Reviews of gigs from the last few weeks……new albums coming up soon from Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Andrew Swift and many more…..more gigs coming up….feature play list each week, a new batch of those mad Kaz Profiles and don’t forget to read Down Under Beats on the bluesandrootsradio.com blog as well for some other stuff about Australian Indie country artists……
If I had a 3hour gig on country radio, this is what I would play…..a week by week description – I would call it Listen To The Words (after the Luke O’Shea song, if that is ok, Lukie).
In between songs, I would tell some funny stories, do a quick summary of album reviews and the top ten for the week and a gig guide. Maybe I could fit in an interview or two.
Listen To The Words – Luke O’Shea (Intro song)
Baling Twine and Tapping – Michael Waugh
Tennessee Lullaby – Sally Anne Whitten
Candle For A Cowboy – Anthony Taylor
Stranger is A Friend – Col Finley
Broken – Jodie Crosby
Lindy Loo – 8 Ball Aitken
Glad – Adam and Brooke
Be With You Tonight – Ben Ransom
Big Black Car – Brendan Smoother
Last Word On My Lips – Aleyce Simmonds
Grave Robber’s Daughter – Tori Forsyth
Careless Hearts – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Nowhere Else To Fall – Arna Georgia
Roll On – Fanny Lumsden
Travelling Man – The Weeping Willows
Classic – Patches – Brendon Walmsley
Pages of Us – The April Family
High Hopes – Carpenter Caswell
Inasmuch – Darren Coggan and Felicity
In Case You Ever Think of Me – Amber Joy Poulton
Before We Say Goodbye – Angus Gill
Mark My Words – Brad Butcher
February Sky – Lloyd Clarke
The Happiness Tree – Darren Colston
Classic – Up On His Shoulders – Mike Carr
Where My Heart Used To Be – Sandra Humphries
All The Rivers In Between – Pete Dawson
Gone – Allison Forbes
Little Pieces – Rick Hart and Vanessa Hart
Aussie Legends Triple Play:
Beccy Cole – Opposite Prayers
Melinda Schneider – Real People
Adam Harvey – Lady Lay Down
He’s A Writer Of Songs – Melissa Robertson
Miss You Much – Susan Lily
Sing You Up – Luke O’Shea to finish!
Michael Waugh has a great knack of making the ordinary sound extraordinary. He takes every day subjects and turns them into something very special. I now live not very far from where Michael grew up. I can probably even relate more to some of the things that he writes about, and of course, I know the place names. I grew up in the country, and many of the things that he writes about are very similar to what he talks about in his story songs. With the magic wand of Shane Nicholson guiding proceedings, the beauty, humour and sadness of Michael’s songs are enhanced.
I saw Michael Waugh at last year’s Tamworth, just before he went to the Golden Guitars as a nominee for best new talent. Michael made us laugh and made us cry all in one verse of a song. He does that. You have the hanky out one minute and you are falling off the couch at another with laughter. He was singing with two pretty tough dudes that day, who are also big softies and success stories in a sometimes tough industry. Michael is a very humble man. He sings about songs that you can relate to.
He is a plain speaker. He doesn’t hold back. He tells it like it is. Some of the stories are his own, others are also true stories but about other people. Who would have thought that you could make a song out of acid wash jeans, chickens, kindergarten fetes or a Datsun?
There are some stand out songs on this album, but I always knew that the whole album would be magic. It didn’t let me down.
Little C Word – This was lifted as a single and it won the Karl Broadie Heartfelt Song Award in my Kazzie Awards last year. It is a song about Michael’s brother and his fight with Cancer. It has humour as well as anger and sadness. It offers hope and it is thought provoking.
Footy Trip – A very Aussie song about a very Aussie thing to do. A bit cheeky and the subject matter will ring true with most Aussies.
They don’t let the girls in the game – Thankfully, things are changing, though there is still a bit of a stigma about women playing traditional male sports. I can relate to this as I probably could kick a ball (soccer, any code of footy) and bowl a better ball than most boys when I was a kid or at least as good as, but it just wasn’t allowed….at least not beyond primary school. Like most Waugh songs, there is a deeper meaning.
Willy’s Chickens – Our favourite Heyfield girl makes another appearance in a Michael Waugh song (his mum). In my hometown, I know of a lot of other women who had similar jobs and stories to this one.
Bailing Twine – Possibly the best song on the album, or pretty close to it. At first it sounds like Brendon Walmsley’s “Patches”, about how past generations didn’t throw things out, they worked on them and fixed them. It becomes much more than that. It has quite a heartbreaking ending.
For A Moment – Life is short. A song about enjoying the moments, special and simple before they disappear.
Shit Year – We all have these. God knows that I have had a few. Michael’s family have been through a lot – good to have that year over and hope that things get better.
Bloody Rain – Weather is often a topic of conversation in the country. Sometimes it is about the lack of rain, sometimes it is about too much rain. You can see the images of this pub scene, right down to the parma and Melbourne Bitter.
Tapping – This is without a doubt the most powerful song on the album. A simple tapping noise explodes into a big problem….a problem that a lot of women face at one stage or another in their lives. It builds and it builds….to quite a crescendo. Incredible song.
The Asphalt and The Oval – This song is about bullying, forgiveness, growing up, growing down and dealing. It is a song of reflection and moving on.
Acid Wash – A song that triggers the nostalgia trip, Acid Wash Jeans, blue eyeshadow, Peter Jackson cigs, the music of a different time and place for people of a certain generation.
Driving With the Window Down – evokes freedom, memories of a first car, road trips and simpler times…..and it is about a Datsun.
Kindergarten Fete – Without a doubt, the cutest song on the album. It will have a lot of parents and grandparents and aunties nodding in recognition and smiling with the memories. A charming song t o end an amazing album.
Michael Waugh is an amazing songwriter. He really knows how to get to the heart of things and he can tell stories in an honest and thought provoking way. He’ll be around for a long time.
In Australia, there are three sure things….Death, Taxes and husband and wife, Adam Eckersley and Brooke Clymont making an album together. Both are Golden Guitar winners in their respective bands, Adam with the Adam Eckersley Band and Brooke with her sisters, The McClymonts.
It was inevitable and much applauded when these two awesome talents combine to make an album which will probably make them Golden Guitar Winners together in some form next January.
One review said that Brooke is a little bit pop, Adam is a little bit Rock N Roll but this album is a lot bit country. I think that is a fair description.
Adam grows on you. The first time that I heard his band, I will admit, I shuddered. Not country…..I thought. Then I heard a few more tracks and I was hooked. Sometimes, it takes a while. A chance meeting with his Mum and a chat with her warmed me a bit more to him as well! I usually like my rock, rock and my country , country, but I saw potential in Adam. I think that he has reached a new level on this album with wifey, Brooke on this album. Songs like Not How I Feel and Out of My Hands are just awesome.
The McClymonts have always been fan favourites. I was a Samantha McClymont fan first. I saw her on a Buttercup Country Music presentation at Tamworth Town Hall years ago and became an instant fan. She brought on one of her sisters and I thought, gees, they should form a band….um….the rest is history. I saw them LIVE at The Sydney Country Music Festival a few years ago and they were just about the best thing on that day (apart from Beccy Cole).
Every track on this album is just terrific. They are all a bit different, and they feature Adam sometimes more prominently and other times Brooke more prominently. It is a very listenable album. I have played it about 10 times already and I find it goes way too fast and easy. It is pretty awesome.
I love One Man and Lay With Me too. Highway Sky is very McClymontsish.
I think that they saved the best to last. Glad is just an incredible song.
I love this album. Well done, Adam and Brooke. I hope that you produce more albums together. Don’t make this a one off.
Lay With Me
Nothing Left To Win
Love On The Loose
Not How I Feel
Out of my Hands
A few years ago in Tamworth, I heard a voice. It was big and booming and powerful. I literally fell off my stool. Thankfully, I had some friends around me who picked me up and put me back up there. Holy Snappin’ Bon Bons, Batman, it was earth shattering….in a good way. We had a mutual friend. That mututal friend and I listened to her at Mildura Country Music Festival in 2016 and then at Tamworth again last year at a night-before-Tamworth Festival non Country gig at The Albert. The mutual friend is a not too shabby, multi-Kazzie award winning chick called Allison Forbes.
Jess Holland’s third LP is amazing. That big, booming voice can also be subtle on tracks like the title track, Miss Demeanour and Solitary Mind, probably my two favourites to raunchy country rock, swamp music and blues, the girl has launched a thousand ships.
Jess is a very well respected artist amongst her peers. I am hoping that this album will introduce her to a wider audience. She will rock your country socks and boots.
Australian Dreamer – Working class song about a simple value system, simple dreams and hard working people. Rollicking start
Linburn Lane – Without liner notes, it is a bit hard to confirm, but I gather that this song may be based on family history.
Boys and Girls Like Me – Lots of guitars feature on this song that points the finger at people who judge.
I Built This Fire – You have to have at least one heartbreak song on a country album, this is one.
Time’s Tickin’ – Bluesy intro and swampy rock with lots of guitars and drums and harp.
Cowboy Hat of Mine – The history of a hat and what it has seen and where it has been….my Dad will love this song.
Broken Truth – This is another heartbreak song. A little bit different to the other one though. More Pat Benatar meets Quatro.
Miss Demeanour – Slowing things down now – gentle but earthy blues song. Probably my fave.
Wild Boy – Wild song about a Wild Boy. Watch out. The big voice is in da house. Not the type of boy to take home to Mother.
Bright Side of Town – When things go sour – nice fiddle – This is a Nicholson like song – wordswise.
Dangerous – A raunchy, angry song that you would expect to come under the title of Dangerous.
Hillbilly Family – A colourful family – I suspect that there are a few of these around the bush – sounding a bit like my hero – Mary Chapin Carpenter on this….I can’t give a bigger compliment than that.
Solitary Mind – Another favourite. A gentle little tune with strong subject matter in the lyrics.
I don’t have the hard copy, so I can’t give you credits or much technical detail. From the heart, this is an amazing album. A baker’s dozen of fabulous songs which have a common thread but they have a very different set of sounds and they are delivered in different ways. Watch this space, Jess may have been around for a while, but this is her springboard album.
We are so used to seeing the names The Crosby Sisters, rather than just Jodie Crosby. Jodie and Kelly have been a part of Australian Country Music culture and particularly Tamworth Country Music Culture for so long that splitting them up seems like splitting up The Beatles. However, a change is as good as a holiday and Kelly contributes here, co-writing with Jodie on the single, What A Shame. We are all trying to get Kelly to produce an album soon too. Jodie said in a recent interview that it is not the end of singing with her sister, it is just a new adventure.
This album has been a long time coming and if you look at where it was recorded, you will see that the Leyland Brothers have nothing on this Crosby Sister.
Whether she is singing and goofing around with Kel or singing by herself, Jodie will always be a star. This collection of songs is pure country and there are some great new songs and a few classics. Jodie is well backed by some legendary Tamworth voices and songwriters.
Rusty Crook does a wonderful job, steering the ship instrumentally and production wise.
I have known Jodie for a lot longer than she has known me. Once we met, The Crosby gals have become my Tamworth Sisters. I had been to a lot of their gigs and played a lot of their music before we communicated. We are family now, so this is an extra biased review. However, if you don’t like this album and the beautiful, heartfelt vocals and well chosen songs, then there really is no hope for you. It is just lovely. Now come on Kelly, it is your turn!
Hello (Ethan Crosby-Wolfe/Jodie Crosby) – The single that got the ball rolling, co-penned with Jodie’s very talented son, Ethan. Perfect way to launch a solo career and a well loved song on community radio. ( We flogged it!)
History Of Us (Jodie Crosby/Allison Forbes) – These two ladies separately are dynamos. Combine their writing and singing and what would you expect? Fabulous song.
Man Like You (Glenn Goldsmith) – A real yee ha song. Lots of torch and twang here. A real shoulder shifting song.
No One will Ever Know (Fred Rose/Mel Forre) – Classic country and such a beautiful rendition. Love the torch and twang. Some beaut fiddle, Alan.
Red Dust Trails (Lyndsay Hammond) – The kind of song that Jodie sings best. So country that you can smell the hay.
What a Shame (Kelly Crosby/Jodie Crosby) – Sister Kelly co-wrote this one with Jodie and it is a slightly different path, a little bit of a blues feel. This was the second single.
Broken (Jodie Crosby/Russell Crook) – I love all of the songs on this album, I really can’t fault it, not that I want to, but this is pretty close to my favourite. It is a little bit different and Jodie does things with her voice that are pretty damn cool. The fiddle on this is just wonderful.
(I’d Be) a legend in my time (Don Gibson) – I have never heard a woman sing this Don Gibson classic before, but I think that there should be more of it. Oh Jodie, you do such a marvellous job of this.
Woman is the Wind (Jodie Crosby/Jon Wolfe/Phil Hungerford) – This song is fabulous. I would release this as a single. The lyrics are a little bit different and the music is just lovely.
There’s A Heart in There (Feat. Marius Reynolds) (Lawrie Minson/John Cunliffe) – This is a sad song to review, because Marius is no longer with us. It is such a lovely song and Jodie and Marius do a lovely job of it. Great writing Lawrie and John. The chorus is very catchy. I think that this might be a shower song because it does get into your head. Beautiful song.
Recorded at Rock Con, Goulburn, The Vault Balmain, Buena Vista Tamworth, Fat Track Tamworth and ENREC studios, Tamworth.
All Instruments by Rusty Crook except Fiddle – Alan Russ
Backing vocals – Linda Newton, Allison Forbes, Sarah Byrnes, Brent Larkham and Jodie Crosby.
Recorded and Mixed by Rusty Crook
Mastered by Jeff McCormack @ Music Cellar Central Coast NSW.
In life you meet your heroes and your friends. Sally-Anne Whitten is both to me. Not just because of her awesome musical talent and her unbelievably wonderful delivery on stage when she entertains you, but the way that she makes you feel as a fan and a friend and what she does for others. Sal and I have a fair bit in common – obviously not the musical talent and the unbelievably wonderful delivery on stage…..but our lives have similar people in them, historically and currently and we are both Tamworth girls.
Sally-Anne Whitten loves music and loves life. This comes through in her songs. There is passion and compassion there in every line and every note. We love a lot of the same music – Mr Crowell, The Eagles, Gram Parsons, Bonnie Raitt, John Hiatt, etc. I dream of Memphis, I reckon that she is from Memphis in another life. We both have a lot of the same thoughts and values and opinions. I guess that is why I relate to her music, her messages and her big heart.
We talk often of the country music family. There are things that Sal has done for me that make her part of my family. She will never know just how much I am grateful to her for her support and her friendship. Her music speaks volumes but there are other things that make her just an amazing human being. In the end, I am just a fan who happens to love writing about musicians and music.
This album is long awaited, not just by me but by lots of fans. I believe that her launch in Tamworth was pretty much a full house and I haven’t heard a bad word about the album or the gig. Everyone has been bubbling over with enthusiasm.
Sal often describes her music as funktry or funky country. It is bluesy, soulful and just bloody good music.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Alwyn Aurisch. As you look at the credits (and please do), you will notice that he has a wee bit to do with this album. He is a bloody legend and a good bloke. He is also one of the most underrated musos in this country in any genre.
It took a while to get into my hands, but now it is here, I am only letting this cd go to be played on my stereo. It is not leaving my vicinity.
Watch it Burn: (S. Whitten/A. Aurisch)
Bonnie Raitt is channelled in this funky/bluesy number with a backbeat that you can’t lose!
Great harp from Matt O’Leary! Guitars are on fire and the drums are crashing – headed up by Ms Sally at her bluesy best.
Split Decision (A.Anderson/G Nicholson) with Mick Pealing – Lordy, Sal! Mick Legend Pealing! Love the raunchy keys and the verbal gymnastics by Sal. Hells’ Bells!
Tennessee Lullaby (S Whitten/R.Moody) with Allison Forbes and Rae Moody. It really doesn’t get much better than this – three Tamworth Sisters singing beautifully together and alone – sensational song, gals!
Southern Nights (A Toussaint) – A Salute to two of the greats (intentional or unintentional) to Messrs Toussaint and Campbell and to two great places (intentional or unintentional) in the deep South of the U.S. of A and our own Great Southern Land of Australia.
Take My Love (Little Willie John) – A raunchy, trad. bluesy, funky number with rollicking guitars.
The Life You Left Behind (S. Whitten) – one of the most beautiful and heart wrenching songs released in the last few years. A very personal song for Sal and all whom it touches.
Save Yourself (S Whitten) – Bonnie is back in the back pocket. Groovy keys and Sal at full throttle – a chunk of burning funk (to sort of quote James Taylor!)
You can’t hide from a broken heart (S. Whitten/A Forbes) with Allison Forbes The magic touch that always goes hand in hand when these two write together – lighting up my stereo and a stage when these two extraordinary women decide to put pen to paper and words to music. My favourite track on the album by a nose.
Good Day in Hell (D. Henley/G Frey) with Jimmy Craz. Two of Sal’s heroes, two awesome Eagles, Mr Henley and Mr Frey penned this apt finish to the album.
Musos: Guitars: Alwyn Aurisch and Jimmy Craz on the last track
Bass: Trevor Stacey, Peter Moloney and Alwyn Aurisch
Drums: Dave “Stix” Adams, Doug Bligh
Keys: Paul Gibbs
Ganjo and Mando and Dobro: Alwyn Aurisch
Recorded and produced by Alwyn Aurisch
Mastered by Michael Macken
I haven’t known Col Finley and his music for 25 years. I would say that it is more like 12 years. However, in this short time as a fan of the man, I think that I know him pretty well. Col has touched my life, not only through his music but through his kindness, generosity and his words of encouragement and his support in what I try to do. I have become pretty good mates with his mum, Dee, as well and I have met his Dad and as a friend and a fan, I felt for Col, through the sadness of losing his sister, my fellow Kaz and facebook buddy. His lovely wife, Nellie, (who is a very underrated singer) and his beautiful family have been the subject of many of Col’s songs, as have Dee and Austie. Col comes across as a larrikin but he is really the biggest softy and he is very sensitive and passionate about his music, his family and his friends. Col is always one of the first with his hand up to help out in my crazy charity schemes which I have done in Tamworth, where I dare musos to do some crazy stuff, like the hugathon and hanging with Rowlf for a donation to a specific charity.
I wish that I could have been in Tamworth for his special launch. I will make it up to him somewhere along the way. For now, it is with great pleasure that I review this very special collection of songs from a very special guy.
Darren Colston (another muso who is pretty special) produced something similar to this a couple of years ago. Actually, the two singer/songwriters have a fair bit in common. It is a double album set, featuring ‘most wanted’ and the hits.
The album is to mark Col’s 25th Anniversary. He has had a full and colourful life and his songs reflect this. I must admit that there are a lot of songs on here that I haven’t heard of before, some of which are my new favourites! Jacaranda Tree has always been my favourite, not only because it is the name of my favourite tree but also because of the story that the song tells. Songs always been more when you know what they are about or more importantly, who they are about.
She’s Your Mother, Idol and Working on The Land are great examples of that.
I have always loved Col’s appearances at Songwriters in the Round at the Tamworth Services Club during the Country Music Festival. I have always liked Col in his stripped back form best. He has a wonderful raw, bluesy quality that is suited best to those sessions. I actually caught my first glance of Col there, as he followed Lukie (Luke O’Shea) years ago as all of the three hour sets were on at the club. Kerry Kennedy and Michael Bryers had ones as well. They are all institutions at the Servies.
Fans of Col will be thrilled to have lots of their faves in one collection. All the best ones are there, including My Place, Paradise and of course, Rich with Friends.
The beautiful Gift Wrapped is there and the slightly cheeky Mexican Lady is there too. I know only too well the Mexico and Tequila combination…..it is a bit like what they say about the ’60’s – if you remember it, you weren’t really there.
In her eyes is a new favourite for me. I am sure that I would have remembered this song if I had heard it before. Life Gets In The Way and Legends of the Highlands, Stranger is a Friend are awesome songs too.
It is appropriate that the album ends with Above The Blue. Anyone who has gone through tough times and who has made their way back will understand this song.
All up there are 25 songs for the 25 years, autobiographical ones or at least commentaries on Col’s observations. You will make new discoveries and relive old memories through favourites and you can sing along pretty badly to some of them (as I did) if you get the package with the songbook!
I wish that I was on the radio at the moment, I would be flogging this album and its wonderful songs to the hilt.
For new fans of Col, this is a great place to start. It is a wonderful retrospective and a fabulous cross-section of Col’s songs. It is a very big bite of Australia and Australians and the everyday things which effect us. Col has always been a wonderful storyteller. I am going to be playing these albums many times. It pretty much covers at least half of the 79 different types of country music.
Col is a proud Indie Artist and I am a proud Col Finley fan. Go strong, brother!
The Collective: Disc One
25 years gone – C. Finley
Everything to me – C Finley/ G Staines
She’s your mother – C Finley
Coffee goes cold – C Finley/R.O’Sullivan
Lemongrove Sunset – C Finley
Heart Turn To Stone – C Finley
Those Telephone Calls – C.Finley/Donovan/Flanders – with Nellie Finley
Life Gets in the way – C Finley/V Jones
Working on the Land – C Finley
Legends of the Highlands – C Finley
Only the Truth – C Finley
Stranger is a friend – C Finley
Don’t Change Australia – C Finley
The Collective – Most Wanted – Disc Two
Devil’s Ride – C Finley
Idol – C Finley
Gift Wrapped – C Finley
Hey Girl – C Finley
My Place – C Finley
Mexican Lady – C Finley
In her eyes – C Finley
Love is Blind – C Finley/A Cochran
Paradise – C Finley
Jacaranda Tree – C Finley
Rich With Friends – C Finley
Above the Blue – C Finley
Produced by Grahame Staines, Kenny Govus and Col Finley
Pickers and Groovers: (Col’s words!)
Max Sportelli (Drums and Percussion), Paul Bain (Drums and Percussion), Michael Baxter (Bass/Piano) Chris Staff (Electric Guitar), Peter Cooper (Electric Guitar/Acoustic Guitar/Banjo) Brannon Crickmore (Fiddle/Mandolin) Brian Martin (Piano) Col Finley (Acoustic Guitar), Paul Preston (Sausage Man) (Didge)
Hummers and Whistlers:
Col Finley, Nellie Finley, Will Day, Brian Martin
Choir: Mouth Orchestra:
George Watt, Jane Wilkinson, Anne Buff, Carmel Givens, Christine Clegg, James Moyle, Robyn Harper, Paula Williams.
My dear mates, The Weeping Willows, have often remarked on this band as being one of their favourites. Considering that I think that The Weeping Willows walk on water, I had to give them a listen. I have also heard them on Saturday Night Country with Felicity and have met them on the red carpet at the Golden Guitars at Tamworth. These guys have actually been together for a while. They have released albums, Land of The Powerful Owl, Shake It Down and You Can’t Catch Fish from a Train. The titles of two of these albums was almost Van Morrison like….(I always admired the names of his albums as much as I loved his music)….Shake it Down wasn’t so imaginative, but the fabulous album cover was. So why just call it LIVE? The only “I wonder why” moment from this album. If you like country folk/trad country/almost bluegrass/almost bush music/ Americana/ Alt. Country, then you will like these 5 guys.
The instrumental part of their music is probably the strongest part of their songs. That is not to say that the words and the messages aren’t just as important. It is just a dominant feature of what they deliver.
If you like Mustered Courage and The Davidson Brothers, then these guys are in that league. Pete Denahy is probably a focus there too. You are in a quandary of what is more influential, the words or the music. I guess that you could say the same for 8 Ball Aitken, whom I also reviewed today.
This album was recorded at Byron Bay Blues And Roots Festival in 2017. These five guys are a mix of Queenslanders and Victorians. They have been playing together for a while now.
If you love gentle picking, sweet harmonies and a mixture of all of the styles that I have already mentioned, you will love this album. It is easy on the ear. I am getting very mellow listening to the beautiful picking, combination of strings and gentle vocals.
There is a bit of Yee Haa there, even a hint of Dylan on Can’t Steal My Love. The Dolly Parton classic, Jolene, even gets a work out here. This album is comfort food.
I am about to heat up a pizza, but it has a similar effect. Well done boys…..hope to get to see you LIVE soon.
If you want a first glimpse of The Wilson Pickers, this is probably the way to do it.
Man of Misery
Graves or Gold
Come Back to My Love
Can’t Steal My Love,
Half a Man
Shake It Down
Pulled Apart By Horses