Totally Biased Fan Review: The Sunny Cowgirls – Happy Days (EEP)

Sunny Cowgirls Happy Days

These two have been few a few life changes in the last few years….all of that and their life stories are explained in the second track, here, Sunny Days. The two sisters are always bright and breezy and pure country.

They add Lee Kernaghan’s big hit, Hat Town, here but it has a different edge to it and the rest of the songs are written by one or the other Sunny Cowgirl. When you have a song called Raining Pineapples as your first song, you know that it is not going to be too heavy.

The work hard/play hard nature of their songs is still there, especially in a song like Cuttin’ Up B & S Style. It is not an easy song to sing along too…bit like trying to sing along to I’ve been Everywhere!

This EEP is a bit more autobiographical than a lot of other albums from these two. Maybe that is why they only made it an EEP, rather than a full album…so that they could leave a few songs left for future chapters!

Cowboy gets you foot stomping or line dancing. It is a Yee Ha song for sure.

As mentioned earlier, they do a version of Hat Town, which is a smokier, deep south kind of version. I really like it.

Rousy’s Life is a hand clapping, foot stomping, ute driving, horse riding kind of song. The kind of song that you dance to after a few beers.

An enjoyable, fun little EEP. The girls are back.

 

Tracks:

Raining Pineapples (Sophie Clabburn)

Sunny Days (Celeste Clabburn)

Cuttin’ Up B & S Style  (Sophie Clabburn)

Cowboy (Celeste Clabburn)

Hat Town (L. Kernaghan/C. Buchanan/G.Porter)

Rousy’s Life (Sophie Clabburn)

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Emma Jene – Erosion

Emma Jene Erosion

I have followed EJ since her first album. I didn’t quite get to see her as a young pup in musical theatre, but at least since she was 16. She has certainly grown up. I affectionately call her my country music grand daughter, as I am old enough to be and we have bumped into each other enough over the years to be fairly close. The songs are great showcases for Emma Jene’s big voice and as Amber Lawrence once said, you can feel every note. The subjects are getting into the ‘big girl’ stuff now. She was wise to sing songs suited to her age when she was younger, unlike some others, and she is doing the same now.  There are a couple of songs on here which involve drinking….which she doesn’t do, unless this is a new thang, (ha!)….not that there is anything wrong with that, but she tackles a few older subjects. I think that it is a sign of mature artist and she does it subtly and with class.

The beautiful voice and heart of this girl shine through. The songs are sometimes powerful, sometimes light and breezy. Each album that Emma Jene produces is a little bit different to the last one. She is not resting on her laurels, she is evolving as all good artists do.

I don’t have the solid copy of the album or the credits, but I know that Angus Gill (appropriately, my country music grandson) had a fair bit to do with the production side of things here, and sings a duet with E.J on this album too.

E.J’s influences are many, but I know that Beccy Cole and Dolly Parton are two of them. The delivery of her songs is becoming more powerful and stronger with each album and  she learns from her mentors and her peers and her heroes. I have watched her grow up on the stage and on record and she always pays attention to those who have done the hard yards.

Emma Jene is not afraid of hard work. Her life is full and varied and she gives lessons as well as taking them. She has had a clear vision since the beginning and she is willing to give it her all to achieve those dreams.

Apart from the duet with Angus, Fly on the Wall, I love Homebound Greyhound, Alone and Feels So Good best, though I do like all of the tracks. Erosion is just amazing. Such a beautiful song.

Emma Jene is a great role model for lots of young artists coming through and indeed lots of young people.

Emma Jene is still a very young artist. You have to wonder how far she will go when she is this good at such a young age.

This album is lyrically and instrumentally polished and a quality effort. The sky is your limit…..but nah, E.J, you can go beyond that.

Enjoy folks.

 

Tracks:

Feels So Good

Boy Meets Girl

You

Intervention

Caught Between the Left and The Right

Fly On The Wall – (featuring Angus Gill)

Homebound Greyhound

Alone

Erosion

Just Go

Totally Biased Fan Review: Fingerprints – Rod McCormack

RodMcCormackFingerprints

This album is amazing on so many levels. We often think of Rod as a producer, musician, co-ordinator of big events and we aren’t aware of his own individual talent as a singer and master instrumentalist of his own work. We finally have his wife, Gina Jeffrey’s releasing a new album after a long time and now we have this masterpiece by the man himself.

On this mammoth effort, Rod has written or co-written every song. His vocals are put to the fore and his musicianship and production are top notch, as you would expect from one of Australia’s best producers and instrumentalists.

There is no mistaking this album for pure country, with some high quality bluegrass thrown in and some wonderful duets and a real mix of slower and more up tempo songs.

If you love your guitars and fiddles and mandolins and banjos, then they are all here. I have to say, though that the quality of Rod’s vocals and the songwriting are the surprises here. Why did Rod take so long to give this kind of gift to our ears? Who knew? Often behind the scenes or looking after everybody else, Rod shines in the spotlight here.

This album is a marathon, an amazing one. Every track is special and original. It is hard to pick standouts, as they are all so beautifully crafted and presented.  I have witnessed Rod’s work since he started out with his brother Jeff, and the long hair and quietly playing away with his distinctive style for others. This is quite a gem.

Another Tinsel Town, Double Rainbow, Fingerprints (with Gina), Wherever You Go with Claire Lynch are probably amongst my favourites, but there are so many fine tracks. On the bonus edition, there are 19 tracks. It is a feast of superb instrumentals and songs that will have you humming, strumming and tapping your feet.

This is a classy and classic offering of amazing country music. In a year of wonderful surprises this has to be amongst the biggest.  More, Rod, More.

 

Tracks: (Bonus Edition)

Shimmers (R McCormack and G McCormack)

Another TInsel Town (RMcCormack, T Thompson, S Gay)

Brand New Friend (R McCormack, R Bourke, E Adeline)

Covering Your Tracks (R.McCormack, T Lunsford, W. Denney)

Fingerprints featuring Gina Jeffreys (R.McCormack, J.S. Sherrill)

Timeless Traveller (R. McCormack)

Ballad of Willie Johnson (RMcCormack, D. Johnston)

It takes Years (R.McCormack, R. Bourke, E Adeline)

Another Nail (R.McCormack, T Lunsford, W Denney)

It Was Love featuring Clare Lynch (R. McCormack, G Jeffreys, C Majeski)

Wherever You Go (featuring Claire Lynch) (R.McCormack, G. Jeffreys, C Majeski)

Double Rainbow (RMcCormack, J.S. Sherrill)

One Teardrop Away – featuring Tomi Lunsford (R.McCormack, T. Lunsford, W. Denney)

Bonus tracks:

I’m Still Here – (Rod and F. Koller)

Winter Worn (Rod and J.S. Sherrill)

Better Than That (Rod, J.S. Sherrill, E Adeline)

Lock and Key (R.McCormack, T Thompson, S Gay)

Sweetwater (Rod)

Puttin’ Out Fires (Rod, F Koller)

Produced by Rod McCormack

Assisted by Scott Paschall

Mastered by Jeff McCormack

Dave Pomeroy Upright Bass

Andy Leftwich – Mandolin, Fiddle and Tenor Guitar

Aubrey Haynie – Fiddle and Mandolin

Rob Ickes and Justin Moses Dobro

Templeton Thompson – Backing Vocals

Larry Franklin – Fiddle on One teardrop away

Rod McCormack – Guitar, Banjo, Papoose, Vocals and Backing Vocals.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Jetty Road – Because We Can

Jetty Road Because We Can

 

Jetty Road have gone through a few transformations throughout the years but I honestly think that this is their best album yet. It is produced by one of my favourites, Michael Carpenter, which probably adds to it. They were always going to be in good hands with M.C. This album shows a certain maturity to it….like red wine getting better with age and a well made cheese. Nothing cheesey about this album, however. This is a well crafted and well balanced album with some great country rocking tracks and some gentle ballads.

I was lucky enough to see Jetty Road at a house concert on the weekend, so I received a taste of this album before I played it. Having Brooke McClymont co-write a couple of tracks with Jetty Road is a huge bonus.

Bumps and Bruises is a standout track amongst a bunch of terrific songs. Heart of Mine and This is Us are favourites as well.

Parenthood, a bit of time out doing other things and time and tide have obviously added a new quality to their songwriting and a new angle or two.

The girls vocals are stronger than ever and Julian’s multi-skilled talents on several instruments along with Michael Carpenter’s musicianship make their sound bigger and better.

I have always liked Jetty Road, and considering that I am more of a mellowed out listener, that is somewhat unusual, but this album takes an even bigger turn for the better. It is a polished, full bodied album with something for everybody. The album moves fast, from the title track, Because We Can through to the last track, Wild and Free. You will be doing some Hey, Heys and and some swaying, clapping and humming throughout the album as it changes tempo.

A quality album by a quality band. Hey!

Tracks:

Because We Can

No Heartbreaks

Bumps and Bruises

Soakin’ Up the Sun*

Heart of Mine**

I don’t wanna be alone tonight

This is us **

Wild and Free

Produced and mixed by Michael Carpenter

Mastered by Rick O’Neil

Musos:

Lee Bowman – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar

Paula Bowman – Vocals

Julian Sammut – Electric and Acoustic guitar, piano, Hammond Organ, Electric Piano, Vocals

Michael Carpenter – Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Drums, Bass, Banjo, Ebow Mandolin, Electric Piano

All songs written by Bowman, Bowman and Sammut, bar *with Chris Pelcer **with Brook McClymont and without Sammut

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Matt Scullion – Aussie As

MattScullionAussieAsalbum

To me, the Bruce Woodley/Dobe Newton song, I am Australian, is the ultimate Aussie anthem. However, after that, if I want someone to draw me a musical picture of Australia, I have two go to men, Michael Waugh and Matt Scullion. They pick up on the little things and the big things that make our country and our people tick. Chances are, if you played this album to a lot of people overseas, they would look at you very strangely and say, “What the hell does that all mean!”. We are a unique country with unique people. We have ways which are not understood by many outside of Australia, apart from some Kiwis and a few Canadians (my experience!)

Matt explains our language beautifully and humourously in Slanguage. The man has a way with words, in normal speak and in slang. Like Michael Waugh, he takes something simple and expands on it, makes it interesting and something that we can all relate to.  They can both be sensitive and funny.  They both have written a similar song – Matt’s Big and Michael’s Big Things……talking about the Aussie obsession for building big monuments to our icons. Michael’s song goes off in another direction in the end, but they both contain familiar Aussie landmarks and that same sense of Aussieness.

Aussie As was a hit as soon as it went on our airwaves. It hit a nerve with many of us, (a good one), it described our ways and our quirks very effectively, with a tune that is catchy.

Throwing Darts is more of a mellow song with a message, in a different tone than the first few. It is very much ‘a never give up song’.

Ulladulla Sticker is a little reminder of where Matt comes from. It could work for anyone, just replace Ulladulla with Tamworth or wherever you have come from in Australia and it will have the same flavour.

Dead Roo will be a singalong song at gigs but also a reminder of a familiar site on Aussie roads, sadly.

Clutch Start brings the tone down again, though it is a song of hope. It is about the days when we are a bit flat and we need a little help to get back on track.

Where’s Pete Denahy? Ha! Love The Aldi Song. I think a lot of us are guilty of going in there for a loaf of bread and coming out with other things. It has even become a meme on facebook!

Matt mixes it up with Deeper than I thought, which, like others on this album is a bit mellower. It shows how many layers there are to Matt’s writing.

Shout the Land a drink, sung with some of our very best, is a great way to end this album, with a shout out to all of those who need rain and a break to the drought. Nothing probably explains our country better at the moment than this song.

Matt Scullion is one of our finest writers. This album is not only a testament to that statement, but also to his Aussieness. Beaudy, mate. Karen Kaz loves this album, it’s a Rippa.

 

 

 

Tracks:

Aussie As

Big

Ulladulla Sticker

Slanguage

Throwing Darts

Dead Roo

Clutch Start

The Aldi Song

Deeper than I thought

Shout the Land a Drink – with James Blundell, Tania Kernaghan, Simply Bushed and Drew McAlister.