Totally Biased Fan Review – Chasing The Sun – Andy Penkow EEP

Andy Penkow Chasing The Sun EEP

Australia is rich right now with great talent in Country Music. This young fella is one of my favourite shining lights. His album, Sad Love Songs, was a beauty and this EEP, is a great follow up.

His voice has a great clarity and he is in wonderful hands with Shane Nicholson and some fine musicians. I think the voice and the lyrics stand out most. He has an almost pure voice – clean, fresh and almost like spring water from the mountains. There’s no mistaking him for country, his songs have the subject matter, the storytelling and the simplicity of that sun the title suggest that he is chasing or the Wildflowers that he is running through.

All five tracks are beauties, with heartbreak, recovery, hope and adventure in their repertoire. It is an EEP for those who don’t know, because it has 5 tracks rather than 4.

Andy’s voice has a few octaves, sometimes he uses them all in one song…..sometimes in one chorus.

You don’t necessarily have to like country to like Andy’s music, I think that it can reach a larger audience, but country music does these days as it has a broader feel.

I think Andy is one to watch over the next few years, he goes from strength to strength and he is broadening the country horizons.

The singles, Chasing the Sun and Wildflowers are great, but all five songs are terrific, with the last track, Vicious Fights, Sleepless Nights probably being my favourite on the EEP.

I was lucky enough to catch Andy at Tamworth this year. He has a great stage presence and he performed his great songs beautifully. I think that there were some surprised ears and eyes in the crowd. He’s already won himself a Kazzie, and I am sure that there are more of those and bigger awards and rewards in store.

If you are lucky enough to catch Andy LIVE, then you are in for a treat. In the meantime, kick back and relax and enjoy these five fine tunes and Sad Love Songs and take in a truly fine young artist and his work.

 

 

Tracks:

Chasing the Sun

Wildflowers

The Biggest Heart can break

Falling Through The Cracks

Vicious Fights, Sleepless Nights

Produced by Shane Nicholson

Listen to the Words – Kaz’s playlist 26th July if I was on radio.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Intro: Listen to the words – Luke O’Shea

Change – Arna Georgia

Last Cigarette – Melody Moko

Carrying the Flame – Jasmine Rae

Small Talk – Shelley Minson and Bobby Cash

Honey – Gareth Leach

Never Meant to Break Your Heart – Andrew Swift

Leave Me Out to Dry – Riley Catherall

Sweet Old Release – Allison Forbes

Running On Empty – Aaron D’Arcy

Drop on by – 8 Ball Aitken

Unlikely Believer – Gretta Ziller

You Remind Me of Myself – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes

She’s Leaving Melbourne – John Flanagan

You Can’t Hide From A Broken Heart – Sally-Anne Whitten

Do you want love with that – Wendy Wood

Adelaide – The April Family

I Get it Now – Amber Lawrence

I Could Dance With You – Aleyce Simmonds

I’m Gonna Love Her All The Time – Montgomery Church

Too Far Gone – Catherine Britt

The One Who Makes Her Cry – Kristy Cox

Drunk Talking – Travis List

Think Again – Ian Burns

Drive Him Crazy – Gayle O’Neil and Andrew Swift

Diggin’ Holes – Great Aunt

Miss you much – Susan Lily

Too Far to Go – Matt Joe Gow featuring The Weeping Willows

Livin’ on Gold Street – Ben Mastwyk

The Battle of Point Nepean – Benny Allen

Acorns – The Weeping Willows

40,000 star hotel – Kelly Brouhaha

Water over wine – Natalie Henry

My Old Man No More – Phil and Lana Doublet

Happy Australia Day – Luke O’Shea and Kevin Bennett

All My Life – Lyn Bowtell

Speck of Dust – Felicity Urquhart

Catherine Hill – Ashleigh Dallas

I Saw You Smile Today – Darren Colston

Six Decks to Darwin – Dean Perrett

Son and Moon – Cameron Daddo

I Wish That I Was Honky Tonkin’ – James Ellis and the Jealous Guys

What I Know Now – Georgia State Line and Patrick Wilson

Tattoos Trucks and Country Music – Matt Ward

One Last Time – Craig Lloyd

3 Minute Movie – Angus Gill and Seasons of Change

Kick it Tomorrow – Liam Brew

Dreamer’s Tired Mind – Katie Brooke

Rainy Day – Travis Collins

Far Above My Head – Mitch Dean

Green and Blue – Hayley Marsten

Coming Down in Spades – Ben Ransom

The Truth – Rory Phillips

The Arsonist – Dom Italiano and Gretta Ziller

Outback Lullaby – Dani Young

Chasing the Sun –  Andy Penkow

Man on the Mountain – Andy Nelson

Run to the River – Andy Golledge

Woronora River – Johnny K

Couldn’t Promise You Rain – Clint Wilson

Forget Her – Jen Mize and Duncan Toombs

Who I Am – Andy Toombs

Like I Used To – Michael Waugh

A Break in the Clouds – Cathy Dobson

I do – Allan Caswell and Donna Fisk

I Turn to you – Kevin Sullivan

Mixed Bag – Innocent Eve

Let You Love Me – The New Graces

Ash and Dust – Blake Dantier

Absolute – Brandon Dodd

Get Lost – Clancy Pye

Kazbar – The Wrap

Classic – Oleanders – Kevin Johnson

Into the Sun – Daniel Reeves

If We Said Goodbye – Natalie Henry

 

Country Connections Episode 6 – Gretta Ziller and Mary Chapin Carpenter

GrettaZillerCountryConnections     MaryChapinCarpenterCountryConnections

 

For those who don’t know, this blog segment is about connecting two artists from the world of country music – one from Australia and one from America or Canada.

They all have something in common – personality or looks or style or voice or songwriting or general musicianship. Sometimes it is just one of these, sometimes a few, sometimes all of the above.

These two are also connected by the fact that they are definitely two of my favourite country women of all time.

They don’t sound the same – nobody sounds like Gretta, nobody sounds like Mary, they both have unique voices – which I guess is a connection in itself. They write about similar things, they have a similar truth and value system to their lyrics and their music. If I only had the choice of ten female artists music to keep, these two would be in my top 10.

They are both treasures. Listen and enjoy to the wonderful talents of two fine musicians and humans.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – The Balladeer – Lori McKenna

 

lori-mckenna-balladeer-13647

In one of the ironies of life, I had just started to review this album when the concert online of this album came up on my facebook page. So I am writing this now while I am watching Lori LIVE on Facebook!

Lori has been around for a while, but it is only in the last few years that she has been awarded for her efforts and given any recognition. I very rarely review International albums from more recent artists from America. Lori’s style very much belongs to the heroes of mine from the 70’s and 90’s American Country Music. She could easily fit in to either generation.

Her voice is pure and gentle, yet strong. Her songs are meaningful and poignant. Think Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter and our own Gretta Ziller.

Watching her now LIVE, it isn’t any different to listening to her on cd. She sounds as great LIVE as she does in the studio.

I gave Lori a Kazzie for her last album, I was wondering how she could top that, but I think that she has. The gentleness of her music and her lilting voice, that both haunts and soothes, is a bit of a fancy trick as she sings about the issues that face us all and the struggles. I always admire artists who can do that. I also admire artists who can say how you feel about things with different phrases and a subtle manipulation of words. Lori is a unique artist, she could have also fit in very well in my favourite decade of any kind of music, the 60’s. I could see her singing songs with Joan, Judy, Bob and the folk crew.

There is something about her music that reminds me of our Brad Butcher too, I don’t know why, but there seems to be a female version of Brad in her songs. It will be interesting to hear what others think of that obscure observation.

Dave Cobb produced this album, he seems to be on a roll lately. It is hard to pick a favourite track, they are all wonderful. It is one of those albums that you could put on heavy repeat all day and not regret it. The songs are deeply personal stories from Lori, but somehow, we can all relate or connect to them, and things that are happening in our lives.

It is everything that I thought that it would be and more. It is so beautiful, so rich and calming in these crazy times.

 

THE BALLADEER TRACK LIST

1. This Town Is A Woman (ft. Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman)

2. The Balladeer

3. Marie

4. The Dream

5. Uphill

6. Good Fight

7. Stuck In High School

8. When You’re My Age (ft. Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose)

9. Two Birds

10. ‘Till You’re Grown

Totally Biased Fan Review – Lion Side – Jasmine Rae

JasmineRaeLion Side

Jasmine is one of those artists who is forever evolving. She is not afraid to go out of the box, from the very start of her career. One of her albums is on my top 100 Aussie Country albums of all time, and to be honest, my first encounters with Jasmine would never reflect on the love and admiration that I have for this artist. Well, maybe they do in an obscure way. The first time that she appeared in Tamworth, I encountered two very difficult guys in the audience. It was a free gig, and as always, I always try to check out new artists and I listen. I never judge, I just listen. One of these old guys was a Johnny Cash and Slim Dusty Fan, the other guy was a Johnny Cash and Slim Dusty fan. They were having way too many beers and saying stuff like this is not country music. I usually stay silent. During a break, I moved sideways and said….”give this girl a chance. Both Johnny and Slim supported young and different talent. As great as they were, and always will be, there needs to be folks to carry it on and to keep it evolving. ” They both looked at me – wondering what someone a third of their ages would know. I said quickly…”I was raised in Tamworth and the Central Coast, what Adam Harvey calls the two hillbilly heavens.”

They turned and listened and gave this young artist a second chance. Her name was Jasmine Rae.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t so sure myself….I jotted down that she fitted into the 79 types of country music. But I heard something in that voice, saw something in the way that she tried to connect to the audience and I smiled. I thought that this young gal would go somewhere under the right influences.

If I Want To is one of my favourite Aussie Country music albums of all time. Every album from Jasmine is different, she pushes the old envelope.

Her music crosses several genres. Her voice is strong and her range is phenomenal.

Green Light is the 2020 version of Roy Clark’s Right or Left at Oak Street. Don’t Do it for the haters, Gentle Man and Party on the Couch are favourites but Carrying the Flame is just amazing. This pocket rocket is one of the most powerful possessors of fabulous vocals and she just gives you tingles when she sings. Wonderful songs, wonderful voice, a star, a shining star, in many ways.

It has been a long wait, but thank you, Jasmine, it is a beauty.

 

Track Listing

Green Light

Lion Side

Fraudulent

Don’t Do it for The Haters

Jessica

Gentle Man

Love Is

Right Now

Party on the Couch

Carrying the Flame

Produced by Lindsey Jackson

 

Country Connections – Episode 5 – John Denver and Darren Colston

john-denver    DarrenColston

John Denver once said that his music was not country and western (in the days when it was called that.) He said that he thought of his music as western. He wrote about the rivers and the mountains and wildlife and the environment and of roads and journeys and feelings. Perhaps the same could be said for my dear friend, my brother from another mother, Darren Colston. If ever I want to chill, I listen to these two. Strangely enough, if ever I ever want to contemplate life’s fortunes and misfortunes, I listen to these two as well. They have a mutual love for characters and history and all that encompasses them. I have never known two songwriters who have such a depth of feeling for these important things. Both of them have two of the most distinctive and beautiful voices in country music as well. You always know that it is John, you always know that it is Darren.

I wonder if you will hear what I hear. Enjoy two of my very favourite musos of all time.

 

The Single Life – 19th July 2020

45single

The wave of singles keep on coming. They are all a bit different and they are all beauties. Australia’s Rockabilly Queen, Shelley Minson and India’s favourite cowboy, Bobby Cash have joined forces to release the very trad country duet, Small Talk. It is a little rippa.  Multi talented Cameron Daddo has released an EP, with the title track the best of the lot, Son and Moon. a wonderful song. I will be playing it a lot.

Now for an artist that I am more than totally biased about. Finally, the Queen of Melbournetown has released a new single,  Unlikely Believer. Gretta Ziller has released a wonderful new song. Hopefully, this is the first of many new songs.

There are lots of new songs coming soon. Support our country musos please. They need you.

 

 

Country Connections – Episode 4 – Lachlan and Kris

LachlanBryan  Kris Kristofferson Songs of Kristofferson

In this episode of Country Connections – we match two of the finest singer songwriters that I have ever known, American Kris Kristofferson, who wrote my favourite ever country song, Sunday Morning Coming Down and Lachlan Bryan, who has written some of my favourite Aussie country music songs. These two guys exude intelligence, have the most amazing way with words and they connect with folks all over the world with their unique delivery and style. They write songs that mean something and that have many layers. Neither of them take themselves seriously, but they have amazing gifts that keep on giving. Fine musicians and singer/songwriters, generations apart but amazingly similar.

N.B. Yes, at times they look a wee bit alike too!

N.B.B. Thanks to the other wonderful Wildes too.

Country Connections – Episode 3 – Vince and Troy

Vince-Gill   Troy_Cassar-Daley_Live

For those who don’t know, Country Connections is about linking an Aussie Country Music Artist to an American one. It may be in looks, personality, style, values, heart, musicianship, writing or voices, or just some of those things or one of them. This one was suggested by multi Kazzie award winning musician, producer and member of Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes, Damian Cafarella, I had both Vince and Troy linked to some others in my brain but when this was suggested, I started thinking of all the possibilities. They are both very sensitive guys, who have beautiful voices, who can connected to traditional country music lovers and to new generation ones. The write beautiful songs and some tongue in cheek ones. They write songs with great meaning and they both know how to laugh and cry better than any other musos that I know. They both can play a guitar and they are both versatile. They are also, awesome blokes. Two legends of country music in their own backyards but also their messages and music are as relevant all over the world as they are at home.

Totally Biased Fan Review – Gaslighter – The Chicks (E)

The-Chicks-Gaslighter-Album-Cover

Despite of the long wait, the delays, the controversy, the politics and the name change, this is a quality album from musicians who can write, play, harmonise the E out of explicit and sing the Hell out of amazing songs.

The Chicks, the band formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, have never been backward in coming forward which has pissed off certain aggro rednecks and has elated and encouraged the other sector of the population.

You can enjoy this album for the reasons that I have already stated, or you can look a little deeper. I cannot believe the vitriolic accusations that have imploded and exploded on social media and in the general public arena about these amazingly talented and gifted girls. While I think that a name change was not needed (though I hate racism – I would have never thought that the name of their group had any racial connotations), I have just about always agreed with what they have stated and I do believe that if you are a public figure and have something to say that benefits the human condition, then you should say it.

I remember many years ago when I saw these girls winning their first awards on a major American Country Awards show and they were incredibly bubbly, funny and if you judged them by their covers and not by their songs and their messages, a little flakey. These women are and always have been, great role models, not only for musicians and storytellers, but they stood for something. They always tried to do the right thing. Sometimes it has backfired. Sometimes it has put them up on a pedestal. What shines above and beyond all of that, is their amazing musical talent. And yes, they always have been, and always will be, country.

It has been a long time between drinks for many reasons. The tendency to call their music country pop, irks me. I have never thought of their music like that. The messages are so strong, their instrumental and vocal ability so brilliant that I think calling it country pop cheapens and demeans their non bubble gum music.

Whether their songs target subjects on a world stage or a personal stage, they always have meaning and leave you with something to think about. There are some songs here with fairly strong language….whether it be f-bombs or hard hitting statements, but all are justified.

I am glad that they are back. Perhaps they can stir things up “good and proper” and show certain powers that be a thing or two. There will never be any hate towards these wonderful human beings from this fan. Their intentions are always honourable, their music is always fabulous. Give it a spin and take it in.

dig a little bit deeper and be a little bit louder…..

 

Track Listing and Credits

 

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. Gaslighter
3:23
2. “Sleep at Night”
3:12
3. “Texas Man”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
3:44
4. “Everybody Loves You”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
3:38
5. “For Her”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
5:26
6. “March March”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
3:53
7. “My Best Friend’s Weddings”
  • Maguire
  • Maines
  • Strayer
  • Antonoff
  • Tranter
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
4:18
8. “Tights On My Boat”
  • Maguire
  • Maines
  • Strayer
  • Antonoff
  • Michaels
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
3:02
9. “Julianna Calm Down”
  • Maines
  • Antonoff
  • Michaels
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
4:46
10. “Young Man”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
4:09
11. “Hope It’s Something Good”
  • Maguire
  • Maines
  • Strayer
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
4:05
12. “Set Me Free”
  • Antonoff
  • The Chicks
3:18
Total length: 46:54

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the album liner notes.[19]