Tag: Australian music

July 2020 playlist

These are Australian country music single releases from the past month, collected in a Spotify playlist. Track listing below.

Andrew Swift – ‘Never Meant to Break Your Heart’

Bec Willis – ‘Drive’

Ben Mastwyk – ‘Devil So Close’

Ben Ransom – ‘Coming Down in Spades’

Brad Cox – ‘Drinking Season’

Caitlyn Shadbolt – ‘Porcelain’

Carter & Carter – ‘We Are Family’

Casey Barnes – ‘We’re Good Together’

Cassidy-Rae – ‘I’m on Vacation’

Craig Lloyd – ‘One Last Time’

Dan Higgins – ‘Isn’t it a Shame’

Dani Young – ‘Outback Lullaby’

David Schaak – ‘Lost, Alone and Lonesome’

Davisson Brothers – ‘Dark as a Dungeon’

Della Harris – ‘Raining on My Wedding Day’

Denvah – ‘Do It Again’

Emma Dykes – ‘This Nurse’

Fanny Lumsden – ‘Fierce’

Jasmine Rae – ‘Don’t Do it for the Haters’

Josh Arnold feat. Lee Kernaghan – ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’

Juliet Oliver – ‘Strangers’

Katie Brooke – ‘Dreamer’s Tired Mind’

Kora Naughton – ‘My Heart to Break’

Kristy Cox – ‘Finger Picking Good’

Liam Brew – ‘Kick it Tomorrow’

Michael Carpenter and The Banks Brothers – ‘Honky Tonker’

Michelle Gardiner – ‘Show Me’

Paul Roth – ‘L.A.’

Rory Phillips – ‘The Truth’

Scarlet’s Way – ‘Tell Me It’s Over’

Taylor Moss – ‘Don’t Let Me Let Go’

Team Love – ‘Wasted Time’

The Buckleys – ‘Breathe’

Van Walker – ‘Long Night’s Journey to Day’



Video premiere: ‘Honky Tonker’ by Michael Carpenter and The Banks Brothers

Carpenter Banks Bros 3‘Honky Tonker’ might be the first release from Michael Carpenter and The Banks Brothers (although very much not the first release from those artists on their own) but it sounds like the work of old friends who know exactly how to play and sing together to bring out the best in the song. Given the pedigrees of everyone involved – Carpenter is a singer-songwriter and multi-intrumentalist who also produces music for a variety of Australian acts, and it seems that there’s nothing with a steel string that The Banks Brothers, Jy-Perry and Zane, can’t master.

‘Honky Tonker’ is the first song of an album’s worth of material that the new band intends to release – and the video is having its premiere here today.

Says Carpenter, ‘The video was filmed at the tail of the COVID isolation period in Sydney and was the first time we’d gotten together in months. We were all clearly happy to see each other, and, as it was our debut video together, we kept the video simple and focused on the band members and our sartorial splendour!’

You don’t need to be a fan of traditional country music to appreciate the song – this is great music, and that always translates regardless of which genres an audience knows. Best of all, Carpenter and the Banks sound like they’re having a lot of fun together, and that is certainly evident in the video. So whether you’re after a high-quality musical experience or a pick-me-up, this song delivers all that and more.



Single release: ‘The Truth’ by Rory Phillips

unnamed-15One of the great things about Australian country music is that artists emerge at all ages. There is not an expectation, from the audience or other artists, that your work is only valuable if it’s produced within a certain time of your life. This means, obviously, that within the canon of Australian country music there are many different perspectives of life from the teens up, just as there are commonalities because we’re all human.

Part of the challenge for any artist is that there is so much music of high quality within the genre that, regardless of your age, you have to be good. So it’s not because Rory Phillips is thirteen years old that his new song, ‘The Truth’, is worth listening to – it’s because it’s a great song. Co-written with Roger Corbett of The Bushwhackers, who also produced the song, it is forthright, heartfelt and clear. If that sounds improbably for one so young, it’s worth bearing mind that Phillips has twice attended the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music, is a graduate of Rock Academy Melbourne, a member of Folk Alliance Australia and of the Bidgee Blues Club. He’s twice been named in the top ten buskers at the (open age) Tamworth Country Music Festival Busking Competition (2016/2017), been a featured busker at Byron Bay Bluesfest (2016/2017), named the Australian National Busking Champion 2016 (primary-aged) and Junior Tamworth Champion of Champions in 2018 and most recently; he was a semi-finalist in the 2020 NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards (Performing Arts Award category) and the Snowy Valleys Council Young Citizen of the Year 2020.

While the song works in and of itself, Phillips’s age gives an additional reason to listen to it because, while there are younger artists releasing music, there aren’t that many of them and his perspective on the world is important.

In writing the song Phillips – who lives in Tumut in the NSW Snowy Mountains – was inspired by the likes of Greta Thunberg and the School Strike 4 Climate movement.

‘It’s hard to explain,’ he says, ‘but I wanted to say something with this song.  Our family are very passionate waste warriors and I get so frustrated listening to world leaders dancing around climate change issues.  It seems so obvious to me that more needs to be done, before it’s too late.  I’m no Billy Bragg, but if I can influence anyone to think a little more about our environment, or to question climate change deniers with this song, I will feel like I have achieved something.’

The video for the song was produced by Red Dirt Road Productions’ Fanny Lumsden and Dan Stanley Freeman, who also live in the Snowy Mountains, and was shot around Tumut.

Listen on:

Apple Music | Spotify




Video premiere: ‘Mixed Bag’ by Innocent Eve

Innocent Eve - Mixed Bag-Single-iTunes-ArtInnocent Eve is a duo whose members are sisters Rachel and Bec Olsson, who grew up in a musical home on a farm in Central Queensland. Earlier this year they released the single ‘Viking’, which is also the title of their forthcoming album. The second single from the album is the delightful ‘Mixed Bag’, and its video is premiering on this site today.

The Olssons say the song was ‘born from observing how people make judgement and comments based on differences and stereotypes, whether it’s size, shape, religion, ethnicity, gender or whatever. We noticed children playing together and making friends with strangers while sitting in a sandpit, despite their differences, and we thought the world could use a little more of that. And since children were the inspiration, the concept of a mixed bag of lollies emerged – why can’t we love a mixed bag of people, accepting that differences can be good, sweet and beautiful things?’

The video makes the most of the central idea and was created by Duncan Toombs from The Filmery in Terrigal, NSW.

‘Filming with Duncan is always a treat,’ say the sisters, ‘it’s a creative explosion and always full of surprises. His ideas for the song were so exciting and they evolved along the way. Part of the clip was filmed last year, then it was finished during COVID-19, so he had to get really creative with some parts due to restrictions. In the end, he managed to capture the fun and cheeky side of this song, while holding onto the message of inclusion, love and diversity.’

COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that changed the sisters’ year: their last tour was cut short after Bec was diagnosed with cancer. But they plan to play at the Wintermoon and Airlie Beach festivals later this year and in the meantime hope the message of the song will resonate with audiences. And, above all, ‘Be happy, love, be kind to one another, take risks and live a life you’ll be happy with. It may not always be pretty, but it’s about the relationships you have and pursuing your dreams and passions.’


Single release: ‘Honky Tonker’ by Michael Carpenter and The Banks Brothers

unnamed-15If you’re in need of a midweek pep-up, Michael Carpenter and the Banks Brothers have just the thing: the new song ‘Honky Tonker’, which is the most entertaining four minutes you’re likely to spend today – or more than four minutes, if you play it over again, which is likely to happen because the song is a bundle of bittersweet fun. It’s bittersweet because the song laments the loss of traditional honky tonk music, even as it acts as a statement of intent.

‘We don’t always know where we fit in in today’s music world,’ says singer/guitarist Zane Banks. ‘So we just decided to stick to our guns, play music that inspires us and have some fun, no matter what comes of it.’

The single is the first from the new collaboration of singer/guitarist Michael Carpenter – who is a producer of renown – and The Banks Brothers, featuring Jy-Perry Banks on pedal steel and Zane Banks. Jy-Perry is one of Australia’s most in-demand pedal steel players (also dobro and guitar) and Zane is a purist in the art of electric country picking, (also banjo and flat-picked acoustic guitar)

The song was originally a Carpenter solo track that featured Jy-Perry on steel, then Zane joined to share vocals and lead guitar, and the collaboration worked so well that a new band was formed. Given their mutual love of old-school country artists such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Marty Stuart, The Flying Burrito Brothers, George Jones, Mike Nesmith, Johnny Paycheck and Junior Brown, the trio’s coming together seems like an inevitability – and they’ve now written an album’s worth of songs, with recording having commenced.

Apple Music


Single release: ‘You Be You’ by This Way North

image003-3Disclaimer: this is not a country music song, but the good thing about running one’s own website is being able to decide exactly what goes on it. And when a terrific song comes along that’s not country music, there’s no reason not to cover it.

‘You Be You’ by duo This Way North is a fantastic piece of alt-pop/rock that provides four minutes of being swept away and also absorbed. Guitarist Leisha Jungalwalla and drummer Cat Leahy both sing on the track, their voices swirling around each other and melding at just the right places. The song is about honouring the differences in each partner in a relationship, rather than fighting against them, and that respect for each other and actual delight in the differences can be heard in the performance of the song.

‘You Be You’ was written on the road: the duo have been living in a van for the past three years in Canada and Australia, also travelling in New Zealand. Recorded in Nashville in January this year, it’s the first single from their upcoming EP Vol. 3, the finale of a trilogy of EPs they’ve released since 2016.


Apple Music | Spotify


Single release: ‘Don’t Do it for the Haters’ by Jasmine Rae

unnamed-14Jasmine Rae’s last album, Heartbeat, was released in 2015. On 24 July she’ll release her new album, Lion Side, and if ever a reason were needed to preorder the album – apart from the fact that Rae has always released passionate, entertaining country music – it’s her new single, ‘Don’t Do it for the Haters’. This is Rae in spine-tingling full flight, aiming true and finding her mark.

Several years ago there was a copyright lawsuit around her song ‘When I Found You’. Rae was not involved in the legal action but she was the one whose name was most publicly associated with the song; consequently she received a barrage of negative emails, phone calls and social media commentary.

‘It was a really  confronting and confusing time for me,’ she says. ‘For a while, I didn’t want to co-write with anyone, didn’t want to put myself out there or be vulnerable and I was questioning everything. People around me actually thought that I would give up.’

However, a short tour with US country artist Granger Smith later that year reminded Rae that she loves what she does, and that the love of music brings people together. Consequently, she’s not doing it for the haters – it’s the love that does it for her, and this is made loud and clear in the song.

There is a maxim in storytelling that one should ‘show, don’t tell’. With this song Rae is showing her work: the craft, the talent and the motivation. It’s a powerful song that can apply to people in all walks of life, for all sorts of reasons – an anthem for the social media age.



Listen on:

Apple Music | Spotify

Preorder Lion Side: abcmusic.lnk.to/JRLionside



Single release: ‘Outback Lullaby’ by Dani Young

400x400bb-3Without much notice Sydney singer-songwriter Dani Young released a new single, ‘Outback Lullaby’, her first original since last year’s ‘Stepping Stones’ and coming after her epic cover of REO Speedwagon’s ‘Keep On Loving You’.

Co-written with Damien Leith, ‘Outback Lullaby’ is a song you can easily imagine listening to as you lie in a swag looking at the stars, and while you’re driving through bush, desert, rainforest or high country. It’s also a song perfect for doing nothing but sitting still and listening, because it is dreamy and earthy, solid and ethereal all at once, and Young’s voice is the key, taking us with her on a journey around this land and back home. It’s nigh impossible to not fall in love with this song.

Young’s first release was Desert Water, an album on which she was paired with Warren H Williams and which was nominated for a Golden Guitar. Since then she has toured with Damien Leith, and collaborated with Australian band GANGgajang. Young’s output is diverse but sense of place is strong in all of her work, as is her ability to sing from the heart.

Listen to ‘Outback Lullaby’ on:

Apple Music | Spotify

Dani hosts the show ‘Midday Muster’ each Monday. You can watch on her Facebook page.


Album review: With a Bullet Between My Teeth by Amber Rae Slade

a4276077920_16There isn’t much in the way of biographical information available online for singer-songwriter Amber Rae Slade, except that she was born in Detroit, Michigan to a musical family and now lives in Sydney (New South Wales). Knowing more about her wouldn’t necessarily affect how one listens to her music – it’s just nice to know – but not knowing more about her does mean that we can presume that everything she wants us to know is in her music.

With a Bullet Between My Teeth is Slade’s new album. It was produced, engineered, and mixed by Matt Fell, with additional engineering by Shane Nicholson and mastered by Michael Carpenter. So there are heavyweights involved with this album, and no doubt they’ve made great contributions – Fell plays most of the instruments in addition to his other roles – but the album is exceptional because of the songs and the singer.

Slade has a voice that is earthy and edgy, passionate and knowing. By subtly shifting tone she can implore or dictate or confide, and thereby indicates that she is giving us a panoply of experiences in these songs, all of which but one (‘Betty Was Black (& Willie Was White)’) were written by her. It seems like a road album, not least because it feels like Slade is in constant motion, sometimes urgent, looking round the next corner and ahead to the next wide open space, hungry for experiences but stopping sometimes to reflect and document them. It’s also a rollicking ride, and if you sit back and absorb the songs in turn, it really does feel like the rhythms of the songs mimic the rhythms of travelling through a diverse landscape: up hill and down dale, through forests and deserts.

So if Slade wants us to learn about her from her songs, what we can take away is this: she has things to tell us, and they’ll be things we want to hear, and we have to trust her enough to give her the time to tell us. That also means she has to be able to trust us. The performer and their audience is, after all, a relationship. And With a Bullet Between My Teeth is definitely a relationship, not a flirtation. It’s a commitment, not because it’s hard work but because Slade pulls us close and when an artist pays the audience that compliment we had better respect it. The reward is 11 songs that are constantly rewarding and often rapturous.

With a Bullet Between My Teeth is only available on Bandcamp. Pay whatever you want from as little as $1. Half of all proceeds go to the Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre in Redfern. 


The McClymonts release Mayhem to Madness – and bring joy

unnamed-14For the uninitiated, The McClymonts are a trio of sisters originally from Grafton, NSW. Oldest sister Brooke is the guitarist; middle sister Samantha plays bass and youngest sister Mollie plays mandolin. While Brooke is the lead singer, the standout feature of the band is their harmonies – immediately distinctive recognisably glorious over their six albums and all live shows. The sisters’ synergy can’t be manufactured but nor do they take it for granted – they tour regularly, even when they’re between album releases, keeping their collective instrument sharp.

For evidence of this, look no further than their latest album, Mayhem to Madness. Recorded last year – before Brooke gave birth to her second child early this year – the album was long ago scheduled for release in June, and the band pressed ahead despite the fact they’re releasing it into an uncertain world. Like all of their albums, it has its own identity – and this one is more reflective than their last album, Endless, although that wasn’t necessarily done on purpose.

‘The three of us girls have just been so busy with motherhood and balancing the career [each band member has two children],’ says Brooke. ‘I don’t want to say there was no thought put into the album – because there definitely was. [But] we live in [different places] too. Mollie’s in Wollongong, I’m in the mid north coast [NSW] now, Sam’s in Brisbane, so when it comes to getting our songs together this time it was more like, “I really love this one” and “I really love that”. We kind of jigsaw-pieced them all together. I feel like it came together really well considering how busy we all were.’

The cohesion of the album, despite the busyness of the band’s members, no doubt partly comes from the fact that they have been working together for so long, and by now they should be able to rely on all that playing and writing together to form a solid base for everything they do. Brooke agrees, and adds, ‘We also don’t like to sing about anything that’s not real to us. It just feels really weird and so uncomfortable. There’s one song on this album called “Wish You Hell” which was about my friend, but it sounds like I’m going through all this stuff but I have to explain that if I’m singing it live or just in interviews. “No, I haven’t been through that” – well, not yet and I hope not,’ she says, laughing.

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