Totally Biased Fan Review: Some Girls (Quite) Like Country Music – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

Quality over quantity. That is Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes. Lachlan Bryan is probably in the top five of Australian country music songwriters of all time. Every song is considered. He has a way of making you feel when you really don’t want to, making you think when you do want to.  This is not only my opinion. As a fan, and a long standing one, I am totally biased. However, his peers and his mentors will agree. Our Lachlan has IT. He makes you cry, he makes you feel and his band are so focused and in tune with all of the rhymes and reasons of this album.

Lachlan only brings out an album every once in a while. He has so much to give, but he gives it to us in small, significant doses. Joined by his Wildes, Shaun and Damian, he can’t go wrong.

Damian has outdone himself again, building his reputation as one of our finest producers and musicians.  Lachlan only releases albums now and again. I not only quite like country music, I love it. This album was perfect.

The Tracks:

I hope that I’m Wrong (Bryan): A cool mellow way to start an album. It has a deeper message, but like most of Lachlan’s songs, they operate on two levels.

A Portrait of the Artist as A Middle Aged Man (Bryan/Cafarella): Once upon a time, there was a classic written with a similar name. Now there is a classic written by another man with a similar name.

Careless Hearts (Bryan/Draper): One of the best videos this year, together with the next track. But it is more than that. A catchy song that gets into your head and really doesn’t want to get out.

The Basics of Love (Robertson/Bryan/Cafarella) with Shanley Del and James Gillard: The first single lifted from the album and deservedly so. Featuring one of the best songs of our generation (Shanley Del) – a Kiwi who we unashamedly stole. Just an amazing video and song. Shanley’s hubby, one of my heroes, James Gillard also features on this track. An absolute winner.

Sweet Bird Of Youth (Bryan): I love it when Lachlan plays the piano. It just makes me turn to mush. He has the knack of making me pick a new best Lachlan song every album. My fave Lachlan song has me thinking of Sidney Poitier, this one has me thinking of Paul Newman. Heck, what is a girl to do? This song just makes me melt.

It Tears Me Up (Every Time You Turn Me Down) (Bryan/Salley): Mr Jerry Salley amazes me and makes me feel all proud and patriotic when he supports our country music artists the way he does. This man is an absolute legend in world music. Thanks Jerry for supporting our folks. An awesome song and it fits Lachlan perfectly.

Stolen Again (Bryan/Cafarella): Like Shane Nicholson, every song that Lachlan writes needs a few listens to get to the nitty gritty. I often get mixed messages and several levels. You can always listen to his songs on several levels.

I New York (Bryan/Ryan): A slightly different detour for Lachlan – it does sound very much like a New York state of mind. I know that Lachlan loves that part of the world and it shines through.

Peace In The Valley (Bryan/Cafarella):: mellow out to this is easy on the ear song. Lachlan’s songs are never simple….they always have another meaning.

The Cemetery Near My Home Town (Bryan): Usually, Lachlan writes murder songs and songs from dark places. This is probably the closest on this album  to that dark side, but it is more positive than negative in this tough subject.

 

Someone you know so well (Bryan): A traditional Lachlan kind of song. I have heard Lachlan sing this before. He almost croons. Lovely.

 

 

Musos

Lachlan Bryan: Vocals, pianos, guitars and harmonica

Shaun Ryan: Bass guitar

Damian Cafarella: Drums, percussion, guitars, steel, banjo, dobro, air triangle and saucepan lids

John Bedggood: Fiddle

Imogen Clark: Backing vocals

Shanley Del: Lead vocals on The Basics of Love

James Gillard: Upright bass and Backing vocals on The Basics of Love

Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Damian Cafarella.

 

Calling all Australian Country Music Artists – all 79 types!

The last few years it has been tough picking the Kazzie Awards….even when it just comes to nominations. This year is shaping up to be just as big…already, I have reviewed quite a few albums and gigs. I hope to get back on Community Radio soon so that I can play and promote all of these wonderful country music artists, especially the Indies. Bob Browne and Therese have shown me a lot, I want to be on there helping people as much as I can. What I want the artists to do is to keep producing the fabulous music that you produce, keep putting on these awesome gigs that you put on and keeping making all of us Aussie fans proud. I also want you to know that we are behind you all the way, us genuine fans who are so in awe of you and your talents and so grateful for your friendship and your dedication to your craft.

Keep going strong guys and gals and show the world just how awesome you are……I sure will through this blog, through my blog on bluesandrootsradio.com and anyway that I can.

Thank you from the bottom of the well….as some awesome country music songwriter wrote….

 

Totally Biased Fan Reviews – Gigs from the last few weeks

The last couple of weekends have been full on. I have seen Fanny Lumsden, Small Town Romance and Mitch Power in one of the most unique gigs that you could ever see, complete with Totem Tennis, great music and interaction with the audience like no other gig that I have been to! This was at the Spotted Mallard – affectionately known as the Duck – in Brunswick. It was a fun night full of lots of hits, mainly from Fanny’s current album but also a few faves from the first one. She’s a great entertainer. Small Town Romance were a great support act as well.

Sunday saw us going to Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda to see Matt Dwyer and we had some great blues singalongs and a few country classics. We would have like to have listened to more but we had the Davidson Brothers gig at The Spotted Mallard (again) and it was worth going to….a free gig and we were very lucky to hear them at full throttle. A great afternoon of lots of hits from their Golden Guitar Award winning album.

On to The Spotted Mallard again the next weekend with Tori Forsyth’s preview of her soon to be released album and supports in the highest degree with Aleyce Simmonds, our Golden Girl and Lachlan Bryan who released his latest album today (review soon) and one Wilde. It was a beaut night even though it was a long day for me. It was worth it. Three great acts in a beaut venue.

There are lots more great gigs coming up…will report in soon…..spoiled for choice…..God, it is like going to Tamworth….lots on at the same time!

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Free Spirited – Susan Lily

Everyone should have a Susan Lily in their lives. I think that we were buddies in the last one and we’re more than likely to be pals in the next one. In this life, Susan and I have had many conversations…..most of them are related to music, but not all of them. We’re both proud silly people but we both have a deep side and in the words of another top music sheila, with us, there’s more than meets the eye.

This review is about Susan and her music and this album in particular, but it is hard to separate the extra personal side of this review from the nitty gritty details. As always, my review is from the heart, I am not one to be over critical or analytical. I just say what I feel and with musos and writers and passionate fans, it is hard not to pour it all out on a page.

Susan not only promotes her own music but she also does a lot of freelance radio work and she does a lot to promote the Adelaide music scene and in particular the fringe festival. She is chiefly an entertainer, dubbed Giggles for her Loose ‘n’ Silly (mix up her name) approach. You can tell that she loves her work, she enjoys every moment of entertaining a crowd.

Some of her songs are sad, some are silly, some are upbeat, some are melancholy. Susan takes us on her musical journey, but you become part of that journey too, just by singing, clapping and being there.  She puts her heart into it all.

With the not so shabby musos on this album, it is pretty obvious that she is well respected. It is hard to top that line up in this country. Magician Anthony Stewart proves again that he is the master in South Australia. Another great production, sir.

We are served up a veritable feast on this album – can’t help but think that this is just about the most ‘country’ album that Susan has done, and to be honest, I was afraid that she was going to go another way….she hints on it with a few songs, but she gives us enough country in those tangent songs that makes us realise that she is staying where she belongs! She mixes it up but it has a country backbone.

In life, you don’t get a much better person on your team than Susan Lily and on a record, you can say the same. She’s the whole package.

The Tracks:

Musical Journey:  – A good one to start off with, because that is what this is all about. Enjoy the ride.

Had A Dream – Probably a shower song in the making. A very catchy tune and I love the Harmonica. Some nice pickin’ too.

When Rail Was King – I always love a train song. People will always win me over with one of those. A toe tapping tune and a bit of a ‘ghost’ song…..don’t ever write off a train though….they will be back.

Country Boy City Blues – A bluesy country song with a cool back beat. A familiar story for those of us – boys and girls – who have lived in the city and want to be back where we belong.  I think that Susan’s voice lends itself best to the bluesy style.

You’re Gone: Yee Haa…..very country and Tamworth will eat this one up. I did a very bad dance around the kitchen….the last line and the giggle suggest that we are in for a party next time we meet….ha….that will be a change!

Tough As Geranium – Top ten material. This is probably my favourite on the album. A Lily who sings about a geranium and a chick called Daisy Jane…..love it.

Free Spirited Girl – A wee bit of the Celtic in this one….and a bit of bluegrass….Rowlf and I did a bit of a jig around the lounge room. Susan often writes songs about strong women and sometimes not so strong women. They are always colourful characters, this is no exception.

Coming Down – A bit of funky, bluesy, hummable music in the offing here. Cool guitars and fiddle.

I Just Wanna Be Happy: This is a bottler of a song. It has such a mix of styles in it and a definite shower song contender.  Combine reggae, blues, and good pop and you have this one. It has a familiarity to it. It feels like I have heard it before but maybe that is because I have a line on Susan’s wavelength. It has a similarity to a tune from New In Town (a Renee Zellweger movie) but that may just be me….either way, it is a cool ditty.

Big Girl Pants: Another very country song. I put my big girl pants on last year, so I know what this means.

Whiskey Neat: Another Free spirited song? Probably the most up tempo song on the album. Not in subject, but in rhythm. Lots of guitars and drums. I can imagine Susan having fun recording this song. She loves to belt one out. This will be popular with a crowd. This one shows how versatile she can be.

Feeling Love: Yee Haa…..Get down and get back up again….Another one for the shower….probably a good one to round off the album. You can’t get much further up than being on top of the world. Play that banjo, Hamish!  A good one for a train ride or a drive.

Musos:

Susan Lily – Lead Vocals

Tracy Stewart and Steven Sherrah – Backing Vocals

Anthony Stewart – Electric, Acoustic, Baritone and Bass Guitar, Mandolin, percussion, Uke and Uke Bass, Oxygen Mask

Trent Williamson – Harmonica

Bradley Bergen – Drums

Hamish Davidson – Violin, Banjo

Benjy Pocock – Lead Guitar

Dave Moore – Pedal Steel

Richard Coates – Keys, Piano Accordian, Hammond Organ

Rod Motbey – Slide and Lead Guitar

Produced and mixed by Anthony Stewart

Mastered by Neville Clark

All songs by Susan Lily.

New posts coming soon:

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……

New Feature! Playlist if I was on Country Radio Week 1 18/2/2018

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.

This week:

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!

 

 

 

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – The Asphalt and The Oval – Michael Waugh

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.

The Tracks:

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.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Adam and Brooke – Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont

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.

The Tracks:

Train Wreck

Lay With Me

So Smooth

Nothing Left To Win

Love On The Loose

Not How I Feel

Out of my Hands

One Man

Highway Sky

Glad

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Miss Demeanour – Jess Holland

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.

The Tracks:

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.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Jodie Crosby – Jodie Crosby

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!

The Tracks:

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.

Bonus Track:

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.