Totally Biased Fan Review – Daniel Thompson’s Cash LIVE – San Quentin – Latrobe Valley Performance Space – Traralgon, Victoria, 22 June 2019

 

Starring: Daniel Thompson, Rusty Cochrane, Brad Bergen, Roy Payne and Courtney Conway

Daniel Thompson has a big, deep voice that melts, much like Randy Travis and Adam Harvey and Joe Nichols. Like any of these guys, he could sing the phone book and we’d all be happy. Daniel has been singing Johnny Cash shows for a while now and finally I was able to see him in a full show. I have seen him guesting on other shows at Tamworth and the legendary lunchtimers in Tamworth with Mike Carr, Anthony Taylor and Luke Austen.

Daniel celebrates the album that was recorded 50 years ago, San Quentin. A year before that, the even more famous Folsom Prison album was recorded.

Daniel performs the whole album with added cool trivia and Courtney doing the “June” bits. Brad and Rusty add the background humour and Roy plays a pretty mean guitar. Courtney got the raspy bits of June’s voice down pat.

I wore my all black gear to blend into the scenery. The first half of the gig is the album, the second half is a mixture of Johnny’s hits through the years.

Johnny Cash was very much an innovator, breaking down more barriers than his older fan base indicates. He was very much a supporter for young, talented songwriters and singers who weren’t always of his genre or traditional – he worked a lot with Elvis, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson and in later years, he was a huge fan of the new rebels and innovators.

Johnny did things that shocked and inspired. Wearing black, performing in prisons, speaking out for those who were underdogs, singing songs out of his comfort zone and other people’s comfort zones. Daniel performs a wonderful array of songs which reflect that.

Daniel sings a few songs that I didn’t know and they were great surprises, but mainly, the songs are those that we all know and love and can sing along to.

All the big hits are there, Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line, If I was a Carpenter, Jackson, and many more.

The boys look cool in their suits and Courtney looked stunning too. An entertaining night of great songs and stories.

It was my first gig for a while and it was a great way to re-enter the LIVE music scene.

 

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: BBU at the Spotted Mallard – Melbourne Launch of “Weeds” – 17 November, 2018

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After all of the years that I have gone to Felicity Urquhart and Kevin Bennett’s gigs, I have never officially met them. It took this Tamworth girl to move to a different state to actually do that. Considering that Felicity is a fellow Tamworth lass and I have reviewed many of their gigs and albums, it is very strange. Lyn Bowtell is a different matter. The poor gal knows that she is stuck with me, we’re a bit like cousins who keep meeting up at family reunions and always remember everything that we’ve done. All three are amazing talents individually and in other incarnations, and together, they are just pure magic.

If you are not impressed with their humour, their stories and above all their music and beautiful harmonies then you are either dead or very hard to please. You don’t have to be a country music fan to admire their obvious talents, or to be entertained by their stories and their incredible voices.

If you were putting a trio of country musos together, in many ways, these three would not be an obvious combination, on paper or on past recordings, but for two albums now and many awards and performances, it is like they are triplets.

(You can read my reviews of their previous two albums together on here and on my previous blogs, as well as other reviews on gigs and individual albums).

They are up for some more Golden Guitars in January at Tamworth. These three can sing anything. There is very little left for them to prove in their individual or combined careers.  Anything that sounds this good has to be shared with as many people as possible, so I hope that they keep recording and performing together and alone.

It is always a great sign when you see stars in the crowd. A good artist always appreciates a good artist. Gretta Ziller, Cathy Dobson, Clint Wilson, Rose Zita Falko amongst others were there.

And all of us who wish that they had as much talent as these three have in their little fingers were there too. An easy listening, sweet chilling, relaxed evening. Bravo.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Marie Hodson at the Bayview Country Art Club with Dan Ebbels, Sunday, 11 November, 2018

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House concerts are always fun. They are very personal, intimate gigs with good company, good food and always good music. It was my first time at Bittern and hopefully, it won’t be my last.

I am fairly familiar with the artist, though!  I have been a long time fan of Marie Hodson, who lives just down the road from where I grew up. Marie is one of the few singers that I know who can really sing a cover song and make it her own.

On this occasion, she ventured south to launch her new album, which I have reviewed on this blog recently. Marie mixes it up with all of her songs coming from classic country music songwriters, but they aren’t always their most famous songs.

Having performed a tribute gig to Patsy Cline, you would have to expect a few of her songs to be included. There were also songs from Marie’s previous albums and Dan also sang a couple of songs. Marie sang a lot of classics, some that people knew straight off, others that were surprises.

It was a nice, lazy way to spend a Sunday afternoon, listening to music that is extremely easy to listen to and to sing along to.  I am sure that we were all thoroughly mellowed out by the end of the day.

Check out Marie Hodson’s music while you can… there are murmurs of retirement, so don’t miss her if she is in your town.

Take Me to Town – Launch of the 3cd album set: Australian Alternative Country Compilation – 13 acts

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Brunswick

Saturday 10th November

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, The Weeping Willows, Bill Jackson, Katie Brianna, Ben Leece, Peta Caswell, Dan Brodie, Dave favours and the Roadside Ashes, Adam Young and the Down Main, Eaten by Dogs, Skyscraper Stan and the downtown flats.

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It is always hard when you run a marathon of music together to keep it together. The Spotted Mallard has recently extended the venue to incorporate the bottom floor, which is a very intimate, cosy and quaint venue. The upstairs is still big and unique. Between the two floors, we trudged, willingly, between gigs. It started at about 3.30pm and finished a little bit after we left at about 11.30. It was a big day. Headed up by Golden Guitar Winners and leaders of the Alt. Country Movement, Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes with some guests, The Weeping Willows, who did their own set, there were some lovely surprises and old favourites. Peta Caswell was fabulous. Ben Leece (album review coming soon) was fantastic and Bill Jackson and one of my favourites, Katie Brianna were stars. Adam Young was pretty cool, with guest Crank Williams who also appears on the album.

The day showcased some of the best Alt. Country, part of the 47 artists who compiled the Take Me To Town albums (see review). Of course, it was hard to have everyone there, I am guessing that this show will go on the road and pick up other artists from other states along the way who appeared on the album. It was a mammoth undertaking to put this show together.

Despite some technical problems, it was a great day of music and proof that the Alt. Country scene in Australia is booming. Aside from the 47 artists on the album, there are about 500-600 top quality Alt. Country/Americana artists in this country who could appear on other albums and concerts…..at least.

We have a lot to be thankful for in Australian Country Music, and it starts right here.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Beccy Cole The Lioness Tour – with Libby O’Donovan and the girls and guys of twang

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Mulgrave

Friday 9th November

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I have said many times that Beccy Cole is the best entertainer that I have ever seen. She is the complete package. I have seen some of the best that the world has had to offer, including my favourite artist: James Taylor, who is awesome, but Beccy LIVE is just amazing. That explains why this was my 47th Beccy Cole gig. Sure, there are fans out there who have probably seen her more, but as someone who is somewhat particular in who one sees, it is the biggest wrap that I can give an artist.

I have seen James, Carole, Elton, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Reba, and many others, and this woman is still the best. She makes you laugh, think, cry and leave a gig feeling pretty amazing. Backed by some of Australia’s best, including her wife, Libby O’Donovan, who opened the show with Kelly Brouhaha, and Kazzie award winning drummer, Ali Foster as well as the guys of twang, the long Lioness Tour coupled with other tours that Beccy has been doing has been a marathon.

She played songs off her latest album as well as old favourites. My favourite album is still her last album, Sweet Rebecca, followed closely by LIVE at Lizottes, but the latest album, Lioness is pretty awesome, it is a close third. Libby’s album is one of my favourites of the year in any genre so it was always going to be a great night. It is more than singing and the quality of the songs, however. Beccy knows how to entertain. The crowd was subdued by Cole’ crowds standards and Beccy understands her audiences. She plays to them without losing her Coleness.  I think that she assesses her crowds quite early in a gig and she plays to their needs and wants. This makes her a very unselfish and egoless performer. At the same time, she is herself, sometimes cheeky, bawdy and always, always, honest.

She mixes it up, aiming to please all, and she makes you feel good. She tells her stories through songs and plain speak. Her songs tell her life story, in all its shades. She fills in the gaps and elucidates with her vocab.

The crowd was a mix of Cole devotees and new fans. If you have never been to a Beccy Cole gig, it can be surprising. If you have, you know that you are going to get 120% and more from her and her band.

Afterwards, she was lovely enough with Libby and Kelly and Ali to have a chat, even though they must have been buggered after a big tour.

Thanks champ….I look forward to the next 47 or more gigs.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Susan Lily at The Mantra, Yarraville, Sunday 14th October, 2018, 2pm to 5pm – with special guest, Craig-Lee Smith

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My dear friend and very talented Singer/Songwriter, Susan Lily, rounded off her Victorian tour with a very relaxed Sunday arvo at The Mantra, the café/studio/bar in Yarraville run by Patsy Toop and David Baird, best known to Country Music Fans as The Long and The Short of It.

Susan, who has been based in Adelaide for a while now, is the girl from Hay in New South Wales and has also spent a lot of time in Victoria over the years. Susan is a natural comedienne, and it comes across as she tells her stories and goofs around with the crowd. Most of her songs are quite serious, but she peppers them with intended and unintended moments of giggles and silliness that are very endearing.

She sang songs off both of her albums, Butterfly and the current release Free Spirited. as well as her EP, Daisy Jane. She also sang some covers, some well known, others that were interesting choices. Susan is of the belief that most songs have country in them when you strip them back. Certainly, the songs that she sang proved that theory.

She was joined on stage by Craig-Lee Smith for my favourite song off her current album, Tough as Geranium. She also sang another one of my favourites, Miss You Much. With the lightness of the afternoon, she didn’t sing some of her heavier songs like Broken, but she mixed the songs well, with a bit of everything.

You always feel that you are sitting in your living room and Susan is just having a giggle with you, singing you her songs and having a conversation. This lazy Sunday afternoon at The Mantra was no exception to that rule.  The food, company, humour and music provided a 10 snort and a 10 star afternoon from Susan Lily, entertaining the crowd in her usual make-you-feel-at-home style.

Check out my reviews of Susan’s albums on this and other blogs featured in the side bar over the years. She is a great character and a fine singer/songwriter.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Rose Zita Falko and Mitch Power – The Union Hotel, Brunswick, Sunday 2nd September

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I had originally intended to go and see Becci Nethery on Sunday at The Mantra, but sadly, she was sick and had to cancel. Looking around for something to fill in the afternoon before the next gig, it was easy…..it is Melbourne, after all, the official LIVE music cap of the world, according to a recent poll.  Two people who are fast becoming part of my country music family, were playing at The Union, a lovely little pub in a quieter street in Brunswick, where most of the pubs have LIVE music…..go Brunswick!  Sunday afternoons, there is always something on there.  Rose Zita Falko and Mitch Power have contrasting styles but they also blend well together.

Rose has been one of my best music surprises this year. She is so versatile and hard to label when it comes to her music. She has a voice which can adapt to most forms of music. There is something of a young Peggy Lee about her voice, and then sometimes and Aretha or even an Ella. She is probably too young in age to know too much about those folks, but trust me, she has their qualities. She is still developing, and it is an exciting adventure to watch unfold….I predict huge things for Rose, if she wants to go big.

Mitch has fingers in so many pies, comedy being his latest venture, though none of us were really surprised when he went that route because he is a naturally funny guy. He is also doing a Bruce Springsteen show and he is playing his own music as well as his gigs supporting Rose.

These two are always entertaining. Rose has recently been to Canada for a songwriting trip and it will be great to see and hear what she comes up with next. She sang a new song that she has written with The Queen of Boomtown, Gretta Ziller and you can hear Gretta in there. It is quite a song.

It was a lovely afternoon with two of the rising stars of the Alt. Country music scene.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes with The Weeping Willows – Winnebago Lounge, Caravan Club, Sunday 2nd September

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I loved the old Caravan Club.  I travelled down from Sydney on 4 occasions just to go there to gigs. It had a great atmosphere and the best acts. It was also close to the station, which is good for a public transport gal like myself. That said, times change and public transport situation aside (and I have friends to take me to the new location), the new place does have elements of the old place and it certainly does have the same great acts and some new ones now and then.

I hadn’t seen Lachlan and The Wildes for a while, they have been busy touring overseas and in other parts of the country. It was good to hear them again, singing songs from several of their albums, including their fabulous 2018 album, Some Girls Quite Like Country Music. I now have the t-shirt to prove it and I will wear it with pride.  I have said it before, but I love it when Lachlan plays the piano. Of course, DCaf had to play 5,000 instruments and honorary Wildes, The Weeping Willows, joined them for most of the set. Shaun just plays quietly in the background while the others do the talking, but this is the best line up of the Wildes.  It is nice having them all back together.

I got ahead of myself though. The Weeping Willows started proceedings It was an awesome set as usual and they must be sick of seeing my face. They did well just to stand up on stage after a massive year of touring and appearing at just about every festival in Australia lately.  Apart from that, they have been recording with other artists and they got married! What a big 2018 they have had and it isn’t over yet. They are heading off for a tour of the USA soon as well as appearing at several festivals here and supporting other artists in the coming months….no wonder that they don’t have time to record another album yet! As always, Andy’s picking and Laura’s beautiful voice dominated and they sang songs from both of their albums as well as a couple of new songs and a cover. I had heard these recently at Kristy Cox’s gig but they were brand new to a lot of the crowd and they went down well.

Lachlan and The Wildes even featured a song from their first album (yes, I do have it) as well as songs from other albums which was good. Many acts tend to only feature their current one. It is nice to hear a smattering of songs from all of the albums. The room was packed but comfortably and featured many of the usual suspects, devotees of these two fine acts who always thoroughly deserve a full house.  Fine musicianship, murder ballads, beautiful harmonies, folks who obviously know each other inside out and have an amazing chemistry and songs that are rich in thought and composition – what more could a fan ask for?

I always feel inspired to write after I hear Lachlan play. He is one of the finest singer/songwriters in the country and he never lets me down in his gigs or on his albums.

Bravo to two fine acts, may there always be encores.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: John Flanagan String Band at Merri Creek Tavern, Northcote, Saturday 1st September

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I finally got to see John Flanagan LIVE!  In an interesting move, the first half of the gig was dedicated to a favourite band of the String Band, Stray Birds which most people in the crowd hadn’t heard of, but they were good songs and each member of the band contributed in presenting a story about the now broken up band and their music. It was a unique tribute, considering that most tributes these days are to dead rock and country stars or megafamous bands that are too pricey to go and see.  Good music is good music and it doesn’t really matter about the fame level. Everyone in the band was in good form and played and sang with a high energy and joy level. Their passion for the music was obvious.

However, after a short break and some departures from the band, John started to sing the songs that we know and love from the songwriter that we know and love – himself. It was great to hear all the songs that I have been spinning on his cds. I would have loved to have heard a few more of his songs, but a night only lasts so long. The venue was sold out and we were all pretty jam packed into a small space but time went fast and my leg recovered after some quick stretches at intermission.  With standing room only, there was no room for air guitar, though I was tempted!  I only managed a few pics as it was hard to get a pic without someone’s head in the way. It was good to see that someone of John’s talent was able to have a sellout crowd on a busy Melbourne evening. The average age of the crowd was late twenties to thirties, which is great.  Together with John’s parents, I think that I was the oldest person in the room and I loved every minute of it.

John sounds as good LIVE as he does on record. The band were all cool, very polished and they were having so much fun. They were as crammed on the stage as we were in the room but it didn’t really worry anybody that much.

The folky, bluesy, easy stylings of the band made for a very relaxing Saturday night. I had been waiting for a long time to see this mob in the flesh and I wasn’t let down a bit. All the songs were great, we all left wanting more and rest assured, the next time that I see a gig on in my vicinity, I will be going to it.

Thanks for the music, the stories and the laughs. It was a cool night.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Roots and Branches – Kristy Cox and The Weeping Willows: Sale Greyhound Club, Sale

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A perfect example of showing how a good old Aussie gal can make it in the big time to little or no fanfare and come back to our shores and knock ’em dead and go to places outside the big cities to do so. Kristy Cox is the real deal. She hit the ground running from Nashville on Thursday and has performed every day since she arrived. She is in Bendigo today. She is mixing it on this tour with The Weeping Willows, who can bend to just about any style of music, including the 79 types of country. Our Bluegrass Queen, with the Prince and Princess of Alt. Country/Americana. Match made in Heaven.

The Weeping Willows opened the show with some of their hits off their two fine albums and a couple of newies. One that I had heard, the other one which I hadn’t, and I think that it might be their biggest hit yet if they release it as a single. Can’t wait for album number 3!  They sandwiched this tour in with the European trip that they just did with Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes and Imogen Clark and an American Tour in a litlle while, which will feature a couple of gigs with Kristy.  Their gentle humour, amazing chemistry and beautiful harmonies, together with Andy’s fine pickin’ and Laura’s expert thigh slapping and egg shaking, make them a pretty special pair. Of course, I am totally biased.

Kristy sang a few off each album with great aplomb. I really don’t know how she did it,  looking awesome and singing and playing with gusto.  I would be off my face after all that jetlag, travelling and performing!  There was a lot to choose from in Victoria last night, but I wasn’t going to miss Kristy.  No big ego here, and God knows, she has a reason or two to be proud and excited about all of her achievements in the U.S.A. and here.

As a fan, I am very proud. As an Australian, I am even prouder. With Hugh and Josh along for the ride and The Weeping Willows doubling up to back her up on guitar and vocals, it was a pretty great combo.

I was sitting at a table with fellow rowdy country and bluegrass fans, and we were probably the loudest in the crowd, with Kristy’s folks and a dancer who showed us a step or two.

The Sale Greyhound Club is quite a lovely set up, with a beaut room to have music in. The crowd was pretty strong in numbers considering that there was lots on.  They were a bit quiet, but I hope that was just because they were taking the music in.

We were very lucky to have such quality folks come to sing and play for us in the country.  This tour is on the back of Kristy’s recent release, Ricochet. It has some awesome songs on it, including my favourite which Kristy sang, Sweet English Rose, a collaboration with Allan Caswell.

I reviewed this album earlier in the year on Country As, which you can go to by following the link on the side here.

It was a shame that Kristy’s hubby, Travis List couldn’t be there too, but their young daughter Adelaide has had a whirlwind few days and he was on parent sitting duties!

Kristy is a Golden gal, The Weeping Willows are a Golden Couple. There was a lot of sun shining down on us last night, despite the chilly wind and rain outside.

Thank you for the music. Happy travels, Kristy.