Totally Biased Fan Review -These are the changes: Warren Williams

Warren H Williams These are the changes

I don’t know how this one slipped by me, except to say that I was in Tamworth when it was released and you get caught up in what you are doing there and miss everything else. So, sorry Warren!  I also looked for reviews and album details and could not find much, so my usual details are missing here.

One thing though, is that this is one of the happiest albums of the year. All of the songs are upbeat and positive, almost to the point that some of the songs could be featured on Play School and go down well with the toddlers.

Most of the songs are about family, togetherness, and just enjoying the little things. Warren has been around for a long time and he has a wide and loyal following. He reminds me of Jimmy Little, I think the torch has been passed on to him. He has such a gentle, country sound with important messages always delivered in a subtle fashion.

Of course, I particularly love City Lights of Tamworth, being a Tamworth girl, but there are many songs here that are just so easy to listen to and relax to.

Warren has always had that pure country sound and he doesn’t ever waiver. I am glad that he is having chart success with his new single I have travelled, and hopefully this will inspire people to buy the album too.

He sings Let Us Stand together with some family members, which is a treat. There are a couple of heartbreakers, which is fair enough, it is a country album, after all. However, overall, this album is just pure joy and it puts a smile on your face.

A lot of the songs are true to what most Indigenous and indeed, all Australian Country Music singers relate to in general, the land. The open spaces, oceans, rivers, mountains, deserts, and the big sky.

Beautifully produced and lyrically and musically sound, this is a pleasure to wile away the hours with and a treat for every Aussie country fan.

 

 

Track Listing

01. Morning Walkabout
02. One Of These Days
03. I Remember
04. When The Morning Comes
05. Let Us Stand Together
06. Coffee Shop
07. City Lights Of Tamworth
08. These Are The Changes
09. Take The Long Way Home
10. I Have Travelled
11. The Land You See

The Single Life 28th May 2020

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Feel like a Porch Party? No folks better in town to have one with other than Jayne Denham, Jasmine Rae and Amber Lawrence. Lots of fun.  I am sure if Corona wasn’t happening that I would have been invited.  Another girls’ night out of a slightly different kind is happening with Nervous Girls – Bec Lavelle and Kora Naughton, Jem Cassar-Daley, Kaitlyn Thomas and Ingrid Mae. This is a more mellower song with a great mix of ages and styles. Go gals in both camps!

Most folks know Mickey Pye. His equally talented sister is finally getting recognised. Clancy has done all of the hard yards. Her long awaited single, Get Lost is finally with us.  Woo Hoo. Worth the wait? Absolutely.

Chasing the Sun is the latest from one of my current faves, Andy Penkow.  Mellow out to a great fellow! Great lyrics, beautiful voice. So glad that he is ours.

I have travelled is climbing the charts for one of life’s gentlemen, Warren H Williams. Such a beautiful song and reminiscent of one of our very best indigenous artists, Jimmy Little. (Album review coming soon)

 

Ma – (Janice Melliger Johnson) 28th October 1934 – 26th May 2019

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A year on and it is another first. Owing to a youtube problem, I can’t play these songs for you today, but these are the songs that Ma wanted to play at her funeral. They are not all sad and they are not one particular genre. Obviously, we could not play all of these songs. The first few are the ones that we did play and a bonus one that Pa wanted to play.  Music helps me and it helped Ma.

These were songs that I was playing and she would say “I want that one at my funeral”. It almost became a game, midway through her long illness. A sad one, but she loved music and she wanted these songs. So here they are today.

Some days are diamonds – John Denver

You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban

Lara’s Theme – Dr Zhivago

The Water is Wide – James Taylor

Beyond Rainbow’s End – Daniel O’Donnell (Pa)

I’ll Leave this world loving you – Ricky Van Shelton

Pockets Full of Gold – Vince Gill

Hello Again – Neil Diamond

The Dance – Garth Brooks

Come Around – Mental As Anything

The Blue Danube

My Sweet Lady – John Denver

The Twelfth of Never – Johnny Mathis

When The River Meets the Sea – John Denver and The Muppets

Peaceful, Easy Feeling – The Eagles

The Holy City – David Hobson

Amazing Grace – Judy Collins

The Carnival is Over – The Seekers

Better Man – Clint Black

If Tomorrow Never Comes – Garth Brooks

Edelweiss – Christopher Plummer (Bill Todd)

We’ll love you Ma, forever and ever Amen.

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Totally Biased Fan Review – Seasons – The New Graces

The New Graces Seasons

I am an old folky (some would say an old fogey), so these gals obviously appeal to me without too much effort. If you get a big musical bowl and put in the Indigo Girls, Sara Storer, Meg Doherty, The Weeping Willows, Great Aunt, a bit of The Sunny Cowgirls and perhaps if Michael Waugh had a twin sister, she would be there too, you would get The New Graces.

In real life, however, they are Melanie Horsnell, Kate Burke and Robyn Martin. If you think that you have heard those names before and their music, then you would be right. I knew Melanie’s name straight away and then I did a bit of digging and realised where I knew the other two from.

The album is produced by Garth Porter….yes….Garth Porter. The album today, is no. 1 on the ARIA country charts. How cool is that.

The harmonies are beautiful, reminiscent of Trio (Dolly, Ronstadt and Harris) and our own Saunders, Kane and Del. The music is enough to rock you to sleep or lull you into a an easy chair. The complete opposite to my previous album review of Lucinda Williams’ but don’t let that make you think that it is bubblegum. There are messages and stories that are important to listen to.

The strings are alive on this album – fiddles and banjos, guitars and probably a mandolin. There’s not a bad track on the album, and the sweet, pure sounds of these three amazing women will have you humming down the hallway and doing a little waltz in the dark when nobody is watching.

This is one of the must buy albums of the year. I don’t say that lightly. It is Australian, it is fabulous and it should be in your collection…..please.

Tracks:

Seasons

Stitch

Let You Love Me

Farmer’s daughter

Take a Look At My Life

Misty

Searching

Kameruka Nights

Sugar and White

All Our Hearts

Quiet Town

Swing Low

Totally Biased Fan Review – Good Souls Better Angels – Lucinda Williams

 

LucindaWilliamsGoodsoulsbetterangelsalbumcover

From the big and ballsy “You Can’t Rule Me” as the first track, you know that you are hearing a woman on a mission. Lucinda has always been a big hitter. She doesn’t run from base to base, she goes for home runs every time.

“A naked show of vulnerability”,   “stares down the devil”,  “reflects her rebellious and optimistic nature”, “has come up with an album for our times, at least if you are as angry as she is”, “a doom laden but defiant album” are all quotes from reviewers about this latest album from one of the most powerful and most adored female singer/songwriters of her peers. The critics usually get excited too, as these colourful phrases would suggest, the general fan base of country/folk/grunge/alt country/blues music are often divided about Lucinda.

Ray Kennedy is reunited with Lucinda on this album. He produced my favourite Lucinda album “Car wheels……” and co-produces this with Lucinda’s husband, Tom Overby. She is 67 now and this is her 14th album. She’s pissed off with a lot of things, upset with even more and that was before Corona. I imagine that she would have more to say now. There is a great line from a review: She achieves this by channelling anger, unease and empathy into a bristling set of riff-driven blues-rock tempered by tenderness. ( a curative measure) – Joe Breen.

It is almost a blues/punk fusion. It is not the kind of music to mellow out to on a Sunday afternoon. It is music to listen to, write down notes, probably have a bottle of bourbon or some extra strong coffee to wash down and there maybe some head banging involved. Some of the head banging will be against a brick wall or you may want to kick a coke can down the street.

It does what country music does best though, in a few of its 79 different forms. It tells a story, it hits you in the head with the plain truths and it doesn’t pull punches.

It is not for everybody, and there are a few of those four letter words…which to be honest aren’t as hard hitting as the other language that she uses. I think that it is an important album, it shows that even at 67, or nearly 90 like Willie and Loretta, you can still stand for something and not be afraid to do it.

I think the titles say it all, you can pretty much tell the stories from them. I hope that Lucinda keeps telling it like it is.

 

 

Track listing
“You Can’t Rule Me” – 4:02
“Bad News Blues” – 4:37
“Man Without a Soul” – 5:31
“Big Black Train” – 5:28
“Wakin’ Up” – 4:44
“Pray the Devil Back to Hell” – 5:38
“Shadows & Doubts” – 6:01
“When the Way Gets Dark” – 3:27
“Bone of Contention” – 4:05
“Down Past the Bottom” – 3:21
“Big Rotator” – 5:20
“Good Souls” – 7:35
Personnel
Lucinda Williams – guitar, vocals, production
Ray Kennedy – production
Tom Overby – production

Totally Biased Fan Review – Ghosts of West Virginia – Steve Earle and The Dukes

Steveearleandthedukes GhostsofWestVirginia

I love reviewing a Steve Earle album, in the same way that I love reading a true story or watching a movie of a battler on television. There is always something earthy and real about a Steve Earle album. This is a concept album, dedicated to the memory of 29 miners and to Kelley Looney who died just before they went into the studio to record this one. Kelley was a part of the band for 30 years and had collaborated with the songwriting with Steve for most of that time. Jeff Hill stepped into the breach but they were big shoes to fill and it was tough for Steve and the band. The result is truly magnificent, despite the circumstances, or perhaps in spite of them.

I love Steve’s fabulous gravelly, bluesy voice. It always strikes me of a mixture of Joe Cocker, Tom Waits and those folky, Cajun singers of the early times of music.

The songs are in that vein too. The album is based on the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine explosion. Steve stars in the play that uses his music.

There are giant stabs of the political nature here, which is only natural. Mining disasters always bring up things that should have been done, could have been done and hopefully will be done in the future.

There is a story in every song here, and of course, as a whole, there is an amazing story, which is a true one.

Eleanor Whitmore sings If I could see your face again in one of the most beautiful vocal performances of the year so far. A truly haunting Celtic like song. The songs generally don’t pull punches, which you should expect of Steve Earle by now, but they are also powerful and catchy at times as well.

This album answers a few questions as well as providing a few questions as well.

An amazing album that somewhat defies description. You really need to listen to it to appreciate it fully.

Steve Earle ‘Ghosts of West Virginia’ Track Listing:

1. Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
2. Union, God and Country
3. Devil Put The Coal In The Ground
4. John Henry Was A Steel Drivin’ Man
5. Time Is Never On Our Side
6. It’s About Blood
7. If I Could See Your Face Again
8. Black Lung
9. Fastest Man Alive
10. The Mine

Totally Biased Fan Review – God, Family, Country – Craig Morgan

CraigMorganGodFamilyCountry

A few years ago, I watched one of those Hotel renovation shows on 9Life, and it featured a hotel which was opposite the Grand Ole Opry….for memory. To give the hotel a boost, they invited an Opry member, and he sang a few songs. I had never heard of him, but I wondered why…..he was my kinda country performer. His name was Craig Morgan.  Not long after, he lost his son (he has 5 kids), tragically at the age of 19. This album is his first new music album since Jerry passed away. There are two of his biggest songs on here as well as new songs.

The other thing that connected Craig and I was that he is born in the year after me, so we are roughly the same vintage. Sometimes that helps to relate to certain songs.

As you can imagine, from the title and the flag, it has traces of  God Bless America, but the title song is more about his late son and there is a lot of heart in this album, no matter where you are from, you will appreciate that. The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost is more specifically about his son and the way his family have dealt and are dealing with the loss.

If you like guys like George Strait and Alan Jackson, you will like Craig. There are some beautiful songs on this album, it is one of my biggest surprises so far in 2020. It is hard to pick favourite tracks, because I genuinely love them all. It is a 90’s sounding album, which of course is my favourite era of American Country Music.

Whiskey (boy, how many whiskey songs are there lately) is probably up there in my favourites. Yes, it is another song about whiskey, but the words are quite amazing. It is a different angle.  It is a drowning sorrows and broken hearted stuff but lines like ‘I hate the taste of whiskey but I drink it anyway’ and the lines of burning certain parts are original. A great cryin’, hurtin’, drinkin’ song.

Lotta man in that little boy is a beautiful story and very real and tender. Almost Home and the two songs that I mentioned about his son and his family are wonderful. There are some lighter songs mixed in with the more meaningful ones, giving the album balance.

I hope that this album does well for Craig, it is a fabulous effort and it would have been a tough job to do in many ways. I think that it is quite a wonderful pure country album. I like lots of different types but this is the essence of country music.

Have a box of tissues handy. It is not corny or hokey, it is just tender.

 

God, Family, Country Track List

1.“The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost” (Craig Morgan)* – avail. March 27
2.“Soldier” (Gavin DeGraw)*
3.“Going Out Like This” (Craig Morgan, Michael Rogers, Korey Hunt, Sam Banks)* – avail. March 27
4.“Whiskey” (Anthony Smith, Sarah Beth Terry)*
5.“Sippin’ On The Simple Life” (Craig Morgan, Michael Rogers, Justin Wright, Andrew Yocovone)* – avail. April 24
6.“God, Family and Country” (Craig Morgan, Craig Morris, Lance McDaniel)**
7.“That’s What I Love About Sunday” (Adam Dorsey, Mark Narmore)**
8.“My Kind Of Woman” (Craig Morgan, Phil O’Donnell, Jason Sellers)**
9.“Almost Home” (Craig Morgan, Kerry Kurt Phillips)**
10.“Lotta Man (In That Little Boy)” (Craig Morgan, Phil O’Donnell, Tim Owens)**

*New music
**Remastered

Totally Biased Fan Review – Copy That – Sara Evans

SaraEvansCopyThat

Sara Evans has released a huge amount of country music albums with a very strong country music sound. Of all of the female country music artists in America, she is in the top ten of my favourite country music female singers but she is also in the top 10 of the most twangy, traditional country music sounding singers. Lately, she has been doing some different projects. Recently, and EEP with her children (I reviewed this on here) which probably gave her a bit of an incentive to make this album of covers, many of which are not country, but she gives them a bit of a country feel.  They may not be songs that you would think an artist such as Sara or even cover artists from other genres would do….they are not ones that have been done a million times.

A disco song, a Pretenders number, a Carole King classic (probably a song that you may expect Sara to do), a Chicago number and The Knack’s My Sharona which is an interesting choice.

Crazy Love, I’m So Lonesome I could cry , and She’s Got You are more obvious choices. I love Come on Eileen, what a version!  I very rarely do cover albums on here, I mainly focus on singer/songwriters or artists who have songwriters write original material for them, (which is basically what Sara does normally). However, I always review a Sara album, so I wasn’t going to ignore this one.

Even though Sara still carries an obvious country sound, her voice is so powerful and she has such a great energy that she can be very flexible.

The production is very schmick on this. I don’t have the credits, but it is very polished and it still retains a country flavour, despite the range of songs. You will be up dancing to some, travelling down memory lane with others.

It is certainly a colourful album and it is a fun album. It shows off the magnificent voice of one of the genuine stars of world country music.

Tracks:

If I Can’t Have You

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Come on Eileen

Crazy Love

Whenever I call your name

It’s Too Late

Monday Morning

All We Ever Do is say goodbye

I’m So Lonesome I could Cry

6th Avenue Heartache

My Sharona

She’s Got You

Hard to Say I’m Sorry

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Roadworn – Lindsay Waddington

RoadwarnLindsayWaddington

Lindsay Waddington started out in the music business very young. “Waddo” is a multi instrumentalist and producer. He has appeared on many other people’s albums and now has his own recording studio, Kross Kut Records. He has released about 11 albums of his own.

As an instrumentalist, Lindsay is one of the many who do not get as much recognition as singer/songwriters or singers. As a producer, he is much acclaimed.

The songs on this album are varied. No, they are not all country songs, but they are given a country touch.  Dolly and Kenny’s Islands In the Stream, is the most obvious one. I don’t have a credit listing, but I detect a few originals amongst more well known tracks by Elton John and The Bee Gees.

There are flying fingers on Roadworn, gentle and anthemic sounds on others. There is 60’s twang and twang twang.  A Mexican sound about a white man on El Gringo. Lindsay mixes it up so that no two songs sound the same or are in the same vein.

To sustain a career in country music, let alone as an instrumentalist, is a tough road. I can imagine that Lindsay’s life on the road has been full and colourful and he would have had to fight a bit harder at times to get noticed…..particularly as he started out as a drummer!

This is a collection for a lazy day, something to relax with, tap your toes to and appreciate the complexities as well as the simplicity of the musicianship of one of Australian Country Music’s most respected instrumentalists.

Tracks

Islands In The Stream

Nikita

Tanami Track

Words

Roadworn

Now I’m Easy

Sad Songs

Whitsunday Nights

Massachusetts

El Gringo

 

Totally Biased Fan Review -Burden of the Fool – John ‘K’ Krsulja

Burdenofthefool

What Johnny K does for other artists is immeasurable. When it is his turn to take the spotlight, he still does it with his friends who are a big part of his and our country music family. Some of the best Australian songwriters and musicians are on this album, but that is only the half of it. It is always the voice first.

When you listen to a Johnny K song, it is the voice that hits you first. This is actually unusual for me. I usually listen to the words, then the music, then the voice. That voice is so striking and it fits the stories that he tells us.

That deep, bluesy, soulful voice of John ‘K’ Krsulja hits you like a cyclone (which then turns into a gentle breeze on a summer day) or a sudden rainfall on a tin roof. His voice takes you back to blokes like Barry McGuire and his words like Bob Dylan and Donovan.

I was able to get a sneak peak at a few of these songs in Tamworth in January, before the world was turned upside down. As a 60’s Aquarian child, Johnny’s songs and stories are right up my alley. The fact that he has on hand some of my favourite songwriters and one of the best producers in the country in Matt Fell guiding him through this after the untimely passing of Glen Hannah, make this an extra strong album. You can even tell that Glen is there, strumming away and nodding and he is a very much a part of this album.

These are the stories that John has lived and loved. He has carried them with him and you can feel the miles that he has travelled as he sings them to us. They may spark a memory or two as nostalgia hits you square in the heart.  There are familiar lines and very Australian moments.

You can take two turns with Johnny K’s music, much like Karl Broadie’s treasures. You can relax and chill out to it, or you can go deeper and search for the meanings – big and little – and maybe learn a lesson or two or immerse yourself in a man’s music which is in touch with the land and life and some truths.

I am not going to name favourites. I have enjoyed this album as a whole entity and I refuse to dissect it. It would probably demean its essence.

Enjoy with a brandy or a whiskey or a very large merlot. Absolutely beautiful stuff.

I loved his last album, but this is even better.

 

Tracks

Black to Blue

Keep Quiet

People Revolution

The Way it Goes

Fishin’ and Workin’

Nimbin

Burden of the Fool

The World Keeps turnin’ on its own

Love’s Lost Woman

Woronora River

Love finds a way

Produced and Engineered by Glen Hannah and Matt Fell

Mastered by Jeff McCormack

Drums and Percussion – Josh Schuberth

Bass, Guitars, Ukelele, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Matt Fell

Guitars, Harmonica – Pete Cornelius

Acoustic Guitar (Black to Blue) – Glen Hannah

Piano Accordion – Michael Webb

Acoustic guitar, vocals – Johnny K

All songs by John K Krulsja except for:

Track 2 with Allison Forbes

Track 4 – Kelly Cork

Track 5 with Brendan Nawrocki

Track 6 with Jen Mize

Track 8 with Lachlan Bryan