Totally Biased Fan Review – My Song Isn’t Written Yet – Chalkie White

Chalkie White is a fine singer/songwriter. He is not new to Australian Country Music, he has been around for a while. I first saw and heard Chalkie at one of those Songwriters in the Round sessions at Tamworth Servies. His songs were new to me then, but I instantly fell in love with his music and his style.

This album comes about after a series of personal struggles with his health and a few tough situations with having his stuff stolen and other things. Through it all, he has publicly remained positive.

It contains some previously released material and some new songs. My favourite current song “Gingerbread Man” is very catchy. The title song is very reflective of his life and his future. I think that it is one of the songs of the year so far.

All the tracks are good. They are all “singles” material. Mainly, they are just good solid songs, with subtle and not so subtle messages and they are easy to listen to and to hum along to. Some are for the road, some are for a lazy afternoon or a late evening.

Each one of them is different, all of it is well produced, with slick musicianship and strong vocals from Chalkie. You always believe in the words that he writes and sings.

May there be many more albums from Chalkie.  I guess this is an EEP (extended, extended play) more than an album, with 8 tracks, but they give you a taste of everything country.

If you know Chalkie’s story, you can feel these songs a little bit more, but they speak for themselves too.

It is a country album, but you don’t have to strictly follow country to love this one. It really does have something for everybody.

Groove along, sing along, hum along. So, so, listenable.

Tracks:

My song isn’t written yet

Gingerbread Man

New Day

BYO

My day every day

Do you feel it too

Does it take you home

Saying Goodbye

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Show Boat Kalang – Rex Dallas

The word ‘legend’ is bandied about a lot these days. Rarely is it totally apt. When one is talking about champions like Rex Dallas, it is. Rex is the King of the royal Dallas family.  Further generations of musos have been spreading the country music message in Australia. Three generations of Golden Guitar winners.

The thing that I love most about Rex’s music is his obvious passion and belief in the genre. It comes across so strongly in his music. His emotions are contagious. You get caught up in that joy very quickly. The family are featured on this album, and I know that Rex is very proud of the finished product.

I can relate to a lot of Rex’s songs, because they are often about some of my favourite places and/or places that I have lived at.

I can see the pictures automatically of a kitchen table, the Leura Cascades, the Zig Zag Railway, the garden.

The album is very traditional with some modern twists, obviously influenced by Brett and Ashleigh!

Rex’s songs are always either really catchy or they trigger a memory for me. Mainly, this is a beautiful and lovingly produced album which is both polished and family friendly. Listen to the words, hum or sing along and just enjoy a piece of Australian Country Music history.

 

Tracks:

Show Boat Kalang

Kitchen Table

Music is Life

Leura Cascades

Memory or Two

Rock ‘n’ Roll Yodel

In a Garden

Lady of the Road

Zig Zag Railway Line

 

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Countrified – Kingsford Smith

It is always wonderful to hear new Australian Country Music. This is the debut album for a Victorian band who have been together for three years. I don’t know a lot about them but their music is worth a listen to. They will be doing some gigs later in the year and I hope to catch one around Melbourne.

Their album is a mixture of country styles. It is fresh and vibrant and well produced. I randomly came across a post on facebook about them and thought that I would check this out. I am glad that I did.

You shouldn’t judge an album by its cover but what a beauty it is!

Some of the tracks have already been released as singles. I hope to find out a bit more information on them soon for you all but until then, check out their music, it speaks for itself.

These guys sound wonderful. It is a well crafted and thought out album. Very easy on the ears….get into it.

Tracks:

All I See – An up tempo, country rock ballad. Catchy and easy to hum along to.

So Far Away – A waltz like love song. Very easy to listen to with some nice guitar licks.

Countrified – A little bit of raunchy country rock…a little bit like a Col Finley song with a touch of the Wolfe Brothers.

Friday Night – Everybody’s favourite night of the week…unless you have to work on Saturday. A bit of a stomp song. I can see the crowd getting into this one.

She is Gone: A nice and easy, slow song. Cool to sway to. Contrasting vocals of the guys work together well.

Summertime (Robe) – A wee bit funky, a bit rocky….reminds me of a Sovereign song….good feel….clap along song.

Since You’ve Been Gone – One of my favourites on the album. Beautiful sad song. Vocals are amazing on this one. Nice Bruce Hornsby and the Range feel to it. Love it.

Lost in You – Awesome song. Has hit written all over this one….great sound.

Live to be 100 – A real toe tapper….yee haa! This is probably the most “country” song on the album. This will get a person with four left feet up on the dance floor.

Friends – A great uplifting song to finish the album.

Totally Biased Fan Review – A Closer Walk – Connie Kis Andersen featuring Doug Wayne

 

Connie’s voice is made for this type of album. Country and Folk and Blues music artists often started by singing in church choirs first. A lot of those types of music styles came from gospel music. They all fit as cousins in the same family.

Listening to this on a Sunday morning seems fitting. A beautiful collection of traditional gospel songs and songs which have an inspirational and or spiritual feel to them.

I have followed Connie for a long time and there isn’t a song that she has sung that I haven’t loved. She is one of our finest songwriters and her delivery of classics and originals is always spot on.

She has been through some pretty tough times, and I think that most people who have either find some strength and hope in this kind of music and message or they go the other way.

These songs are as much about peace and love and understanding as they are songs of the gospel. To have faith in something, whether it be the guy upstairs, a dream, a wish or in each other coming together as one….cousins of this earth….it is all about the same thing.

A truly uplifting, thoughtful and beautiful album. As my spiritual relative, also called Connie, my 91 year old aunty, often sings….Love One Another.  It is not so hard to do.

 

 

 

Tracks:

Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Trad) – This is a wonderful version – a very country version, quite possibly the best version of this song that I have heard. The fiddle is awesome.

Unclouded Day (J.K.Alwood) – I hadn’t heard this song before. I absolutely love it, quite possibly my favourite track on the album. This one will be given many spins.

Softly and Tenderly (W.L.Thompson) – My favourite hymn, so, it will always get a vote from me. One of the most beautiful songs ever written. It always makes me teary. This song has been recorded by some wonderful singers, including Dolly Parton, Reba and our own Debbie Byrne. This version stands with them.

What A Friend We Have in Jesus ( J.M. Scriven) – I sang this song at Sunday School many years ago.  It is one of those songs that stick with me from my childhood. Beautifully sung by Con and Doug.

How Great Thou Art (C.G. Boberg) – Pretty hard to have this kind of album without this song. Great Mando and beautifully sung by Connie.

From my window to the farthest star (D.W.Holmquist/M Elliot) – Another song that I did not know, but what a lovely song. It has a familiar feel. I will be playing this one a lot too. Just beautiful. Connie at her best.

He’s got the whole world (Trad.) – This old folkie learned this one as a kid in the 60’s. I think that I “sang” it in the choir a few times as a little one. One for everybody to sing along to and a song that is as apt now as it was back then.

Handle Love With Care (C. K. Andersen) – Connie is one of our finest songwriters, this is proof of it. One of the purest voices in our country.

Amazing Grace (J. Newton) – again, an album of this type wouldn’t be right without this song. When I heard Judy Collins’ version of this song years ago,  I learned every word and often sing it about the house and in times when I need a little hope.

ONE – (C.K. Andersen) – A song very appropriate for 2018. Wonderful words. Listen to them.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Twilight on The Trail – The Concert – Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez

at The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, Melbourne.

Friday, April 13th.

I knew that this night would be magical before I went to it. Not just because I had already reviewed the album (see review) or because I was excited about seeing and hearing two of my fave country music girls, Jen Mize and Gretta Ziller, but I just had that feeling.

The Spotted Mallard is a great venue for our kind of music. It has a great atmosphere, great staff and good food. I love going there to gigs. This gig would have probably been perfect anywhere, but it was extra perfect there.

Supported by one of our future superstars, Rose Zita Falko (review coming soon of her soon to be released EP) and the awesome Mitch Power, Jen and Mark and their very cool band (including Mitch and Andrew McClean), they took us on a wonderful musical journey. Dressed in appropriate clobber – a lot of denims had to die for their outfits – Jen and Mark took us down that trail, through canyons, across desert plains and into bars with swinging doors. They combined the songs off the album – all traditional country music songs from movies and from the campfire – with a few of their own songs which seemed to neatly fit into the jigsaw puzzle.

Gretta and Rose joined them on stage a couple of times to sing some songs,  with an amazing rendition of Cool Water included. Of course, as I noted in the album review,  I loved My Rifle, My Pony and Me – sung in Rio Bravo by Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and “played” by Walter Brennan. Andrew played the Walter Brennan part on this occasion.

Jen did a duet with Mitch “Forget Her” which she sings with Duncan Toombs on her last album – one of my favourite duet songs of all time. She also sang Deepwater, which definitely fit into the groove.

Jen’s story about “Black Hills of Dakota” was partly amusing and partly sad. She mentioned how she changed a word in the lyrics to fit her own history and it made perfect sense. Doris does sing it slowly in the movie though, not quite as fast as Jen mimicked though I get what she means….the references to “injuns” and such in the musical made me cringe a bit. I think that I was more caught up in the duck being turned into a swan and then not really caring about that in the end….preferring to be herself, but Jen’s story made me think.

Beautiful renditions of Wand’rin Star, (Mark’s much sweeter version of the Lee Marvin song from Paint Your Wagon) – Red River Valley, Home on The Range and many others made for a wonderful trip of nostalgia. The band was amazing, having only been together for a little while before in the afternoon. The drummer did an incredible solo, as did all of the band members. Mitch did some fine licks and Andrew was in fine form on the harp. It is always nice to hear some Steel guitar and double bass, especially in these kind of songs.

To have the likes of the truly amazing Gretta Ziller on bv’s and the rising star, Rose Zita Falko is a bonus. Jen, when I first heard Gretta sing, I said something similar…..folks, you will have to go a gig to find out!

Despite their different styles, Jen and Mark’s voices fit together well. Jen’s humour and outgoing personality and Mark’s more subtle approach make them a y and y combination. I always know what a great night that I am having when I don’t realise where the time has gone.

If you have a chance to see these two – either in acoustic or full band styles, do yourself a favour. I was much more familiar with Jen’s music before this album than Mark’s, but if you like a voice that sounds a bit like Sting, a bit like Dean Martin then you will love him….I am going to look up more of his music for sure.

A wonderful night which will stay with me for a very long time. Now, I’d better saddle up and head for the hills, we’re losing daylight.

Episode 6 – Kaz’s Playlist if she was on Community Radio

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

We are playing duets and duos this week:

Little Pieces – Rick and Vanessa Hart

Forget Her – Jen Mize and Duncan Toombs

My Life Drives Me to Drink – Aleyce Simmonds and Lachlan Bryan

Fire and Ice – Andrew Swift and Catherine Britt

I’ll be home soon – Travis Sinclair and Sara Storer

Millionaires – Beccy Cole and Kasey Chambers

There’s A Heart In There – Jodie Crosby and Marius Reynolds

Trouble in The Fields – The Crosby Sisters

She Won’t Love You – Amber Joy Poulton and Amber Lawrence

P Plater – Angus Gill and Adam Harvey

Like Snow – Dana Hassall and Luke O’Shea

Let’s Grow Old Together – Dean Perrett and Aleyce Simmonds

Travellin’ Man – The Weeping Willows

True Blue – James Blundell and Tania Kernaghan

Lend A Hand – John O’Dea and Kevin Bennett

Inasmuch – Darren Coggan and Felicity

King of the Bar Room – Lee Forster and Stuie French

Wanda – Camille and Stuie

As above us, so below – Aleyce Simmonds and Shane Nicholson

Kiss me Better – The Long and Short of It

Boxes – Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence

High Hopes – Carpenter Caswell

Wearing White – Melinda Schneider and Mike Carr

Far Away – Lyn Bowtell and Damon Morton

Top 10

Gig Preview/Review

Banks of the Ohio/If Not for You/ Melinda Schneider and Beccy Cole

Fly in, Fly Out – Susan Lily and Darren Scott

Wide Brimmed Hat – Ashleigh Dallas and Rex Dallas

Dance the Night Away – Carter and Carter

Sometimes you just know – Drew McAlister and Rose Carleo

We Knew – Billy Bridge and Rebecca Lee Nye

Back to Earth – Marie Hodson and Lachlan Bryan

Misery and Pain – Sandra Humphries and Daniel Thompson

Luke O’Shea and Amber Lawrence – Catch You