Totally Biased Fan Review: Free Time and Money – Justin Landers

Free Time And Money - YouTube

I don’t have much information on this album, just released, but I will tell you my thoughts. I do know that Justin is from Orange, NSW, just up the road from where I went to Uni at Bathurst, so I know the area pretty well. Right now, the weather would be similar to where I live in Moe in Victoria, which is about 5 degrees in the middle of the day, and it could even be lower and snowing. I also know that tonight, Justin and another excellent muso, Andy Penkow will be warming everyone up at Justin’s launch of this album.

I was reading through Justin’s influences and it is pretty clear that they are present in this album, though all of the material is original, which I love. I am not sure who is playing on this album, as Itunes doesn’t provide such information, but if it is at the Hillbilly Hut, then I can have a bit of a guess….but I won’t do that. I am sure that Simon Johnson probably has something to do with it.

The songs are just as you would expect from someone who loves George Strait, Alan Jackson and co, and if you like your country the one of the 94 types that is classed as traditional or honky tonk or country ballads, or country waltzes, then this is a goer for you.

We start with a Waltz, A Campfire Waltz, which is a rippa to begin with. The fiddles are flying, the feet are doing the 1,2,3 and it is by a campfire, how can you beat that? Something about this song reminds me of Troy Cassar- Daley. That ain’t a bad thing, hey?

I can’t drink you off my mind – You can’t get more country than this song, drinking, heartbroken, whiskey, you get the picture! Lots of twang but it is also a toe-tapper, sort of a bit of the old Texas swing in there. I am not sure if an old country music writer would use the word closure but there is the twist!

The Corner Store – a familiar site these days, good old fashioned corner stores from our childhoods closing down or pulled down. Lollies and a bit of everything shops. Took me back to my childhood, I am sure that it will take others back to and compare the olden days with the new.

Our Little Love – This is a beautiful song, probably a familiar love story for many, and certainly one of the best on the album. Slow dance or mellowing out to song.

My Old Man – I think that I have heard Justin sing this before, not sure if it was a single or just one that they played on the radio. To be honest, anything with a billy cart in it has my vote anyway! This is a real story song and you may need a box of tissues. Wonderful stuff. Life’s simple lessons.

Head over Heels – Members of the one and only club……you have to love that line. Very George and Alan, love it.

Always Kiss Her Goodnight – A funny song, I think Adam Harvey would love this song. It does have a serious message though. I always remember my Mum saying, don’t go to sleep on an argument. I feel that sentiment here.

How ‘Bout this Weather? – A lot of double entendres in this song. Cleverly used cliches and subtext.

Free Time and Money – I always love it when an album either begins or ends with the title track. A toe tapping, get up on the dance floor kind of song.

There’s a bit of Roo Arcus about Justin too, which fits, because he follows the Strait and Jackson style too. Both add something Australian to their songs and styles, but there is definitely a touch of the famous pair there.

There is a good balance of uptempo and mellow songs here, all beautifully delivered with a strong thread of country through them and rich in all of the ingredients that a country song requires.

This is a wonderful album. It will be at home in Australia or overseas and wherever there are lovers of country music.

Tracks

A Campfire Waltz

I Can’t Drink You off my

The Corner Store

Our Little Love

My Old Man

Head over Heels

Always kiss her goodnight

How ‘Bout This Weather

Free Time and Money

All songs written by Justin Landers

Produced at Hillbilly Hut ( I guess by my ‘cousin’ Simon Johnson)

The Single File – 18/6/2021

O’Shea with Nashville, Indiana is an awesome song, a different way of saying something which is familiar. Easily their best song ever.

One of the new shining lights on the Aussie Country Music scene is Courtney Keil – Where Does All the Love Go is one of the songs of the year. This wonderful talent only knows one way, and that is up.

Dani Young has come up with one of the best riffs of the year with Allibi, An awesome song with so much depth and she has a powerhouse voice.

One that I missed earlier in the year, but I am here now, Lily Grace with James Blundell with Annie June. This is a great single and it is surely in contention for the collaboration award at the Golden Guitars.

The Single Life – 12/6/2021

Quarter Past You – Route 33 – probably their best song so far. Clever lyrics and very singable. Go guys!

Troy Kemp – Needles on the Vinyl, love it when Troy does this kind of stuff. So clever, lyrics and a nostalgic review of what things were like ring true in a song that has Troy singing in his best style. Top song.

Allan Caswell – Don’t Shed a Tear For Me – In the last few years, Sir Allan has made it a point to release a bush ballad. He covers most of the 94 types of country music in his songs. He is a master storyteller and in a bush ballad the story is paramount. I think that we all know a Fred or two. Growing up in the country, I know a lot of them.

Shane Nicholson – One of our finest singer/songwriters does it again with a rippa of a song, Life Ain’t Fine. I think that this is Shane’s best song for a long time, though he can just breathe and it is beautiful. Shane’s references to Paul Kelly and Shakespeare have him in good and equal company.

Allison Forbes – Save You Now – Oh okay, you know that I won’t ever say a bad word about Forbesy. My Tamworth Sister is never wrong anyway! So what is to fault? This song is top notch as always. You can never have enough Forbesy music. Magic.

Warren Kearney – Who’ll Remember the memories – A slight change in style and pace for Warren but he is still making a point, sending a message about how the most simple of history lessons, – those of our own history – can be lost and treasures can vanish.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Good To The Girls Again – Aaron D’Arcy EEP

May be an image of text

Sneaky Preview – Pre-order on Itunes or on Aaron’s website now!

Aaron D’Arcy is one of the most versatile musos in Melbourne. He can do it all and he does. He is all over this EEP. He does everything from vocals, production and the instruments.

This EEP is a real mix of styles, covering at least 7 of the 94 types of country music.

Good to see the girls again is a surprisingly uplifting, rollicking track, as Aaron tends to go more to the dark side. It is a toe tapper too. I also like an album or EEP to start with the title track…call me old fashioned, but I think that it is a cool thing.

Better Day is one of the singles that have already been lifted from this album and I personally think that it is one of Aaron’s best songs. It is very country and it is catchy and hopeful. It is a very hummable song.

Altered States – A good country twang and strum intro, with a touch of grunge and a mention of whiskey….it wouldn’t be an album by Aaron with out some trace of whiskey!

The Wind has also been released as a single. A story of escape, a story song in general and a song with more of an edge to it than some of the others on here.

New Year’s Resolution – A strongly influenced Dylanesque song especially with the phrasing, fast strumming and harp. One of my favourites on this EEP.

All Over the World – A promise of things to come, when travelling can actually happen again – a bit of a dreamer’s trip.

Take Me Again – Back down to the dark side. A bit of cool grungy and bluesy guitar and a walk on the wild side.

The songs on this EEP probably cover a lot of the emotions and stories that have entered our lives in the last 18 months or so, for the most part. I think that the key is looking for a better day, looking at the positives, trying to make plans for when things get better, reflecting on the ups and downs and just living with the things that we’ve had to live with. Musically, Aaron has put more light and shade into this EEP than he has before, with a more balanced look at life inspite and despite of the times.

Aaron is a gifted musician and a wonderful allrounder. He is ably assisted here by a small but quality crew. This is also a nod to the times how Michael Carpenter recorded Dani in Sydney while Aaron was in Melbourne. A lot of artists have had to record and produce things differently, from the music itself to videos and presentation.

Please pre-order this EEP, it has something for everybody and it will be even better LIVE when Aaron gets a chance to get back on stage and gets to belt out his tunes and fire up his guitars.

Tracks:

Good to see the girls again (Aaron D’Arcy)

Better Day (Aaron D’Arcy and Cameron Muncey)

Altered States (Aaron D’Arcy and Bruce Atherton)

The Wind (Aaron D’Arcy)

New Year’s Resolution (Aaron D’Arcy)

All over the world (Aaron D’Arcy)

Take Me Again (Aaron D’Arcy and Bruce Atherton)

Performed, Produced and Recorded by Aaron D’Arcy

Dani Young – Backing Vocals (recorded by Michael Carpenter)

Timothy J Fry – Pedal Steel

Iain Munroe – Drums on Altered States

Mark Wilson – Bass on Better Day

Cameron Muncey acoustic guitar on Better Day

Aaron D’Arcy all other instruments.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Front Porch Singin’ – The Oak Ridge Boys

Tracks

1. “Life Is Beautiful”
2. “Love, Light, and Healing”
3. “Old Ways”
4. “Promised Land”
5. “Red River Valley”
6. “Life’s Railway to Heaven”
7. “Rock My Soul”
8. “Swing Down Chariot”
9. “‘Till I See You Again”
10. “Unclouded Day”
11. “When He Calls”

Mr Versatile, Dave Cobb is behind this album. The legendary Oak Ridge Boys have been around since before I was born. Their famous harmonies are wavering a little bit, but they can still crank out a mighty fine tune.

The idea was to put together an album of songs that they would probably sing on their porch together. I can see it, probably after church and a big lunch on a Sunday, with them chilling in the Sunshine singing some songs – nostalgic and family like. Not surprisingly, a lot of the songs are gospel like or at least have some kind of spirituality about them.

These songs have been put together during Covid to uplift and give hope. It is a good old fashion, gospel country album. Some of the songs are sad but a lot of Gospel songs are.

You can almost smell the fried chicken and mashed potato and feel the sun on your face and the dog barking in the yard. This is a trip down memory lane, a reminder of some songs that are timeless and effortless from a bunch of friends who have been together for a long time.

The core members of the group are still there, with others gone or moved on. The band started in 1947, and like Australia’s The Bushwackers, they have had a supporting cast of thousands.

Their big hits came in the 70’s and 80’s like Elvira and The All Come Back Saloon. They are not spring chickens anymore, but they are still in fine form. One young reviewer said that the second half of the album gets bogged down a bit with slow songs. Good grief, Hasn’t this young pup read the bible of country music?

I just wish that I had been on the porch singing with them.

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Art of Letting Go – Andrew Swift

Art Of Letting Go, The | JB Hi-Fi

First things first – I would like to thank Swifty for calling this album something easier to remember than Call out for The Cadburys, which was one of the best albums of the last 10 years, but gosh, I always got the name wrong. Oh wait, it was Call out for the Cavalry! A well rewarded album, and a stunner, it was always going to be hard to follow. As if a nod to the Cavalry, the first song is called Courting Calamity! You can hear the Wolfe sound in this one but it is also a great way to start an album.

Never Meant to Break Your Heart is an awesome song and it was a single from this album, to tease us. We have been singing this one for months and understanding the sentiment and the story behind it.

Head full of honey has also been released as a single. I have heard a rumour that it is even a merch. item….honey, that is. It is definitely a shower song…..the chorus is as catchy as a cold in a lift.

The title track is one of the best songs on the album. It is a bit different to Swifty’s other songs, but I love it. I’d go as far to say that it is one of my favourite songs that I have heard this year. I am really glad that I can show it off with my t-shirt now!

Right on Down is the only song on the album that Swifty hasn’t had a songwriting hand in. A train song always gets me in and this one, which was also released as a single, is a toe tapping, toot toot around the living room song.

One Breath at a time was co written with Jay O’Shea and you can tell. It is a beautiful love song and Swifty’s voice is so tender on this one. Simply breathtaking – pun intended.

She Loves to get high is a bit of a throwback to traditional country songs with a touch of Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine there too.

Say the Word has been on a lot of people’s play lists recently, a duet with the extremely popular rising star, Cass Hopetoun. I think that this song will fare very well at the Golden Guitars. I never would have thought of putting these two together in a duet but it works.

Good Kind of Giving In – Different again, reminds me of early 80’s late 70’s American band sound – (Thinking Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band) – cool song.

Taking the Blame – Pretty self explanatory song, great song and a declaration of sorts.

Holding My Tongue is probably a good way to end the album and perhaps an ironic song to follow the song before. A stunning song.

This album is fabulous. Call out For The Cadburys was incredible, a masterpiece, and I might have to say that this is in the same boat. I think that it is like comparing apples and oranges, they are both great, just different. This album shows more maturity, covers subjects and styles that can only be learned with age and experience. Swifty is still young, so it is incredible to think that he will still get better with even more age and experience.

He is in great hands with Matt Fell and Damian Cafarella and a bunch of great musicians, including the late great Glen Hannah, Josh, Gretta and Sam amongst others.

This album will feature on many best album lists for this year and for years to come. It has something for everybody and it is of its time.

Tracks

1. Introducing Calamity
2. Courting Calamity (Swift and the Wolfe Brothers)
3. Never Meant To Break Your Heart (Swift and P Barton)
4. Head Full Of Honey (Swift and B.J Porter)
5. The Art Of Letting Go (A Swift and S Burgess)
6. Right On Down (N Di Claudio)
7. One Breath At A Time ( Swift, J. O’Shea)
8. She Loves To Get High (Swift)
9. Say The Word (feat. Cass Hopetoun) (Swift/ Barton)
10. Good Kind Of Giving In (Swift, Maher, Mac)
11. Taking The Blame (Swift/Valentine)
12. Holding My Tongue (Swift)

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Matt Fell

Mastered by Pete Lyman

Additional Vocal Tracking by Damian Cafarella

Matt Fell – Bass, guitar, piano, keys, ukulele, percussion, mellotron, backing vocals

Josh Schuberth – Drums and Percussion

Gretta Ziller – Additional Vocals

Ollie Thorpe – Guitar

Sam Hawksley – Guitar, Lapsteel and pedal Steel

Pete Cornelius – Guitar

Tim Crouch – Mandolin, Banjo, Fiddle

Glen Hannah – Guitar

Rob McNelley – Guitar

Will Kimbrough – Mandolin

Nick Wolfe – Guitar

Andy Schrav – Keys

Dan Biederman – Hammond

Jordy Fell – Cowbell

Totally Biased Fan Review: Southern Gothic – The Weeping Willows EEP

Southern Gothic | The Weeping Willows

My hard copy hasn’t arrived yet, but I couldn’t wait to write about my dear friends (country music family members), The Weeping Willows. To keep folks like me out of the padded cell, (waiting for their album which was to be released last May), they have released this EEP. Black Crow will be featured on their up and coming album. Southern Gothic is another original and an instrumental.

Nick, Andy and Laura form the Aussie version of Peter, Paul and Mary, singing Hangman, an exquisite folk song. The Chuck Willis written, much sung song, C C Rider, made most popular by the King himself, Elvis Presley is sung in a cross version of the original and Elvis’s version, giving it a fresh approach.

Though The Weeping Willows rarely sing covers – (why would they when they write such great stuff themselves) – sing a song here which they often sing as a final number in their gigs – One Kind Favour. I think that this is the first time that they have actually recorded it, despite making it part of their show for so long.

Ironically, They sing Ain’t No Ash Will Burn, written by Walt Aldridge, whose daughter, Hannah is a frequent visitor to our shores in normal times and who opened for The Weeping Willows in Tamworth at their pseudo album preview. It is a beautiful song, which Hannah does a great version of too.

I can’t do a review of this EEP without mentioning Long Black Veil. Easily one of the most popular folk and country songs of all time, made famous by Lefty and Mr Cash amongst others. Andy’s voice fits the song like a perfect match and his perfect match, Laura, adds the haunting quality, which she often does.

The Weeping Willows are not prolific music release people. They go for quality rather than quantity. Hopefully, the album which I have heard in its entirety at gigs and previews (bar tweaking and studio polish), will be on the way soon, but until then, this mixture of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue will keep their pseudo bridesmaid and their growing fan base and cult fan base happy. Thank you Laura and Andy for providing another stunning piece of work and pleasure for all of us. Vocally and instrumentally, this is a treasured gift.

Tracklist:

01. The Weeping Willows – Southern Gothic
02. The Weeping Willows, Nick Charles – Hangman (The Gallows Tree) (feat. Nick Charles) (written by hendler, Travers, Okun, Stookey and Yarrow)
03. The Weeping Willows – C.C. Rider (Chuck Willis)
04. The Weeping Willows – Long Black Veil (Dill/Wilkin)
05. The Weeping Willows – One Kind Favour (See That My Grave Is Kept Clean) (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
06. The Weeping Willows – Ain’t No Ash Will Burn (Walt Aldridge)
07. The Weeping Willows – Black Crow

Engineered and mixed by Roger Bergodaz, with special guests Nick Charles Music, Luke Moller and David Piltch. Mastered by Adam Dempsey of Deluxe Mastering. Photography thanks to Ian Laidlaw.

Totally Biased Fan Review: Leftover Feelings – John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas Band

John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band - Leftover Feelings [CD] | New West  Records

Track Listing

Long Black Electric Cadillac; Mississippi Phone Booth; The Music Is Hot; All The Lilacs In Ohio; I’m In Asheville; Light Of The Burning Sun; Little Goodnight; Buddy Boy; Changes In My Mind; Keen Rambler; Sweet Dream.

Personnel

John Hiatt: voice / vocals; Jerry Douglas: multi-instrumentalist; Daniel Kimbro: bass; Mike Seal: guitar; Christian Sedelmeyer: violin; Carmela Ramsey: voice / vocals.

Additional Instrumentation

John Hiatt: guitar; Jerry Douglas: background vocals; Daniel Kimbro: tic-tac bass, string arrangements; Mike Seal: acoustic and electric guitars; Christian Sedelmyer: string arrangements.

Album Information

Title: Leftover Feelings | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: New West Records

One genius on an album is amazing, two? Well, that is just almost too much for a fan to cope with. John Hiatt has romanced us women with his music for many moons. Jerry has played with everybody bar Mickey Mouse over the years and neither of them get the credit they deserve, though Jerry, after a thousand years in the biz is starting to get officially rewarded for his immense talent. This album is not bubble and squeak (Aussie for leftovers). Though, I do like a serve of bubble and squeak for breakfast and pasta dishes and casseroles are always better the next day. I have played John Hiatt’s music many times when I have been in love and then when my heart has been broken. Life is like that, good music is like that, it makes you feel – in the moment and when you need it to heal you.

Nothing has changed. His husky voice and gentle melodies always make me go on to live another day. He can rock it, blues it and country it. He can make a ballad allow you to see the truth and hide from it if you want to.

There are some amazing songs on here, some which I gather are autobiographical or at least based on someone that he knows. Light of the Burning Sun and All the Lilacs in Ohio are just amazing. All of the album is incredible, but these two songs ….oh.

The last song, Sweet Dream is classic Hiatt. I’m in Asheville is a future classic. The Music is Hot is not what you think it is. It has some of the most amazing lyrics as Hiatt paints his pictures. Waylon and Johnny and others get a great mention.

Buddy Boy may be heading to the West but the sound is very down South. All of the songs are amazing and John and Jerry weave their magic and soothe you, heal you and transfer you to another place and time.

Have a Little Faith, Feels Like Rain, are John Hiatt classics, and some of the songs on this album may eventually fall into the same category.

Hiatt has always crossed charts in music. His stuff does not stick to one code or one place in time. He is a man who just gets it, whether it is for men or women, he is universally understandable, relatable and loveable.

Two geniuses together….what more can a gal ask for?

The Single Life 6/6/2021

Single (music) - Wikipedia

One of my country music sons, Benny Allen has come out with a new song, Tired All The Time. What I love most about Benny’s music, is that every song is different, in style, subject and general feeling. This latest release is very country. It will go down very well in Tamworth! It is a great singalong song and I am sure that Kaylene will work on some dance moves for it too.

A lot of farm girls will relate to this one, in fact, I wrote a story about this subject about 25 years ago! Sharon Heaslip has released a song called It’s always the son that gets the farm. It has a twist at the end, which is a nice touch, and it is not surprising that Sir Allan Caswell and Lindsay Waddington have a great deal to do with it. It brought back a lot of memories for me and it is so true. A wonderful song from all three.

Just the two, a few more releases this week coming!

Totally Biased Fan Review: The More I Give – Paula Standing

paula standing the more i give album cover

01 Call It Home
02 Hiding Out In Tuscany
03 My Heart Goes With You
04 The More I Give
05 I’d Go Back Again
06 Mother to Me
07 Better Not To Know
08 Just Like It’s Mine
09 Heaven On Earth
10 Doing Fine

I am not finding much info on this album, but it does not matter. Just listen to it, and you will know how good it is. From what I can gather, Paula wrote or co-wrote the songs and I am not sure who produced it. It is hard with Itunes, and without reviews and credits, but I will just tell you how I feel.

I sent Paula a message the other day saying that this album is stunning, and it is. It is a blend of all of the genres that I love, folk, celtic, country. Paula mentions Those Were The Days in one of her songs here, and that is ironic, because her voice reminds me a tad of the original singer of that song.

All of the songs will touch somebody’s home base out there. There is a lot of emotion in these songs, you can not just hear it in the lyrics and music but also in her voice.

From the beautiful opening track, Call It Home, which has an Anne Kirkpatrick feel to the final track which will leave the hardest hearts with a tear in their eye, Doing Fine, this album is a treasure.

Hiding out in Tuscany resonates with me, as a gypsy/traveller who has been grounded in Victoria for a while with Covid and financial restrictions. It is a reminder of the itchy feet and the wonderful memories.

The title track, The More I Give starts out with a keys/piano intro and that always gets me in. It is true, as I get older, I can relate to the sentiments of this song.

Of all of the tracks on the album, I’d go back again brings up the most memories of my youth and makes me think longingly and lovingly of those days. Singing around the piano, I was probably one of the kids sleeping underneath the table and I often danced on the verandah. A good song does that. A good song is like an old photograph, or a favourite recipe. It reminds you of the good times.

Mother to Me could have been written about my Mum. I am sure that a lot of folks out there who were or are close to their mothers would feel the same way. Maybe not through music, but another talent that they had, and in the end, being a mother to you with all the love that goes with it is the most important thing.

Better Not to Know – Bluegrass meets Celtic, this is a little like what Kristy Cox would deliver. Some stunning strings and Paula’s voice lilts and soars. I can see the film clip for this in my head.

Just Like It’s Mine is a gorgeous song. It is a waltz, a sad song, a pure portrait. Probably my favourite song on the album.

Heaven on Earth – we all have our place somewhere that we call our little piece of heaven on earth, usually amongst friends and family and all of the things that we love….it doesn’t have to be a tropical island or a palace, it is just the place where we feel good.

I touched on Doing Fine at the beginning. A great way to end the album, have a box of tissues handy.

This is one of my favourite albums of the year, so far. It has simple messages, stories that we can all relate to on some level.