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.
Keep on Coming Back
Take Me to your leader
Old fashioned Nights
Burn with me
Is this the End?