Countryversial Corner – Tell me, Where do the Musicians play?

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The above ways are the ways that I love listening to music most. Obviously the last one is the way that I love to hear music best. Unfortunately, in 2020, we can’t do gigs LIVE, unless we, fortunately, in all of this mess, are blessed by some wonderful artists who are going LIVE on Facebook.

I have been alive long enough to enjoy many forms or recorded music and still one of my most favourite ways of listening to music – the radio. Having spent a great part of my life around musicians, I just want to do everything that I can do to support them and give a little something back for all the joy that they have given me.

I buy 90 percent of the music that I review. The generosity of many musicians has allowed me to become a small part of their lives. They do give me more than material stuff and quite frankly, their music has helped me through some of my darkest hours and enhanced my happiest moments.

It is the least that I can do to buy a recording, go to a gig, buy a hat or a shirt or even a scarf! I like to help.

I do, on occasion, buy an album from iTunes, and I mean buy an album, I do not just stream or just get a single or two off a future album, I buy the whole thing. This is usually because I can’t get my faves at a music shop or I can’t get to a gig. I usually end up buying the hard copy somewhere down the line.

This post, this blog, are not about me. This post is about the artists who I try to support. Streaming is not for me. I would rather save up and buy an album or go to a show than provide money to those who are ripping off my favourite artists.

I understand that at the moment, artists are having a struggle to produce more than a single or two, and that an album is a fair way into the future. I am happy to pay the 1.60 or whatever for each song and then buy the album when it comes out.

As an amateur reviewer, I prefer an album, it tells the whole story, not just parts of it, and I like the hard copy as it gives me all the information – lyrics, songwriters, musicians, producers, and sometimes some very cool and descriptive liner notes.

Music is a very personal thing. It is a passion and it can also be a major way of life. It is a big part of mine, even though I can’t sing and I can’t dance and I can’t play a note.

Streaming doesn’t do it for me. It is ripping off those that I care about. It was stated recently that musicians don’t work hard enough. I come from a working class background and I paid my own way through university 3 times and TAFE twice and I have worked hard for what little that I have and I know hard working people when I see them.

Musicians are not only passionate people, they are hard working folks who spend a lot of time away from home (usually), away from their loved ones and their homes. They drive for hours, sometimes sleep in their cars or some pretty rough places. They play to crowds that amount to a handful who aren’t always respectful. It takes a lot of time, being in the right place at the right moment and a lot of sacrifices and practice to become a good musician. Mainly, it takes passion and hard work. It is not always glamourous, though there are probably some moments that make the whole thing worthwhile. If you love something enough and persist, then dreams can come true.

It is sad when all of this hard work and passion is not rewarded how it should be. I want to thank my music family from the bottom of my heart for making my life richer. It is not about money or fame, it is about talent and passion and credit for a job well done and admired. It is not about a cheque for 79c for an album that was made from blood, sweat and tears…..and love.

So for all of those who doubt it, I am proof of the pudding. I am one of millions who still appreciate the work and talent of a musician and all that goes into it producing the perfect song or at least a bloody good one. I will never stream music. I will always buy an album, preferably one that I can place on my stereo.  There’s nothing quite like the scratch of vinyl in the morning……or evening, for that matter.

N.B. An important footnote. 2 points that I forgot to mention which are important. Most of the musos that I follow are independent artists. They either work at ‘real’ jobs so that they can make their music or complement it and/or have worked for a very long time and can now try and go into producing/playing their music with perhaps a supportive partner or savings. On top of this, they often write/produce/record their own music and the music of others. There are many advantages to being an Independent artist, creatively and for future avenues, but if this is not displaying hard work, then I don’t know what is.

Playlist – Do it, Duets 9/8/2020

Some fave duets for today’s Aussie Country Playlist – old and new.

Hunter Kaine and Shane Nicholson – Long Way from Lonely

Innocent Eve – Mixed Bag

Aaron D’Arcy and Dani Young – Postcards

Adam and Brooke – Out of My Hands

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

Allan Caswell and Jen Mize – That’s Why Lonely People Drink

Andrew Swift and Gretta Ziller – Second Hand

Anne Kirkpatrick and Bill Chambers – Here We Are

Ben Ransom and Phil Emmanuel – Rock this town and Roll

Carter and Carter – We are Family

Clint Wilson and Jen Mize – One Button at a Time

Cornell and Carr – Things I Leave Behind

Darren Coggan and Felicity – Inasmuch

The Davidson Brothers – All You Need is Music

Dianna Corcoran and Gary Burr – Not Ready to Lose

Emma Jene and Angus Gill – Fly on The Wall

Gareth Leach and Michaela Jenke – My Crime

Gayle O’Neil and Andrew Swift – Drive Him Crazy

Gina Jeffreys and Lee Kernaghan – He Still Wants To Dance

Grazy’s Country – They Are Returned Veterans

Great Aunt – Oh, Won’t You Save Me

Hayley Jensen and Beccy Cole – Angel

Jen Mize and Duncan Toombs – Forget Her

Evelyn Bury and Justin Standley – Love and Happiness for You

Kasey Chambers and Beccy Cole – Millionaires

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson – The Quiet Life

The Long an Short of It – Jesus Money

Luke O’Shea and Lyn Bowtell – Sing Me A Story

The Maes – Stay Home

Marie Hodson and Lachlan Bryan – Back to Earth

Melinda Schneider and Billy Thorpe – When the Last Child leaves home

Montgomery Church – Your Troubled Mind

Rex and Ashleigh Dallas – Kitchen Table

Shelley Minson and Bobby Cash – Small Talk

Smith and Jones – The Train Song

End of Part 1





Country Connections – Emmylou Harris and Catherine Britt

Top 10 Emmylou Harris SongsEmmylou Harris | Biography, Albums, Awards, & Facts | Britannica 

Catherine Britt - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)Catherine Britt - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

I have had many suggestions about who to match our Catherine up with. Most arrows pointed to Dolly, but I think that Emmylou is a better match. No doubt, Catherine and Emmylou have their own special attributes that make them individually brilliant. However, these two gals have a lot in common. They can cross boundaries, they can appeal to all ages, they have had some big things happen in their lives – super tough personal battles and they just know how to soar and rise above their predicaments. They have two of the richest voices in country music and they can do a mean duet or collaboration with folks from all genres. Dolly has a lot of these qualities too, but these two are more evenly balanced. Country connections looks at many different things that bring two artists together. Both of these artists have shown longevity, power, strength and beauty in their work and what they do outside of it. They could be as comfortable in rock, pop or folk as they are in country or bluegrass.  They are also two of the most genuine women that you could ever come across. Here are some examples of their beautiful music.

Totally Biased Fan Review – All the Mountains I Must Climb – Michelle Cashman

Michelle Cashman - All the Mountains I Must Climb (2020) [Country ...

I had heard of Michelle’s name. I knew that she had been to the Academy and that she was doing something unique with her recordings and my friend, producer and musician extraordinaire, Michael Carpenter (who produced this album at Love HZ studios), had mentioned her name too.  Until my friend, Leonie McClure, played Michelle’s new song and interviewed her on her 2RRR show yesterday (Saturday 9/8), I hadn’t heard her sing. One line in, I was hooked. I bought the album on iTunes halfway through the song and I was determined to do a fan review.

Then Dani Young announced that she was featuring Michelle on her Midday Muster show today on Facebook. The dots were joined, the pieces of the puzzle came together and the fact that three people who I respect very much in the country music family in Australia were connected with Michelle, made it a no brainer, and my one line of a song hunch was correct.

Michelle had a unique way of putting this album together, using a crowdfunding method but also featuring songs through videos. The 11 songs here were put together that way.

Michelle’s songs are very personal. She has been through some very emotional times and some health issues and they have probably helped her produce such sensitive and emotive material.

The haunting sound of Michelle’s voice is reminiscent of Imogen Clark and there is a touch of Emmylou Harris there too.

I am a huge fan of acoustic music, I thrive on it, so the fact that this whole album is in that style does this old country music fan good.

It is the usual polished producing that we know Michael Carpenter for.

Michelle was saying in her interview with Dani today that even though she dabbled in other genres and sang along to Bette Midler, Mariah Carey and the like in the past, she realised where she belonged when she started writing country songs. The songwriting process was more imperative than the singing.  In both worlds, singing and songwriting, Michelle has it covered.

Bette is one to change it up anyway, and the purity of Bette’s singing (and her strengths in other areas) make her not a bad act to follow, no matter what genre you place yourself in.

A lot of Michelle’s songs here have messages of strength and hope and standing up and walking on.

The rawness of this album and Michelle’s inner drive make it a very impressive country album debut. There is so much quality here, in the songwriting, the singing and the general delivery.

It is also a tribute to all of he fans that backed her and helped her to produce this album. Well done all of you for supporting Michelle and allowing her to get this work up and going.

I think that the title of this album encapsulates the feel of this album. There is a lot of fight in this singer/songwriter and it is evident in all of the songs.

Whilst there is a theme that runs through the album, the songs are not the same. They deal with different aspects and they have different rhythms.

It is apt that she ends this album with the song that she sang today on Dani’s programme. “Please forgive me” is an apology to herself, a hugely emotional statement and a tremendous song.

Thank you, Michelle for this beautiful album and thank you Michael, Leonie and Dani for alerting me to this wonderful achievement. Go strong.



Running Away

Praying for Rain

I Don’t Answer to You


Guys Like You

One Foot in Front of the Other

You don’t Want To


Real Love


Please forgive Me

Country Connections – Merle Haggard and Bill Chambers

Merle Haggard - IMDbBILL CHAMBERS INTERVIEWED (2003): Call of the big country ...         


Country Connections endeavours to match an Aussie country musician with an International one. It may be a look, a style, a sound, a voice, a personality or just the all round musicianship and what they represent in music circles and to the general adoring public.

When I think of Bill Chambers, I think of a mentor to young and aspiring musicians, a man who can play just about anything and play it on the spot. He’s a father figure to many and a father to a few pretty sensational younger acts. He helps promote Australian Country Music both here and overseas. He quietly picks along in the background often, allowing others to shine. He is one of our most underrated musicians. His solo efforts have contained songs about driving, drinking and broken hearts in his husky voice and storytelling style. I thought of pairing him with Willie Nelson at first because of his mentoring, his longevity and his look and outlaw way, but mainly because of his unbelievable guitarmanship. However, Damian Cafarella suggested Merle and I thought yes, because Willie and Merle are similar in many ways, but Merle did it more subtly, like Bill. Bill Chambers is a National treasure here in Australia, a very important cog in our country music wheel. He even has a room named after him in The Pub in Tamworth, and he is still kicking.

Merle was and is a mentor to many. He was in the crowd at a jail when Johnny Cash famously appeared and that changed his life. Merle and Bill have that quiet outlaw about them, saying most of what they need to say in their music and in their actions, rather than being forthright about it in their speech. Merle is gone from this world now, but his music will live on and he is admired, like Bill, by many generations of fans.

Absolutely Totally Incredibly Biased Fan Review – The Dirt and The Stars – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Dirt And The Stars - Reviews - Album ...

It is no secret for all of those who know my music tastes, my closest friends and followers and for those who care about who I like musically, that Mary Chapin Carpenter is my favourite International Female Country Artist. I have mentioned it often.

I own every album that she has produced, including her Christmas album. I think that I have reviewed just about all of them as well.  She is often described as thoughtful and though provoking. I have to agree with that. She is a strong woman who is not backwards in coming forwards but at the same time, she talks and sings and plays with a calmness and a certain sensitivity.

Produced by Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon) and recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, in southwest England, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s anticipated new album “The Dirt And The Stars” finds the 5-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter pondering life’s intimate, personal moments and exploring its most universally challenging questions at an unprecedented time. (JB HiFi credits).

There has always been a uniqueness about Mary Chapin Carpenter. When she talks, she talks in almost a whisper, when she sings, her subject is always important, but she doesn’t shove it in your face.

During this world crisis, she has been filming segments from her home, with her animals and her guitar, delivering messages of hope and love and light. Of course, she also sings us one of her songs, one of her older ones, or one of her new ones.  That is typical of her.

I was lucky enough to see her in concert in Sydney a few years ago, and it is the same thing. She delivers in that wonderfully calm, comfortable manner but leaves you thinking and wondering.

Every album is different, yet they have that same comfortable old shoe feeling. You know that you are going to learn something, but you know that you are going to be able to think that you are sitting down in your loungeroom with an old friend who is going to put an arm around your shoulders and make you feel that everything is going to be okay.

In this time of extreme adversity, worldwide, we need people like Mary. Don’t get me wrong, there are songs where she makes you groove, tap your toes and shift your shoulders, but for the most part, she lulls you into a truthful sense of security and she makes you ponder life’s situations.

In the 90’s, when American Country Music was probably at its finest, Mary was a guiding light, but she was still different in a group of outstanding musicians. She had a different approach, a different sound, but she still sang of all of the things that made that era and the musicians of that era of country music great.

She is well respected across a number of genres. There are people who profess to me that they don’t like country music, but they love Mary. Perhaps she fits more in what was once called folk music. She would have been right at home with Judy Collins and Joan Baez in the 60’s.

The fact that she recorded this in England and not Nashville, that she, unlike a lot of American Country Music artists questions the country’s politicians. Mary has always been a subtle conveyor of what a lot of people would like to say but don’t.

Her songs have a certain beauty about them. They are not in your face, angry songs, but they don’t hold back either. There is always a tenderness about them. They are always easy to visualise, like little films.

Mary writes beautiful, important lyrics. To say that she has a way with words is the understatement of any century. She writes about simple things in such a fascinating way without getting flowery. She makes normal things interesting. She reports on life – good and bad.

Songwriters have always been more important to me than singers. To me, Mary Chapin Carpenter is first and foremost, a poet. Her longevity and the fact that she is highly respected by her peers and her critics, is paramount. Her songs ask questions, and quite often, they answer them too.

Mary Chapin Carpenter has ridden out a lot of storms, and her songs reflect hers and our ups and downs. Every so often, she has sung somebody else’s song and has done a better job than the original, but mostly, she is a scribe and she matches these amazing words with equally incredible music.

I always look forward to a Mary Chapin Carpenter album. She teaches me a great deal of things and it is like receiving a visit from a dear and trusted friend. I compared our own Gretta Ziller to her the other day. It is the same feeling. In a few years, I expect Gretta to have the same worldwide effect that Mary has on folks.

I can’t pick favourite songs when it comes to Carpenter. All of these songs are special and they all deserve 5 gold stars……at least.


Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 04:58 Amazon
2 05:04 Amazon
3 04:42 Amazon
4 05:54 Amazon
5 06:04 Amazon
6 03:51 Amazon
7 06:16 Amazon
8 03:23 Amazon
9 05:13 Amazon
10 05:18 Amazon
11 07:45 Amazon

Totally Biased Fan Review – Same Kind of Different – The Family Sowell


Same Kind of Different by The Family Sowell on Amazon Music ...

I was listening to the bluegrass programme on 2RRR a couple of Sundays and Lindsay Maher was playing this young family that outdid the Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family for numbers and talent. This talented bunch who range in age from about 13 to 24 play a number of instruments, have beautiful harmonies and are a mixture of Kristy Cox, Jerry Salley, The Davidson Brothers and Alison Krauss.

They sing and play a combination of gospel, bluegrass, celtic and country music. I hadn’t heard of them until Lindsay started playing them, and I had to go and get the album and do a review.

It is a wonderful mix of songs that have meaning and beautiful musicianship, but without being pushy on the Christian front, just subtle references and a personal recording of their faith.

The fact that they mix styles helps balance out the album. It is an easy listen. It is great to have on in the background, like a gentle lullaby or you can listen and think about the messages and enjoy the picking and the harmonies.

This young and clever family are so talented now, it is almost scary to think what they are capable of in the future.

Amazing tunes from an incredible family band.

  1. 1

    0:00 / 3:29

  2. 2

    0:00 / 2:29

  3. 3

    0:00 / 3:13

  4. 4

    0:00 / 2:55

  5. 5

    0:00 / 3:22

  6. 6

    0:00 / 3:19

  7. 7

    0:00 / 3:20

  8. 8
    I Wave 3:29

    0:00 / 3:29

  9. 9

    0:00 / 3:15

  10. 10

    0:00 / 2:57

  11. 11

    0:00 / 3:45

  12. 12

    0:00 / 2:50

  13. 13

The Single Life – 8 August, 2020



What a deluge this week….lots of singles released!

The Greatest Show on Earth – Alan and Trace  Greatest Show on Earth – Amber Lawrence and The Davisson Brothers A Double Single from Great Aunt – Oh, Won’t You Save Me and Rock Paper Neighbour. Breakin’ Hearts – Hayley Jensen, Camel Up Earlston Said – Kylie Adams- Collier

As Trace pointed out, there is a slight difference in title and style between their song and Amber’s but close enough! What a coincidence. Neither knew about the other and they are two great songs, just different types of country. Amber teams up with Americans The Davisson Brothers, not to be confused by our bluegrass boys, The Davidson Brothers for this catchy country rock song. Amber was to support the boys in Australia this year but because of Covid, it was called off. This is a consolation prize, and it is a beauty. Alan and Trace’s song is very country and a real toe tapper. It has a great story behind it but listen to this beaut song and you will get the idea.

It seems to be the week for interesting song titles and even more interesting background stories. Kylie Adams-Collier sings the quirky Camel Up Earlston Said, which has been promoted for a while and it has finally arrived!

Great Aunt have released two songs, and as usual, they are wonderful songs. Oh Won’t You Save Me is one of those songs that sounds happy music wise but the words are much deeper. Their melodies are as fantastic as ever. Rock Paper Neighbour has an interesting tune, challenging lyrically (I wouldn’t try and sing along….wow, fast paced!) What a clever song….warning there are a couple of words in there. Change of tempo is pretty amazing.

Hayley Jensen has a powerhouse voice and it is evident again on Breakin’ Hearts. Again a two level melody with a banjo (I think) on one level and a more up tempo country rock come jazzy, bluesy sound. Quite the combo!

This week’s songs are surely proving how varied country music can be.







Country Connections – Episode 8 – Sally-Anne Whitten and Bonnie Raitt

BonnieRaittCountryConnections     Sally-AnneWhittenCountryConnections

For those who don’t know, Country Connections is about matching an Australian Country Music artist with an International one. These two ladies connect on many levels. Though they are generations apart in ages, they have the same soulful, blues, funktry kind of sound. They are diverse in their presentation and they are both great entertainers. They are both full of vim and vigour and they are strong women role models. Sal has been in a musical or two. Bonnie’s Dad was in the PJ game (as I call it) with Doris Day. They are both great ballad singers too.

I’ll give you a few examples – see what you think.

Listen to the words – Playlist if I was on radio – 2 August 2020

Today I will do a special playlist to celebrate women in Australian Country Music. These are some of my very favourite songs from wonderful Australian singers and singer/songwriters. They are from all eras.

A Matter of Life and Breath – Wendy Wood

Think my Mama loved my Daddy – Cathy Dobson

I’ll Be Gone – Tania Kernaghan

Opposite Prayers – Beccy Cole

Dream Him Home – Melinda Schneider

Thorn in Your Side – Katie Brianna

The Bed That You Made – Harmony James

My Place in the World – Sally-Anne Whitten

Remember My Name – Allison Forbes

The Man Across The Street – Amber Lawrence

Bondwood Boat – Aleyce Simmonds

Woman in the Wind – Jodie Crosby

There’s Trouble in the Fields – The Crosby Sisters

These Hands – Jasmine Rae

Deepwater – Jen Mize

Albany – Jo Caseley

You Can Believe in Me – Anne Kirkpatrick

Queen of Boomtown – Gretta Ziller

Open Arms – Gayle O’Neil

Midnight Carousel – Arna Georgia

The Lighthouse – Ashleigh Dallas

Grandma’s Philosophy – Bec Hance

My Heart is Like a River – Bec Lavelle

Your Hand Slips Into Mine – Becci Nethery

Far Away – Lyn Bowtell (with Damon)

Dorothy May – Brittany Elise

46 Miles from Alice – Catherine Britt

So Many Roads – Chris E Thomas

10,000 Miles – Christie Lamb

Heaven Can’t Wait – Clancy Pye

Like Snow – Dana Hassall

Desert Water – Dani Young

My Turn Now – Della Harris

Then There’s Me – Dianna Corcoran

This Nurse – Emma Dykes

Erosion – Emma Jene

Land of Gold – Fanny Lumsden

Turn Out The Light – Felicity Urquhart

Two Stars Fell – Gina Jeffreys

Tell Me When It’s Over – Great Aunt

Your Anything At All – Imogen Clark

An Angel Said Hello – Ingrid Mae

Leather and Les Paul – Jade Holland

Solitary Mind – Jess Holland

Millionaires – Kasey Chambers and Beccy Cole

Little Bird – Kasey Chambers

Heart Bleed – Kate Hindle

Alone – Katie Bates

Dreamers Tired Mind – Katie Brooke

Let Music Give You Wings – Kel-Anne Brandt

40,000 Star Hotel – Kelly Brouhaha

I Will – Kirsty Lee Akers

Sweet English Rose – Kristy Cox

Hey Honey – Georgie Taylor

Cinderella – Kristy James

My Heart To Break – Kora Naughton

Songs Remember Me – Libby O’Donovan

La La La Not Listening – Lou Bradley

Treat You Better – The Maes

Someone You Know So Well – Marie Hodson (adopted Aussie)

Wild Mountain – Megan Cooper

Bury Me Sane – Melody Moko

House – The McClymonts

Love, She Loves Ne – Melody Pool

Take My Hand – Michaela Jenke

Sing Me A Memory – Michelle Gardiner

If We Said Goodbye – Natalie Henry

All Our Hearts – The New Graces

The Woman I Am – Nia Robertson

(I Don’t Wanna Be)  your baby now – Peta Caswell

Higher Than This Day – Phoebe Jay

Butterflies – Renee Jonas

The Old House on the Hill – Melissa Robertson

Sometimes you just know – Rose Carleo (with Drew)

Tell These Hands – Sara Storer

Rewind and Stop – Sarah McAdams

She’s Getting Stronger – Seleen McAlister with Drew

As I Am – Smith and Jones

One Way Ticket – Sophia Chesworth

Broken – Susan Lily

Simple Things – Tamara Stewart

Starting Over – Tara Favell

What it Takes – Tara Naysmith

Not My Time To Fly – Tori Darke

Johnny and June – Tori Forsyth

Girl in the Band – Tracy Coster

I saw Mama Cryin’ – Anderson Lane

Brave – Tracy Killeen

Tar and Cement  – Deneise Morrison

Just Down The Hall – Kalesti Butler

Wherever I Go – The Harmonators

Dancing in the Rain – Jane Saunders

Your Own Sweet Time – Shanley Del (adopted)

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

Song for Kay – Sandra Humphries

Steamy Dreams – Connie Kis Andersen

All Over By Christmas – Paula Standing