Totally Biased Fan Review: Life: Pete O’Brien

I saw Pete busk in Tamworth a while ago. We have been friends on Facebook for a while and we keep missing each other. I am at a Tamworth that he isn’t at or visa versa. This is a long awaited album. Pete works hard for his music. He is a very passionate artist with a lot to give. So as he gives a lot, listen a lot, guys and gals. You won’t be disappointed. He is one of those artists who may never be the superstar (I am not sure that he wants to be), but he has more talent in his little finger than many have in their entire music catalogue.
Of the 79 types of country music, Pete covers most with his music. He also goes outside the square and tinkers with other genres.
He resides in Bundaberg, Queensland, where my grandmother came from. He gets bonus points for that fact. Bundy is a place famous for Hinkler, Rum and pubs on just about every corner and Gladys Moncrieff.
One day, it will be famous for Pete O’Brien.
Pete’s voice is a mixture of many artists. Sometimes I hear Jim Croce, Instrumentally, I sometimes hear my hero, James Taylor, there are times when I hear Brian Mannix or even a touch of Jon Bon Jovi or Steve Tyler. Mainly I hear Pete O’Brien.
There is a bluesy, soul kinda feel to Pete’s songs. Sometimes smooth and gentle, sometimes gutsy and earthy. Either way, they are damn fine songs.
I am doing this review without aid of the details, I am just go on gut instinct. I have the feeling that Pete writes and sings his songs on gut instinct too.
Growing Dust – The opening riff is very James Taylor! Then almost with a Doug Ashdown feel, Pete sings a song about one of the most dreaded conditions in Australia. It is a beautiful country, but a hard country, maybe we should all just shout “Send it down, Hughie!”
Live for the day – Almost a party song, title explains it all. Clap along.
To the End – A love song, basically, but a toe tapping one.
Real Love – Another love song….or at least a search for it. A slightly psychedelic feel to this song, 60’s like.
The Road (feat. Bre Ferguson) – beautiful song, showing yet another side to Pete’s amazing versatility. Lovely duet with Bre, I hope that I hear more from her too.
When we were young – Autobiographical, I think. A very earthy rhythm and and a heartfelt story.
Lost in Reality – Channelling Cat Stevens or the artist formally known as, or whatever. Probably one of my faves on the album.
Bonus songs:
Child – I know where this song is coming from and bless him for it. A beautiful heartfelt, soulful song and a note to all: real love, real light is not always found in the conventional ways. Simple joys from those who are placed in difficult situations are the most amazing gifts that we can receive.

Fall in love with you – A little bit of a Bob Seger feel here, oh boy, aren’t we doing a lot of comparisons here….nothing like a bit of an earthy acoustic number to bring out the soul of Mr Seger.

Give a little bit – I thought that this was going to be the old Supertramp song for a minute there. Pete and i must be in sync with the same generation! Totally different, but cool song.
This album was well worth the wait. With all of the comparisons, it makes sense that Pete is a complete artist. His songs ring true with some of the greats, yet he is, in the end, Pete.
Enjoy every moment of this album. Blood, sweat and tears went into every song, and this is a man who truly involves himself in every chord and word.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Billy Bridge – Stories Through Time

The talented country music couple, Billy Bridge and Rebecca Lee Nye have been busy having a family since the last time that we really have seen or heard of them. If this album and the previews from the pending album from Bec are any evidence that it has been way too long, or indeed worth the wait, then those tv cops and scientific experts wouldn’t have to spend much time on this case. In other words, “phew!”
Billy even does some of my work for me on the album by explaining the intricacies of each song. In many ways the songs themselves don’t need explaining. Each one of them is an Australian story….stories about Australians. What I like most about this album is that Billy has written or co-written all of the songs.
The songs cover a variety of Australian stories: the plight of the farmers, the ANZACS, Australia’s part in the Moon landing, the working class man, the state of the nation and the country’s economic situation to his personal story with Bec, Billy delivers us a very proud collection.
I had only heard one song, If I Get to the Rainbow – and it was enough to make me want to hear more. As the Kazzie Awards (see post) will prove, it was one of the nominated songs this year.
I heard Billy sing a few of the songs LIVE the other night and I was assured that my choice of purchase was a good one……a great one.
Being a Tamworth girl and having spent most of my life in rural areas or with Dad having a farm on the side if we didn’t actually live on one, I can relate to many of these songs. Having had relatives and friends who have been ANZACS and even having been to The Dish shortly after the moon landing when I was a little girl, I feel like my story is being told too.
Just Us: B Bridge – People who have never lived on and worked the land often don’t understand why people who do it, stick it out. Generation upon generation have run the family business. The thrill that you get out of a sunrise and a sunset, being your own boss and living off what you have grown and cared for is an amazing and often an indescribable thing. This song describes that feeling beautifully.
Fluoro Collar: B Bridge – Billy wrote in his notes about the old terms of blue and white collar workers – the terms given to the working class and the upper class workers. The working class are now often in fluoro jackets. We see the guys all the time in lime and orange fluoro. Without the working class, we wouldn’t have the basic needs of life. I dips me hard hat to ‘em too.
Ghost Town: B Bridge – Big industries bring jobs to small towns, offer jobs and hope and a future and then get sold and a town goes back to sleep and people have to move on. There are too many ghost towns in Australia, some can be revived but others just lie in wait or are closed for good.
The Ring: B Bridge – This is a true story about a certain Rat of Tobruk. It could be the story of many soldiers. My friends told me about this song, knowing that I would like it. Of course I do! The last few years, we have heard many war songs. This is one of the finest.
Heartbreak Town: F. McHugh/B. Bridge – Most of us who have lived on the land have endured drought. Australia is a land of extremes. It can flood one year, have fires rush through it another year and have a drought the next year. Sometimes it snows, sometimes it hails, sometimes we get a cyclone. Drought is one of the most devastating conditions that farmers endure, and in turn other businesses – close by and far reaching – are effected too.
Man on the Moon: B Bridge – Reg Lindsay sang about Neil Armstrong, the guys that brought you The Castle brought you the movie: The Dish, now Billy sings his version of The Dish. That July Afternoon in 1969 (I was 6 and a half), was brought to you by our humble little dish in the middle of a paddock in Parkes. I went there when I was about 7. Terrific song that brought back memories.
21 Candles: B. Bridge – One of my favourite songs on the album. Essentially about how families sometimes have to be left behind so that the parents/parent can go off to work somewhere else to earn money for the family. Sometimes for short periods, sometimes for long ones. My Dad had to do this sometimes and Mum had to hold the fort. It was hard sometimes, but we knew why Dad had to do it. We didn’t light candles to mark the days off, but it would have been a great idea.
As we took the cattle home: B. Bridge – This is about the men in Victoria’s High Country and how the pollies are attempting to destroy their way of life. This is where music can do its best….spreading the message through song.

We Knew: B Bridge/R. L. Nye – Careful guys, you will become the Tim and Faith of Australia with songs like that….probably the best compliment that I can give you. Can’t wait for your album too, Bec. The most personal song on the album. Kazzie nomination worthy!
I’m proud to be an ANZAC: B Bridge – People can say that there have been too many songs and too many books about the ANZACS in the last few years, but these men and women did so much for us, allowed us a lot of the freedoms and choices that we have today. They sacrificed the lot for us. There are never enough ways to say thank you and to honour them.
Deliver the thrill: B. Bridge/B.Bergen – There are those who have lost their homes on gambling on a horse, those who believe that horse racing is cruel to the animals, but for those who actually know about horse racing, about the people who care for and love those horses like their children, they know better. There is risk with every sport. There is risk with walking across the street every day. The magic that the Melbourne Cup provides all over Australia, the way that it inspired through the Phar Lap years, the crowds that just watch for the colour, the action and the beauty of a horse, they know the thrill. Co-written by Kazzie Award winning musician of the year, Brad Bergen.
If I get to the rainbow: B. Bridge – In my opinion, one of the best songs of the year. Technically, it is about farmers working and hanging on to the dream, but it is essentially a song about dreams and having the courage to stick it out through the good and bad times, no matter what. Songs with a rainbow in them always win me over, anyway!
Billy has assembled quite a cool and tight band here, with some of the best in the country. I love Jennifer Cook’s tin whistle and Dave Cox’s sax. Tim Crouch does a wonderful job as do all of the musos. Beautifully produced by Mick Lockhart and mastered by Michael Carpenter, this is an Aussie gem. Well done, Billy.
P.S. Any album that has books on the cover and has stories in the title, will do this old librarian and would-be writer proud any day!

Summary of the Kazzie Awards, 2015

Entertainer of the Year: Amber Lawrence

Male Vocal: Shane Nicholson

Female Vocal: Beccy Cole

Band/Duo Album: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes – The Mountain

Best Female Album: Sweet Rebecca – Beccy Cole

Best Male Album: Sideshow – Michael Bryers

Band /duo of the year: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

Best Traditional Album: Chances Are: Marie Hodson

Song of the Year: Second Hand Man: Shane Nicholson

Flying the Flag Awards: Aly Cook, Dianna Corcoran, The Weeping Willows, 8 Ball Aitken, Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Nicki Gillis, Craig Morrison, Kasey Chambers, Tamara Stewart and Keith Urban.

Mall of Fame Inductees: This year: Graeme Connors, Rex Dallas, Ray Kernaghan, Reg Poole, The Flying Emus and The Dead Ringer Band.

Producer of the Year: Matt Fell

Player in the Band: Brad Bergen

Best Australasian Gig: Lachlan Bryan Album Launch Caravan Club, Melbourne

Best Visiting Act: Iris DeMent at The Factory, Marrickville

Most Hits on the Blog: Beccy Cole – Poster Girl Autobiography Review

Best International Album: Don Henley – Cass County

Wendy Wood Shower Song – Catchiest Tune – Message in a Cloud – Aly Cook

Vocal Collaboration: Michael Bryers and Maggie Rose – Red Wagon

Tearjerker Song of the Year: Songs Remember Me – Beccy Cole

Audrey Auld Mezera Courage Award  – Catherine Britt and Good Corn Liquor

Lynn Anderson Award for Young USA Artist keeping it Country: Kacey Musgraves

Nathaniel O’Brien Radar Award: Imogen Clark and Jo Caseley

Oi, Oi, Oi Award – Keeping it Australian: Broken Soldiers – Beccy Cole

purple guitar


Kazzie Awards Part 3 – The Last Bit!

Kazzie Awards Part 3

At this point, I would like to say that I am really looking forward to the new albums and EPs by Darren Colston, Luke O’Shea, Michael Carr, Jo Caseley, Anthony Taylor, Melody Feder, Allison Forbes, The Weeping Willows, Amber Lawrence and all of the other new music that is rumoured to be coming out in the new year. It has been a bumper year for Australian Country Music. I hope that it continues!

The Player in the Band Award:
(Previous winners have been Simon Johnson and Rusty Cochrane)
To me, this is one of the most important awards of the night/day. These guys and gals work their butts off, do the miles and make the lead singer sound even better. Sometimes at Tamworth, you can go to 6 or 7 gigs in one day, and these folks will be in every band. Thank you for what you do.
Andy Toombs
Rusty Cochrane
Sean Rudd
Simon Johnson
James Gillard
Michael Muchow
Brad Bergen
Paul Bain
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Brad Bergen
Best International Album of the Year Award:
Nominations are:
Alan Jackson: Angels and Alcohol
Allison Moorer: Down to Believing
Ashley Monroe: The Blade
Don Henley: Cass County
Dwight Yoakam: Second Hand Heart
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell: The Traveling Kind
Jerry Salley: Gospel from my Grassroots
Clint Black: On Purpose
Kacey Musgraves: Pageant Material
Reba McEntire: Love Somebody
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard: Django and Jimmie
Iris DeMent: The Trackless Woods
And the Purple Guitar Goes to: Don Henley for Cass County

Best Gig from non Australasian
(I can only judge from the ones that I went to. I would have loved to have seen Lucinda and others.)
Iris DeMent with Jen Mize and Pieta Brown at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Mary Chapin Carpenter with Tift Merritt at Enmore Theatre, Enmore
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell with Harmony James at The Star, Sydney
Kacey Musgraves with Shane Nicholson at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

And the Purple Guitar goes to: Iris DeMent (by a small notch)
These were four of the best concerts that I have ever been to. For Iris to nudge out my fave, Mare, it must have been a tough call.

Best Aussie Gig in 2015:
This is the toughest category of all. I have been to heaps this year and missed a few because of minor illness. I can only judge on what I have been to, and it was a big ask, even getting it down to a few nominations. I thank everybody for their beautiful music, their humour and the joy that they have brought me as a fan.
Anne Kirkpatrick Tribute: Hats Off Festival, Tamworth, July. South Tamworth Bowlo. Starring Anne Kirkpatrick, Sally-Anne, Wendy, Tracy, Allison, Lynette, Patti, Johanna and Christina. (Plus a pretty hot band!)
Beccy Cole with Libby O’Donovan, Luke Austen and Mickey Pye, Blazes, West Leagues, Tamworth, Hats Off Festival
Kevin Johnson at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Shane Nicholson Album Launch at The Basement, Sydney
Lachlan Bryan Album Launch at The Caravan Club, Melbourne, with The Weeping Willows, Gretta Ziller and Allan Caswell.
Travis List and Roo Arcus – ICAN – Rhythm Boat Cruise Gig
Troy Cassar-Daley and Pete Denahy – Rooty Hill RSL
Luke O’Shea, Michael Bryers and Jo Caseley – Songwriters in the Round, Tamworth Services Club, TCMF.
Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds and Christie Lamb at South Sydney Juniors
Paul Costa, Aleyce Simmonds and Amber Lawrence ICAN Cruise Sydney
Doug Bruce and The Tailgaters with Seleen McAlister and Mike Carr ICAN Cruise Sydney
Carter and Carter House Concert, Tamworth, TCMF, with Paul Costa and Amber Lawrence.
Darren Colston at the Tudor, Tamworth, TCMF.
(Very hard to narrow it down to just a few)
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Lachlan Bryan Album Launch, Caravan Club, Melbourne

Most hits on the Blog: Beccy Cole, Poster Girl Autobiography.

Best Album/EP by an Australasian Female:
Aly Cook – Horsehoe Rodeo Hotel
Marie Hodson – Chances Are
Ashleigh Dallas – Other Side of Town
Beccy Cole – Sweet Rebecca
Catherine Britt – Boneshaker
Susan Lily – Daisy Jane
Jade Holland – Leather and Les Paul
Jasmine Rae – Heartbeat
Lou Bradley – Moonshine
Michelle Walker – A Better Day
Seleen McAlister – Truth About Us
Tori Darke – Silver Lining
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Beccy Cole for Sweet Rebecca
Best Album – Male Australasian
Allan Caswell: My Version of the Truth
Michael Bryers: Sideshow
Shane Nicholson: Hell Breaks Loose
Troy Cassar-Daley: Freedom Ride
8 Ball Aitken: The New Normal
Adam Harvey: Harvey’s Bar: The Backyard Sessions
Gary Hammond: A Secret Life
Billy Bridge: Stories Through Time
Roo Arcus: Cowboys and Sunsets
Travis List: This Corner
Ben Ransom: LIVE at The Basement
Travis Collins: Wired
And the Purple Guitar Goes To: Michael Bryers for Sideshow
Best Album by a Band/Duo
Mustered Courage: White Lies and Melodies
Doug Bruce and The Tailgaters: Somewhere Better to Be
Col Finley Band: A Little Bit Outlaw
The Bob Corbett Band: Roovolution
Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes: The Mountain
Jetty Road: Hearts on Fire
And the Purple Guitar Goes to: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, The Mountain.
Best song:
If I Get to the Rainbow: Billy Bridge
The Secret I’ll Take to My Grave: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Songs Remember Me: Beccy Cole
Secondhand Man: Shane Nicholson
Cowboys and Sunsets: Roo Arcus
Your Hands: Bob Corbett Band
Jacaranda Tree: Col Finley Band
Someone You Know So Well: Marie Hodson
Girl in a Million: 8 Ball Aitken
Message in a Cloud: Aly Cook
Shelly’s Song: Allan Caswell
Greatest Companion: Aleyce Simmonds
I’m Still Here: Ashleigh Dallas
Empty Car Seat: Michael Bryers
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Shane Nicholson – Secondhand Man
Male Vocal of the Year:
Michael Bryers
Troy Cassar-Daley
Adam Harvey
Shane Nicholson
Mike Carr
Darren Colston
Allan Caswell
Roo Arcus
Doug Bruce
Lachlan Bryan
Bob Corbett
Col Finley
8 Ball Aitken
Billy Bridge
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Shane Nicholson

Best Female Vocal:
Seleen McAlister
Catherine Britt
Susan Lily
Beccy Cole
Amber Lawrence
Ashleigh Dallas
Aleyce Simmonds
Jo Caseley
Marie Hodson
Tori Darke
Jasmine Rae
Aly Cook
Lou Bradley
And the purple guitar goes to: Beccy Cole

Entertainer of the Year:
(Won in previous years by Beccy Cole and Melinda Schneider)
Beccy Cole
Amber Lawrence
Luke O’Shea
Bob Corbett
Lachlan Bryan
Shane Nicholson
And the Purple Guitar Goes to: Amber Lawrence.

A big thank you to all of the wonderful country music dj’s, vj’s, fans, roadies, sound and lighting guys and gals and organizers.
Most of all, thank you to all of the artists, particularly Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds, Susan Lily, Ian Bidge Boyd, Gary Hammond, Tracey Davis, Rusty Cochrane, Melinda Schneider, Paul Costa, Allison Forbes, Melissa Robertson, Wendy Wood, Luke O’Shea, Darren Colston, Allan Caswell, Lachlan Bryan, Gretta Ziller, The Weeping Willows and the incredibly fabulous Mike Carr for making me feel so speccy.
For all reviews on albums and gigs, please see on Country As (This Blog) and A Country Hattitude (link on the side).

2015 Kazzie Awards Part 2 – Part 3 soon!

2015 Kazzie Awards Part 2

Sorry for the delay folks, have had some technical difficulties.

Mall of Fame entries for 2015:
(Previous inductees: Michael Carr, Allan Caswell, Schneider Sisters, Stan Coster, Slim and Joy, Anne Kirkpatrick, James Blundell, John Williamson, Smokey Dawson, Reg Lindsay, John Minson, The Bushwackers, Buddy Williams, Bill Chambers, Deniese Morrison, Ted Egan, Chad Morgan, Carter and Carter)
This year: Graeme Connors, Rex Dallas, Ray Kernaghan, Reg Poole, The Flying Emus and The Dead Ringer Band.
Thank you to all for your fine contributions to the Australian Country Music Industry and the joy that you have brought us fans.
Producer of the Year:
Matt Fell
Band or Duo of the Year:
Nominees are:
The Bob Corbett Band
Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes
Doug Bruce and the Tailgaters
Mustered Courage
The Weeping Willows
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Flying the Flag Awards:
(for those Australians and New Zealanders who have been making inroads overseas)
Aly Cook, Dianna Corcoran, The Weeping Willows, 8 Ball Aitken, Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Nicki Gillis, Craig Morrison, Kasey Chambers, Tamara Stewart and Keith Urban.
Best Traditional Country Album
Don Costa: The Fire Still Burns
Marie Hodson: Chances Are
Travis List: This Corner
Doug Bruce: Somewhere Better To Be
Roo Arcus: Cowboys and Sunsets
Emma Jene: Dare to Dream
Allan Caswell: My Version of the Truth
And the Purple Guitar Goes to: Marie Hodson: Chances Are

Kazzie Awards part one……part 2 tomorrow!

2015 Kazzie Australasian Country Music Awards

The Wendy Wood Catchiest Song of the Year (Shower Song)
(You know, that song that you just can’t get out of your head)
The King and I – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Bumcrack – Beccy Cole
Drive – Ashleigh Dallas
Message in a Cloud – Aly Cook
Cowboys and Sunsets – Roo Arcus
Make up your mind – Jade Holland
Goodbye June – Jetty Road
Kakadu – Bob Corbett Band
Drunk Talking – Travis List
Lousy Coffee – Allan Caswell and Lachlan Bryan
Secondhand Man – Shane Nicholson
And the winner of the Purple Guitar is: Aly Cook for Message in a Cloud
Vocal Collaboration of the year:
Toughest category ever!
Marie Hodson and Lachlan Bryan: Back to Earth
Travis List and Kristy Cox: I’ve Got One of Those Too
Beccy Cole, Sara Storer and Gina Jeffreys: Precious Times
Billy Bridge and Rebecca Lee Nye – We knew
Michael Bryers and Maggie Rose – Red Wagon
Troy Cassar-Daley and Jem Cassar-Daley – Like Rock & Roll
Emma Jene and Shaza Leigh- Fly
Allan Caswell and Seleen McAlister – Thank God for the 1%
Susan Lily and Darren Scott – Fly in Fly Out
Catherine Britt and Steve Earle – You and Me Against the World
Amber Lawrence and Luke O’Shea – Catch You
Adam Harvey and Lyn Bowtell – Bartender’s Blues
Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Kelly – Freedom Ride
Tori Darke and Mitch Thompson: We don’t Know
And the winner of the Purple Guitar is: Michael Bryers and Maggie Rose – Red Wagon
Tearjerker song of the year:
Michael Bryers: Empty Car Seat
Col Finley Band: Truck With Wings
Col Finley Band: Jacaranda Tree
Bob Corbett Band: Your Hands
Travis Collins: God Speaks
Beccy Cole: Songs Remember Me
Beccy Cole: Broken Soldiers
Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes: The secret i’ll take to my grave
Travis List: Your Memory Burns (More than the Whiskey)
Lou Bradley: Cheers Barbara
Lou Bradley: You were always there for me
Seleen McAlister: Three Little Lives
And the Purple Guitar goes to: Beccy Cole for Songs Remember Me (Special mention to Libby who has sung this song at every gig that I have been to)
Audrey Auld Mezera Award for Courage:
Outright winners: Catherine Britt and the surviving members of Good Corn Liquor
(We miss you Aud.)
Lynn Anderson Award for keeping it Country in the U.S. of A. (new generation)
Ashley Monroe
Buck Ford
Kacey Musgraves
Winner is: Kacey Musgraves

Nathaniel O’Brien Radar Award
Angus Gill

Anthony Taylor

Brendan Nawrocki
Emma Jene
Jo Caseley
Imogen Clark
Suzannah Espie
Tara Favell
Jem Cassar-Daley
Michelle Plozza

And the purple guitar goes to: Imogen Clark and Jo Caseley

Oi, Oi, Oi, Award:
Chris Lee: This is Australia
Darren Colston: Leave Me There
Amber Lawrence and Luke O’Shea: Catch You
Gary Hammond: My Name is Ned
Beccy Cole: Broken Soldiers
Roo Arcus: Ain’t No Suit
Bob Corbett Band: Kakadu
Aly Cook: Kimberley
Benn Gunn: Kids in a Country Town
Don Costa: Small Town Saturday Night
Col Finley Band: Jacaranda Tree
And the Winner is: Beccy Cole: Broken Soldiers