Totally Biased Fan Review: Blood – Allison Moorer

Allison Moorer Blood Cover.jpg


I loved this Alabama girl from the moment that I heard her voice in The Horse Whisperer, singing one of my favourite songs, A Soft Place to Fall. It even distracted me from staring at Robert Redford, and that ain’t easy.  Her album, Alabama Song (which contained that song) is still one of my favourites….and that was 1998.

To say that Allison has had a colourful life is probably a massive understatement. At 14, Allison and her older sister, Shelby Lynne, a wonderful country singer in her own right, were left alone, after her father killed her mother then killed himself. That is only one chapter in a full life. With a voice as pure as driven snow, Allison has covered a lot of ground musically as well as personally in her life.

This album is a companion piece to her autobiography of the same name. This album was released today, the book in a few days time.

I guess the best country songs come from the songwriter’s own experiences. This album is a book in song form. Sure, given the subject matter, it has its share of sad songs. Sad songs are always great, but they are made even more poignant by the fact that they are taken from the pages of her life.

Allison does something very interesting in a few of her songs here….she includes parts of well known songs in them. It would not surprise me if these were songs that her mother sang to her as a child or songs that helped her and her sister through it all.

The title track and the last song, Heal are my favourites. I think that the album and the book have probably helped Allison heal a bit. Together with life’s other ups and downs that she has experienced, the telling of these stories must be cathartic for her.

The songs are made even more powerful because of her incredible voice, which has always moved me, but even more so with these songs. I will be interested to read the book as well, but by listening to these songs, I think that I already know the story.

Another incredible effort by one of Country Music’s very best.

Track Listing



Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

Cold Cold Earth
Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

The Rock and the Hill
Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

I’m the One to Blame
Shelby Lynne / Vernon Franklin Moorer
Allison Moorer

Set My Soul Free
Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

The Ties That Bind
Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

All I Wanted (Thanks Anyway)
Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

Mary Gauthier / Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer

Totally Biased Fan Review: Hannah Aldridge – LIVE in black and white

Hannah Aldridge

Last weekend, (19/10) I actually saw Hannah LIVE at her last gig in Australia for this tour at a house concert. That led me to by this album to recapture that LIVE quality and obviously have the songs that I heard at the gig.

I met the girl from Alabama in Tamworth in January.  A lot of my Aussie favourites liked her a lot, so I thought that she must be pretty good to get these folks interested. I heard her briefly at Tamworth. When I had the opportunity to see and hear more last weekend, I jumped at the chance, even though I was more familiar with the support act.

It is also apt to review this album so close to Halloween, as it is Hannah’s favourite time of the year, which she celebrates for the whole month of October. Her songs may give you that a clue or two, with a mixture of murder ballads, dark tales and well….just look at the titles……

It is no surprise then that Lachlan Bryan, The Weeping Willows and others of a similar ilk are big fans. It is not just the alt. country feel and the subject matter but the quality of the musicianship and the feel that they are all part of the same family.

Amongst the darkness, Hannah has a great sense of humour….a little quirky and left of centre, which gives a LIVE album a more well-rounded feel.

Her background is interesting and adds a little to her songs and her delivery. Her voice is powerful and  the roots of her music are firmly entrenched in the country sound.

Hannah’s voice is a mixture of Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt and some of those beautiful gospel voices of African Americans….it is a big, full on sound that haunts and howls as well as gently rocks and rolls.

Parchman, which is not credited on the album, either by oversight or mystery, is one of my favourites, as are Rails to Ride (no surprise to those who know me), Burning Down Birmingham, Goldrush and Lonesome.

Hannah’s Dad, Walt Aldridge, a respected musician in his own rite, has made this LIVE album sound more like a finely produced studio album, with some added character.

The concert was performed in London, which adds a bit more showbiz pizzazz to it.  Like all good songwriters, Hannah is chiefly a story teller, and she has a few stories to tell.

Hannah will be back on our shores in January for Tamworth 2020. If you are there or see her doing a gig elsewhere, go and catch her, she is very entertaining.  In the meantime, this album will give you a good taste of what is on offer.




1, 4,5,  written by Hannah Aldridge

2 written by R Clay and H Aldridge

3 written by A. McBryde, J Drinkwine, and H. Aldridge

6 written by J Dean and H Aldridge

7 written by C Rand and H Aldridge

8 written by A McBryde and H Aldridge

10 written by M Johnson and H Aldridge

11 written by A Zelkind and H Aldridge

12 written by M Naramore, T Hill and H Aldridge

9 not credited on the album

Mixed and mastered by Walt Aldridge

Totally Biased Fan Review: Broken Lines – Christie Lamb


I have been a long time Christie Lamb fan. She knows that I love her ballads, and that I prefer it when she does the slow stuff for this old girl who loves sad, slow songs. Sure, I like to groove a little at times, and Christie does that better than most. However, when you have this powerful voice and a pen that can write such beautiful songs, I have often questioned why she doesn’t do more of them.

Maybe she listened to me a little, or maybe it is just a sign of maturity that she is finding more of a place for those power ballads and not so many poppy, rocky numbers…..not that there is anything wrong with that.

In fact, I would go as far to say that this is the best album that she has produced. Old Country Soul, Fix this broken heart (possibly my favourite), Carry You with me, Ain’t My First Drink and We’re All in It Together are just sensational.  Hot Hot Kiss is a catchy song that has your feet tapping.

Drew Baldridge’s duet with Christie, You brought the party will get the folks up on the dance floor.

Christie mixes pop and the slow songs on this album, though to my great joy, she does lean a bit more towards the latter.

It is beautifully produced, with some stunning guitars and it is generally a powerhouse as far as the musicians are concerned.

Christie’s stunning, pure, powerful voice is the mainstay, above the music and the lyrics. The delivery is fantastic and varied and it is the perfect showcase for the diverse array of music that she can bring to the table.  In the past, there is always one standout track that stays with me, long after a Christie Lamb album or EP is finished, but there are quite a few on this one.

Previously, Wish You Were a Cowboy from All She Wrote, 10,000 miles from the self titled EP and of course, Judgement Day from Loaded are all what I call Christie Lamb classics. This album is full of new Christie Lamb classics, and indeed some of the best songs from a female artist this year.

Christie has a large fan base, from the very young to old codgers like myself. She makes sure that she delivers something for everybody.

Broken Lines


Old Country Soul

Carry You With Me


Hot Hot Kiss


You Brought the Party
Christie Lamb & Drew Baldridge

Fix This Broken Heart

Five Minutes

Ain’t My First Drink


We’re All In It Together

Released: 18 Oct 2019
℗ 2019 Christie Lamb, under exclusive license to Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Produced by Andy Mak

Totally Biased Fan Review: Some Other Morning – Khristian Mizzi

Khristian Mizzi Some Other Morning

This is not just an album of beautiful, soothing, thought provoking and thoughtful music, it is a work of art. Speaking of which, the artwork on this album is extraordinary – well done Kristy Arthurson.

I have been living in Victoria and in Moe for 2 years now, and one of the first gigs that I went to was at my local pub – Michael Waugh and Khristian Mizzi. I have written about that night before but it is safe to just say that it was my introduction to Mr Mizzi.

Very few male artists in Australia have that aura about them. It is really quite amazing. We have great entertainers, singer/songwriters and musicians but this man has a presence that it is hard to define.

His voice and his style is a mixture of James Taylor and Don McLean. That is a big statement but you only have to listen to his voice and hear the words and music. On the Plan he sounds a bit more like Leonard Cohen but even with all of these attributes, one of the things that separates Khristian from these legends, is the Australianisms. His songs have some distinct references to Australian situations. He has a universal sound, however, and most of the subjects that he sings of are pretty much worldwide situations.

This is a peaceful album. It is well crafted, well thought out and there is a lot of love that has gone into this. Even the hardest of hearts will be able to feel that when they play it.

I often think of Khristian’s music as the soundtrack to floating out to sea on a sailing boat or watching a graceful bird fly up high up the mountains. In the words of The Eagles – it gives you that peaceful, easy, feeling. That is not to say that Khristian’s songs don’t have a certain depth to them, in fact they have several layers.  His music is a bit like John Flanagan crossed with Michael Waugh and Kevin Johnson in an Australian version of what has previously been mentioned. However, Mizzi is as individually talented as he is open to comparison.

I think the word that I am looking for with Khristian is charisma – he has buckets of it LIVE and it comes through in his songs. He is not frightened of saying what he feels and thinks. He may sing it and write it in a more subtle way than most, but he says it and says it well.

When I like every song on an album, it is hard to pick a favourite.  If pushed, What Am I So Afraid Of is probably it, but they are all amazing songs. The title track is stunning. The Bouquet is just awesome.

The strings are just beautiful, they really do complement Khristian’s style and add something very special to his songs.

There is such imagery to Khristian’s songs. I can picture little videos of each of these songs, but more accurately, he paints beautiful pictures for us all.

This album is one to treasure. Do yourselves a favour and actually buy the cd. It is a stunning little package.


Welcoming Song

A Little Space

What Am I So Afraid Of

Some Other Morning

The Bouquet

Every Now and Then

Outside Creeping in

Laying With You

The Plan


Words and Music by Khristian Mizzi

Produced by Kalju Tonuma


Khristian Mizzi – Voice, Guitar, Words

Megan Bernard – Electric Guitar, Bass and Piano

Jason Bunn – Viola

Lucy Warren – Violin

Matthew Hassall – Violin

Josephine Vains – Cello

Ben Franz – Pedal steel

All string arrangements by Jason Bunn


Totally Biased Fan Review: The Reason – Peter Dawson


I have told the story about how I met Smokie Pete Dawson at the Oasis in Tamworth a few times. It amazes me how far he has come since then. Look at the musicians who worked with him on this album. Pete has appeared regularly at just about every major country music festival in Australia. This album is a polished, beautifully produced collection of songs about Australia and Australians.

Pete is one of the characters of Australian Country Music. I love catching up with him in Tamworth, it is just like catching up one of your best mates over a beer and some good music….but then, that is what it is.

Pete’s songs reflect his nature, his passions and his adventures. For young folks who have only ever heard of Slim and Stan and Buddy and all of our pioneers, Pete writes songs that are the modern day versions of those types of songs. His voice is very Australian without being corny. His songs are patriotic without being cheesey. He knows our country and he knows the characters.

This album is produced by one of Australia’s finest, Lindsay Waddington, and the array of musicians on this album is pretty impressive. All of their names and their work will be familiar to country music fans.

Pete covers the rivers, outback, mountains and ocean. He goes down dirt roads and covers the highways.  There’s heartbreak, heartache and whiskey….(I think that it is the year of the Whiskey song, and Pete’s is a beaut.)

As much as I liked Pete’s last effort, this one has gone up a few notches. It shows a more broad collection of songs with quite a few variations. Pete is definitely stretching himself a bit, but at the same time, he remains true to his general outlook and how much he values the genre.

The fact that Pete has written all of the songs by himself is a tribute to his dedication to his craft and to keeping the sound genuine and very Australian.

It is hard to pick a favourite, though I do like My Whiskey and Me (If you’re looking for me),  That’s When I Lost You, We Were Young and Salty and Fresh best. Captain Moonlight is not an unusual subject for Pete to tackle – it is right up his alley, but it is musically a different sound for him. I like it.

The title, Pencil in the Picture had me intrigued and it is a beaut song, especially a cool song to end the album with – and it is probably my second favourite on the album.

This album is two things – it is the Peter Dawson that we all love on one hand and on the other hand it is a fresh coat of paint to something that he does so well.

There are not many blokes like Pete left on the country scene. I am proud to be a fan of Smokie Pete Dawson….see you in Tamworth…..and you can sing me some of these songs LIVE.



Stanley and Slim

Salty and Fresh

Music In the Mulga

Bees In the Camphor Laurel Trees

Coffee for One

Morning Rain Again

Fishing Up The Hawkesbury River

My Whiskey and Me (If you’re looking for me)

That’s When I Lost you

Captain Moonlight

We Were Young

Pencil in the picture

All songs written by Peter Dawson

Produced by Lindsay Waddington


Lindsay Waddington – Guitar, Bass, Drums

Lawrie Minson – Steel, Dobro, Harp, Slide Guitar, Banjo

Michel Rose – Steel

Glenn Thomas – Piano, Organ

Hugh Curtis – Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitars, Bass, Strings

Chesters Quartet – Strings

Tyson Coleman Backing Vocals

Peter Dawson Rhythm Guitar

Kross Kut Records


Totally Biased Fan Review: Inner Outlaw – Rory Ellis


Rory Ellis has been a singer/songwriter for over 30 years and while a lot us have heard of his name, he is not exactly what you would call a household name. I have known country music for nearly 57 years and I only knew his name. I think that this album will change a lot of people’s knowledge and opinion.

His voice and his music are a mixture of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Waylon Jennings and others of the folk/Americana (Alt. Country) field.

His voice is gravelly, soulful and mixed with a heavy swag of blues. He could have very easily fit into the band, The Highwaymen…..maybe they are recasting with only Kris and Willie left.

His debut album was released in 2000 and he has probably had more exposure overseas than here in Australia. He has appeared in numerous festivals in Europe and at most major blues and folk festivals in Australia.

The dozen songs on this album are products of a true storyteller. His voice matches the tone of the songs. I often feel that way with true story teller singer/songwriters, like Dylan, Taylor, King, Kristofferson, Kelly. When other people sing their songs, they take on a new meaning, different from how the songs were intended. I think that the same thing could be said here with Rory.

From the incredible true story of The Letter, which is a fascinating memory and Cross on The Hill to Invisible Arrows (reminiscent of a Kris kind of song)  and The Next Shipwreck, this album is full with stories and twists and turns on the country music landscape and indeed our country’s landscape.

All of the words in these songs are important. They are words from life’s big book. Yet, there is a peaceful feeling in these songs, along with the messages. I don’t know whether it is the mellowness of the tunes or the husky sound of Rory’s voice, but it seems like a very relaxing album.

It is good to have a Train song, country music isn’t country music without a train song, and thus The Station is one of my favourites.

Bitumen Cowboys is an interesting take on truck drivers. I guess that you can’t have a good country album without a good truckie song, either.

The last song is a song that I knew that I would like from the title. One shouldn’t judge a song by its title, but it is a beauty. What Happened to That Man is a rippa.

The title track is exactly what you would expect from the song.

Unfortunately, the hard copy did not arrive in time for review release, so I cannot fill you in on the technical details though I think that Rory pretty much had a hand in everything.

He has actually released quite a few albums, I am not sure why he flew under my radar for so long, but thanks Leonie for bringing him to my attention. I have the feeling that he doesn’t live to far away from me either!

On Rory’s website, folks like Keith Potger and Mike Brady offer insights. Not too shabby,  hey!  From my point of view, I find this album to be more than a nice surprise.

The official release day is 18 October. Do yourself a favour.



Countryversial Corner – Episode 2


Countryversial Corner attempts to tackle subjects that are raising their ugly or pretty heads in Country Music – specifically Aussie Country Music.  I will try and state both sides of an argument, and then you cowboys and cowgirls can battle it out. Please don’t use swear words that are of the four letter kind, though crap and shit are ok. This is for healthy discussion and hopefully, we can come up with some solutions and positive alternatives.

COLD CHISEL to perform at Tamworth Country Music Festival

Undoubtedly, the topic of the week, which has drawn both furor and favour on Social Media. Cold Chisel have announced that they will be performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, 2020.

Okay, so here I go. As a Tamworthian and Country Music Fan, I am also a general music fan and I have my heroes outside of the genre. Cold Chisel are arguably Australia’s finest ever Rock Band, or at least up there with ACDC, Hunters and Collectors, Powderfinger and Midnight Oil and others. However, is it appropriate that they perform at Australia’s biggest and most famous country music festival.

Jimmy Barnes has actually won a few Golden Guitars and he has been nominated more than a lot of country music artists. Ian Moss and Don Walker have been involved with country music and have been to Tamworth before. The beauty of Tamworth is that it welcomes all types of music, and all types of country music. I understand, however, why some folks are upset. Chiefly, I am thinking of the huge amount of country music artists in Australia who can’t get a spot at Tamworth because, despite the fact that there are over 160 venues and thousands of events, the demand is huge and the spots fill quickly. Enter the iconic Cold Chisel and they get shoved out or overshadowed. After all, Cold Chisel are a big deal. They are an awesome LIVE act and I do have most of their albums. There is also an upside to this. Having Chisel at Tamworth may draw folks who would not normally go and they may decide to check out some other acts while they are there and see just how amazing country music really is, and how varied. They may also see how willing we are to try different things and how broad our horizons are. It is my understanding that they are only doing one gig. There are plenty of other acts to see on the same day and at the same time and for the rest of the official and unofficial days of the festival. I am of the belief that a lot of rock and roll songs have their influences and roots in blues, soul and country songs.  If you listen closely to some of Ian, Don, Jimmy and Chisel songs, you will hear those influences. Flame Trees (my favourite Chisel song) is a perfect example of that. Mossy’s Tucker’s Daughter is definitely there too. Troy C-D has done a lot of work with Jimmy.  I also think that with the general festival movement in New South Wales being toned down or shut down due to new laws, that this is a subtle way of including some other genres. As long as the Country in Tamworth Country Music Festival remains dominant, I can’t see any real problem. Country Music in Australia is evolving and it is stronger now across the ages and all 79 types than it has ever been. I grew up in Tamworth and some of the early years were pretty woeful. There were only a handful of good artists and songs. It was dominated by a certain age and a certain gender. Now it is much better and the songwriting is chiefly Australian with some collaborations from overseas.

This is only my opinion. I don’t want to see Tamworth Country Music Festival shut down or go totally outside the Country Music genre, but if it is minimal and it is good quality, then let us embrace it.

Over to you.



Totally Biased Fan Review – Women and Trains – Reverie Lane EEP

Reverie Lane Women and Trains

In a year of wonderful surprises in country music, these two are at the top of the pile for me. How good is this! I have lost count at how many times that I have played it so far. Reverie Lane are a duo…..a dynamic duo that make Batman and Robin look ordinary. Spencer Bartoletti and Presley Tucker form this sassy, beautifully harmonious, extraordinary act.

They did a quick visit of Australia earlier this year, I hope that they come back soon and bring a certain other fab country music sensation with them. I don’t want to make too much of a point of it, but it is pretty obvious when one half of the duo has the names of two American music legends, Rock King, Elvis Presley and Country Queen, Tanya Tucker, that she has a logical career choice and a handle that brings a lot of pressure. Presley, is in fact, the daughter of Tanya Tucker and it is obvious by her looks and her sound that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and more importantly, there are no bruises in the fall.

These two gals – one from the North and one from the South, met in a bar in true country music fashion and they have been writing songs together since 2014. There was not a Civil War between these two, in fact, quite the opposite. Their combined and different talents form one of the most memorable partnerships and EEPs of 2019.

The girls have worked out a perfect balance of songs on this EEP.  Tempo changes, funny songs, beautiful harmonies, sassy and smooth tracks and an EEP that is so country that it comes with a bonus bale of hay. (Joking, but it could be a reality!).

Spencer co-writes all six tracks and Presley has a hand in a few.

The title track is awesome. Of course, for those who know me, they would know that I am a sucker for a train track (pun intended) but it also has some of the best metaphors in a song this year that I have heard.  It is fresh from a Honky Tonk Saloon and it has that old train rhythm that always blows me away.

Less is More is one of those songs that you feel like you already know it. It is a very 70’s/80’s like country song. It is catchy and will have your toes tapping and put a smile on your face.

This EEP has a touch of Tanya, but also some other dynamite women are reflected in the sound and the lyrics – there’s some Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Reba, Loretta, Tammy and Dolly and Trisha in the delivery and the compositions.

The girls have produced all original songs here, but the legends are definitely in their influence box.

When Love Walks In is a slower track which definitely highlights their more bluesy sound and their harmonies are the key here. It is more of a serious song and the girls belt it out.

Before the Rice Hit the Ground is one of the funniest songs that I have heard for a long time. It comes with an ‘E’ warning, but it is mild really. The has one of the catchiest tunes of the year and it will have you laughing. It is like a modern day “Fatal Wedding” by Australia’s Legend, Chad Morgan.

Could’ve Fooled Me – Probably the sweetest song on the album. A heartbreaker and of course, you know that I love those.  Country music at its best.

Good At It – sexy, sensual and groovy, this song is a beauty. Any song that references Kris Kristofferson will do me!  A great way to end a truly fabulous EEP.

Sadly, I don’t have any information on the musicians on here, which is a shame, as this album is so beautifully produced and the musicians are top notch. As time goes by, we will hear more from these two. I think that this is just a hint at what we will be experiencing over the next decade or two.



Women & Trains – Bartoletti, Tucker and Keith Dozier

Less Is More – Bartoletti, Tucker and George Byron Hill

When Love Walks In – Bartoletti and Marcus Hummon

Before The Rice Hit The Ground – Bartoletti and Lance Carpenter (E)

Could’ve Fooled Me – Bartoletti, Tucker and Daniel Smalley

Good At It – Bartoletti, Tucker, Jen Stegall and Jacob Lyda

Totally Biased Fan Review: Swamp Blues 2 – 8 Ball Aitken


I own every 8 album. This is an unusual enterprise…..Swamp Blues 2. I am a huge fan of the original.

You never really know what to expect from 8. That is part of the attraction, and the distraction. 8 covers many of the 79 types of country music, but he never keeps surprising. It is bluesy, Cajun, and bluesy. He covers many facets of country music and always enriches old fans and excites new ones. His approach is unique, both in live performances and on the record.

He is  a mystery man, a history man, and a blues man. Down in the swamp, up in Murder’s Row, 8 Ball is a man between two countries, two planets, two worlds, but he  keeps returning to his roots like a boomerang.

Soulful, mercurial and rockin’ it country style, 8 is unique, one of a kind and deliberately off the cuff.

He is the envy of others in the way he plays the guitar, struts his stuff on stage and he is an original. There are very few others who get onto a Tamworth stage and smack bang folks in the face with his own uncommercial style.

8 has a cult following, which is spreading quickly to other areas of music. Folks are scratching their heads and thinking…OMG, why didn’t they know about this guy?

Interestingly, 8 has reprised his old song, Chocolate, Jack Daniels and LSD on this album

My Darling is my favourite, but I also love Living On the River, the rockin’ Cherry and The Bed That You Made – (which does not surprise me as it is a co-write with one of my fave songwriters, Harmony James).

I am rocking, rolling, down in the swamp and feeling the blues. 8 does all these things to you and does them well. Go well, go hard and enjoy one or several of the 79 kinds of country music. Go get ’em 8.


Tremolo Rain

Week Man

Murder’s Bar


My Sexy Guitar

Living on the river

Knocking on your door

The Bed that You Made

My Darling


Chocolate, Jack Daniels and LSD


Cold Shower

Produced by 8 Ball Aitken and David Percefull

Recorded and Mixed by David Percefull at Yellow Dog Studios

Mastereed by Adam J. Odor at Yellow Dog Studios


8 Ball Aitken – Guitars and Vocals

Guthrie Kennard – Backing Vocals

J Meridian – Backing Vocals

David Percefull – Hammond Organ

Glenn Gukunaga – Bass

JJ Johnson – Drums and Percussion

Buddy Leach – Saxophone and Rhodes

Mojo Webb – Harmonica


All songs written by 8 Ball Aitken except for Tremola Rain and Living on the River (Written by 8 Ball Aitken and Guthrie Kennard), and the Bed that you made (written by 8 Ball Aitken and Harmony James)