Totally Biased Fan Review – Back Being Blue – Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis has worked on a couple of projects with her husband over the last eleven years but this is her first solo project in that time. She now has four children under 17 and she has been busy with other projects.

It is so good to hear her back again, one of the sweetest country voices in America and a talented songwriter. Under the banner of Americana but really, Americana/Alt. Country often sounds more like country than what is posing as country these days, which is something that Kelly feels strongly about too.

There are a couple of covers on here but mainly it is Kelly’s writing. She borrows wisely, including Rodney Crowell amongst the mix.

The songs are undeniably country but they are a mix of shades. The musicians are polished and they are perfectionists. Kelly doesn’t try too hard, she doesn’t need to. This is one of those albums that just sounds effortless.

It is smooth where it needs to be and country rocky where it wants to be. Kelly has always had this charming little lilt to her vocals and the vocals do dominate, despite of, or inspite of the technically spot on musicianship.

Kelly has a similar kind of voice to our own Anne Kirkpatrick. She can mix it up and it all comes out not sounding disjointed or convoluted. It just is. All of the usual subjects are covered in a number of guises.

It is a real relaxing album with the vocals being the hero. Let the fiddles flow over you, and enjoy the voice that has been practicing quality over quantity for nearly 3 decades.

So glad to have you back where you belong, Kelly.

Tracks:

Back Being Blue

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 3:48

 

2 Only You

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:38

 

3 Fool’s Paradise

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 3:19

 

4 Modern World

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:27

 

5 Freewheeling

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:40

 

6 Afternoon’s Gone Blind

Karl Straub

Kelly Willis 3:17

 

7 What the Heart Doesn’t Know

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:42

 

8 I’m a Lover (Not a Fighter)

Ronnie Light

Kelly Willis 3:03

 

9 We’ll Do It for Love Next Time

Rodney Crowell

Kelly Willis 3:12

 

10 Don’t Step Away

Jeff Rymes / Randy Weeks

Kelly Willis 4:22

 

Credits

Gina R. Binkley Art Direction, Cover Art, Package Design
Joshua Blue Drums, Percussion
Rodney Crowell Composer
Geoff Queen Dobro, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel
Ronnie Light Composer
John Ludwick Bass
Steve Mazur Engineer
Dave McNair Mastering
Trevor Nealon Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Piano, Wurlitzer
Cover Photo   Amy Robinson

Bruce Robinson Harmonia, Mandolin, Producer
Jeff Rymes Composer
John Michael Schoepf Bass
Mark Spencer Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
Karl Straub Composer
Jim Vollentine Mixing
Randy Weeks Composer
Bonnie Whitmore Harmonia
Eleanor Whitmore Mandolin, Strings, Vocal Harmony
Kelly Willis Composer, Harmony, Primary Artist, Vocals
Todd V. Wolfson Inside Photo
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Totally Biased Fan Review: Girl Going Nowhere – Ashley McBryde

This is one of my favourite albums of the year so far. I came across it by accident, on the way to looking for another album. Then I started reading reviews and they came thick and fast, commenting on her “no bullshit album, free of fat and frills”. The songs are lyrically amazing, her voice is totally unashamedly country, sent soaring at times, mellowed out and twangy at others. She can blues it, soul it, rock it but the roots are firmly entrenched in country.

The tunes are great too. The lyrics hit me with a sledgehammer though, first. The lines are so original and clever. They are songs about everyday life but the imagery that Ashley creates is quite stunning and the pictures that she creates are so firmly imprinted on the brain.

The songs are story songs, which are the best kind of songs. They are all like little movies. They will be easy to make videos of as they will make the film maker’s life easy. All the information is there.

Ashley is one of a small new gang bringing country back to country music. The influences are strong but they are varied.

The title track hits home with me as it will with a lot of people who were basically told that they would never be anybody special. That bit of information can either make you or break you…it can make you want to strive for that “Look at Me Now” statement.  Great song.

Like Kacey Musgraves, Ashley is not frightened to tell it like it is. A lot of the songs make strong statements, either subtly or in your face. Ashley gives you a reality check.

I adore every song on this album. Andy, (I can’t live without you) is spot on. It is about loving someone despite all of their faults. Radioland is a great shower song and it could be my theme song when I get back behind the wheel. American Scandal is a different kind of love song. Tired of Being Happy is also a different kind of love song.

Garth Brooks is apparently a big fan and I can see why…..Ashley would have fit in very well to that 90’s country when there were some great women country music artists who sang songs that meant something but they delivered them in such a way that you accepted the parcel with a bow on it.

This album covers every beat of country, true country. It also covers all the subjects that country songs do, just in a new dress. I think that there maybe some spurs on those cowgirl boots.

There are some fired up guitars and chunky drum beats as well as songs to have a merlot with. You’ll be about to laugh then you may want to cry in your beer or cheer the gal team on.

Thank God for Ashley McBryde…..and Thank God I’m a Country Girl.

Tracks:

3:27
2
3:05
3
4:02
4
4:05
5
2:40
6
4:30
7
3:29
8
3:52
9
3:58
10
3:50
11

Totally Biased Fan Review – Luke O’Shea and Damian Howard at The Hotel Lomond, East Brunswick.

Anybody who knows me, knows that this review is going to be totally, totally biased. Yes, Lukie is very high up on my playlist and one of the main people who I admire on and off the stage and record in country music.

So, of course, this review is going to be dripping with superlatives, which could have been the name for Luke and Damian’s back up band but Marty Stuart already pinched that name!

I could have gone to The Noojee Hotel tonight which is sort of closer to me but harder to get to by public transport or I could have gone to Helen’s place on the Thursday night, but I don’t think that they would have accepted Lukeitis as an illness from me on Friday. So, Melbourne it was, and I made it after work by the skin of my teeth, but what a night it was. I knew Lukie was going to be great, he always is, but Damian Howard was fabulous too. I am more familiar with his brother, Shane’s songs, but he sang a couple and I thought…ahhh, of course I know him!

He did a few covers of some pretty awesome songs and some originals. Damian took it in turn to sing songs with Luke. They, of course, harmonised and played on each others songs, like old hands.

Considering that Luke, Damian and the boys hadn’t had any rehearsals, they all played together well. I am getting to know a lot of the musos about Melbourne now, so they were familiar faces.

Luke sang some of his well known songs like Three Brothers, The Drover’s Wife and many others as well as some newer material.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Luke O’Shea show without a few laughs. Damian has a sense of humour too and they fired off each other. With a short break, they played for nearly 3 hours.

They tried to fit all 5 of them on a small stage with all of their equipment. I really don’t know how they did it, but they did.  No room for dancing though.

Luke did an impromptu performance of Rod Stewart’s  Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? Which was almost a dance but the least country thing that he’s ever done and a crack up.

It is impossible to do all of Luke’s songs on one night, particularly when you are sharing the stage with someone else, but he did a good variety, though he forgot some of his own words….sometimes due to laughter and other times he covered well, only a professional Luke O’Shea supporter would have noticed the gaps.

It was a light hearted intimate evening, with us all packed in to the Hotel like sardines. Some diehard fans were in the crowd as well as some new ones.

The good news is that Luke has new songs coming out later in the year. It was a great way to end the week.

Well done, Luke and Damian and thank you to the band.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Mr Jukebox – Joshua Hedley

There is a massive buzz around and about country music circles for this wonderful artist. This is Joshua’s debut album (he previously had an EEP out). The moment that your eyes hit the cover of this album, you are in two minds. For people like myself who love covers, liner notes and the vintage look, you pick up on that effect straight away. The titles in top corner, a picture of the artist (and nothing obscure) in a full on shot; the said artist in a cowboy hat and a suit (despite the modern twist) and a border. Very typical of vintage records.

Aside from the fact that tatts are slightly revealed and the suit is rather garish, this is a classic cover.

There is a classic cover on this album, the only non-original track, When You Wish Upon A Star, sung slightly differently to the original.

These days, I rarely write reviews on American Country Music Artists these days, because there aren’t that many good ones in the new breed. However, I have about 8 on my plate at the moment and frankly, I am very glad.

Joshua is one of the ones who are leading the pack. What Joshua does differently, is that he takes you back in time. When I started playing it, I thought that I had one of my Dad’s records on. It has that 50’s/60’s feel. He has that wonderful old time voice. It is rich, melodic and very, very, country.

There’s no mistaking this Florida boy for an FGL member, that’s for sure. The songs all sound familiar, to someone of my vintage or older. They would make Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, George Jones and co. very excited.

The cover song, apparently is a nod to Joshua’s father. This guy is just the bee’s knees. He’s a shining light for all of us who like the old style with a fresh coat of paint.

A lot of my muso friends urged me to buy this album and I am so glad that I listened.

There are a lot of crying, hurting songs. This session player and popular fiddle player shows the big guys how to dance with a special formula. I think that I will make Weird Thought Thinker my new theme song. I absolutely love that one.

All of the songs are fabulous. I am interested in what direction Joshua will take. He has been quoted as quoting the famous quote: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I hope that he stands by that. He has a little edge to him with his quirkiness in attire and tattoos, but his songs are like vintage specials in a new suit themselves.

Counting my tears is terrific, These Walls and This Time are beauties too. It is interesting to note the amount of songs that have the word tears in their titles. That should give you a bit of an indication on the subject material.

A lot of this album is classic bar room stuff. There will be so many old country fans and crooners clapping their hands and stomping their feet in jubilation. I have played it 6 times already. It only takes half an hour. Like a lot of old country songs, the songs are brief. They all have an impact though.

I reckon if you played it in the background at home, and people walked into your living room, they would think that they were back in the 50’s. What a trip.  Thank you, Joshua. I absolutely love it.

Tracks:

Counting My Tears

Mr Jukebox

Weird Thought Thinker

Let’s Take a Vacation

These Walls

I Never (shed a tear)

This Time

Don’t Waste Your Tears

Let Them Talk

When You Wish Upon A Star

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Blake O’Connor – Self titled EEP

Sadly, there is very little information available on Blake O’Connor. I was told that he was on X Factor (not a show that I watch for political and personal reasons) and I was told that he was one to watch by my fellow country music tragics.

The latter, I totally agree with. What an amazing voice for one so young. He sings with the maturity of a 30 year old.  As I only have the Itunes download at this point, I don’t have any credits for the songs, though I have a feeling that there are a couple of covers here, amongst some originals. All of the songs are very playable.

There is quite a buzz about this teenager from New South Wales. He is unmistakably country, though the shades vary slightly from song to song.

I particularly love Won’t Be Missing You. He does a wonderful job on this song. I love Six String too. There are some great twangy guitars on this one.

There are a couple of songs where the guitars are at full throttle and they sound almost Bryan Adamsish….and there is nothing wrong with that.

Believe in Love is probably my favourite, with some bluesy guitars and Blake follows suit, getting into the bluesy vibe.

If this is the type of stuff that we are going to get from Blake and a launching pad for future projects, then we are in for lots of treats. Definitely one to watch.

Turn your ears on.

Tracks:

Travelin’ Man

Blackwater

Won’t Be Missing You

Six String

Life On The Road (E)

Believe in Love

Totally Biased Fan Review: Dawn of the Dark – Tori Forsyth

I have been lucky enough to see Tori LIVE, quite a few times now. Most recently, I saw her at The Spotted Mallard in Melbourne. With Aleyce Simmonds and Shane Nicholson in her team, the girl can’t really go wrong, but to have such illustrious company in the first place, you have to be just a little bit talented.  After the fabulous Blackbird EEP (please see review), you knew that she had to keep going and she has gone from the EEP to the LP and it is a bottler.

The Alt. Country Artist, who could easily crossover, like Kasey Chambers did, and Imogen Clark probably will, still has her music firmly grounded with rich country influences. There are references to Stevie Nicks in some reviews,  and though I can hear a bit of that Bella Donna album kind of stuff, I think that Tori has a sound of her own, or at least a mixture of several styles and artists.

The songs are rich melodically and the lyrics are multi-layered. I was a fan from the first time that I heard her. You can hear the influences of Shane Nicholson and Aleyce Simmonds in her songs, but also the influences of 60’s folksters and there is a lot of blues in there.

There is sufficient torch and twang and  all of the instruments that make country strong, like fiddles, country guitars and even a bit of banjo. Tori’s voice has a purity to it. It drifts over rollicking tracks that are like wheels going smoothly over a bumpy country road.

There have been a few singles lifted off the album already and there will be more to come. This is the polished album that you would expect from a fine young artist and a team of amazing musicians and one of our finest producers. Shane is like those directors of awesome movies in Hollywood who know actors because they were great actors themselves. Shane is the same with musos, he knows what makes them tick and he makes them tick tock.

There are songs to stomp to, songs to hum to and songs to sing along to.

I love Heart’s On the Ground, Grave Robber’s Daughter and Violet Town the best. They are all wonderful tracks from a young artist who just goes from strength to strength.

This has been a long hoped for album. I am glad that it has finally arrived.

 

Tracks:

  1. Grave Robber’s Daughter
  2. Broke Machine
  3. Snow White
  4. Redemption
  5. Heart’s On The Ground
  6. Fiddle
  7. In The Morning
  8. Hell’s Lullaby
  9. War Zone
  10. Violet Town
  11. White Noise
  12. Kings Horses

Totally Biased Fan Review – Album Launch – Cathy Dobson Tales From A Suburban Housewife – The Village Green, Mulgrave, Victoria, with Gradual, 20th May, 2018

Firstly, let me make an unpaid political announcement. I have to say right off the top how wonderful John Dobson was yesterday and how he was the star of the day….tongue in cheek, he made me write it….

Seriously, though, we had a wonderful afternoon of entertainment, starting with a very tight and clever band, Gradual, who are having their own gig on Saturday night at Upwey. We all reckoned at our table that the band should be re-named, Musical Chairs. I have never seen a band change positions so much. Either Cathy put Whoopee cushions on their chairs or they just like to play different things. Brian produced Cathy’s album as well, so it was a natural choice, though the music stylings are different. Good music is good music. They also formed Cathy’s band for the day.

Cathy Dobson is a very well respected songwriter amongst her peers, as my friend, Bruce and I were discussing earlier, she is a writer’s writer. Like Michael Waugh, Mike Carr, Wendy Wood, Darren Colston, Craig Stewart, Michael Carpenter, Luke O’Shea and Lachlan Bryan and the like, she gets inside our heads and writes down what we are thinking, feeling and doing. Her songs may be about her life, but they are also touching on our own thought processes and moments.

There were many singer/songwriters in the audience, some older, some younger, and others in between. They all got what Cathy was trying to say and they were there to support her and cheer her on. I had two songwriters to cheer for because they couldn’t be there. I was sitting at a table with Lloyd Clarke and Rick Hart, two of Victoria’s best singer/songwriters. Nia Robertson, Andrew Swift and many others were there too. The place was packed. There was even a cocktail named after Cathy’s album. I would have had one but I probably would not have remembered the gig if I had tried one.

The album (please see the review) is awesome and Cathy performed each song on stage. It takes many turns. Blues, folk, country torch and twang, a little bit funky, a little bit of soul and other twists and turns. She did a cover for the encore, the classic, Midnight Special which made her family get up and dance and most of us sang along to it.

I first saw Cathy at a gig at The Dag a few July Hats Offs ago. I had seen her sing one song somewhere else and I asked Allison Forbes about her and Kalesti Butler and they both told me a few things. The people near me asked about her too and I told them what I had been told. One bloke with his hat still on said to me: “She’s the real thing, hey?” I nodded.

When it came to the release of “Ball and Chain” I had to get a hold of it, having heard some tracks off it. I went to a gig of Cathy’s at Southgate Inn at Tamworth in the January and heard her sing, then as she was about to go to the merch counter, I had to leave to go to another gig. When I got home, I tried to order it twice, and once it got lost in the mail and the other time, my order didn’t go through. Since, I have seen Cathy a couple of times at other people’s gigs, something that she does very well as a fan and a supporter of her fellow artists. I didn’t get a chance to ask her for the album. This time, I gave her a heads up and I now have it in my cd player and nobody is allowed miles within range of it.

I think of all the songwriters in Australia these days, Cathy and Wendy Wood probably get the closest to my life or my way of thinking through their songs. There are a few guys who come close, but for obvious reasons, and the fact that Cathy and Wendy are my vintage, they hit a few chords that others don’t quite manage….that is not a criticism. I love a lot of other music even when it doesn’t paint me a familiar picture. I just find myself in the same photo album as these two.

Cathy is a straight shooter. She is a great supporter of other’s work and she knows how to get an audience thinking.

Kaylene Pittaway was in the front row, Cathy was singing her stories and all was right with the world.

It was mentioned a few times during the breaks that Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs played there a long time ago. I could feel it.

Now where is that recipe to that cocktail…….

Thanks to Darren Clarke for this pic. I think that it tells a story.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Cathy Dobson: Tales from a Suburban Housewife

My creative writing lecturer at university told us “You are what you read”, meaning that often what you read, you either consciously or subconsciously mimic in your writing, in part, in big chunks or in style. The same can be said in life for most things in life. We are often followers of the things that our parents followed, or we go in the opposite direction. Painters paint like their heroes, sportsmen and women take in what their heroes acted out, actors follow their mentors, students follow teachers and songwriters definitely absorb like sponges their favourite songwriters and Singers.

It is not plagiarism, it is actually, in many ways, an act of admiration and a mark of respect.  Sometimes it is just that we are products of our environment and genetics. Sometimes it is giving a fresh coat of paint to an historic monument and other times it is just by accident. The Greeks invented a lot of things, began a lot of things, and The Romans took these concepts and improved them, enhanced them or just made them different.

What has this got to do with one of the best written albums of 2018, so far? Well, when you give it a listen, you can hear Cathy’s influences, whether they are accidental or on purpose.  Sometimes, she takes what the “Greeks” invented and gives them a “Roman” treatment, giving that fresh coat of paint to an historic monument.  You can hear lots of musical legends in Cathy’s songs. Well, Kaz can.  I can hear a Bruce Springsteen touch on one song, an Aretha Franklin gusto on a couple of others, There are some 70’s and 60’s bluesy, rocky vibes and some peaceful, easy, feelings on some others. There is absolute torch and twang in some songs and a folky feel in others. The words are Cathy’s, the melodies are Cathy’s but you can hear your own story or the stories of many in these songs. I am not a suburban housewife, but I can relate strongly to many of Cathy’s lyrics.

The other thing that my Creative Writing Lecturer told us was write about what you know. Cathy certainly does that.

Cathy has always been an inspiration to many fellow singer/songwriters. I have heard many stories of admiration and respect from her peers and those who she is mentoring, sometimes without her knowledge.

Cathy doesn’t pull any punches in her songs. I think that she has reached a point where she doesn’t mind baring her soul so much. Younger writers can get a little bit scared of doing that.

Dobson has won many songwriting awards for her songs over the years. Commercially, she probably hasn’t had the success that she deserves. She hits the nail on the head in more ways than one. Her songs are gutsy explorations of the truth and she just tells it like it is. Like Michael Waugh does with his songs, she takes and ordinary, every day tale and makes it extraordinary.  Some of these songs must have been difficult to write, as they are extremely personal. I think that makes them even better.

Some songs will make you want to get your air guitar out or your pots and pans drum kit out or make you dance like no one is watching and then others will make you sit back in an easy chair and absorb their nuances and the history of your own family.

Cathy has put her washing out to dry on this album and the sun is shining on it. It is a brave and courageous album in many ways. For women of my generation in Australia, and no doubt other places in the world, we can relate intensely.  It is not just an album for women of a certain age though. There is something for everybody here.

It is a beautifully crafted and produced album. The musicianship is top notch and reflects the life of woman who is inspired and inspiring.

Tracks:

A Break In The Clouds: This song is probably my favourite. It has a lot of wonderful imagery and it is a sad reflection on the lives of many women.

Down in The Boneyard: Cathy said at her album launch that this was the song that started this album. I can see how that came into being.

Jericho Rose – “Her mamma struggled from the start with this life she hadn’t planned, said it sometimes crossed her mind, God must be a man” – Cathy comes up with some great lines, lines that you wish that you had come up with yourself.

Nobody’s Business – People often presume, assume and put life together like a jigsaw puzzle but often the pieces don’t fit. When the pieces don’t fit, they make things up to make them fit. The hurt that it causes and the ignorance that they display is in the end merely gossip that can ruin people’s lives.

No More – Everybody has a point when they have had enough. The line has been crossed, the straw has broken the camel’s back and they say…No more.

A Moment Like This – This is a favourite as well. This is Cathy’s song, but like all of the songs, you can see a part of yourself or someone that you know. in them. I too, believe that all we go through in life leads to the best moments, the moments that are meant to be.

Tequila Romeo: Every Victorian should have a song with Tequila in it. I think that it is pretty much mandatory for those south of the border. A song which has more layers than a french pastry.

The Borderline: The opening line says it all really….it sets it up for the lines that are to come….they left town in a cloud of dust.

On the Corner of Hope and Devine – Another favourite.  This reminds me of an episode of “Brides of Christ” when a Catholic mum in the 60’s was caught between the old ways and the new and she wasn’t sure whether to have more children or not. Personally, from a nostalgic point of a view, this song had me from the first line, ‘children racing billy carts up and down the hill’.

Hurricane Child: I think that Cathy said this was about her great niece at the launch. It is quite a wild sounding tune, which goes with the title.

Think my Mamma loved my Daddy: A great way to finish the album and to close a book with this chapter. I think that a lot of people of our generation can relate to parents like this. Some of these lines totally resonate with me…’like so many in the fifties, daddy  wore no wedding band’ and ‘Think my daddy loved my mamma, once heard him tell her so’ from a time when people didn’t publicly show their affection. Some stayed together and things changed, others didn’t.

All songs written by Cathy Dobson

Produced by Brian Baker

Musos:

Cathy Dobson: Vocals/Backing Vocals/Guitar

Brian Baker: guitars/Slide/Bass guitar/Keys/Backing vocals

Leanne Koska: Backing vocals

Hamish Davidson: Fiddle/Mandolin/Banjo

Mark Smith: Guitar

Steve Wells: Drums

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: In The Meantime – Brendan Smoother

I think the secret to the best artists in country music is to be prepared to try different styles within the boundaries of country music and to tell a story….a good story. This will open the doors to longevity and it will present something to please everybody…..well almost everybody!

Brendan Smoother has already released several songs from this new album, all of which made the country charts. The album is a great mix of country styles with some awesome guest co-writers and musicians.

Brendan’s voice adapts easily to different styles and songs. Some people know him as a bush balladeer, some know him as singing bluegrass, the blues, straight up country or a little rocking country.

Brendan has slowly been releasing singles and getting ready for this album. A lot of it you will have already heard and loved but there are some other songs on here that are just top notch and that are sure to be singles.

Produced by Rob Mackay, Michael “Hands in everything” Carpenter and Larry Marrs, it is a great mix of cool songs and songs that you can relate to, one way or another.

Tracks:

Gypsy Girl – Brendan Smoother – a lively, blues/rocky song to start the album off, heavily featuring Michael Carpenter.

Behind The Seen – Brendan Smoother – A song that Bob Browne and I flogged on ‘Countryon’ and a song that was close to both of our hearts, given the subject…that old Black Dog. One of Brendan’s best songs and a favourite with the fans. Features Garry Koehler on harmonies.

Campfire Conversation – Brendan Smoother, Brendan Nawrocki, Emma Dykes, Kevin Bennett – features Garry Koehler and Pete Denahy.  Easy to see the connection between songwriting sessions at The Dag and a campfire. With these co-writers, you can’t really go wrong.

Stretcher Bearer – Brendan Smoother – quite possibly my favourite. What a great song, originally featured on an EP. With Brendan being a Paramedic, it was an obvious song subject when coming to a “war song”. There have only been a handful of songs that have been written about those who carried the wounded – this one is a beaut one.

Burrumbuttock Hay Runners with Pete Denahy – Brendan Smoother – multi award nominated song about ordinary Aussies helping out farmers.And who better to do a song of this nature with than Pete.

A Schooner Too Much – Lola Brinton/Brendan Smoother – What’s a country music album without a drinking song? A catchy, singalong song that is even better to listen to with a schooner in your hand.

Big Black Car – Lola Brinton/Brendan Smoother – The video  is very cool and the song is even cooler. It sounds a bit different to most Smoother songs and you can hear the Carpenter sound in this as well.

Love Street – Brendan Smoother – A very country song, lots of cool fiddle and banjo and mando. A cool bluegrass number. Toe tapping and shoulder shifting.

Old Chimney – Brendan Smoother – I relate to this song on many levels. I often wondered the same thing about those crumbling old houses and the stories behind them. It is also about Gundagai, where a lot of my Dad’s cousins live and where I spent a lot of time when I was a kid. Great song.

Stranger – Brendan Smoother – A beautiful song, lots of lovely fiddle. Brendan says in his liner notes – i’s a hybrid of fact and fiction and that it was the first time that he had written a song with tears rolling down his face. I can relate Brendan, I had a few tears and I could relate to a lot in this song…..I have a mum in a similar boat.

The Last of the Riverboats – Andrew Durant with The Bobkatz – I have always loved this song. It is an old Stars song, written by the late, great, Andy Durant. The Bobkatz add a lot to this song.

Feels like coming home – Brendan Smoother/Jeremy Edwards – This is a good song to go out with, Songs about home, generally are. It also feels like a song to sing when you are driving on a country road or a coastal road.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Heggarties – The Heggarties

I went to a gig recently (see review) in Melbourne with this band as the Headliners. I had heard them being interviewed on several radio stations and I had heard a couple of their songs. What stood out for me in the line up was that my favourite country band, The April Family were in town performing. Matt J. Ward from South Australia was also there. All three acts turned out to be Aces and it was a beaut afternoon.

The Heggarties have many influences from the obvious to the not so obvious. They are a fun band to watch and listen to LIVE, but I do enjoy to spin some tracks before and after to get acquainted or re-acquainted with the act.

There are bluegrass moments, like Ramblin’ (Till My Dyin’ Day), beautiful ballads like Wayside Chapel and Leaves in the Fall, The obvious echoes of Paul Kelly in Shannon and a catchy song with some other undertones, Rollin’ Ma Rollies. Their are folk influences, especially on one of my favourites, the last song, Wish Upon A Star.

Their sound is a big sound. All members contribute to vocals and they play a variety of instruments. This is a polished production. There is a song for every mood.
I look forward to hearing more from them.

The Tracks:

Never Be Fine (W. Heggart)

Chrome Plated Tragedy (W. Heggart)

Kentucky Post (T. Bodman)

Leaves in the fall (S.Lennox)

Wayside Chapel (W. Heggart)

Rollin’ Ma Rollies (W. Heggart)

Evelyn (W. Heggart)

Shannon (M. Tulysewski)

Marylou (S. Lennox)

Ramblin’ (Till my dyin’ day) (P. Heggart)

Wish Upon a Star (P. Heggart)

The band:

Wren Heggart: Lead vocals on Chrome Plated Tragedy, Wayside Chapel, Rollies and Evelyn, backing vocals

Max Tulysewski: Lead Vocals on Shannon, drums and percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

Tim Bodman: Upright bass, backing vocals

Steve Lennox: Lead vocals on Never be fine, Leaves in the Fall and Marylou, electric guitars, cigar box guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, resonator guitar on Wayside Chapel, backing vocals.

Paul Heggart: Lead vocals on Kentucky Post, Ramblin’ and Wish Upon a Star, acoustic guitar, resonator guitar, harmonica, backing vocals

Paul Cooper: Banjo and Mandolin

Produced by The Heggarties and Mick Wordly.