Totally Biased Fan Review: My Guitar Drips Country – Richard Lynch

Interesting way that this title of Richard’s album came about. A line from the late Mr Supernaw, and there you have it. Yes, Richard Lynch is following in the footsteps of a lot of 90’s American country music stylists. Think George Strait, Alan Jackson, et al. I will dispute that it is the first facebook conversation that has led to a song title, but I understand that Americans don’t know a lot of Aussie Country Music artists. Hell, a lot of Australians don’t know Aussie Country Music Artists. I am pretty sure that a lot of songs in Australia have come from Facebook conversations.

Also, one of the titles here, Places that I’ve Never Been is the title of a Benny Allen track, so there is that connection too!

Richard is definitely a true country artist. The songs here are everything that a good country song should be, including love, loss, heartbreak and of course, the song that says it all: Hurtin’ Cheatin’ Lyin’ Country Song. There are some songs on here that will break your heart, some that will give you hope and others that will make you smile.

My heart and yours is a beauty. I am not familiar with the lady who is singing with Richard, but I love her voice, it is very unique.

I have no idea what Cathead biscuits are, I just hope that they don’t involve actual catheads. I will have to google it! I get the sentiment of the songs, though, I am currently writing a story based on my mother’s recipe book.

He’ll Make everything alright is very much a song of the times. Good on Richard for writing an honest account of what is happening. Love this song.

You always know with Richard Lynch songs that you are going to get a mix, with uptempo songs, singalong songs, and some songs that hit the spot. You will get some songs that are spiritual, songs that are about love and life and just where it is. He doesn’t hold back, it is always an honest album.

Apart from the guys that I have already mentioned, Don Williams and Joe Diffie come to mind as well. If you love any of these guys, you will love Richard.

California is one of my favourite tracks. When you think country music it is more Tennessee or Texas, Oklahoma or Georgia, but this is as country as it gets, ironically.

Richard always delivers. This is a bottler of an album. If you love country music, truly and sincerely, this is the one for you.

Tracks

Starting Now (Richard Lynch)

Supernaw (Richard Lynch)

He’ll Make Everything Alright (Richard Lynch)

Cathead Biscuits (Richard Lynch/ Anthony Williams)

Grandpappy (Richard Lynch)

My Heart and Yours (Richard Lynch) with Katelyne Adams

Rodeo Town (Richard Lynch/Anthony WIlliams)

California (Richard Lynch/Anthony Williams)

Hurtin’ Cheatin’ Lyin’ Country Song (Richard Lynch/Scott Southworth)

Places I have never been (Richard Lynch/John Lee)

Wait for Me (Richard Lynch/John Lee)

You Can’t do this no more (Richard Lynch)

Totally Biased Fan Review: Hindsight 2020, Vol. 1, Stairway to Heaven Highway to Hell – Tracy Lawrence

To celebrate 30 years, Tracy is releasing 3 volumes this year, each with 10 tracks on them. This first one is all new material, which suggests that the other two will be greatest hits types. Lawrence wrote 9 out of 10 of the tracks, not deviating from his usual tried and true style. He mixes traditional country with some contemporary elements.

It is wonderful that so many of the 90’s great artists are making new albums. I love that era in Country Music and I think that it produced some of the best American Country Music ever, and influenced many other artists around the world.

It has an Aussie touch in the first track, with Highway to Hell. (ACDC). This is not a rock and roll album, though, it is pure country.

The last two tracks are different versions of songs in the first 10, but they are all gems. The songs are about all of the things that you expect from a country song, and there also seems to be a fair bit of reflection – whether autobiographical or imagined. There is also an element of forward thinking and hope.

Tracy has a real country voice, with a lot of twang and drawl. You get the impression from these songs and the suspected next two volumes that Tracy is going to retire or take up some other venture. Personally, I hope that it is just a celebration of his 30 years and an extra treat for the fans.

Grab the five things that mean most to you (not necessarily worth anything in a monetary sense) and you have this album.

There are toe tapping, shoulder shifting, on the road songs, songs to listen to on the verandah with a coldie, songs to listen to in front of a fire with a merlot and others to take in while you are having a ride on a horse or a walk in the sunshine.

A lot of these songs seem to come from a period of contemplation, which is what 2020 was like for most of us. Tracy always does country with a great deal of thought and feeling. This is just up a notch because of the enormity and importance of the milestone.

Hang around, Tracy, we need folks like you in country music.

Tracklist:
01. Stairway to Heaven Highway to Hell (03:39)
02. Struggle Struggle (03:29)
03. Water (03:01)
04. Lonely 101 (03:29)
05. Whole Lotta Me (04:07)
06. Summer Snow (03:16)
07. Hard Times (02:47)
08. If I Could Give You Anything (03:34)
09. Knowing (03:35)
10. You Only Get One (03:09)
11. Hard Times (Unplugged) (Acoustic) (02:36)
12. Whole Lotta Me (Unplugged) (04:08)

Totally Biased Fan Review: Unchained – Rex Dallas

Unchained Melody - YouTube

King Rex, patriarch of one of Australian Country Music Royal Families, is still producing material at 82. These 12 tracks are all classics, from different genres. Rex can still hit the high notes and he is not afraid of a challenge. Unchained Melody has to be one of the toughest songs every written, but King Rex gives it a right royal crack.

I don’t normally look at bios of people who I know pretty well, but I was interested in looking for some different angle, so I checked out a few Rex Dallas bios, mainly to see where such a varied line up of songs could have come from.

To tackle tough songs like Unchained Melody, Mona Lisa, Are You Lonesome Tonight and Crying, for example, you have to have some kind of background in opera or classical music, to get it right. I was interested to see light operetta in his mix of genres, but it does make sense now.

Rex is mainly known for his takes on traditional country, yodelling, bush ballads, and some light rock and roll. While there is no doubt that some of these non country tracks are from different genres, they definitely have a country flavour in there somewhere.

Spanish Harlem (as I know it) and Spanish Eyes have a similar flavour, (not just because of their titles), they come from the same era and have a particular rhythm and blues feel (as the original r and b). There are a lot of 50’s and 60’s classics here, a few that have been sung by Elvis, which touches on the soft rock. Willie Nelson wrote Always on My Mind, but Elvis is the common “famous version” interpreter of the song. Elvis’s Now or Never was actually an operatic song first. His fellow musos thought that he was mad when he tackled it, but he gave it a go and the rest is history.

Kudos to King Rex for tackling some of these heavyweight songs. Portrait of My Love is another big song, and an apt companion to Mona Lisa.

There are a lot of signature tunes here, apart from the Elvis ones, That’s Amore will be forever associated with Dean Martin, Mona Lisa with Nat King Cole, Lonely is a man without love with Englebert Humperdinck, Spanish Harlem with Ben E King, so it was very brave of Rex to go for it.

What always comes across in Rex’s singing, whether it be his own songs or covers, is the joy that he has in singing them. There is so much heart in everything that he performs. He makes you smile, and he is a National Treasure. I could listen to him sing Old Wallerawang or Kitchen Table all day, he just makes me feel good. These songs are all songs that we know and love. It is obvious that Rex knows and loves them too.

The album was produced and recorded by Peter James, Rex’s late brother in law. Rex wanted to pay tribute to him by releasing it. (Thanks Ashleigh for this information).

Track Listing

Rose in Spanish Harlem

Mona Lisa

Crying

Young Girl

Are You Lonesome Tonight

Blue Spanish Eyes

Unchained Melody

Always on My Mind

Lonely is a Man without Love

It’s Now or Never

Portrait of my love

That’s Amore

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Final Muster 2021 – Sir Reg Poole, OAM

The Final Muster 2021

Sir Reg is a legend in Australian Country Music. His voice is so young, still, and you would never guess that he is 45 years old……

All of these songs got my Tamworth heart pumping. Three song titles hit me straight away, The Gundagai Line ( I have a lot of family there), Don’t Let them Murder Tamworth, (I was raised there) and The Ned Kelly Song, (My grandmother, a Murray, was Ned’s second cousin).

I am aware of the 94 types of country music, some I like, some I love, some I hate. What in the hell is thrash country? (For example). I think that we are in better shape than America, and the beauty of Tamworth is that you can hear all of the types and choose what you want to go to. ( I know what I will be choosing!)

I am going to buy another copy for my Dad, who is 91 and in a nursing home on the Central Coast now but loves his country music still. I have mentioned before that Dad loves Johnny Cash, Slim Dusty, Ray Kernaghan, and Rex Dallas and I shouted, I love Rosanne Cash, Anne Kirkpatrick, Tania Kernaghan and Ashleigh Dallas……but we both have learned to love both now. When you are raised in Tamworth and the Central Coast, that happens. Same with Reg, as you grow older, you appreciate the roots of our beloved country music more.

The first country gig that I ever went to was Buddy Williams and his travelling show at Wingham near Taree. Pa said that we had to move to Tamworth so that he could listen to Mr Hoedown better…the rest is history..

I have always loved country music, and folk music. I am a child of the sixties and I have that in me, but my folks always had country music playing. Dad is a purist, Ma was flexible. I am both.

This is a beautiful album, containing songs that has all the elements of traditional country, lots of storytelling, lots of truths and things to ponder, and all of the things that you expect from Reg. I love the quality of the recording and the musicianship.

If you want to listen to real, solid country, then listen to this album. It is so easy on the ear and the stories are beaut. Reg is a long time legend and a fierce supporter of traditional Australian Country Music. He is so authentically Australian.

I love the line: You ask me where I’d rather be mate, and I say, no where else at all.

I think that about sums it up. An Aussie balladeer who sings Aussie songs and keeps our heritage alive. What else can you ask for?

Tracks:

Track Listing:Poppy (E& W Cole), The Transport Man (T. Morton), Newell Highway Blues (K & Dixon / L.Kernaghan / G.Porter), Rodeo Crazy (T.Mclvor), The Gundagai Line (T.Morton), Australia's Outback Hero (P.Ryan), Mingela Rodeo (R.Poole O.A.M), Don't Let Them Murder Tamworth (K.Jamieson O.A.M / R.Poole O.A.M), Chainsaw's Ghost (T.Mclvor), My School Of Song (K.Jamieson O.A.M), Daddy's Boots (L.Rose), The Ned Kelly Song (T.Morton), Nowhere Else But Here (J.Prosdocimo / K.Lindsay).


Totally Biased Fan Review: Finally Clear – Raechel Whitchurch

As a Tamworthian, I remember walking down Peel Street, listening to various buskers, over many years. The Lees were a major part of that history. It was a shock when Leonie had Raechel on her show and talked about The Lees and now she was going out on her own. Oh, it brought back some memories.

This album is a triumph. I am almost in tears listening to it, as I know the road that Raechel has travelled to get to this, and the beauty and splendor of the songs which she has largely written. To be in the hands of Matt Fell and to be the result of a few chartbusting singles, you will see a broad range here.

She follows a Tori Forsyth style in some songs, which is a good person to emulate, but the other songs are, to me, more valuable, when she just follows her own path.

Raechel is still very young and she has the world in front of her. I am so pleased at the songs that she has written and so proud of her own path, where she sings her own tune.

During Covid, Raechel released several songs off this album, which seemed to be a trend, so by the time we get to the album, we have a few bases covered and understood.

It is very important in this day and age to be ‘to myself me true’ and I think she has accomplished this here. Raechel covers a few of the 94 types of country music here. Her songs cover all of the essential ingredients of country. She can swing between pleasing a younger generation and the older generation with most of her songs.

There are lots of favourites on this album. I am so proud of Raechel, what an enormous effort on her behalf and the wonderful musos who have helped her along here, in the very safe hands of Matt Fell and Jeff McCormack and co.

These songs are definitely rooted in country and there are some beautiful lyrics and melodies. This is one of the standout albums of 2021 so far and so wonderfully presented and delivered.

It is not an in your face album, it is a gently inspired and presented gift, and we all thank you for it.

Track listing01. I Found Home02. You Ain’t One Of Us03. I Used To Think I Was An Outlaw (feat. Kevin Bennett)04. Don’t Be Afraid05. Finally Clear06. My Father07. There’s Enough To Go Around08. Too Much Work To Do09. Country Families10. Love Comes Back Our Way11. Is This What It Feels Like Bonus Tracks: Sure Thing (Re Imagined) Wide River to Cross

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Matt Fell

Mastered by Jeff McCormack

All songs written by Raechel Whitchurch except Don’t be Afraid by Raechel and Ben Whitchurch, Country Families by Raechel and Colin Buchanan, Wide River to Cross by Buddy and Julie Miller.

Musos:

Raechel – Vocals acoustic guitar, backing vocals

Matt Fell everything as usual

JOshc Schubeth – drums, percussion

Ben Whitchurch – dobro

Pete Cornelius – electric guitar

Stuart French, elecric guitar

Geoff Queen pedal steel

Will Kimbrough – mandolin

Michael Webb – Piano accordion

Lawrie Minson harmonica

Mick Albeck Fiddle

Kevin Bennett – vocals on I used to think I was an outlaw

The Single Life – 21/04/2021

Hi folks, sorry for the delay, I have not been able to hear the music to review it, but good for now! Some beaut singles in the last little bit!

Two of my favourite people, on and off the record, Andy Penkow and Della Harris have released a single together, called How Many Times. Yes, it is a Kaz song. Absolutely beautiful.

I have no shame. I am a Matt Ward devotee. He is one of my all time favourites, and I have not known him all that long, but he is very special to me. Everything that he releases is gold to me and I am not going to deny that. His latest song, Lost and Found is off his upcoming album and one that I am totally looking forward to. It has been a long time coming. This song is yet another one of those songs from Matt which is different to the last. He could never be accused of being same old, same old.

Jason Lee and Tania Kernaghan have released a single called Dust Beneath My Boots. You can’t get much more country than this and they harmonise so beautifully. A fabulous song which has already charted so well. I can’t wait for the album.

Mother is the new one from one of the guys in this world who is my biggest fan….truly. As much as I love Brendan McMahon, he seems to love what I do more, what a champion! I love his music. It just sends me to a different place and time…..and in these times, that is a wonderful thing.

The Single Life – 10/4/2021

History of 45 RPM Vinyl Singles - Rolling Stone

A few to catch up on! Spare Parts is a duet with Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham. It is a happy little number, a bit bluesy, a bit jazzy. It is good to hear Fliss back on the record.

Another Tamworth girl, Ashleigh Dallas, has a great song out called Good and Bad Days. Both of these songs are up tempo and though different styles of country, they make you feel happy in not so great times.

Taylor Moss not only has the same first name as a certain American singer, but perhaps in a tongue in cheek way she has a song out called You Ain’t Getting A Song. Didn’t they once say that you shouldn’t date Swift or you will end up in a song. This is actually a good song, much better than what Swift would release. And you don’t have to doubt it, it is country.

A totally different song from Trinity Woodhouse is Don’t You Know. It is a major shift from some of her earlier stuff. She’s all grown up.

Black Crow is the new single from The Weeping Willows. It is off their forthcoming album which has been delayed due to COVID. I have heard this before its release at gigs and they even sang it to me on my birthday. The video is pretty cool too. It is a rippa of a song.

More coming soon. Enjoy!

Totally Biased Fan Review: Timelines – Michael Fix and Mark Cryle

Michael Fix, Mark Cryle - Timelines (2021)

In my words:

I don’t know much about Mark Cryle, but I have loved and admired Michael and his work for many years. I remember meeting Michael Fix at a Tamworth Servies Club Songwriters in the Round a fair few years ago and I was intrigued. I asked him as an instrumentalist (primarily) – how he came up with names for his songs, given that they didn’t have lyrics and he was very kind, explaining the process to me. He is a multi award winner and has been nominated for more Golden Guitars than God, but he is always trying new things and new combinations. One of my fave gigs was one that he had with Darren Coggan.

All of this aside, Michael and Mark focus on my history taste again, and there are some great stories here. I will tell you my thoughts first, and then you can read Michael and Mark’s.

It is a great introductory song and title of the album, Timelines, ironic to read that it is one of the last songs written. It covers all that a prelude should.

What an interesting subject for a song, about a circus performer born in Lismore, but he was an indigenous man with a Spanish name. A great story, which of course is what country and folk songs are all about.

What this album does, in part, is uncover some stories from our very colourful past that we may not know. This song, The Lamps of Valparaiso is one of them. We have so many people coming to our country from other lands, voluntarily and by convict ships, that there are stories everywhere.

Quarantine is strangely an uplifting song and quite apt in these times of Covid. It sounds like a happy ditty but it is about the Spanish Flu a gift to the soldiers of World War I

Rock & Roll George was a Brisbane Icon, every city has them, I know a few in Sydney and I am starting to know them in Victoria. They are characters, who stand out for one reason or another, sometimes homeless ones who have a unique feature or sometimes just ones who drive in unusual cars and wear interesting clothing.

The Granville Train is quite a personal song for me. It happened on my best friend’s 14th birthday, January 18, 1977. I know of family members who had friends who lost their lives that day, my cousin missed the train and I am so glad. The song is not autobiographical, but it is pretty close to the events that happened and the feeling on that day. It never should have happened.

Coppertown Blues – This song is part of Michael’s history, and what he lived through.

Overpaid and Over here – is a familiar story to those of us who study Australian History and the 40’s sounding tune and singing is suited to the era. It is a well known story of the Septic Tanks (Yanks) here in Australia in World War II. Ironically, many of them weren’t Yankees, they were Rebels, from the South. Either way, they ‘stole’ our gals and caused quite a stir, supplying them with things that Aussies couldn’t and throwing a spanner in the works.

The Devil’s 13 is a Celtic feeling song, about gang like behavour in the 1800’s and early 1900’s in Australia. History does repeat.

Marrickville is another song which resonates with me, as I lived in Marrickville and Dulwich Hill and other places near there. It is a hugely multi cultural town in Sydney’s Inner West. Unlike other suburbs, it’s multi cultural community has changed over the years. It was Greek when I first lived there, then Vietnamese, then African Countries…it constantly changes.

Finally, I belong to this land, pays homage to our original Australians and that is a fitting way to end this album.

This album is a bit different for Michael, but it shows where his heart lies and the combination of the two artists is spot on.

An enjoyable and thoughtful album about our history….good and bad – and a polished musical performance by both Michael and Mark.

Michael Fix & Mark Cryle: Timelines – Australian Stories in Song  (In their words)

Timelines – Like many introductions, this one was written towards the end of the project – indeed after it had already been named! It’s a type of manifesto for our very idiosyncratic Australian history. 

Man on the Wire – Con Colleano was an internationally acclaimed circus performer throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Because of his swarthy complexion he performed high wire tricks in the persona of a Spanish toreador. He was born Cornelius Sullivan in Lismore in 1899, the son of a Bundjalung woman.    

The Lamps of Valparaiso – In 1834 ten convict conspirators  stole the brig, The Frederick in Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania. They made their escape by sailing it across the Pacific to South America. One of the ringleaders, James Porter, had previously lived in Valparaiso, Chile and had a wife and family there. 

Quarantine – When Australian troops returned from World War 1 in 1918 and 1919 they brought with them the so-called Spanish flu, a pandemic which killed more people world wide than did the war itself. Australia enacted similar measures to those we see in Covid times – social distancing, masks, quarantine and border closures. Because of shipping shortages, most troop transports docked in the southern states only and Queenslanders trained north to be quarantined in border camps. 

Rock & Roll George – Something of a Brisbane icon, George cruised the city streets in his distinctive 1952 FX Holden from the 1950s until his death in the 2000s. Over five decades the good citizens of Brisbane were variously amused, shocked, threatened or enthralled by his presence –  but never oblivious to it. 

The Granville Train –  In January 1977 the nation was shocked by news of an horrific rail disaster in the Sydney suburb of Granville. Eighty three people lost their lives and more than 200 were badly injured. Though sung in the first person, this song is not autobiographical. 

Overpaid and Over Here – Nearly a million U.S. troops passed through Australia during the war years 1941 to 1945. The social and economic impact of their presence in Australian cities was profound. Local resentments often festered such that clashes between Australian and U.S. troops like the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ (November 1942) were not uncommon. 

Coppertown Blues – Unlike the other songs recorded here, this one is actually autobiographical. Michael grew up in Port Kembla, quite literally in the shadow of the 200 metre chimney stack which served the ER&S copper smelter. 

The Devil’s 13 – They say history repeats. In some respects that’s true. Moral panics about degenerate, transgressive youth are a generational phenomenon. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the streets of Australia’s cities witnessed the growth of the so-called ‘larrikin pushes’ many of which gave themselves names. The area around Waterloo in Sydney was infamously witness to such activity. 

Marrickville – Race riots have been a notable feature of the nation’s history and the 2005 Cronulla version was yet another dark chapter. Herein the song’s narrator pleas for the kind of cultural integration and understanding one might expect to find in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, 45 minutes north. Marrickville was, at the time, the local government area with the highest number of non- English speaking background citizens in the country. 

I Belong to This Land – We can’t right the wrongs of Australia’s bloody colonisation history but we can sure acknowledge and remember them.

Tracklist:

01. Timelines (3:26)
02. Man on the Wire (4:29)
03. The Lamps of Valparaiso (5:13)
04. Quarantine (3:25)
05. Rock & Roll George (3:41)
06. The Granville Train (4:46)
07. Coppertown Blues (5:26)
08. Overpaid and over Here (3:43)
09. The Devil’s 13 (3:09)
10. Marrickville (2:51)
11. I Belong to This Land (3:41)

Totally Biased Fan Review: Nearest Misses (Live) – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

Nearest Misses Live | JB Hi-Fi

I haven’t received my hard copy of this yet, but I couldn’t wait to review it. I am fortunate enough to live in Victoria, and I will be going to the launch tomorrow night. Until then, I shall tempt you all with a few morsels off this album. It is not so much a greatest hits album, as a sprinkling of album music and fan favourites.

Lachlan’s trademark dry humour and the brilliance of our DCaf, known to those outside of our cult as Damian Cafarella, and a touch of two young guns, Shaun Ryan and Riley Catherall.

I wasn’t expecting to hear my favourite Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes song, as they very rarely play it, but my second and third choices are here, The Secret I’ll Take to My Grave and Afraid of the Light, as well as Careless Hearts and I Hope That I’m Wrong. The truth is, that I have many favourite Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes’ songs. and you can’t have them all on one album. A lot of them aren’t here, but a lot of them are. I am just grateful for an album release from them.

I can always go back and spin Black Coffee, Sweet Bird of Youth and my favourite, Lily of the Fields, amongst others. The wonderful duet with Kasey Chambers (and sometimes Laura from The Weeping Willows), Whistle and Waltz is also amongst them for me. Too many wonderful songs to choose from, it must have been hard.

I have been fortunate enough to see Lachlan and the boys (sometimes with Andrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates – a.k.a. The Weeping Willows) many times in concert. I know how good they are live, and it is all captured here with some amazing songs and memories. The beautifully linked Portrait of the Artist and Ballad of a Young Man, is clever.

Lachlan loves singing Dugdemona, and I knew that it would be here. I really like Deathwish Country, a song which I had strangely forgotten about until recently.

I am lucky enough to be able to see the boys often, live and they kept us entertained and sane during Covid with their online shows.

Instrumentally, the boys are perfection. Lachlan’s easy delivery of his stories and some little intros are gems. Lachlan is one of the greatest songwriters in this country and he always has wonderful back up from his Wildes, our Wildes.

I once gave up a week’s rent so that I could come down to Melbourne from Sydney to go to a Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes gig and flew back the next day. That is how much I love them and admire them. This is a taste of why I do. Enjoy folks.

Alt. Country at its best.

Tracks:

Portrait of the Artist

Deathwish Country

I Hope That I’m Wrong

Big Fish

309

Afraid of the Light

Ballad of a young Married Man

The Secret I’ll Take to My Grave

Dugdemona

Careless Hearts

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Wayside Ballads, Vol. 3 – Bill Jackson

Wayside Ballads Vol 3

I was a folkie first. I am a 60’s Aquarian child, after all. My fave kind of country is country folk, so this is right in my basket. Also, I am a history major. So I can’t really go wrong with listening to the songs and stories of Bill Jackson.

Like a lot of artists that I love, I didn’t stumble on them until I came to live in Victoria. I had heard Bill’s name, but that was it. I bought an album, which was a compilation of many artists and went to the gig that matched the album, and even though I knew most of the artists and loved them, I only knew the one song by Bill. He was one of the stars of the day, in a star studded day.

If you threw into a big pot: Bob Dylan, Craig Stewart, Darren Colston, Lloyd Clarke, Levon Helm, Bill Chambers, Paul Kelly and Kevin Johnson, you would probably get something like Bill Jackson.

Even though this is Vol 3, it doesn’t matter. I have all three albums, now and even though they are connected, they don’t have to follow each other. That is not to say that I don’t recommend that you get all three, it is a great idea to have the whole set.

These songs are easy to relate to, as Australians and as members of the human race. I am proud to say that my grandmother was second cousin to Ned Kelly, thus my Irish side is well exposed. I totally relate to She Rode Like The Wind and Worth our Due. As far as I know, my nine nationalities were all free settlers, but I have always had sympathy and empathy for convicts, so tick Convict Blood. How cool that Bill and Ross have a man in their family who became a founding member of the Australian Union Movement and had a hand in a great strike in The Shed.

I live in Gippsland now, so Sons of Gippsland struck a chord with me, and the Boer War, which was another one of those wars that Australians gave a lot of lives to for the British.

A country folk song without whiskey in it is really not worth calling it a country folk song! there are two here, I take my whiskey neat (which of course is about more than whiskey) and Cut and Run.

Having said that I am from 9 nationalities, it should explain why I can relate to That’s Why I’m here. It is so relevant to a lot of Australians who are made up of many parts.

I am not only a product of the 60’s, I am a perfect example of all that rubbed off on me there. The politics, the music, the essence of what was learned, what was lost and what was discovered. These songs remind me of all of that.

Apart from great alliteration, Summer on the Somme is a stark reminder of the waste that comes from war, the sadness and the huge loss that can break hearts and a country.

The Ballad of Billy and Rosie is Bill’s family’s story, but it could be anybody’s story from this era. My parents lived through the Depression and World War II and met in the 1950’s. You inherit the stories, the truths, the myths and legends from your parents and you forge your own life, but you are always touched, somehow by those times.

Jesus take the wheel is a song about a person who gives a down and out beggar on the street some small change to make himself guild free – to quote Bill. I guess we have all seen this happen, quite a lot from guys in flash suits and ties and women with Gucci accessories, but there are some genuine people out there who give for the sake of giving.

Bill and Ross do that, they touch on subjects that we can all relate to and understand. I approached this review from that perspective, because I think that is what country music and folk music have in common and because it is so comforting to hear three chords and the truth in a world that doesn’t always provide that.

This album and the other two in the trilogy (which are different in styles but are alike in messages), provide a lesson or two and they are easy to listen to as well. That is not always an easy combination, but it is with Bill.

A slice of history, a slice of us and a slice of Australia. Beautifully played and the message is received. Covid delayed this, like it did many albums, but it is a beauty.

Tracks:

All songs written by Bill Jackson and Ross Jackson

Convict Blood

That’s Why I’m Here

The Shed

Sons of Gippsland

Cut and Run

Summer on the Somme

The Ballad of Billy and Rosie

I take My Whiskey Neat

She Rode Like the Wind

Jesus Take the Wheel

Worth our Due

The Musos:

Bill Jackson: Vocals/Acoustic Guitar, Harp

Kerryn Tolhurst: Mandolin/Electric Guitar/ Tricone Guitar/Lap Steel/Keyboards/Percussion/ Acoustic Guitar

Stephen Hadley: Upright Bass

Greg Field: Fiddle

Paddy Montgomery: Yayli Tanbur

Mischa Herman: Pennywhistle

Shannon Bourne: Electric guitar

Ruth Hazelton: Clawhammer Banjo

Produced by Kerryn Tolhurst.