Totally Biased Fan Review – Sometimes The Sky – Mary Chapin Carpenter

 

 

I have many heroes, in the arts, in sport, everyday people and in my family. It is no secret, that this woman is one of them. In fact, if I had to choose, Mare is my favourite female international country music artist…..particularly as a singer/songwriter.

It is interesting to read reviews about her over the years, with people saying that technically she is not a country music artist, she was just marketed as one. I think that Mare was one of the originators of the Alt. Country genre. My favourite male international country music artist is Kris Kristofferson and they have a fair bit in common, songwriting wise.

People told me early on that neither of them were country music artists, but they remain my favourites. I have seen Mare in concert and I own all of her albums. I own most of Kris’s and I have seen all of his movies and have his gigs on dvd, I just missed out a few times on seeing him LIVE.

This album is collection of songs that Mary has released previously, apart from the title track. When Mary does these types of albums, she very rarely puts on her ‘greatest hits’, she tends to pick her favourite tracks off her albums. I like that. I have always been an album music person. Sometimes, I think singles are not the perfect showcase of an artist’s true talents.

Mary turned 60 early this year, perhaps thinking that it was time to put another compilation together, with 30 years of albums and memorable songs in her old kit bag. One reviewer called them pearls. I think that is a wonderful word for them. Pearls of wisdom too. Mary always has something to say – sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly. All her songs have a purpose, they all tell a story.

The musical arrangements are always spot on, whether they be acoustic tracks or with a full orchestra. This album was recorded in England at Peter Gabriel’s studio. Mary appeals to a broad audience, because she is not easily boxed, wrapped and finished with a bow. She has a message, or many messages and she is not in your face.

Her road hasn’t been easy, especially over the last few years, losing friends, family, dealing with some pretty tough personal issues, but her caramel and chocolate deliveries with that sweet, husky voice are always calming and soothing. An album full of musical memories and thoughtful lyrics.

Hopefully, in another 30 years, Mare will still be singing and writing such wonderful songs, and I’ll be sitting in my rocking chair on a verandah of a log cabin listening to them.

Sing along, clap along, dream along, and think…..as you listen to beautiful harmonies, sweet melodies and words that mean something. There’s only one Mary Chapin Carpenter, and in this life, I am glad that I got to know her.

Tracklist:

  • Heroes and Heroines
  • What Does It Mean To Travel
  • I Have A Need For Solitude
  • One Small Heart
  • The Moon and St. Christopher
  • Superman
  • Naked To The Eye
  • Rhythm of the Blues
  • This is Love
  • Jericho
  • The Calling
  • This Shirt
  • Sometimes Just The Sky

Episode 4 – Playlist if I was on Community Radio this week

Listen to the Words – Theme Song – Luke O’Shea

Gingerbread Man – Chalkie White

Coming Down With Something – Kris Cummins

Drop on By – 8 Ball Aitken

Midnight Carousel – Arna Georgia

Bad Case of the Blues – Amber Joy Poulton

Staring out the back of a car – Angus Gill, Kevin Bennett and Amos Morris

Sail Away – Ashleigh Dallas

You’re The Reason Why – Ben Ransom

Oh Marie – Brad Butcher

Huckleberry – Dan Murphy

Hank’s Last Meal – Bill Chambers

Freedom on the Road – Tracy Coster and Beccy Cole

Safe in the Arms of Love – Ian Burns

This is Gonna Hurt – Gretta Ziller

Top 10

Gig Review/Preview

North Wind – The Weeping Willows

Cowboy Hat of Mine – Jess Holland

Fare Thee Well – Gary Hammond

Your Anything at all – Imogen Clark

My Version of the Truth – Allan Caswell

Patsy Cline x 2 – The April Family

Meanwhile in Wilcannia – Paddy McHugh

Going Down Swinging – Melody Moko

Australian Heartbeat – Drew McAlister

On the Other Side Of Midnight – Connie Kis Andersen

Believe – Aleyce Simmonds

Georgia – Andrew Swift

You Can’t Hide From A Broken Heart – Sally-Anne Whitten

I Hope That I’m Wrong – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

Musical Journey – Susan Lily

One too many – Marie Hodson

Take a little drive – The Davidson Brothers

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Vic gigs – 9th March and 10th March, 2018

Americana Express – Starring Lachlan Bryan, The Weeping Willows, Gretta Ziller and Matt Joe Gow and Band.  Toff In Town, Melbourne, Friday 9th March

Arrived with minutes to spare from country Victoria. Interesting venue with multi stories and lots going on….probably too much going on but that takes away from the music and I don’t want to do that. With some of the best of Victoria’s alt. country/Americana acts on stage, you put everything else aside and enjoy a fantastic night of familiar songs and some new ones and classics with your friends.

The fab The Weeping Willows – Laura and Andy- started proceedings with a little help from Lachlan and Matt Joe and that began a habit throughout the night when other acts helped each other out. Fresh from their Honeymoon Tour of the USA, my favourite trees did not bend and the leaves haven’t fallen. Their bark to bark excellent numbers, from both albums pleased the crowd and of course, me.  They will be doing a European tour shortly and that is exciting.

Next, was Lachlan Bryan, who has just released his new album with his Wildes, and he played a few off it and a couple of others. Lachlan will also be embarking on the European tour. A master songwriter and storyteller, he is one of Australia’s best in any genre.

Gretta Ziller, who has had such an awesome year, hit the stage with her Queen of Boomtown stuff. She is such an amazing talent. Her range is magnificent. She is a very unique singer/songwriter. She’s going from strength to strength.

Matt Joe Gow wrapped up the night, which was mainly his baby. I was particularly interested to see and hear Matt as I had only heard a handful of tracks and had not seen him before LIVE.

An interesting number was when Lachlan and Matt Joe did a version of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s Girl From The North Country, off one of my fave albums, Nashville Skyline. I am not sure who was meant to be Bob and who was meant to be Johnny but they did a good job….it was probably a more upbeat version of the slow moving train which was Bob and Johnny’s mode.

It was a wonderful night of song from some fine talents. It ended on a bit of a downer (not the artists fault) but let us just concentrate on the music.

I hope to see another one of these….perhaps at The Spotted Mallard or another place.

Lyn Bowtell and Rick Hart Trio at Skylark Room, Upwey, Saturday, 10th March

Well Lyn, I did do a little bit of the review in purple crayon (above), as promised! This was a great night, with Rick, Vanessa and Tom playing lots of songs off the new album as well as some others. Rick also sang a song with Lyn, a John Prine classic, which was so cool

I was wondering where my favourite song was (my number one for 2017), and he saved it til last, even saying that it was for me, which was so sweet. To the Grave, of course.

Lyn was welcomed to Harvey’s Bar (you had to be there – cheeky Damon) and she sang and talked up a storm. She also sang the duet with Damon which features on her latest EP.  It is such a beautiful song – Far Away.

Time went so fast, Lyn and Rick and Andrew Swift (who was doing a gig with Lyn later), and Vanessa and Tom were great on stage and off. It was certainly a night to remember in a lovely venue with good food and company as well.

I am a very lucky girl to be able to see and hear such wonderful talents in my own backyard….well, just down the road.  Thank you.

Episode 3 – Playlist if I was on Community Radio This Week – Country – 3 hours

Listen to the Words – Luke O’Shea (regular intro song)

Far Away – Lyn Bowtell and Damon Morton

I Hear Everything – James Stewart Keene

Apple Tree – 8 Ball Aitken

Tough as Geranium – Susan Lily

He’s A Writer of Songs – Melissa Robertson

Sweet Bird of Youth – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

Tennessee Lullaby – Sally-Anne Whitten

Runaway Train – Andrew Swift

Above the Blue – Col Finley

Broken – Jodie Crosby

I’ll Love Her Long – Anthony Taylor

Top 10

Gig Reviews

Sweet Emmylou – Rick Hart

Bob Dylan – Allison Forbes

Hands are Clean – Angus Gill

Gingerbread Man – Chalkie White

Broke and Single – Arna Georgia

In Case You Ever Think of Me – Amber Joy Poulton

Stand Tall – Carter and Carter

All Said Done – Brad Butcher

Hero Just The Same – Allan Caswell

Lay with Me – Adam and Brooke

Heartland – Ben Ransom

Hanking About You – Dan Murphy

Until We Meet Again – Darren Coggan

The Veteran – Dean Perrett

Man in the Mirror – Doug Bruce

Bourbon Every Time – Carpenter Caswell

Thank God There is a Train – Catherine Britt

Sgt Bean – Melinda Schneider

Fly Away – Darren Colston

My Sweet Lady – John Denver

Leather and Les Paul – Jade Holland

Round and Round – Gretta Ziller

 

Playlist if I was on Country Radio week 2

This week’s playlist on hypothetical Kaz programme – Listen To The Words (3 hours)

Listen to the Words – Luke O’Shea

It Tears Me Up (Everytime you turn me down) – Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes

Someone You Know So Well – Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes

You Can’t Hide From a Broken Heart – Sally-Anne Whitten

Runaway Train – Andrew Swift

Fire and Ice – Andrew Swift and Catherine Britt

All The Time (I Only Want You) Khristian Mizzi

When Rail Was King – Susan Lily

Tough as Geranium – Susan Lily

Idol – Col Finley

History of Us – Jodie Crosby

Pastor’s Daughter – Anthony Taylor

Gypsy White Moon – The Long and The Short of It

Levon Helm – Rick Hart

Talk of the Town – Clelia Adams

Montevideo Maru 1942 – Kylie Adams-Collier

Train Wreck Blues – Rory Phillips

Album Reviews/ Top 10

Women and Wine – Cazna Goodall

Don’t Walk Out Now – The April Family

Queen of Boomtown – Gretta Ziller

Let’s Get Out Of Here – Roo Arcus

Church on the Hill – Roo Arcus

Gig Review/Preview

Fisherman’s Daughter – Peter Dawson

My Soundtrack – Matt Cornell

Great Mighty Murray – Lloyd Clarke

High on High – John Flanagan

Lessons Learned – Tyson Lucas

The Wreckage – Melody Moko

On the otherside of midnight – Connie Kis Andersen

The Next Thing That You Hear – Allan Caswell

Outta My Own Way – Matt Scullion

River of Gold – The Weeping Willows

Every River – Harry Hookey

– The Man Across The Street  – Amber Lawrence

The Best Liar In Town – Amber Joy Poulton –

Crawl, Beg and Cry – Brad Butcher

The Captain – Kasey Chambers

Dream Him Home – Melinda Schneider

Fly Away – Darren Colston

Pride of Erin – Luke O’Shea

 

Totally Biased Fan Review : Call Out For the Cavalry – Andrew Swift

I was introduced to Swifty by my muscial mates Allison Forbes and Gretta Ziller, two of the finest Aussie singer/songwriters. They wouldn’t let me down, hey? No kidding, I reckon that Swifty has one of the best voices in Australian Country Music. This is a long awaited album. I reckon that he was unlucky in the Starmaker contest, along with some other favourites. However, all of this aside, he has produced one of the best albums so far this year in a year of champion albums. This album is just making me speechless….something that doesn’t happen very often. The songs are just amazing, the musicians are awesome and it is produced by one of our very best. It is so polished and real.  I love every song.

The Tracks:

Runaway Train (A Swift): Any song about a train wins me over. Andrew’s clear, crisp vocals, catchy melody and easy on the ears music are a great combo for the first song on the album.

Reckless Desires (A Swift): Andrew has one of the most vocally dominant voices in Australian Alt. Country. It is clear and full on. This song is very anthem like. It will be a crowd favourite.

Georgia (A Swift) – So many songs of a classic nature have been called this…Elton, Ray, etc. In a similar vogue, this is a contender. Nice and easy in the back pocket. Awesome guitars. One of my favourite songs of the year already.

The Devil and His Sin ( A Swift) – A nice slow and easy melody, but a deeper song lyrically.

Jezebel ( A Swift): – A cool, bluesy song. Very reminiscent of some 50’s and early 60’s stuff.

Fire and Ice (with Catherine Britt) – (A Swift/G Ziller) – How can you go wrong? Co-written with one of Australia’s best and sung with one of the legends of Country music……wowzers.  Stunning.

Ball and Chain ( C Dobson) – Written by one of my favourite Australian songwriters and sung with gusto. Pretty much perfection. Sing a long classic….come on….

Unforgiven Sins ( G Ziller) – A classic Ziller song, sung to perfection by Mr Swift.

Blood Moon High (A. Swift/ G Ziller) – Andrew and Gretta have done a lot of touring together – the multi-talented awesome Gretta was bound to rub off on Swifty. Always an awesome song. It includes the line that creates the title of this album.

King of the Sky ( A.Swift) – Just one of those songs that make you sway.

Musos:

Glen Hannah: Guitars

Josh Schuberth: Drums and Percussion

Matt Fell: Bass, guitars, keys, Percussion

Dan Blederman – Hammond

Sam Hawksley – Lap Steel

Luke Moller – Fiddle

Gretta Ziller – Backing Vocals

Katie Brianna – Backing vocals on “The Devil and His Sin”

Natalie Pearson – Additional Backing Vocals on “Runaway Train”

Produced, recorded and mixed by Matt Fell