Totally Biased Fan Review: Dean Perrett – Aussie Favourites Bluegrassed

Dean recorded this album, ironically, with a bunch of legendary American pickers who had never heard of this bunch of Aussie classics. Perhaps this was a promotional strategy by Deano, so that he could spread the word that we have the best songwriters and musos down under. I can only imagine what they thought when they heard titles like Cobar Line, Rusty it’s goodbye, Where the Lazy Murray Rolls Along, The Indian Pacific, Sydney from a 747 and particularly A Grasshopper Loose in Queensland. They are such iconic Australian references that they must have been a bit bemused.

The Indian Pacific is a a major classic, and fits into this album like a hand in a glove. It would have been strange to leave it out. My Dad used to sing Rusty it’s goodbye a lot when I was a kid, so that is a bit of an old nostalgia trip. I don’t think that I have heard it since then. Paul Kelly is my favourite Australian songwriter (from all genres), so I was pleased to see Sydney from a 747 there. A lot of Paul’s music lends itself to Bluegrass or Country. After all, he has won a few Golden Guitars too. A Grasshopper Loose in Queensland is a bit of a fun novelty song, and I must say that I haven’t heard of it before, if I had, I would have remembered it! I really like The Water Lilly, it is a beautiful song. Losing my blues tonight is an obvious choice for such an album.

This is Dean’s 15th album and he has recorded a bluegrass album before. He is no stranger to Bluegrass at Tamworth, having participated in Kristy Cox’s gigs which are really a highlight at Tamworth.

His recent albums have had more original material on them, with some classics mixed in and some co-writes. It is good to mix it up and Bluegrass music is riding a new wave at the moment, so it was a pretty natural direction for Dean to take.

There is always something natural about a Dean Perrett recording. I am not saying that it is not well produced, because it is, however, I find that Dean always sings with a certain purity and rawness. He often sings songs that are “old school” or are in “old school style” but with his own take on them. It is not quite what they call a modern twist, but it is a different way of doing these songs.

He has a distinctive voice. No matter what he would be singing, if a song of his came on the radio, I would know that it was Dean Perrett. You can’t say that about a lot of people these days.

I think that Dean could very easily introduce the current generation to this older music (like Kristy has done),  and to sceptics who don’t want to be linked to a more traditional style of country music.

Dean is uniquely Australian, and that won’t ever change. Thank goodness for that. I have listened to this album 5 times already. It is very easy to listen to.

Tracks:

Losing my blues tonight

Flower of the west

Cobar Line

Rusty it’s goodbye

The Ringing of the Steel

Where the Lazy Murray Rolls Along

Blue days and Dark Knights

Grasshopper loose in Queensland

The Water Lilly

The Indian Pacific

A drifter til I die

Sydney from a 747

Totally Biased Fan Review – NeillyRich – Here Now Forever

Released in ANZAC week, it seems appropriate. The long awaited release from Kiwi Matt and Aussie Amelia, is finally here! This young couple have been working on this for a long time and between a million gigs here and overseas, they have come up with a well worth waiting for recording. I have been following this duo for a long while, I was actually a friend with Amelia’s parents on Facebook long before I had heard of them. Music lovers follow each other on facebook, that is how it goes. I have seen them perform at many gigs since and of course, I am more partial to their ballads than their more uptempo numbers, but I like those too. Matt has a true country voice. Anyone who has ever heard him sing “The Auctioneer” will know what I am talking about. It was a no brainer for Matt to sing country with a cap C. Amelia goes from sweet sounds to quite raunchy vocals. She has a great range.

The tracks:

Take a Minute: The first time that I heard this song, I loved it and my thoughts haven’t changed. Great song.

Sunshine Good Times: The single and a high vibe, high flying song, sung with gusto.

Make Each Moment Last: Best song on the album. I love this. Both Matt and Amelia singing at their best. I must find those Butterfly Wings.

Here Now Forever: This a little more up tempo, glance at the simple things. A gentle toe tapper.

Trouble with Drinking: Old school country music at its best with a good ol’ drinking song.

Badnews.com: A social media/Internet version of the joys of dating. Those who are not familiar with modern technology lingo, I suggest that you ask a young person to translate.

Ain’t hard to do: A bluesy, rocky song to finish with, which is always a good way to end an album.

NeillyRich do a rich mix of styles on an entertaining mini album. We have waited a long time for this and my only criticism would be that it would have been great to hear more. Beggars can’t be choosers, though and we should be grateful for what we received.

As in real life, these two fine young talents blend together well and deliver. It will certainly be here, now and forever.

 

As I pre-ordered this with ITunes, I don’t have the credits, though I have been reliably informed that some of the best Aussie Country Songwriters have co-written songs with the talented husband and wife on this E.P/Mini Album.

N.B. Note the amazing album cover. Isn’t it just the best?

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Great Country Song Book Vol II – Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole with Troy Cassar- Daley

The first Great Country Song Book was Adam Harvey and Troy Cassar-Daley (see review by Lynne McLean on A Country Hattitude). Though Adam did not mention it in his intro on this album, Beccy Cole and Melinda Schneider did a female follow up with The Great Women of Country. It was an obvious choice, more obvious than Troy with a blonde wig and balloons down his shirt, for Beccy do the male/female version with Adam. I would love to hear a Mike Carr and Melinda Schneider album too in the same vogue, but I am being biased. When my four big faves are in the mix, I have to say it.

It is no secret to my blog followers that I love singer/songwriters. I am more inclined to buy and review an album that has original songs on it. However, if one is going to like a cover album, then you have to like one that has songs that you don’t expect, together with personal favourites. That is why James Blundell’s recent Campfire album works so well, because apart from one track, he sings songs that you don’t expect and with people that you don’t expect.

Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole have been good mates for years. Harvey has often called Cole the ‘best entertainer in Australia, if not the world’ and I tend to agree with him. Adam and Beccy are both cheeky monkeys, so you expect them to sing a few novelty songs, but you also expect them to dig deep and sing songs that touch the heart and soul.

Two of Australia’s greatest products, along with vegemite and meat pies (sorry Bec) and the old Hills’ Hoist. God, I love these two. They could sing I love Aeroplane Jelly and I would be mesmerised. I have seen them collectively in about 88 gigs. They are just magic, alone and together.

 

Tracks:

If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin) – One of my favourite songs in any genre. I have loved every version of it. This one is no exception to that rule.

Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight (Kelly/Didier) – The first single off the album and the one that I got a preview of at Tamworth. Not an obvious choice, but a good one.

My Elusive Dreams (Sherrill/Putman) – One of my favourite all time songs. How can you not like this song…it is just awesome.

Two Story House (Wynette/Tubb/Lindsey) – Another one that is not an obvious choice, though a Wynette song had to be on here. I love it…harmonies on this are brilliant…probably one of my faves on the album.

You’re the reason our kids are ugly (Dillon/White) – With these two ratbags, you have to expect them to sing one or two of those crazy songs. This is one of them.

Don’t fall in love with a dreamer (Carnes/Ellingson) My second favourite Kenny Rogers song, co-written by Kim Carnes, who is just so amazing. I remember walking through the Strand Arcade in Sydney when it was released and it was playing over the speakers. Everybody, old and young in between were singing it when they walked through the arcade….including me.

Jackson (Leiber/Wheeler) – This one is no surprise. If they hadn’t put this one on the album, I would have been shocked. The perfect two to sing this one.

I needed you (Van Zandt) – A much covered song by one of my favourite songwriters ever. I so love Van Zandt. Townes was lost to us too young, and he was brilliant. I never get tired of hearing this song, whoever sings it.

Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man (Owen/Bluefield) I must admit that I didn’t know this one. It is a good one, though.

Just Someone I used to know (Clement) did Jack ever write a bad one? One of my all time favourites. I am so glad that they did this one. Wonderful rendition.

Golden Ring (Braddock/Van Hoy) – I have George Strait and Martina McBride singing this and of course one of the golden couples of country music sang it too. I reckon this is the best version ever. My favourite on the album.

Storms never last (Colter) – An oft sung song by one of the most gifted songwriters in country music history and one of the most underrated. This song is so suited to Cole and Harvey…just beautiful. Harmonica work on this is just lovely.

Islands In the Stream (Bee Gees) – The ironies of this song. Sung by Bec’s fave singer, Dolly, together with Kenny Rogers and written by “Aussies” the Bee Gees, in many ways, an obvious choice for Harves and Cole.

We’ve got tonight (Seger) – A surprise in some ways, as it is not an iconic country song, but certainly a great song written by one of the legends of music in Bob Seger. Everybody from my generation has one or two Bob Seger albums….I have three. It is a classic song. How country did Harves and Bec make this sound…twang, twang, twang…oh Harves, you do melt me.

It Ain’t Me Babe (Dylan) – I am Dylan’s number 2 fan…I say that, because, someone will always fight me about being number one. This is a very cool version. Johnny and June did a version of it….it seems that Adam and Bec will follow suit in most songs.

Bonus tracks:

Yesterday’s Wine (with Troy Cassar- Daley) (Nelson) – What is a country music covers album without a Willie Nelson song? Again, not one of the most obvious songs, but a beauty just the same. How great to say that Troy, Adam and Beccy sing on one song….

Country Heroes (with Troy Cassar- Daley) (Cassar-Daley/Harvey) For all of us traditional country music fans, this is a gift, tied up in a blue bow. What a rippa of a song.

Produced by Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole

Except ‘Country Heroes’ produced by Simon Johnson

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Jeff McCormack at Music Cellar Studio

Except ‘Country Heroes’  mixed by Simon Johnson

Design by Studiogoonga

Photography by Chris Elder

Band:

Doug Gallacher: Drums and Percussion

Jeff McCormack: Bass

Brendan Radford: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica

Vaughan Jones: Piano

Michel rose: Pedal Steel Guitar, Dobro

Mick Albeck: Fiddle

Libby O’Donovan: Background Vocals

Mike “God” Carr: Background Vocals

Rod McCormack Banjo on Jackson.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Light Me Up (EP) – The Jay Seeney Band

I have missed seeing these guys LIVE a couple of times and I have regretted it. I have been told that they are one of the best country rock bands to see and hear LIVE and I get that vibe from listening to their music. I can visualise how each of the songs would go down with a crowd and it is easy to feel it happening. It is like reading a good book and seeing it as a movie or mini-series.

Some music just takes you to other places, like just sitting in front of a fire with a merlot, driving down a country road with the windows down or in a smoky bar room next to a jukebox and a sawdust covered dance floor. This EP just takes you to a gig, with the band rocking it on stage and the crowd waving their arms about enmasse with those lights strobing.

That is not to take away from quality of the music. I was expecting it to be all one genre of country music (and a good representation of it), but it varies and each song is an individually strong one.

This EP is certainly one to get your heart pumping…..and your feet stomping…..but it is more than that.

Tracks:

Right Next to me – This is a great way to start an album. It almost sounds like a theme song to a movie or a tv series…..in fact, if I had a radio show, I would have this as its theme (despite the reference to ‘we don’t need no d.j.’), if that was okay with Jay! I reckon Kevin Bacon and the gang would have had fun dancing to this too…..

When I found you, I found me – The old line was I can’t find someone else until I’ve found me…this is kind of the reverse. Interesting lyrics and some great guitar licks. Catchy song.

Tread Gently (feat. Hayley Jensen) – Hayley is one of the most sought after performers at the moment. Jay and Hayley take the tempo down with this song, and of course, with me being a ballad girl, (more of a power ballad, here), I am kind of partial to this song. I can hear Tim and Faith singing this….that’s always a good thang.

Think Again – More of the rock in Country Rock than Country, this song is catchy and a real stomping song. Hot guitars.

Light Me Up – The title track and a surprise – I thought that it was going to be a rocking song (like the last one) but it is actually a slower number. I think that it is my favourite on the EP, actually, I know that it is. I like the vocal gymnastics too. This will get lots of spins on my stereo.

Ride it Out – Wise words. Clever words. A cool fade out song. Strong vocals and a very hummable song – possible shower song contender.

I don’t have the credits but this is a slick, rocking album with some awesome surprises. Get those arms swaying.