Melbourne singer-songwriter Lucille has released two fantastic and very distinct singles, ‘The Killing Season’ and ‘Best of Me’. The first was inspired by an ABC TV series about the internal ructions of the Australian Labor Party. The second is a ballad with more romantic tones. Lucille was born in Berlin and raised in Germany, the UK, New Zealand and Australia, and she has been steeped in music since childhood. It was wonderful to have the chance to talk to her recently so I could find out more about her musical past and her eclectic present.
Your musical background was folk, gospel and classical. Was there anything in particular that you loved growing up or did you love it all?
It was very much a mixture of everything. What I really loved about it and what I guess is really the underlying passion all the time, regardless of the particular genre, was the playing and singing with other people. And that’s where that sort of roots music hooks you in because it’s very much about the interaction with other people and creating music together. So that’s where my bedrock is, in a way.
And so that was with your siblings initially?
Did it strengthen your relationship as siblings to have that together?
It totally did. And even when you go through teenage years – which are sometimes eventful – we as a family, the four of us, would bond through song and we would often just spend time singing together, learning songs together, whether that was Simon and Garfunkel or a gospel song, and just have so much fun with the harmonies. So it definitely strengthened us in our relationships and I think it’s carried on till now. My younger brother, he’s a full-time musician. My older brother sings with the Melbourne Symphony Choir. So it’s carried on through.
Continue reading “Interview: Lucille”
Since Melbourne-born, Queensland-based artist Brook Chivell was a Toyota Star Maker finalist in 2017, he’s toured the land and also become a festival favourite, playing at the Deni Ute Muster, Gympie Music Muster, Sydney Country Music Festival, Broadbeach/Groundwater Country Music Festival, and Tamworth Country Music Festival. His upbeat country rock style is perfectly suited to that environment, as it offers not only an entertaining sound but the authentic lyrics and great vocals that country music fans love.
Chivell’s latest release is ‘Fingerprints’; as he says, ‘Everything we have ever done adds up, to help make us who we are: the good, the bad, the lessons, the trials and the triumphs. Make every second count. We only get one life. “Fingerprints” is about that journey.’ Chivell also produced the track and Queensland audiences can hear it live at the following shows:
10 August – Beerwah Hotel
12 October – VDM Fest, Biloela
Listen to ‘Fingerprints’ on:
Apple Music | Spotify
Late last year singer-songwriter Lizzie Steadman – formerly of Tamworth, now a resident of Newcastle, NSW – released an outstanding single ‘Here We Go Again’. It was a song that Steadman says was about returning to a bad relationship – but her latest release, ‘This Could Be’, celebrates new love. Steadman brings the same depth of emotion to both songs, and in the new song we can hear hope and some peace.
Seeing Steadman perform in a songwriters’ showcase earlier this year, at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the talent and skill on display in ‘Here We Go Again’ were obvious, so it is not surprise that this new song, written with her partner, Daniel, is another great achievement.
Steadman is a proud Aboriginal woman who aims to inspire, empower and give strength to women through her music. She will perform at The Central Coast Country Music Festival on 11 August and launch her upcoming EP on 17 August at The Press in Tamworth.
Apple Music | Spotify
Watch on YouTube:
Alli Ryan lives on a farm in Winton, New South Wales, just outside of Tamworth. She started performing bush poetry as a teenager, and has had a love of country music and bush verse from an early age. Ryan stopped performing when her children started to arrive but never lost her passion for writing songs, as this kept her connected to music and poetry.
It is the recent and ongoing drought in parts of New South Wales (and elsewhere in Australia) that has prompted Ryan to once more share her songs outside of the family home. Watching her own and other farming families struggle, she wrote the raw and moving ‘I Still Choose This Life’. It is about the struggles of life on the land, but also the love of it – and choosing that life after all that has happened. Ryan hopes the song will raise funds to help local Rotary clubs with their drought relief efforts.
You can watch the video below or find the single on:
Amazon | Apple Music | CD Baby
Matt Ward – who has previously released an EP as Matt J Ward & the Rising Sons – has lived and worked in outback and regional South Australia, as well as Texas. He has seen and experienced life on the land, and that long perspective informs the structure and substance of his debut album, Heartland. The album opens with an introduction of the last song, ‘Now That You Have My Heart’, but the first full song is ‘Better Man’, which is about life on the land – specifically, the weariness of the protagonist yet also his resilience. It’s an interesting decision to open an album with this track because it might seem to set a tone – yet it also leaves room for hope and happiness to develop across the course of the album, and Ward explores a range of human emotions an experiences over these ten tracks. There’s a clue in the title as well: throughout this album, trying to be a better man is a theme, although not always overtly stated. And it’s this which leads to a realisation of the album’s deeper theme: the everyday courage of trying to do your best, be your best, to others as well as yourself, when circumstances don’t always align in your favour. There is loss and heartbreak – not necessarily of the romantic kind – on this album and at every turn there is also a protagonist trying to be better even if he knows he won’t always succeed.
Ward has a voice that sounds lived in, not because it’s worn out but because he is singing with that ingredient key to Australian country music: authenticity. We believe what he’s singing about because his voice tells us that it’s coming from an authentic place – if not from his own experience, then from things he’s observed and considered. Musically his influences seem to come modern Americana as much as they do from Slim Dusty, and what’s in common there is structure and purpose: tell the story straight and don’t muck the audience around. These are the elements that make it possible to envisage these songs being played to strangers in a dusty outback pub as much as it is to a crowded bar in inner-city Melbourne. When songs are as well constructed as these, they can travel.
Heartland was produced by Matt Fell, who is responsible for many a fine Australia country production – and it features backing vocals from artists such as Katie Brianna and Brielle Davis. ‘Washed Up’ shares lead vocals with American artist Bonnie Montgomery, who is a great match for Ward. The album will certainly please those who love their traditional country music as well as those who may not know their country music history but recognise wonderful songs when they hear them.
Heartland is out now.
Apple Music | Artist’s website | Spotify
JoKeria are a Western Australia duo, with members Kendall Smith on vocals and guitar and Josh Philpot on drums. Their new album, Red Country, has its lineage in traditional country music yet it is distinct and unique. It has a way of hooking itself under your skin, and a lot of that is to do with Kendall Smith’s lyrics and voice. He delivers his stories directly to the listener, and he puts his heart and mind on the line. Therefore, I looked forward to speaking to him recently and I discovered a thoughtful, pragmatic and passionate artist.
Often when I talk to people for the first time, I like to find out about their musical background, what music you grew up listening to. So I’d like to start with that if I could.
Music I grew up listening to, I would have to say real country music. I grew up listening to Randy Travis. A lot of Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn. A lot of Slim Dusty. Australian country music. Joy McKean. The seekers. So this is a lot of influences from a lot of older people from when I was a lot younger. After primary school I used to have to go back to stay at my grandmother’s for the afternoons until my father finished work at about four, four-thirty in the afternoon so that we could then be picked up and then head back out to our Aboriginal community that I grew up living on. And in that time I’d be giving my grandmother a hand with whatever she needed and there’d always be music playing in the background. So that was my first real, focused exposure of country music. And I just started to catch onto the tunes. You start singing along and then got to a point where I try to start mimicking the artists that I was listening to.
Was your grandmother musical?
Musical in the traditional sense, most definitely. In the Aboriginal culture, for sure. She could sing lot of the old traditional songs that had to do with corroboree and ceremony times. But non-indigenously, no, she could not play an instrument or anything like that. But she really enjoyed music. She loved the storytelling side of music.
Continue reading “Interview: Kendall Smith of JoKeria”
This song is sublime. That’s probably all you need to know (hopefully) to press play on the video below, but in case you need to know more, here it is: ‘Company with Regret’ is the debut single from Billie Rose Copeland, an artist from North West Queensland and graduate of the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music. It was written – with her singing teacher – only a few days before Copeland’s recording session with Matt Fell at Love Hz studios. Fell contributes all the instruments but it is Copeland’s vocals that star here. There are torch song qualities to her voice, and the marriage with this soulful Americana song makes for an unforgettable tune.
The song has been in high rotation on ABC Country and ABC local radio. Now there’s a video to go with it, created by The Filmery, and it’s a great pleasure to premiere the video for ‘Company with Regret’ here today – please watch it below.