What Luke had to say about the album and what was posted on his Facebook page:
Many moons ago there was a band…
Medicine Wheel was its name and it was fronted by a young, singer-songwriter, called Luke O’Shea.
After living and touring abroad for eight years, throughout Canada, the United States, Japan, Ireland and Great Britain, Luke returned home to Terra Australis to pursue his music career within the evaporating live music scene. It was the late 1990’s where angst driven grunge was being replaced by more melodic alt-rock – and the competitive and corporate ‘Battle of the Bands’ – were all the rage.
After claiming a few titles – Medicine Wheel – with varying musicians, slowly built up a solid reputation as an explosive live band– but once again after returning home busted arse broke from another run up and down the East Coast, a disgruntled O’Shea stumbles across the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Greatly inspired by what he sees, hears and feels, Luke’s writing and recording takes a notable turn and soon afterwards Luke O’Shea & Medicine Wheel are signed to ABC/Universal Music Australia, giving Luke a loving step up into the Country Music fraternity. Twenty years, seven albums and nine Golden Guitars later, Luke O’Shea is now firmly established within the Australian Country Music family – and is widely regarded as one of its finest writers.
However… before completely surrendering over to the stories, instrumentation and production of Australian country music – Luke teamed up with long time collaborators, David Sleishman on drums – Kiwi guitarist, Phil Doublet – and bass player, producer Matt Fell, – with the pure, muse-driven focus of capturing the songs and the very special wikka – that was Medicine Wheel.
Now due to the politics of varying labels, managers, distributors, agents, branding and all the other bullshit that goes hand in hand with a career in music – this Luke O’Shea / Medicine Wheel project – was never released. Bizarrely – for 15 long, crazy years, this incredible collection of songs have simply been patiently waiting – just bouncing around – like a rogue Pinball.
As Luke finally decrees, “It is my sincere pleasure to finally share this project with you. It will certainly give you – the listener – an insight as to where I came from musically – and what fuelled me around planet for so long. The songs and stories are still identifiably Luke O’Shea but perhaps the lyrics are a little more cryptic with more universal themes. I sincerely love the distinct energy, power and passion behind each track – where the combined focus, musicianship and production skills of Phil, Matt and myself have made many of these songs far bigger than the sum of its parts. I hope you enjoy – and if so – please share Pinball with friends and music lovers, far and wide!”
I went to a Luke O’Shea and Damian Howard gig a few weeks ago in Melbourne, which I reviewed on CountryAs (before I couldn’t post on there) – you can still read it by following the link on this blog. I asked Luke if he had any new music coming out soon. He said that he was working with Damian and Lachlan from The Wildes and that got me excited. What a special combination. He said that something would come out later in the year. Then bing bam boom, this gets released. A day’s warning from guitarist and equally talented Phil Doublet, hit facebook and we all attacked ITunes. The genre is Pop. Perhaps that was why Luke didn’t mention it, he probably thinks that I only like country music. Good music is good music and I have everything from Classical to Blues to Jazz to Musicals to 60’s rock and folk to heavy metal in my collection – not just country. I even have some Opera!
The key word in my question was also “new music”. Essentially, this stuff is 15 years old or more. To be honest, a lot of it doesn’t drift far from what Luke does normally anyway. Some tracks are a bit rockier, bluesier, but it is still essentially Luke. That distinctive voice and those little tell tale wo oh ohs and elongated words and yeahs.
Melissa Robertson, who is a fellow Luke devotee and she even wrote a song about Luke, “He’s A Writer of Songs”, said that she thought that it sounded like an album with Paul and The Wings feel. I can hear that a bit on some tracks, but it is undeniably Luke. Being compared to Paul is kind of a cool thing, though.
Snow on the Brindabellas is not a new song to Luke fans (not Show on the Brindabellas – as it is listed on ITunes!) It has always been a favourite of mine, so I am glad that it was included for some familiarity and as it is the last track, it is fitting….showing where Luke and the boys went afterwards.
All the songs are good, quality songs and they should have been included on a recording years ago. Such is the command of the powers that be. Maybe it was because they head down a slightly different track to the genre specifics that record companies wanted. I am not sure.
I think that Luke has reached a point now where he can call the shots more. It is a long way from the days when I was one of the few in the crowd….now they are hanging off the rafters and getting turned away at gigs because there aren’t any seats available. Golden Guitars, tributes, other awards and recognition from varied audiences and critics have helped all of that.
The album is polished, surprising, not surprising and full of new favourites. Luke could sing the phone book to me and I would love it. If you love Luke’s regular stuff, you will love this.
If you are afraid of the brand, country, you can pick this up and enjoy it for what it is, an interesting mix of styles that anyone can enjoy without thinking that they have slipped into that “uncool” genre that many of us love.
Wait a minute
Lost in All the Things that don’t matter
Because of Love (High Horses)
Come on Get out
These are the days
Come and Gone
Tell it to the World
Call for Me
Greatest show in town
Snow on the Brindabellas