Totally Biased Fan Review: The Wide Horizon – Darren Coggan

Darren Coggan is not only one of our finest country music artists, he is also an amazingly diverse entertainer. His War Stories album and stage show was one of the most amazing contributions that I have seen or heard in this country. He has starred as Richie Cunningham in a Happy Days theatre production and his Peace Train – Cat Stevens’ Show has toured the country and has become a sellout programme in Australia. He is now taking the show to the U.K. Add to all of that, his shows with Michael Fix and his show in Tamworth this year which attracted amazing reviews, then you have one hell of a package.

He was narrowly pipped by Allan Caswell as Kazzie Awards’ Entertainer of the Year last year. If Allan hadn’t had such an all conquering year, then he would have taken the prize.

This album is produced by Ben Edgar (guitarist for Missy Higgins, Goyte, Passenger, Angus and Julia Stone) and it was recorded in Melbourne. That move alone adds a little point of difference.

This album is long awaited. It has been a while between albums and this album is as diverse as his career has been.  I don’t have all of the credits but it is safe to say that The Wide Horizon is mainly made up of Darren Coggan originals, apart from some obvious classics.

Very few musicians in Australia can equal Darren’s strength in all of the areas of entertainment that he ventures into. This album is a polished, beautifully produced example of how several genres can come together to make a gem.

The Tracks:

The Wide Horizon: I love it when an artist opens with the title track of the album. It is the obvious choice too. A very positive, uplifting song.

Scotland: A stirring song and an obvious link to Darren’s Celtic heritage.

The ‘Bidgee: A very Australian song about the area where Darren grew up in.

A Beautiful Ride: Darren’s song about his children. Lovely.

Reckless: A beautiful version of one of the top ten classic Aussie songs. The haunting song by James Reyne must be handled with respect and Darren does that.

Until We Meet Again: A tribute to absent friends, a moving, gentle song and one of my favourites on the album.

Hughie:  As in (send it down). A common dilemma amongst farmers and those in drought effected areas in general. A rockier number with a strong message.

Seventeen: A tribute to “the bride”. A sweet love song.

Tales Told by We Lesser Men (Ned Kelly): I have heard that this is based on a bush ballad by Ken McBeath. This is an incredibly moving piece and the strings are just awesome. Food for thought.

The Best of All Possible Worlds: Michael Genner’s  rollicking song is a toe tapper with some ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ moments. Clap along!

Inasmuch (featuring Felicity Urquhart): Darren has a great way of echoing the thoughts of many Australians in his songs. He stirs the pot on issues and situations that we find ourselves in but not necessarily in ‘pie in the face’ way. He is much more subtle and he does it with respect and intelligence. This stirring song about Norfolk Island is enhanced by the presence of Felicity Urquhart, one of the busiest people in Australian Country Music and probably as diverse as Darren. Golden Guitar nomination, 2018… betcha.

Darren Coggan never disappoints. His arms embrace a plethora of musical avenues but he never falls short of excellence. With his distinctive voice, insight, incredible messages and uniquely Australian perspective, this is another triumph.


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