. She also sings with a sense of command that is reassuring for that same up-close listener: we can sit back and let her tell us a story.

These are abilities that Ziller has displayed across all her recorded material, including the 2014 EP Hell’s Half Acre and her 2017 album Queen of Boomtown, and which has contributed to her two Golden Guitar nominations, amongst other accolades. And it also appears on her new single, ‘Unlikely Believer’, which is her first release on ABC Music.

The song is about faith in love but, more broadly, in humanity. It is also, therefore, about resilience – the commitment to not giving up on that faith.

Says Ziller, ‘I wrote “Unlikely Believer” to remind myself that although I’ve been through a lot in life that it’s harder but so much more rewarding to keep believing in things, rather than dwelling on the hurt and hardship.’

Given her signing to ABC Music, hopefully the single heralds an album in the near future. Meanwhile, she’s released a video to accompany the song, filmed at the Westgarth Palais Cinemas in Northcote, Victoria, and featuring Ziller’s live band along with keyboardist Clint Wilson.

Apple Music | Spotify

grettaziller.com

EP review: Need a Ride? by Wagons

PackshotThe music of Henry Wagons – released under the moniker Wagons – has been described as psychedelic country, and certainly that is the easy label. There are recognisable elements of country music and there are spacey psychedelic elements suggestive of David Bowie, amongst others. So that term describes the style of music you can expect to find on Wagons’s new EP, Need a Ride? But it does not describe the experience of listening to it, which is, bluntly, this: with that voice, Wagons could ask you to rob a bank and you’d probably consider it, and possibly even do it.

Wagons has a baritone that is not so much hypnotic as compelling. You don’t lose reason – as the bank-robbing notion might suggest – so much as want to be taken wherever he’s going. Wagons is a rock star who is not playing rock music in the traditional sense (although there are certainly rock influences on the EP) but his appeal is not about rock-star swagger so much as swashbuckling.

His musical accompaniment on this EP is sophisticated, layered and worthy of consideration separate to whatever he does with the vocals. But his vocals are at the centre of the vortex created by the instruments – and you are drawn inexorably to that centre.

Wagons is confident with his instrument, enough to take his time on the last track, ‘Brand New Place’ – to give the lyrics the weight they need – and also to belt it out on fourth track  ‘Flotation Man’. Confidence in any performer is a gift for the listener, because it means we can relax. Wagons is doing the work for us, inviting us to step on board a five-track ride – the title of the EP even makes this explicit – while he takes the wheel. It’s one hell of a trip. Strap yourself in and enjoy it.

Apple Music | iTunes

www.wagonsmusic.com

From Fallow to ‘Fierce’: Fanny Lumsden

Fanny Lumsden - Fierce IMG-07047Earlier this year – on 13 March, to be precise – Fanny Lumsden released her acclaimed third album, Fallow. The release came after an intense period in the life of Lumsden, her husband and collaborator, Dan Stanley Freeman, and her brother and band member, Tom Lumsden, when their home in the Upper Murray region of New South Wales was almost lost to the largest of the intense bushfires that consumed not just land but a great deal of the Australian summer, with the most dangerous period in the waning days of 2019 and early days of 2020. It also came on ‘COVID Friday’ – the day when it became apparent that Australia was about to lock down. Lumsden managed to have a magnificent last hurrah – the album launch in her local town of Tooma – but then she, along with the rest of the country, went home and stayed home. The timing was acutely bad, and obviously out of her control.

‘I’ve been through many emotions this year,’ she says of the run of events. ‘I feel like I’ve felt them all. [But] I feel pretty good right now. To be honest, I think I really needed lockdown. It was terrible timing with the album coming out the day everything was cancelled, and cancelling everything for the album was a bit of a blow. So it was a bumpy start and [we were] readjusting to that and expectations about stuff that we’d work towards, just like so many other people, I suppose.

‘But once I got my head around it and I just started slowing down … We’ve been working every day, we haven’t really had much time off, but in a really slow, normal kind of fashion,’ she says with a laugh. ‘But I think I’m becoming much more human. It’s taken me a few months to really wind down … I pushed it too hard. So I’m actually quite grateful.’

Prior to the fires, Lumsden and co toured for six months and were getting the album ready. ‘The exact time we were meant to have off was when the fires came,’ she says. ‘So then I went to a totally new level of stress that I’ve never felt before in my life, and then went straight into Tamworth and then straight back on tour and then put an album out. And, yes, adrenal fatigue was a thing I was dealing with, for sure.

‘But we’re good. Silver linings. I live in a beautiful spot. This last few months, I feel so lucky to be living where I live, even though I didn’t feel so lucky in January. And I’ve had my family around me and I’ve done so much stuff that I never had time to do. That I’ve never made time to do.’

Continue reading “From Fallow to ‘Fierce’: Fanny Lumsden”

Single release: ‘Leave Me Out to Dry’ by Riley Catherall

LMOTD SINGLE COVER FINALSince Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Riley Catherall started releasing songs in 2018 he’s been incapable of putting a foot wrong. Catherall has a rich musical pedigree, with studies in classical and jazz, amongst other things, but part of his brilliance as an artist now is what he leaves out rather than what he puts in. He is a master of refinement and restraint, in his vocals and his songwriting, so that the meaning of his songs is clear to the listener, every time. In other words, if he’s telling us something, we know he means it.

Catherall’s latest release is ‘Leave Me Out to Dry’, a story of heartbreakingly gracious regret. It is a sequel, of sorts, to Catherall’s 2018 release ‘Watered Down Man’, which, says Catherall, ‘encapsulated a version of myself notoriously stumbling my way through Melbourne’s streets heralding a warning not to get too close. It’s a bit of a mantra for myself to ensure I’m not slipping back into the same state.’

The song was recorded in Melbourne by Damian Cafarella (of Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes) and will appear on Catherall’s album, which is set for release later this year.

 

Apple Music | Spotify

 

rileycatherall.com

Single release: ‘Coulda Shoulda Woulda’ by Kaitlyn Thomas

unnamed-17If you were watching the Red Rebel Music showcase during the recent Hats off to Country festival, you would have seen a very impressive performance from Kaitlyn Thomas. Although she’s still young Thomas has an impressive pedigree, writing, recording and releasing music from a young age, as well as recently recording the song ‘Nervous Girls’ with Bec Lavelle and others.

Thomas’s latest song is the highly entertaining country-rock track ‘Coulda Shoulda Woulda’. The song was the result of a spontaneous co-write at the DAG Songwriters Retreat in Nundle, NSW and was finished within a couple of hours.

‘It just kind of happened while we were waiting around for others to finish writing. We were talking about dating apps and past experiences of how you should have seen the warning signs and red flags after the very first date,’ says Thomas.

‘I wanted the song to have a Shania Twain rock feel as I felt the song has her kind of sassiness. I’m super happy with the result and I think we achieved that Shania vibe.’

Even if you can’t directly relate to the lyrics, the song is proof that Thomas is an artist on the rise, combining powerful vocals with her sense of humour and storytelling skill.

Apple Music

www.kaitlynthomasofficial.com

Single release: ‘Last Cigarette’ by Melody Moko

unnamed-16Since Newcastle, NSW artist Melody Moko released her album, The Wreckage, in 2017 she has played up and down and across Australia, supporting Fanny Lumsden, The McClymonts and Catherine Britt, appearing multiple times at each Tamworth Country Music Festival, and playing at other festivals such as Groundwater.

Moko is a songwriter of insight and heart, and a passionate performer who is willing to open herself to the audience every time she plays. Her new single, ‘Last Cigarette’ – the first from her forthcoming album – has all those qualities, embodied in Moko’s wry, wistful vocals. Co-written with Britt, the song compares the grip of nicotine addiction with a troubled relationship, and it also holds the listener in its grip from start to finish. It was the last song written for the album but was an early contender for the first single. Moko’s husband, the in-demand guitarist Michael Muchow, plays on the album, and he took on co-production duties with Neilson Hubbard when the album was made in Nashville.

During her recent Isol-aid appearance Moko played the first four songs on the new album, and all four were outstanding. Given Moko’s previous form, this isn’t a surprise – but it does provide something to look forward to, at a time when that is very much needed.

Apple Music

 

www.melodymoko.com

Single release: ‘True Blue’ by Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds, Kirsty Lee Akers & Dianna Corcoran

unnamed-15When it’s announced that Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds, Kirsty Lee Akers and Dianna Corcoran are releasing a single together, that’s something that goes immediately to the ‘must-listen’ list. Each of these singer-songwriters has an established musical identity, none of them like each other, so they all bring something unique to a collaboration. And in this case they have collaborated on the beloved John Williamson song ‘True Blue’.

The four originally performed this as a ‘cover song challenge’ online during lockdown, 12 years since they toured together as Chic Frontier and 38 years after the song was originally released by Williamson. There were so many requests for them to record a studio version that they’ve now done just that, and the result is as wonderful as you’d expect. Each singer recorded her part separately and Corcoran mixed the track; the four also filmed their parts of the video separately.

But while they were isolated during the creation, they’re united in their message that the song points to something in the Australian spirit that has helped us press on since the awful start to the year and through the past few months. As Lawrence says, the song ‘really summed up the response from all Australians in these terribly dark times.’

Apple Music | Spotify

EP review: Feels Like Travelling Home by Corn Nut Creek

2fdf25_84f2c886bb174b83aafcc7972ac6401d~mv2Corn Nut Creek is a duo made up of very fine musicians and singers Tanya Bradley and Danielle Vita. Melbourne-based Bradley met Sydney-based, New York native Danielle Vita nine years ago in Hong Kong, where they played together as part of folk orchestra the Dulcet Tone Collective. They discovered a mutual love of bluegrass music and since then have been writing and performing together.

Feels Like Travelling Home is their first EP and features the duo’s key instruments of fiddle (Vita) and banjo (Bradley), and their complementary and contrasting vocals. The five tracks draw on traditions of bluegrass, Americana and folk, and form an often lively collection of tunes that will greatly please aficionados of those traditions as well as appealing to newcomers.

Instrumental track ‘Chicken in the Kitchen/Harper & Louis’ is as much fun as the title suggests. Some of the songs, such as the sublime ‘Baby Blue’, recount experiences of new motherhood. All five tracks are infused with the duo’s expertise, and with love – it is clear that they love what they are doing because there is a lightness to the vocals that doesn’t suggest the lyrics aren’t serious (because they can be) so much as indicating that Bradley and Vita are in the right place at the right time, doing what brings them joy.

www.cornnutcreek.com

Apple Music

Single release: ‘Immune’ by Roz Pappalardo

ROZ PAPPALARDO PUBLICITYRoz Pappalardo has appeared on this site before under her own name and as part of Women in Docs, who have appeared at the Tamworth Country Music Festival – and just about every other festival over the course of their popular career.

Pappalardo will release a solo album, Sound the Alarm, later this year and the second single is ‘Immune’. It’s a driving rock anthem about having the power to stand on your own.

Says Pappalardo, ‘I wrote this song then. 2 years ago BC (Before Covid) … when my world seemed like it was in apocalypse … but now it is.  I’ve realised I am a mass gathering specialist – the more people the better – in my professional and personal life, so learning to live with myself as a result of that realisation has been quite the journey. It’s been a short journey, but a steep, steep learning curve. What I’ve understood is that I’m a fighter, a warrior and pretty much OK on my own. I’m strong. Immune.’

The track may have been written BC but we’re now in-the-midst-of-C and it is the right song at the right time for anyone who needs some motivation and encouragement – and for those who just like to turn the music up loud and sing at the top of their lungs.

rozpappalardo.com

 

Single release: ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ by Scarlet’s Way

TMIO Cover ArtScarlet’s Way is a duo from Perth, WA, with members Katey Gabel on vocals and Shayne Savic on guitar. Their first single, ‘No Fire, No Flames’, was released in 2017 and reached #7 on the iTunes Country Charts. The two singles since, ‘Simple Life’ and ‘Let the Devil In’,  were CMC and radio favourites.

Their new single is ‘Tell Me It’s Over, a rock-infused country track that makes the most of Gabel’s  gutsy, passionate vocals and Savic’s virtuoso guitar playing. The band’s sound is arena sized – which makes sense considering they have played at a variety of festivals, including Tamworth, Nashville’s Americana Fest, and Gympie Music Muster, where they took out the Emerging Artist Showcase and performed on Main Stage in their first year in 2018. Recently the band was awarded Independent Group of the Year at the 2020 WA Country Music Awards’.

Once gigs are back in full swing, Perth punters should put them on the top of their list – and, hopefully, the rest of the country will be able to experience their sound live in due course.

Listen on:

Apple Music | Spotify

www.scarletswaymusic.com