Totally Biased Fan Review: Weeds – BBU (Bennett, Bowtell and Urquhart)

BBU Weeds

When you get three of this country’s finest singer/songwriters together, it will always be magic. The second question that people were asking was when are you guys going to do it again. There was never any question. These three dynamos had to make another album. Whenever a chunk of gold lands on your door, you always have to wonder if the next one is going to be another chunk of gold or a chunk of coal or somewhere in between. Can the magic be repeated, can the gem that was their first effort together be replicated, hmmm. Let’s see, shall we….or should I say, listen….

Generally, I am a girl who likes surprises, but not when it comes to certain things….like when I am going to listen to a BBU album. I expect great harmonies, gentle strumming, maybe a song that you can clap to, a song that may have appeared on another album and well crafted songs with thoughtful lyrics and maybe a lesson or two. Yay, I got all of that here. I didn’t want to be shocked by a heavy metal song or a Sex Pistols tune. Not that there is anything wrong with those sorts of things but when it comes to a BBU album, you really don’t want to hear it. There is only one real surprise on the album and it is a poignant one, and I must confess that I shed a tear or two when I heard it, but more on that one later.

One of my favourite songs from last year was the song that Kalesti Butler sang on her album called Just Down the Hall, penned by Kevin Bennett and Lola Brinton so you knew that it could possibly turn up on this album. Both are great versions.

Kevin, Lyn and Felicity are all different kinds of musicians. They have their own stories and delivery. Separately, they have had great success and they have their own dedicated audiences. I could listen to Lyn sing all day. Felicity has so many different ways of singing and writing that you wonder as a solo artist, which way she is going to go next and of course she has had great success as a presenter on ABC’s Saturday Night Country. Kevin is a legend. He has been a part of one of the best bands to come out of the Australian Country music field with The Flood and he has co-written songs for many Australian artists. Bringing the three together in the first place was probably not a trio that a lot would expect to hear together. While they are all very brilliant in their own right, it is not an obvious fit. When they do come together, it is like magic.

With this album, they probably went with the adage “when you’re onto a good thing, stick to it” and it was a good idea to do so. Why mess with perfection? Each song brings one of the three to the lead, much like they did on the last album.  I think that most folks in life want this kind of formula. It is not to say that this one is exactly the same as the last, it just follows a path that is tried and tested and it works.

The last track includes our beloved late and great Karl Broadie and it is a lovely touch. Had he still been alive, it could have well been a quartet, BBUB, as he would have been a perfect 4th member. Of course, we carry him with us wherever we go. It is a nice tribute and a beautiful song to round off proceedings.

I am glad that they went with another album. It would have been a bit sad to leave it at just one. I am looking forward to seeing them soon in Victoria. This album is a collection of beautiful songs that your ears will enjoy and your heart will remember.

 

Tracks:

TITLE TIME

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Totally Biased Fan Review: Philosophies – Bec Hance

Bec Hance Philosophies

Bec Hance has been around for a while. She is firmly entrenched in trad. country in Australia. I finally got to see her LIVE several times in Mildura a few years ago. She keeps the old style going with a fresh coat of paint and a twist or two. From what I have heard and seen of Bec, I think that what you see is what you get, which is not only a country thang, but it is a very Aussie thing.

The opening track to this album is a good way to start that theory, with a no holds barred study of reality tv shows. I think that we will all have a few nodding moments when we listen to this. Luckily, a lot of us can remember when tv was very different in Australia.

A lot of Bec’s songs are about characters, characters that we run into down the street and in the pub or just in the neighbourhood. We get bang for our buck on this album with 15 tracks, a lot of them which we can easily relate to.

Size 10 is partly amusing and partly a bit too close to the truth. I think that I was a size 10 when I was 2. I often think that women are more likely to write songs about their size than guys. You  look fine, Bec.

Philosophies are generally the wise interpretations of life. They are often different and sometimes the same or similar to others. Bec covers a lot of viewpoints on this album, it is aptly named. Philosophies can be complicated, intellectual or simple and sweet.

We all tend to have an elder who has been a mentor. Most likely, it is a grandparent. Things stick. Generations remember.

The Seekers’ classic has been countrified. I’ll never find another you has always been one of my favourite songs, I even have been known to say that if I ever got married, I’d have it at my wedding. Folk and country a short step from each other….this works.

You can’t get more Aussie than How do you say it Mate? We were only discussing this the other day, considering that I am a New South Welshman living in Victoria. Every state has a different way of saying things….I can definitely relate to this song. I have been all over Australia and I totally understand this song.

From the fun of one song, to the sadness of another. Again, all too true. It happens every day. A lot of dog lovers will feel this one. It Breaks Their Heart will touch a lot of hearts.

Everyone’s moving to Melbourne – I’m not sure where Bec lives, but I have moved from NSW to VIC, and I don’t have any regrets. I live in the country but I am under 2 hours via the train to Melbourne. I guess that I have the best of both worlds. I am from Tamworth, originally and I grew up on farms, so I know what she means.

Barcoo Bridle Memories is typical of what Bec is best known for, her Bush Ballads. All bases are covered on this album.

Dancing in The Rain is very much in the Bluegrass vein, and a very apt at the moment. One of my favourites on the album.

Nothing like the hurt – An interesting lyrical work comparing different kind of hurts to the biggest kind of hurt. Very clever.

Drink Like A Man – Not what I thought it was going to be about, but much better!  Certainly a different philosophy! Awesome song.

From the opening bars of this song, you get the feeling that it belongs in an old dance hall with oldtimers dancing around the floor. A beautiful and sad song, which will be a favourite for many listeners, The Love of My Life.

Bush land Boogie is exactly what you expect it to be….with a bit of yodelling too! Get up on the dance floor and do your fancy steps and your awkward ones.

Now I’m Easy – As country as they come. A sad song in many ways, a story and a half. You may need a hanky or two for this one.

A fine album, Australian to the core with more than one philosophy on life and living. I knew that I was going to like this album before I listened to it, I just had that feeling. Give it a spin and you will want to spin it again. It is as comfortable as a hat on your head and a beer in your hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks

 

1. Everyday TV Reality Shows
3:35 $2.19
2. Jelly Bean Man
3:51 $2.19
3. Size 10
3:34 $2.19
4. Grandma’s Philosophies
5:32 $2.19
5. I’ll Never Find Another You
2:40 $2.19
6. How Do You Say It Mate
2:48 $2.19
7. It Breaks Their Heart
5:00 $2.19
8. Everybody’s Moving to Melbourne
4:06 $2.19
9. Barcoo Bridle Memories
3:02 $2.19
10. Dancing in the Rain
2:37 $2.19
11. Nothing Like the Hurt
3:19 $2.19
12. Drink Like a Man
4:32 $2.19
13. The Love of My Life
4:24 $2.19
14. Bush Land Boogie
3:15 $2.19
15. Now I’m Easy
4:19 $2.19

Totally Biased Fan Review: Great Aunt – A Mess That I Left EEP

Great Aunt A Mess That I Left.jpg

In June, I attended Country Rocks the Black Dog and I heard two gals sing who left quite an impression. This EEP is what was promised to us and it has now been delivered.

It opens with a few seconds of an almost “Welcome to My Church” moment. Once seated, we get into a mixture of songs that lead us down a folky, Americana (Alt. Country) road that is not a mess at all…just a blend or fusion of styles and influences that are natural and beautifully delivered.

I wasn’t surprised to read (briefly) that this was an “at home” production. It feels like they are sitting on a verandah playing to the passers by and just having a cool jam session. This is particularly evident in “Diggin’ Holes”. One moment you feel like you are on a Native American Reservation, the next up on a mountain top and the next down on the Bayou or in a church in Memphis. My mind tends to wander a bit as I listen to music….so maybe it is just my interpretation and vivid imagination but this small but quality offering takes you to a few places.

The girls blend so well with each other. They have a great collaboration going. Wonderful harmonies and they seem to be in sync with each other’s rhythms. This is an easy EEP to repeat over and over….it is easy to listen to at any hour and you will be tapping your toes or humming the songs quite instantly and constantly.

A truly beautiful sound. Now get a full album out girls, I need to hear more.

 

1.
Refrain
2.
Head Up
3.
We Need To Start Again
4.
Diggin’ Holes
5.
Part I (They Came)
6.
7.
Oh, Cruel World

Totally Biased Fan Review: Rose Zita Falko and Mitch Power – The Union Hotel, Brunswick, Sunday 2nd September

RoseandMitchSunday.jpg

I had originally intended to go and see Becci Nethery on Sunday at The Mantra, but sadly, she was sick and had to cancel. Looking around for something to fill in the afternoon before the next gig, it was easy…..it is Melbourne, after all, the official LIVE music cap of the world, according to a recent poll.  Two people who are fast becoming part of my country music family, were playing at The Union, a lovely little pub in a quieter street in Brunswick, where most of the pubs have LIVE music…..go Brunswick!  Sunday afternoons, there is always something on there.  Rose Zita Falko and Mitch Power have contrasting styles but they also blend well together.

Rose has been one of my best music surprises this year. She is so versatile and hard to label when it comes to her music. She has a voice which can adapt to most forms of music. There is something of a young Peggy Lee about her voice, and then sometimes and Aretha or even an Ella. She is probably too young in age to know too much about those folks, but trust me, she has their qualities. She is still developing, and it is an exciting adventure to watch unfold….I predict huge things for Rose, if she wants to go big.

Mitch has fingers in so many pies, comedy being his latest venture, though none of us were really surprised when he went that route because he is a naturally funny guy. He is also doing a Bruce Springsteen show and he is playing his own music as well as his gigs supporting Rose.

These two are always entertaining. Rose has recently been to Canada for a songwriting trip and it will be great to see and hear what she comes up with next. She sang a new song that she has written with The Queen of Boomtown, Gretta Ziller and you can hear Gretta in there. It is quite a song.

It was a lovely afternoon with two of the rising stars of the Alt. Country music scene.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes with The Weeping Willows – Winnebago Lounge, Caravan Club, Sunday 2nd September

LachlanBryanandthewildessunday.jpg

The Weeping Willows Sunday.jpg

I loved the old Caravan Club.  I travelled down from Sydney on 4 occasions just to go there to gigs. It had a great atmosphere and the best acts. It was also close to the station, which is good for a public transport gal like myself. That said, times change and public transport situation aside (and I have friends to take me to the new location), the new place does have elements of the old place and it certainly does have the same great acts and some new ones now and then.

I hadn’t seen Lachlan and The Wildes for a while, they have been busy touring overseas and in other parts of the country. It was good to hear them again, singing songs from several of their albums, including their fabulous 2018 album, Some Girls Quite Like Country Music. I now have the t-shirt to prove it and I will wear it with pride.  I have said it before, but I love it when Lachlan plays the piano. Of course, DCaf had to play 5,000 instruments and honorary Wildes, The Weeping Willows, joined them for most of the set. Shaun just plays quietly in the background while the others do the talking, but this is the best line up of the Wildes.  It is nice having them all back together.

I got ahead of myself though. The Weeping Willows started proceedings It was an awesome set as usual and they must be sick of seeing my face. They did well just to stand up on stage after a massive year of touring and appearing at just about every festival in Australia lately.  Apart from that, they have been recording with other artists and they got married! What a big 2018 they have had and it isn’t over yet. They are heading off for a tour of the USA soon as well as appearing at several festivals here and supporting other artists in the coming months….no wonder that they don’t have time to record another album yet! As always, Andy’s picking and Laura’s beautiful voice dominated and they sang songs from both of their albums as well as a couple of new songs and a cover. I had heard these recently at Kristy Cox’s gig but they were brand new to a lot of the crowd and they went down well.

Lachlan and The Wildes even featured a song from their first album (yes, I do have it) as well as songs from other albums which was good. Many acts tend to only feature their current one. It is nice to hear a smattering of songs from all of the albums. The room was packed but comfortably and featured many of the usual suspects, devotees of these two fine acts who always thoroughly deserve a full house.  Fine musicianship, murder ballads, beautiful harmonies, folks who obviously know each other inside out and have an amazing chemistry and songs that are rich in thought and composition – what more could a fan ask for?

I always feel inspired to write after I hear Lachlan play. He is one of the finest singer/songwriters in the country and he never lets me down in his gigs or on his albums.

Bravo to two fine acts, may there always be encores.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: John Flanagan String Band at Merri Creek Tavern, Northcote, Saturday 1st September

JohnFlanaganSaturday

I finally got to see John Flanagan LIVE!  In an interesting move, the first half of the gig was dedicated to a favourite band of the String Band, Stray Birds which most people in the crowd hadn’t heard of, but they were good songs and each member of the band contributed in presenting a story about the now broken up band and their music. It was a unique tribute, considering that most tributes these days are to dead rock and country stars or megafamous bands that are too pricey to go and see.  Good music is good music and it doesn’t really matter about the fame level. Everyone in the band was in good form and played and sang with a high energy and joy level. Their passion for the music was obvious.

However, after a short break and some departures from the band, John started to sing the songs that we know and love from the songwriter that we know and love – himself. It was great to hear all the songs that I have been spinning on his cds. I would have loved to have heard a few more of his songs, but a night only lasts so long. The venue was sold out and we were all pretty jam packed into a small space but time went fast and my leg recovered after some quick stretches at intermission.  With standing room only, there was no room for air guitar, though I was tempted!  I only managed a few pics as it was hard to get a pic without someone’s head in the way. It was good to see that someone of John’s talent was able to have a sellout crowd on a busy Melbourne evening. The average age of the crowd was late twenties to thirties, which is great.  Together with John’s parents, I think that I was the oldest person in the room and I loved every minute of it.

John sounds as good LIVE as he does on record. The band were all cool, very polished and they were having so much fun. They were as crammed on the stage as we were in the room but it didn’t really worry anybody that much.

The folky, bluesy, easy stylings of the band made for a very relaxing Saturday night. I had been waiting for a long time to see this mob in the flesh and I wasn’t let down a bit. All the songs were great, we all left wanting more and rest assured, the next time that I see a gig on in my vicinity, I will be going to it.

Thanks for the music, the stories and the laughs. It was a cool night.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Michelle Walker – Backbone

MichelleWalkerBackbonealbumcover

Michelle has already had successes off this album with Jack and Jillaroo and the duet with Tyson Colman which is also on his album, “Couldn’t Live Without You”.  Backbone is the current single and title track.

All of the tracks are different and Michelle’s sound is a little bit different to most female singers in Australian Country….it has a unique timbre to it and it allows her to explore different octaves almost within an octave!

If you look at the 79 different types of country music, she just about covers every kind on here, with the amusing “She’s got Class”, the earthy country songs, the up tempo ones, the twangy ones and bluesy ones. She covers a few bases.

I really like What I Love, especially lyrically.  Burning Up Inside sounds like she could be Melissa Robertson’s twin…..they could interchange songs here…or maybe a duet….now there is an idea! I think that she might go an octave lower than Melissa on this one  though.  Some nice piano on here too.

I didn’t find too much production information on this, but it works very smoothly and it is a very natural sounding record. Nothing is forced or over technical.

I love the duet with Tyson, but I am a bit biased there, I am a big fan of his. The opening track is an interesting track vocally. Not many people would be able to pull that one off.

A lot of the songs seem to be saying that she loves what she does and she doesn’t worry about what people think anymore about what she is doing – on or off the stage or record.  Songs like Trying to be Me, What I Love and When I take the stage, seem to reflect that.

I don’t think that Michelle has anything to be worried about. I can imagine the fans lapping this one up and enjoying every song.

Homeward Call is full of awesome fiddles and it is a real yee haa song. Tamworth audiences will go crazy for that one.  It is the best song to end the album with.

I think that there is something for everybody here, no matter what your country music tastes are.

Tracks:

Trying to Be Me

Jack and Jillaroo

Phoenix

Backbone

We’ve got something

Summer’s nearly Over

She’s Got Class

What I love

Burning up inside

Couldn’t live Without You (with Tyson Colman)

When I Take The Stage

Homeward Call