The Single Life: Episode 8

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One Step Away, the new poppy country song from Kate Hindle…catchy little number but very different from Kate’s usual stuff. Good to change up on occasion. Hell Freezes Over, long awaited new music from my dear mate, Allison Forbes, who has an album out soon. Yes, an album, not an E.P or an EEP, an album, cannot wait.  A rippa of a song and may there be many more. My young mate, Chandler Jay has another single, My Own Personal Pain. He has been busking for longer than any body that I know, and he is still very young. Can’t wait for an album. Roll of a Dice is Della Harris’s single. It went as far as no. 2, and her older EEP will be featured on here soon. The River is a beaut song from Mason Hope which is featured on the EEP review that I did here on the weekend.

Short list this week, but there are many more coming….and oh, the albums!

 

Do it country!

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Totally Biased Fan Review: Running, Falling, Floating – Mason Hope EEP

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This is an EEP by one song. Kaz definitions: 1 song = single, 2 songs, double sided single, 3-4 songs, EP, 5-9 songs, EEP, 10 -20 LP, Over 20 usually a double or triple LP.

So, 5 tracks is an EEP, and what a fine effort from a young man.

It is wonderful to hear fresh, new talent coming through – apart from the line about chasing a mouse down the hall (phobia) – this is a strong offering of what is to come. He was hard done by on the voice but, hey, they don’t know everything.

Looking forward to hearing more from this young man with crisp, soulful vocals and a lot of raw talent.

 

Tracks:

The River – This song has a catchy beat in a song which could be described as country rock.

Falling Into You –  A more poppy almost reggae sound. Mason’s voice can certainly go to several octaves.

Free Falling Down – the harmonica and the easier beat probably makes this song sound the most ‘country’.  It is my favourite song on the EEP.

Let it Go – This one is also a favourite. A beautiful ballad and it does showcase Mason’s voice best. Not to be confused with Gretta Ziller’s song or the Frozen song.

Alex in Wonderland – if you like the song That Thing You Do from the Tom Hanks directed movie of the same name, then you will love this.

Totally Biased Fan Review: All The Words – Claire Anne Taylor

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Think early Norah Jones, Janis Joplin and Bette Midler with a few cigarettes and you get Claire Anne Taylor. Claire is from Tasmania. I don’t think the above three ever went there, but if they did, they would have left tell tale signs with this soul chick. Yes, she’s more soul and blues than the folk label that they give her, but there is a bit of that there too.

Claire Anne Taylor starts this album off with Drunken Choir, which is a mixture of all of the above and a wee bit of Memphis gospel. Pick Your Bones is more of the Joplin thing…..and a bit of the smoky old blues bar thrown in for good measure.

Hold me, Darling goes into the Norah feel….very sultry and soul fueled. When Things Fall Apart is kind of funky/blues/soul with the occasional Peggy Lee feel.

The Fire is a family history retrospective. A warm song in more ways than one.

In many ways, the closest that she comes to the full on country sound is via traces of Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams, which is pretty good company to keep. In Your Final Hours is probably the best example of this. It is still a mixture of the other artists and styles that I have mentioned, part of the 79 different types of country music.

Boogie River is definitely in the funktry role, which the title would suggest.  Who can resist the great Aussie line – ‘softly spoken bogan with his flannelette flair’.

Nothing on You –  It is a very slow and sexy song, which is quite amazing as I never thought a song mentioning cups of tea would be.

I’m Going Home – An homage to her home state of Tasmania. Very country she may have swallowed a Bonnie Raitt pill here.

Rise to Your Door –  Of all of the songs that Leonie McClure played off this album the other day, this song stuck in my head. I am not sure if it was because of the bird sounds or the sadness and death that has plagued my year, but this satisfies my penchant for sad songs.

Claire is one to watch. A fresh new songwriter with elements of legends in her music.  Can’t be a bad combination, hey?

Sad songs to make you smile.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Where I’m Going – Kelly Cork

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Firstly, I have to say, that I am so jealous of the cover pic. I always wanted a Dragster bike when I was a kid. They were the bike of cool kids in the early 1970’s when I was growing up.  I didn’t want the girly ones with the tassles and sparkles and pink paint, I wanted a red or blue almost motorbike looking ones like the boys. Nevermind, I made do learning on my Ma’s oversized antique.

That aside, this is a long awaited album. I saw Kelly at one of Allison Forbes’ sessions in Tamworth in January and he promised us all that it was on its way. If anyone epitomises what I love in male songwriting, it is the stuff that Kelly produces.  They are my kind of songs and my kind of words. He has a quality about his voice that totally matches his songs in delivery.  That doesn’t always happen.

To add to this, he includes some of my favourite people on here, including: Felicity, Lyn, Glen, Kevin and the one and only, Jen Mize.

I am a folk music lover first, and a big fan of the 1960’s and early to mid 1970’s kind of music. If you think of people like J J Cale, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg, Cat Stevens kind of stuff then Kelly could very easily fit into that mix. He also reminds me a bit of Mike McClellan, Kevin Johnson and Doug Ashdown in many ways.

He is that good.

Every amazing album that is released in the remainder of this year and next year that is touched by the incredible hands of Glen Hannah is going to make us a bit sad and eternally grateful that we had this genius in our world and how terribly tragic it is to have lost him. You can hear him on this album, physically and hauntingly as a companion as you listen to it. The physical album has a lovely dedication to him.

This is a stunning album. Every track is so beautifully produced and the sound is just incredible. I have listened to it three times this morning, and we have been gifted with 13 tracks, which is almost unheard of these days.

The word ‘journey’ is overused these days, but a lot of these songs take you on one. Even in the titles, they do: Down the Road, River Bend, Sailed in, Sailing Wind, Where I’m going…..

Where I’m Going also reminds me a bit of something that Willie Nelson would write or sing, (Kelly has a better voice!). There are so many familiar sounds and comparisons, but essentially, Kelly has something very fresh and different here for this generation to present. I often quote the line that my Creative Writing Lecturer used at Uni. “You are what you read”.  It is the same for songwriters as it is for authors. You borrow and learn from your mentors and influences.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly has picked up some lessons from the abovementioned as well as Dylan, Kristofferson and Springsteen. You can hear it in subtle ways.

These songs are easy to relate to. They are experiences that we can all understand and identify with to a point and just chill on the couch too and enjoy. I read where Kelly is often described as a songwriter’s songwriter. I would find it easy to think of him as a poet who sings.  It is the kind of music that I just love best. Songs that ring true, tell a story, create an image and stick with you for a long time to come.

Even if Kelly didn’t have a star studded cast here, this album would stand up as a true treasure. It will be on multiple spins on my stereo. Perfect for a lazy Sunday.

Simply stunning and stunningly simple.

Tracks:

Down the Road

Jezebel

Somehow

River Bend

Where I’m Going

Sailed In

There You Go

In a Song

Further Than I Am Behind

I got nothing

Sailing Wind

My Middle Name

I long

All songs written by Kelly Cork

Recorded and Engineered by Rob Mackay Pacific International and Glen Hannah

Mixed and Mastered by Jason Millhouse Organic Audio

Produced by Jeffrey and collective talents of everyone

Musos:

Kevin Benett – Guitar and Vocals

Jen Mize – Cello and Vocals

Tom Richter – Guitar and Mandolin

Wayne ‘Killer’ Kellett Bass

Rob Mackay – Bass

Glen Hannah – Guitar and Vocals

Mick Meartin – Drums and Percussion

Peter Lee – Drums

Garry Kohler – Harmonica

Felicity U and Lyn B – I Long – vocals

 

 

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Texas – Rodney Crowell


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There are only a few certainties in life – Kaz buying a Rodney Crowell album is one of them.

Often described as a songwriter’s songwriter or an artist’s artist, Rodney Crowell always produces albums which are quality – technically and lyrically. You would think, however, that after all of the years in the business, Crowell would have a line up of guest artists who weren’t this shabby (joke) – Lee Ann Womack, Randy Rogers, Vince Gill, guitar supremo Billy F Gibbons, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle…..holy guitars, Batman!

Funny that Ringo Starr is on this album, as if I was asked what artists you would put in a melting pot to define the sound of this creation, I would say The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Robert Palmer. A lot of the songs have a backbeat similar to Beatles songs and a lot of songs from the 60’s. The first track, Flatland Hillbillies with Lee Ann Womack and Randy Rogers, is one of those. Rodney always mixes it up a bit, he has never been totally conventional, which makes him unique and just special. Caw Caw Blues with Vince Gill is a soup of blues, funk and a bit of Cajun.

56 Fury is funky, shoulder shifting, toe tapping, air guitar, rubber burning, bluesy, thigh slapping stuff. Lots of guitars and guttural backing vocals.

Deep in the Heart of Uncertain Texas features those promising young stars, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack. It is a Kaz song, deep down south country.  Just about my favourite track and not just because of the stars, the sound is pretty special. It’s a singalong song that sounds a bit like The Band when they went slightly country.

Not surprisingly, one of the other songs that sounds a bit like The Beatles is You’re Only Happy When You’re Miserable with Ringo Starr….you’ll want to add a beep beep yeah in there somewhere. More John or Paul than Ringo, but my favourite Beatle gets it right. Awesome song. It has a touch of Robert Palmer too….you will know what I mean when you hear it.

I’ll Show Me is intriguing from the moment that you read the title.  Bluesy, almost jazzy.  Those Beatles’ licks are there on the guitar a couple of verses in and the piano is fab. The words are the best. Some of the lines are just out of the ball park. “See myself as a young Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas to a Welsh Coke head.”

What You Gonna do Now – Lyle Lovett beat with Lyle Lovett, again with that 60’s sound…..I’ll bet that you won’t be able to resist tapping or humming or moving some part of yourself to this one.  Some groovy licks and fun rhythm.

The Border –  no surprise that this has a Mexican feel to it. A great song for a lazy Sunday afternoon. My mind is racing with images….it would make a good video clip. You will be transported to Texas and Mexico with this one, if you aren’t already there.

Treetop Slim and Billy Lowgrass – It is what it sounds like…..almost 10 paces at Sunrise sort of song. Yee Haa!

Brown and Root, Brown and Root – with Steve Earle – a working man blues kind of song with those weeping guitars and a story song that is true to life. What you would expect with Steve added to the mix. This is definitely a favourite with me.

Texas Drought Part 1 – I am not sure what Rodney is meaning by this one, I am not sure if it is a teaser or a joke or a tribute to Texas or a tribute to The Travelling Wilburys….sounds like all of this. It may just be a short song tacked onto a big song about a big deal. I think most country people in Australia and America could relate to this problem, in any case.

Another gem from someone who knows how to wield a pen and play a guitar.

Tracks:

“Flatland Hillbillies” (featuring Lee Ann Womack & Randy Rogers)
“Caw Caw Blues” (featuring Vince Gill)
“56 Fury” (featuring Billy F Gibbons)
“Deep In the Heart of Uncertain Texas” (featuring Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack)
“You’re Only Happy When You’re Miserable” (featuring Ringo Starr)
“I’ll Show Me”
“What You Gonna Do Now” (featuring Lyle Lovett)
“The Border” ( with John Jorgenson)
“Treetop Slim & Billy Lowgrass”
“Brown & Root, Brown & Root” (featuring Steve Earle)
“Texas Drought Part 1”

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Beautiful Tangle – Gina Jeffreys

Gina Jeffreys Beautiful Tangle

I lived on the Central Coast for probably half of my life. My Pa lives there now and my Ma did until she passed away a few months ago. Living there, and being raised in Tamworth, otherwise, gave me a connection to my country music roots. Central Coast is or was the home to many of Australia’s greatest country music artists, including Gina and her husband, Rod. All of the local artists appeared regularly at gigs there, and so I probably got to see and hear them more regularly than just my festival trips to Tamworth. I literally used to bump into Adam Harvey and Gina Jeffreys in shopping centres.

A few ahem years ago, I ran into Gina at a Lyn Bowtell album launch at Lizottes Kincumber. She said that she would have an album out soon and I said, let me know and I will review it for you and be the second in line to buy a copy. It was a wonderful night for a lot of reasons, but I also was given a faint ray of hope that Gina was going to release that long awaited album.

Well, it has been a decade since the last album and we finally get a big, fat, juicy 14 track album that is without a doubt, worth the wait.

It did my heart good to see Gina in Tamworth in January with Beccy Cole, Tania Kernaghan and Lyn Bowtell at a sold out gig on the same night as Keith Urban did a sold out gig. I understand how other things become more important, but this golden girl deserves to be singing and writing and performing. She is still one of the best that we have ever produced on and off record.

This album, despite owning all of her albums, including one that is on my top 100 of all time Australian Country Albums as posted earlier this year, is my favourite album of hers. It is absolute quality. Lyrically, musically and beautifully produced.

I am an unashamedly, pure ballad gal and this album is full of that, it is what Gina does best. Heartfelt, pure, beautiful, country ballads. Her voice is still as fabulous as it was when she was winning awards and making headlines.

Her single, Cash, (not about money, but about the legendary Johnny) is a fitting start to the return to recording, given that Cash in many ways, gave her a leg up on one of his tours and that Rod and Gina have a son, Jackson.

Every song on the album is amazing, with my favourites being Milestones, her duet with Lee, He Still Wants to Dance With Her, Ferris Wheel Ride, Do that, Time and Room at the Table (my two absolute favourites) and the dreamy Exhale. They are all fabulous tracks, all co-written by Gina and all very personal pages out of her life.

This is only my iTunes download, I hope to buy a cd at gig from Gina, so I can’t give you all the details, but this album is so beautiful, so memorable and so long awaited for by each and everyone of us fans who have been there since the beginning.  I think that Gina will gain a whole new legion of fans with this new release.

Room at the Table made me cry…….buckets. It reminded me of my dear Mum. The song was her philosophy.

This album has some funky stuff too…..gee, Gina, it is so wonderful to have you back, though you were never really away, because I played your stuff over and over still. Thank you for all that you have given us and let this not be the last one for another 10-12 years. Absolutely fabulous.

Tracks:

Cash

Do That

Gypsy Soul

He Still Wants to Dance With Her (with Lee Kernaghan)

vintage

Unravel

Chase the Girls Away

Milestones

Ferris Wheel Ride

Exhale

Time

Room At the Table

Rattles My Bones

Gravity

Totally Biased Fan Review: Songs from the Aftermath – Wagons

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Wagons have given me two of my most memorable moments in Country Music. Given my life and history, that is pretty outstanding. Both for completely different reasons.

The first came a few years ago at one of the Sydney Country Music Festivals. It was the only one that I have ever attended – a two day gig that was colourful and brilliant and horrific and chaos. Some of my favourite acts performed, including the incredible Beccy Cole and Luke O’Shea and probably the best performance ever by the McClymonts.  However, there were some awful moments too and although set in one of the most beautiful spots in Western Sydney, it was nuts. Someone who made me laugh, put my fist up in the air in triumph and become immersed in what the word entertainment was about and the first time that I had seen them was Henry and his Wagons…..while others on the day murdered Elvis songs, Henry and his Wagons did an amazing job of one. While others made me cringe and worry that I was an Australian country music fan, this guy got up, strutted his stuff and was legendary – if anyone deserves to be called alternative in this country, it is Henry Wagons. He is a mixture of Nick Cave, Paul Kelly and Leonard Cohen with a touch of the old Bob Dylan in there and maybe the unknown other son of Johnny Cash….but mainly he is Henry.  How original is he?

My second memorable moment with Mr Wagons was at a red carpet at the Golden Guitars a few years ago, when he walked it with Lachlan Bryan. It was priceless. The best ‘couple’ to walk the carpet that night. Of course they aren’t, but it was fun.

I tell you these things to set you up for this album. It has been a long time coming and the songs are awesome. If you take into account the mixture of legends that I have mentioned, you will appreciate where I am coming from here.

This album is their first for five years. It is dark and haunting at times, at other times it is fun and at other times it suitably strange. There is a certain timbre to Henry’s voice that is familiar yet fresh. The songs are well produced, beautifully crafted and surprisingly catchy. Henry is a great entertainer on stage, but the songs have a deeper meaning – soulful, heartfelt, mysterious and rich in construction and delivery.

I always like something fresh and different. Something that feels comfortable and familiar yet has an interesting or unique quality. I loved Henry and his Wagons music from the first time that I heard them. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I think that you need to take a real good listen to this. It is something pretty special. One of the surprise albums of the year…..but not really, I knew that it would be good.

 

 

Tracks:

Keep on Coming Back

My Darkness

Take Me to your leader

Sirens

Wake Up

Drifting

Old fashioned Nights

Cockroach

Burn with me

Is this the End?