Totally Biased Fan Review: Keeping Secrets – Ryan Daykin

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Two of my favourite people in the Aussie country music industry are Tamara Stewart and the late Karl Broadie. If they both endorse this young Victorian (you can tell why I moved here…how many rippas are there in Victoria!) – then that is good enough for me. On top of this, if Allison Forbes tells me that I will love it and Brad Bergen produced it, then what more is there to say?  Both Hayley Marsten, on of our up and coming young artists and my country music daughter and fellow Tamworthian, Aleyce Simmonds do duets on this EEP.

Ryan has elements of Bryan Adams and Keith Urban in his voice and style. That ain’t shabby. With iTunes, you don’t get a lot of details, but I am told that Ryan is a songwriter, so I can guess that he wrote or co-wrote most of these tracks.

Ain’t Gonna Miss Me opens up the EEP with strong guitars and rambling bluesy licks. It is a shower song in the making and a stomp track. Great way to start.

Like Wildfire is a neat duet with Hayley who has been setting the country music world on fire. Polished production here and a very hummable track.

Ryan has a very strong voice, a little bit Judah as well as the previously mentioned guys and very soulful. The Way She Loved Me is probably one of my faves, here. A track that crosses a few music types.

Arms Length is sung with my little buddy, Country Music Daughter, Aleyce Simmonds, so you know that I am not going to say anything but beautiful stuff. Sounding very Keithy here, and there is nothing wrong with that. How can you go wrong with a duet with Aleyce. Super track.

War Fair is a clever play on words and a powerful track.

Great guitars on Waited Long Enough. Ryan sings his heart out on this track.

I love all the songs and hope to hear more from this young fella. he is a powerhouse. His voice is big and strong. Brad did well with producing this with polish and fire.

He is definitely one to watch. Glad to be an honorary Victorian when I hear young fellas like this. Thanks Forbesy for the tip.

 

 

Tracks:

Ain’t Gonna Miss Me

Like Wildfire – (with Hayley Marsten)

The Way She Loved Me

Arms Length (with Aleyce Simmonds)

War Fair

Waited Long Enough

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Totally Biased Fan Review: Something Worth Learning – Smith and Jones

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I think that it is very apt that a Johnson reviews an album by Smith and Jones. Also, because I was raised in Tamworth and went to uni at Bathurst, it is apt too. The fact that two of my fave people, Michael Carpenter and Kylie had a wee bit to do with this album, and mainly because it is just bloody good.

My mate, Bruber and I downloaded this from iTunes last weekend and we listened to it and marvelled at it…so much that we played it about 3 times on the way to other gigs, and then we made sure that we were going to a certain gig next weekend at The Union Hotel in Brunswick:

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I debated whether to do this review before or after, since I prefer to do reviews from a solid copy, but brother Michael Carpenter sent me the credits and I am much happier with that. The girls are also doing other gigs in Melbournetown and surrounds, so check on that as well.

I am a big Janis Ian fan, thus, as soon as I heard some songs on this, I said to Bruber, hey, this reminds me of someone. I went through Joan Armatrading, which is close, then thought, no, it is Janis Ian. If you plug into a Janis Ian album, you will get it. I am from that generation, so is producer, Michael, so he will understand. These songs, all written by Smith, are just amazing. Maybe folks wouldn’t think of Janis Ian as country, but she is folkish, and to me, Folk always came first, and is closely aligned with country. It is my fave kind of the 79 types of country.

There is not a bad song on this album. I love all of them, from the more tender songs to the upbeat ones.

It is great for a Sunday afternoon, mellowing and peaceful. I know that the girls are a lot younger than Michael and I, but they may know who I think that they are channelling. Michael always does an amazing job, and he covers so many kinds of music.

The musicianship is simple. There are no complicated or overdone musical instruments, the vocals are the most important thing.

Running from Something is slightly different to the other songs, it has a touch of Dylan to it…probably the harmonica, then it is turned into more of an upbeat track. The girls mix it up but keep it to the Janis Ian, Indigo Girls type of music. It is an album that you can play over and over again and reveal the levels of the songs but at the same time just relax and enjoy the vibe.

The quality of songwriting and vocals and harmonies on this album are pretty well second to none. Under the guiding light of one of the greatest in Aussie music, Michael Carpenter, these girls are just damn fine winners. It is hard to fault, and I am not in the business of faulting. Buy the album, go to the gigs, you will not be disappointed. You will be enlightened.

Breathe it in folks. This is music at its finest.

Bettersmithandjones

 

 

Tracks:

As I Am

Runaway

Secondhand Heart

One Last Time

Last Night I Saw Jesus

Running From Something

Every Year Around This Time

In the Middle of the Night

Right Into the Heart

The Train Song

Love Lives in darkness

 

Totally Biased Fan Review – Holy Smoke – Ingrid Mae

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On the recommendation of some country musos, I ordered a single of Ingrid’s and liked it so much, I pre-ordered the album. As most people know, I prefer the hard copy cd, which I will get eventually, but when you get an iTunes download, they top up the songs as they become available and eventually send you the whole album. I had just received all the tracks yesterday morning but had to go to work so I had planned to review it in full yesterday afternoon on this morning. I had Leonie McClure’s 2RRR show on the radio and who should pop in to the studio but Ingrid Mae. Coincidence? Omen? Maybe. She had her album launch last night in Annandale in Sydney.  With her talking about some of the tracks (until I had to open up at work) – it helped with writing this review, as there is not that much information around and without having the details from an album cover, the interviews help. If you look through the titles of  some of the tracks, you will see that some of them are quite quirky. That comes across in her personality (similar to Susan Lily and Melissa Robertson). These three girls have big, fun personalities but they also write songs to think about.

It was refreshing to hear her say that “We have enough songs for another album but we want to see how this one goes first.” That is a great sign for us fans. Ingrid Mae’s voice is like if you put Rose Carleo, Bonnie Raitt and Pam Tillis in a blender. That’s a good thing, by the way folks.

Her songs are honest, relatable and range from easy ballads to soulful, bluesy and rock chick tracks. Well written, polished and well produced.  I can imagine her performing these songs LIVE.  I reckon that she would be funny and energetic and entertaining.

Leonie sent me a message yesterday, asking if I was still listening. I was until the moment that I had to open up the doors at work. I really didn’t want to turn it off. You will feel the same way when you play the album. I have now played it 8 times.

There is something for everybody on this album. Paul Mac produced it, and no doubt played some drums on it, and he does a great job. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the credits, so I can’t tell you who played what, but I do know that Ingrid wrote all the songs, maybe some of them were co-writes.

She has a voice that changes according to the song that she sings. There are 14 songs on this album, something that is virtually unheard of these days. They are all different and all winners.

Some are big and ballsy, others are laid back and require a merlot and a box of tissues. The last song is a heartbreaker and probably my favourite. This is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year so far and there are a few shower songs and toe tappers on here as well as more mellow tracks.

Holy Smoke, Batman, this is a rippa. Listen to it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Tracks:

Choosy

Magnetic

Undoin’ the good

45

The way you leave me

As the Crow Files

I love the bends

Bring i

Saloons N’ Outlaws

New Squeeze

Hell Bent

Holy Smoke

Mason Breakin’

An Angel Said Hello

Totally Biased Fan Review: Man on the Moon – Written by Billy Bridge Illustrated by Leigh Brown

Billy Bridge and The Dish.     manonthemoonbillybridge

In July, 1969, a man named Armstrong walked upon the moon. I know that because Reg Lindsay sang it to me. My father played it once or one thousand times on the stereo. Also, I know that because I watched the moon landing on our old black and white tv when I was 6 and a half. 1969 was a fairly big year….music wise, for an old hippy like me, Woodstock happened. About a year later, Pa took us to Parkes and I sat at the Dish in a big leather reclining chair and listened to the moon landing again. So I do have some history of The Dish myself.  Also, it is one of my favourite Aussie movies, but we digress.

I met Billy long after a lot of other people in country music fandom did. I have reviewed both Billy and his wife’s (Bec) albums. I have met them a few times now and we are friends via music, our love for the Carlton AFL team and I live now where Billy grew up. We both have a love of this big, crazy land of ours and all of the unsung heroes. We also love children, so as a former Children’s Librarian and still someone who works in a library with kids and Billy as a Dad who has just written a children’s book…..the connections go on.

This book is based on Billy’s song From the Stories Through Time album.  I have included a link to the song on here. (Get the album though and you will hear lots of other stories)

The book is a good size for little hands. The pictures are how a child would see it all unfold. The words are the song that Billy wrote with an extra verse as an intro and an extra verse as a conclusion. The extra verses are great for the story, as they set it up and round it off. They also say what the book is about in many ways. Dreams that seem impossible but dreams that come true with determination and imagination.

It is a great little book for a parent or grandparent to read to the little ones, as a snapshot of Aussie history, world history or the promise that dreams can come true if you have a go.

I know this story because I lived in the days that it happened. It was a pretty cool memory. Kids today don’t necessarily know the story or Australia’s part in it. They should know it and they should be proud.

Dream on kids and well done Billy. Never give up on your dreams.

 

Totally Biased Fan Review: Replay – Sophia Chesworth

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Despite reports to the contrary by so-called “experts”, the hills (and valleys) of Australia are alive with the sound of female country music. We are blessed at the moment with wonderful female singer/songwriters between the ages of 15 and 95. There are even some as young as 13 writing songs…..good songs.

Sophia is one of the young gunnettes (Kazism), and she is on her way. What a big voice from someone so young. This EEP contains five very strong songs, which some could brand country pop, but I think that it has more substance than that.

Someone dared to compare her to Taylor Swift. May they not rest in peace. This young lady makes Taylor Swift look like Minnie Mouse singing with the Chipmunks. Good grief, what an insult.

The songs range from catchy to heartfelt. This young lady is only about 17. She won some awards at 14. If she is this good at this young age, what are we in for? If I was going to compare her to any big American Songstress, it would be more like early Shania Twain.

Crushed is going to feature in my shower for sure. I love all the songs but probably my favourite is You’re A Thief.

This young lady is a powerhouse. I am sure that this EEP will be on Replay a few times on my stereo.

 

Tracks:

Crushed

Replay

Navigate

One Way Ticket

You’re a Thief

Totally Biased Fan Review: The Deep – Georgie Taylor

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Of all the new female voices that I have heard recently, this young lady has to be near the top of the tree. It was no surprise to hear that she is studying musical theatre….or something like that. She has a very powerful voice that could go a few ways. I can imagine her in a musical like “Blood Brothers”, with her very sensitive yet powerful voice. She has a vulnerability that could come from youth or could come from the sensitivity of a songwriter.  It is hard to pick favourites on this EEP. All the songs are strong contenders.

Her vocals are very powerful, whether she is singing a slower, softer song or a bigger number. There are similarities to other singers, not just in country music but in musicals and in folk and pop music. If you listen closely to Love, Lust and Heartbreak, you will spot it pretty much straight away, it is almost a playful song, though about a kind of sad subject.

Georgie certainly has quite the range, not only in her vocals but in her styles. It would be a bit unfair to put her into one category.

A great way to end the EEP is Tired, almost acted out by Georgie, a little play in one song.

Splendid start for this youngster. Keep going strong. This song, Tied Down in Chains and Hey Honey are my three favourites.

 

Tracks:

Insane

Hey Honey

Lost at Sea

Tied Down in Chains

Interlude

Love, Lust and Heartbreak

Tired

Totally Biased Fan Review: Something More – Brittany Elise

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I love hearing new artists in country music. They may just be new to me, rather than you, but I especially love it when they are this bloody good. Wow, no mistaking Brittany Elise for anything but country.

These are story songs, which essentially is what Country Music is all about. Brittany Elise has a very strong country voice and her songs are notably autobiographical or at least related to her story.

We don’t have many science and P.E teachers in country music, though we do have a few art, music and history and drama teachers. Brittany Elise leads a full life, so what we can grab from her music wise is something to be treasured.

Though she starts with two up tempo songs, some of the others are more gentle. The third one is catchy but a little slower.

I think that Brittany Elise will up the ante as she produces more music. I can imagine her varying her songs constantly and singing to a wide audience. From the lyrics, I can derive that she is not backward in coming forward.

Some lovely personal and sweet songs mixed with more upbeat ones, there is something for everyone on this EEP.

I heard Brittany Elise at Tamworth this year for a little bit and it was a no brainer to buy the EEP.  I really do like her sound. It is good to hear a young person sing in a traditional style but with a twist.

As I bought it on iTunes, I don’t have much information, but the production of the songs is very slick and the musicianship is spot on. I really love this EEP and I am looking forward to hearing more.

 

Tracks:

Something More: The title track, a country rocking song, very catchy and great for the dance floor. Nice fiddle.

Pit Stop: Another up beat track, containing a strong warning for a someone to move on.

Dear Girl: Catchy but slower song with a strong message…..I don’t want to get on her bad side.

Dorothy May: A nice gentle song. Probably the song that brings out the torch and twang in her tone the most. Lovely stuff.  It is also, by a nose, my favourite song on the EEP. I am also a sucker for songs about Grandmothers. (Sorry, spoiler there)

Another Day: This is my second pick.  Very different to Dorothy May, but very country and a real thigh slapper. No doubt based on her full life!

Love You: In some articles called P.S. I Love you, which of course is the title of a Beatles song and a movie, but on the album it says Love You. Either way, it is a beaut song and up there with my faves. Great song.

Last Words: Another awesome song and a great way to finish the EEP, not just because of the title.