Totally Biased Fan Review: Here and Now – Aleyce Simmonds

AleyceSimmonds HereandNow

Quality over quantity. My country music daughter, little buddy and part of my Tamworth Sisterhood, Aleyce Simmonds is not prolific. She is constantly working and working on quality product.

We highly anticipate her new releases and we are never disappointed. Her current release Here and Now is just as welcome as any other of her splendiferous albums that she has released before. Her last album was my fave, so it is always hard when there is a following album, but it is even better.

When you have two legends of country music join you on the album in duets, John Williamson and Adam Harvey that is pretty much a great plus.

The album is pretty much the quality that you would expect from Aleyce, who can sing pretty much everything. backwards, forwards and upside down. She varies the tempo, the meaning, the style of each song.

The trad style that she applies to Three Sons with John Williamson, the moving ballad and single, I Could Dance With You, Still I wait is more up  tempo, every song has its agenda and different beat.

Of course the song with Adam is a drinking song.

Just Do It is a positive song to semi end with (there is an extra track) – It is probably one of my favourites on the album.

My girl never lets me down.

Beautifully produced by my “cousin” Simon Johnson at Hillbilly Hut, the album rolls along and is a definite contender already for next year’s Golden Guitars. Steve Newton and Matt Fell also have a hand in it.

A couple of songs are dedicated to those who have passed, including I could dance with you and We will not let them forget, two of the best songs on the album.

I always look forward to an Aleyce album. Singles are nice, involvement in other folks’ albums are great things but we always welcome an Aleyce album.

The songs are heartbreakers, positive outlooks, reflections, with beautiful harmonies and a mix of traditional and modern country songs. She always gets the balance right.

The album is pretty near perfect, with a great balance of sad and happy content.

One criticism of the album is that there aren’t any official credits… I gather Michael Cole would be playing on there but I can’t see anything else. I also gather that Aleyce wrote most of the songs, or at least co-wrote them.    There is nothing that our girl can’t sing. She is pretty special.

I really love Better than Lonely.

There are more “country” feel songs on the album. Obviously the Harvey song is one of them.

Aleyce is one of our best. Enjoy.



1. I Could Dance With You
2. Love Is A Big Word
3. Everything Or Nothing At All
4. How Bad Can It Be?
5. Better Than Lonely
6. Bottle Set Me Free with Adam Harvey
7. Maybe Life’s Supposed to Be That Way
8. Believe You
9. Veins
10. Designated Driver
11. Still I Wait
12. Three Sons (feat. John Williamson)
13. Just Do It
14. We Will Not Let Them Forget (bonus track)

Done and Dustyed…….Tamworth 2020

Hey all, Lots of the usual numbers are down, shouldn’t go because of water restrictions, etc, etc. As long as folks go for 2 minute showers and  bring water, what is the problem. Everything that I went to was packed to the rafters. We had storms and a bit of rain which does not break the drought, but helps a bit. Of the 79 types of country music, I think that I saw 65. It was a very different Tamworth for me in my home town.  I had 2 seven hour sessions with Leonie and 2RRR, which I am totally grateful for, it was a big honour for Leonie to entrust me with this show plus the 2RRR showcases and awards and the two ICMA gigs with Donna and co. I also was running around with the Sing the Phone Book Theory for Felicity and the girls…I was so proud to be a part of this. It will continue on throughout the year at Bruce’s House Concerts in Victoria, but together with Leonie’s pink bin, we raised 650 dollars for Fliss and her girls. The pics wil be presented to Fliss soon.

I did not go to the “big” concerts this year. I attended Goonga’s Girls for obvious reasons as I did the Music for Mates, but mainly I went to indies gigs and did a lot of the smaller indie gigs.

I was very impressed with Alexis and Suzie and Becci Nethery’s new music. They stood out for me. I loved the Family Circle gig at The Pub with Melody Moko, Natalie Henry, Lachlan Bryan, Catherine Britt, Kristy Cox and co.

Wonderful tribute to Goonga’s Girls – Fliss and her little ones were awesome. Lovely moments with Shane and Kasey and all of the others who so bravely performed.

Cornell and Carr put on an absolute beauty of a gig, and the love and energy were obvious.

A list of thank yous is huge…thanks to Benny Allen and Brendan Smoother for your uber services.

Alexis and Suzie were my beautiful surprise for the festival, along with the wonderful new material from Becci Nethery.

Ian Burns, you always are my brother from another mother, I hope your dear wife gets the closeness that we share, more like siblings!

Darren Colston, so very proud of you, you will rise again, one of my top 5 singer songwriters in this country and you are just awesome.  So excited about your new energy.

Cheryls Anderson (Andersonlane). Plural, you inspire me. You are awesome.

Gayle O’Neil and the Roadie and Melissa Robertson, you are my family. I love you.

Allan Caswell you are a legend and stuff what others think.

Thank you to Michael Brother  Waugh, Brad Butcher, and Col Finley for the most amazing songwriters in the round, I love you. You know why, I am so honoured.

Same with my Kazzie Male Artist of the year with Matt Ward, you son of a gun.

To Danielle Young, Renee Jonas, Benny Allen and Gina Timms, thank you for your wonderful support and talent. Thanks for helping with Sing the phone book theory for Felicity and the girls.

Always love hearing Carter and Carter.

Angus Gill took off Allan Caswell in one of the best moments.

I loved the Press sessions with Allison Forbes and co the best. So many great artists and a wonderful venue.

To Luke O’Shea’s Song House session….awesome, Allan Caswell’s songs that I wrote with Allan Caswell,  and all of the artists for entertaining me.

The Country Cares gig and The Midnight Murder Ballads were awesome gigs.

Special mention to Ladies of Country and the great gigs from The Weeping Willows with Hannah Aldridge and Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes with Brandon. Great Aunt were awesome at every gig.

Sally-Anne Whitten and Al and co. big hugs.

The biggest thing for me was the beautiful love from the Brendans, and being there for Katie’s 21st. I am so sorry that I couldn’t be there for Hayley Marsten and a lot of my faves, but I was a busy girl.

Big highlight was being a part of an interview with Roo Arcus. I was trying to be cool.  Music for Mates was important and deserved a bigger crowd.

Seeing Michael Bryers is always a treat.

A great mix of new and older talent and different styles. Thank you everybody who made my Tamworth extra special the awards were lovely but they are not why I do what I do. These awards are for you wonderful artists who I write and talk about. Seeing Michelle Gardiner, Dom Italiano and Benny Allen, Aaron and the like get recognition is the biggest reward for me.

Montgomery Church, Michael Carpenter and co, etc, all awesome. Aaron D’Arcy was on fire.

Loved the Brendans’ Breakfasts and Clint Wilson and Darren Colston together. Very awesome.

The folks that came up to me and thanked me for the little thing that I am trying to do was worth the world. Kevin Sullivan, Cheryls Anderson, lots of others.

I have a few album reviews coming up. stay tuned.

Love you all.


Love Kaz

Best of my faves – Episode Two – Luke O’Shea (with and without the Medicine Wheel)

LukeMelKaz with Luke and fellow Lukie tragic, singer/songwriter, Melissa Robertson. Tamworth, 24th January, 2013. Tamworth Services Club.

LukieatthelomondLukie in Melbourne recently, playing some tunes.

In this second instalment, we focus on Luke O’Shea, with and without his medicine wheel. It is hard to narrow it down to 20, may have to have a bonus one like I did with Sir Allan! There are some beauties that I missed out on, but these are a pretty good batch of songs and I am sure that Luke has many more songs in him.

I remember going to the Servies at Tamworth to a massive crowd of 3 for Luke, and I remember years later, not being able to get a seat at the same venue, even though I arrived early, because the place was so packed. Nothing made me more proud than to see Lukie win some Gold Guitars and finally get recognised publicly for all that us diehard fans knew about him. Here are my favourite Luke songs.

  1. Listen to the words –  This song reminds me of my dad and I. Very much how we both viewed country music. It is so spot on.
  2.  Annie O’Shea – Lukie gets tired (I think) of me requesting this, but I love it and many others do too.
  3.  Pride of Erin – a beautiful song that not only takes us back to our childhoods but it is just a lovely, song to sway to.
  4.  New England Sky – Personal for me as I grew up in Tamworth but also because of the beautifully haunting voice accompanying Luke of Diana Corcoran.
  5.  How well have you loved – Mainly for the fun that we, as an audience have doing the actions and singing along with it, but also because it is a song that celebrates the true meaning of life.
  6.  The Drover’s Wife – Lyrically and instrumentally one of Luke’s most unique songs, based on Henry Lawson’s poem but with a modern twist.
  7.  Bad Advice and Poor Directions – A catchy song with more meanings than the bible. Lukie is the master of the metaphor.
  8.  Sing You Up – An important message and a catchy song that I often sing in the shower.
  9.  Fill it up with Love – the kind of endearing song that makes us all love Lukie. Songs about life and love.
  10.  Lady of the Land – One of Luke’s most popular songs and with good reason. It is written about one of Australia’s most iconic women, Joy McKean.
  11.  Passenger Seat – an autobiographical song about the journey that Luke has had with his wife – well, it seems that way.
  12.  Begin and End in Love – A song that can accompany Fill it up with love.
  13.  The Old Man’s Shed – the song that won Luke and Johnny K a golden guitar. The thing about Luke’s songs is that you can relate to them, quite easily. We all know a guy who has a shed like this.
  14.  Ragged Bloody Heroes – Luke has paid tribute to soldiers in many songs, but this is my favourite. It is also unique as he has done a Kiwi version too.
  15.  Truckstop flowers – A lot of guys could relate to this song. It begins with the beautiful sound of Aleyce Simmonds, who features strongly with Luke on this.
  16.  Brindabella – As with a lot of Luke’s songs, you think that it is going to be about one thing and it is about another, or both. And that is okay. It is like reading an old favourite novel and seeing different things in it as you get older.
  17.  Midnight Train – A tribute to Sam Phillips and Sun Records.
  18.  Making Memories – title says it all – the harp at the beginning gets you started. A toe tapper.
  19. Wild Colonial Boys – A song that I understand and appreciate more as I get older. There is more to this song than you think.
  20.  Lone Ranger – Probably deserves to be further up, but these aren’t really in any strict order, they are just my favourite Luke songs.
  21.  Bonus track: it was hard to just pick one, but for pure audience value, it has to be Wayne and Wanita – Slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. IMG_1073Dressed as Michael Bryers – sort of.