Totally Biased Fan Review – Songs Before The New Songs – Michael Bryers

Michael Bryers Songs Before the New Songs

When people ask me who my favourite singer/songwriters are, it is a bit like saying who your favourite children are. It is a hard thing to do. It would be a good bet to put some money on Michael Bryers though. He is in my top 10 favourites….I have been a Bryers fan for about the same time as I have been a Luke O’Shea fan and the Yin and Yang of Australian Country Music are magic on stage together. It all fits.

One of my fave gigs at Tamworth is a Michael Bryers’ gig. If I can’t catch the whole 3 hours at one time, I try and catch a set here and a set there. Michael has an enormous sensitivity and a great passion for the things that he believes in and holds dear. That is reflected in his performances and in his recordings.

This is a wonderful collection of songs from two of Michael’s previous albums, Somewhere in Between and Frangipani. If I heard Michael right at the gigs, these albums aren’t available anymore, so he put the songs onto one album and he is calling them the songs before the new songs. He played a few other songs at his gigs which aren’t on Sideshow, which is one of my favourite Australian Country Music albums of all time (see my top 100). These songs will go on to another album which will be produced in the next decade…..we had to wait that long for Sideshow. (Mind you, it is a masterpiece).

So that explains the set up.  Michael always does things a bit differently.  What he always does, though, is produce fabulous albums with amazing songs that cover a gamut of subjects, emotions, opinions and they have enormous depth. Michael is not a lightweight. His music always has meaning and they leave you thinking, re-thinking and of course, they make you feel something.

Michael would have a song to please most audience members. He has a few different styles and delivers everything from different angles. He is a storyteller, like his mate, Luke, but with a different sound to Luke. Michael is more bluesy, he can belt out a ballad, and like Luke, he is a thinking fan’s musician. There are no bubblegum, fluffy throwaway songs here.  This is a poet with a guitar.

For old fans of Michael, it is a chance to relive old songs  in one hit, for new fans, it is a good way to gain an introduction to the quality music that Michael has to offer. If you buy this and Sideshow, you have the best of Michael and you can look forward to what is hopefully another wonderful recording of new music.

I am very proud to be a Michael Bryers’ fan. If you don’t know Michael, I hope that this helps you get started on a journey that you will never regret.

MichaelBryersandMe

 

Tracks:

2 Lost Souls

21 Nights

Already There

Cigarette Breath

Fall Like Rain

Feel

Frangipani

Gone Again

If I Live

John Prine Said

Look The Other Way

Million Words

My Opinion

Nothing To Lose

Runaway Car

Somewhere In Between

Those Were The Days

Turnin’ Blue

Walkin’ On

All songs written by Michael Bryers

From the albums: Somewhere In Between and Frangipani

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Totally Biased Fan Review: Shanley Del and James Gillard EP

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Waiting for something from these two extraordinary artists was like a kid waiting for Christmas Day to dawn or for a Christian waiting for the Second Coming.

Like all good things, it was worth the wait. Shanley and I are the same age and probably have many of the same influences in our lives. This Kiwi who is firmly planted in Aussie culture, harmonises so beautifully with James, always has. Shanley usually takes the lead and James adds the frosting and the cream. It is lovely to hear James step up on Make you cry. This four song teaser EP is a mix of old and new, including one of my favourite songs of all time, Your Own Sweet Time. Over the last few years, Shanley has slowly edged herself back into performing, especially with Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes.

There is a rumour that there will be an album later in the year, and I look forward to that. These two are two of Australasia’s finest.  James has been in just about everybody’s band and does more back ups than a Mac truck on the Hume Highway.

I have always been a big fan of both of them and James has been a particular idol for me. The two of them together is pretty speccy. Four songs are not enough….more, more, more….please….

This EP is absolutely faultless.

 

Tracks:

Need to talk to you

Make you cry

Your Own Sweet Time

I’ve Got All the Time In The World

Totally Biased Fan Review: Bill Chambers – 1952

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“The songs are pretty much about living, dying and the passing of time” Bill says of his latest album, 1952. With daughter, Kasey, they are performing sell out concerts across America at the moment. Bill was born in the United Kingdom but spent most of his life in outback Australia and then NSW’s Central Coast.

It is always a major event for me when a Bill Chambers’ album comes out. I don’t have the credits, but I suspect that Nash Chambers has a hand in it as well. I love Bill’s style. It is a fusion of so many of my heroes and no doubt Bill’s heroes too. There is something of a nostalgic ambience around a Bill Chambers’ album. His songs take me back to a mixture of Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Jim Croce and the like with a mix of the Guthries, Bob Dylan and Hank in twists and turns.

Bill always mixes it up with light hearted moments and more than one or two songs full of sentiment and reflection. Best known recently for his advice to his daughter “Don’t be a dickhead” which is now an infamous t-shirt and various one liners, there will be a few more attributed to him on this album, like “stick the guitar up your arse”, and the like. You never know what you will hear next from Bill, but then again, you do. He is not backwards in coming forwards and he full of simple, homespun truths.

There is no confusing Bill’s music with anything but country music. That familiar husky voice and the stories that pour out like whiskey over ice, this album is probably close to Bill’s finest works, with every song a tasty piece of pie, whether it is a meat pie or an apple one….savoury or sweet. Guitars gently strumming and sometimes twangy, and that signature honesty from a man who has had a full and colourful life, you are in for a treat.

I don’t use the word ‘legend’ a lot, because it should be reserved for the very best and for those who have stood the test of time and endured it all. Bill is a legend and from his hat to his boots, Bill Chambers is a stunning example of an Aussie legend, especially with a guitar in hand.

From the opening song about Hank, to an almost Paul Kelly sounding song with some Bill touches in Truckstop Cowboy and all of the songs in between, this is a bottler. There are songs about family, friends, and all of the things from the Chambers’ quote above. I love That’s How I Remember You Best, Highway through the Snow and Gravel Road. A lot of the songs are autobiographical, and you have to love how Bill just tells it like it is.

Bravo legend, you have done it again.

 

Tracklist:
01 – 1952 Cadillac
02 – Goodnight
03 – Time
04 – You Ain’t Never Owned a Gun
05 – Place Where I Was Born
06 – Highway Through the Snow
07 – Gravel Road
08 – Every Morning
09 – That’s How I Remember You Best
10 – Truckstop Cowboy
11 – 1952 Cadillac Revisited