Totally Biased Fan Review: The Devil Found Work – Kevin Johnson

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The guy that my family has always called “Uncle Kev” (yes, I am a Johnson and a K Johnson at that) – is still one of my favourite songwriters of all time. His song Oleanders is probably one of my favourite songs of all time.

He wrote songs about his sons, Shane and Scott and he now writes songs about his grandchildren.

I have been to a few Kevin Johnson gigs over the years, most recently at Marrickville in Sydney a few years ago.

He has a wonderful legacy of songs, and now he steps into a new era. Kevin Johnson, above all , is a great storyteller. My late uncle, Dennis and my aunty, Margaret, joined him once for dinner with friends and had great discussions on his music and the stories behind them, I was always a bit jealous about that.

Some of these songs are classic Kevin songs and stories but others are a change-up and and more up tempo than what most KJ fans are used to.

Kevin has a distinctive voice. He has this honest approach in what he sings and writes about and his sound does not waiver. In Another Time, in another Place, The Gentle Heart,  Time, Fairy Tales are standouts.

It is so wonderful to hear Kevin back on the airwaves. He is a national treasure and an Australian singer/songwriting legend. Thank you, “Uncle Kev” for all that you have contributed to Australian music and to my life. I remember every concert and every song. If there were more like you and less like others, the world would be a better place.

 

Track Listing:

The Devil Found Work

In Another Time, In Another Place

Political Shuffle

The Gentle Heart

There Comes A Time

Lola (Life just carries us on)

Time

Saskia

Fairytales

Emmylou Those Funny things you do)

Home

Gypsy (Life hurries by so quickly)

Further Down the Line

All songs by Kevin Johnson

 

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Borderline – Matt Manning

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Listening to this album brings about two things, a cool, deep, voice and a trip down memory lane to a more simple time. These songs, from the legendary song with Mike to some lovely old bush songs and then some more modern approaches like It Takes People Like Me….ah, does this old Tamworth gal proud.

Matt Manning is only a relatively young fella, but he has this deep, honest voice singing songs beyond his years and his own life history.

Produced by one of my favourite sons, Stuie French and backed by some of the finest singers and players in the country, Matt can’t really go wrong. This is country, pure Aussie country. It is Slim Dusty Jnr mixed with a tinge of Graeme Connors and John Williamson. Matt is his own man really, and he adds a refreshing thread to the traditional style of country music.

I love all the 79 types of country music, but this traditional stuff when it is done well, is my favourite style.

The Saddle is a fave, written by one of the best, John O’Dea. Song and Dance Man is a childhood fave. When I was a youngster, it was often played on 2MO and my sister, my mother (who loved Mike severely) and I would sing the song on the way to my Aunty’s in Bingara from Somerton.

The songs in general bring back childhood memories, not because they are songs from that time, (apart from Mike’s) but because that was the style that was delivered in those halcyon days of Australian Country Music and the Tamworth Country Music Festival which was just down the road.

It is the type of music that my Dad listened to on the verandah at our old farmhouse, usually on Mr Hoedown, John Minson’s show.

This album is basically all new songs with a few classics but the new ones fit in to the fabulous old style of songs that is still there if you look hard enough.

It is good to see young fellas like Matt keep the old country alive, with a modern twist.

If you love old country, you will eat this up. If you don’t know it give it a spin, you may be surprised at how much you will love it.

 

Track Listing:

What is Wrong with that (Chris Pritchard)

My Bulldog loves Bitumen (Ian Quinn/ Matt Manning)

The Saddle ( John O’Dea)

Someday, I’ll sober up ( William Russell)

grew Up hard and grew up Quick ( Chris Pritchard)

Song and Dance man ( Mike McClellan)

Prissy (Pricilla Hubbard)

Highway One (Slim Dusty/ D Kirkpatrick)

Old Bushmates of mine ( Slim Dusty/ D Kirkpatrick)

Mudcarter Blues ( Keith Jamieson/ Matt Manning)

Bush Girl (Chris Pritchard)

It takes people like you  ( Buck Owens)

The Players:

Stuie French – Guitars, Dobro, BVs

Bradley Bergen – Drums

Chris Haigh – Bass Guitar

Michel Rose – Steel Guitar

Mick Albeck – Fiddle

Camille Te Nahu – Backing Vocals

Matt Manning – Guitars