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: 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?

Totally Biased Fan Review: What’s Your Favourite Country Song? Brad Cox EEP

This EEP is a mixture of acoustic versions of previous releases and a couple of newbies. Brad Cox is about 26, and he has a voice that sounds more like someone who has lived for 40 odd years. When you first hear Brad’s voice, you get knocked off your chair. It is powerful, yet soulful, and as country as a sunset over Tamworth.

Everybody has a cry at Beau in the Back, whether you love dogs or not. A lot of my favourite Brad songs are here, like Lake House and Give Me Tonight. The songs are wonderful in any version, but I must admit, without apology, that I always prefer apology.

Brad has one of the biggest and best voices in Australia, The musicianship of this album, with fiddles and guitars, et al, just enhance his vocals.

A duet with Sammy White, Feathered Indians, is pretty special. It is a great way to end this alternate version of Brad’s works.

He is indeed, one of the best young artists to come out of Australian Country Music in the last few years, and he will be around for a long time.

If you haven’t heard Brad in any other form, listen out for this one….even better, go and see him live, he will knock your socks off.

TRACKLISTING

  • Beau In The Back  (Acoustic)
  • Give Me Tonight (Acoustic)
  • Drinking Season (Acoustic)
  • My Mind’s Projection (Acoustic)
  • Short Lived Love (Acoustic)
  • Lake House (Acoustic)
  • Feathered Indians ft. Sammy White (Acoustic)

Totally Biased Fan Review: Livin’ On Gold Street – Ben Mastwyk and his Millions

Livin On Gold Street | Ben Mastwyk

Ben Mastwyk is a young fella who has an old heart and a young head, or maybe it is the other way around. Some people call him the Urban Cowboy, others call him Australia’s Rhinestone Cowboy. (He actually does Glen Campbell songs really well). He is one of a few of the current mob who are adding a new splash of paint to twang with original songs. There are a fusion of styles in some songs, but basically it is traditional country with a bit of a modern edge.

He does wear a cowboy hat well, but it is more than that. If you wear the hat well, it means that you have to know what it means to wear one. The first time that I heard and saw Ben perform (you have to see him LIVE to get the full experience and appreciate the artist most) I knew that he was something special.

He is already well respected in Victoria and Tamworth fits him like a glove. There is nothing fake about Ben. What you see is what you get. Even the Rhinestones are real.

If you are unfamiliar with Ben and his Millions, then when you put on this cd, you will feel like you have been put in a time machine, more like travelling back in time on a horse than a DeLorean. Some of the songs seem simple on the surface, with their three chords and the truth, but other times, they have a few layers, and a sign where you can pick left or right and get different stories.

So the songs are both simple and comlicated, deep and fun, happy and sad, but in the end, they are just all great listening. These songs were mainly written and recorded during one of Australia’s (and the world’s) toughest times, but most of them are hopeful, easy to sway or dance to or singalong with and well worth the long wait.

There are several different packs to order for this album. There are some great options. Ben takes a great deal of care into marketing and producing his music and merchandise.

The official launch is this coming Sunday, 21st March at the Brunswick Ballroom with a great line up of support acts. The album is released on 26th March. I will be hopefully doing a one on one Nitty Gritty album interview with Ben soon in a new project that we will be launching.

Enjoy this album. It is a wonderful example of how bright the future is for Australian Country Music – not forgetting the traditions, but making them fresh for a new crowd and something to cling to for us oldies, who remember when.

There is a lot of heart and soul in this album. A special album from a special guy…..and his millions! Don’t let the gold jackets, sparkles and the millions name fool you, he is as down to earth as a pig in mud. He’s the real deal.

1.Livin On Gold Street  Already a Kazzie award winner and the title track of the album, it is a happy song released at a tough time. It is an arm swayer (I have already done this at gigs) and it is easy to sing along to. Some cool twangy guitars and a drum beat which is reminiscent of Traveling Wilburys and some of E.L.O’s stuff.
2.Trouble’s What I Found – Unmistakably country in content and style and in traditional length. A short, little ditty telling it like it is.
3.Devil So Close – This is one of those songs that reads differently everytime that you listen to it, or at least it does to me. You can look at it as good vs bad, or you can look at it between the questions regarding heaven and hell. Or maybe you can just groove to it.
4.Chicken and The Egg – The age old question, what comes first – the Chicken or the egg, or maybe not really having to choose between the two, why not have your cake and eat it too…..er, chicken and egg too. Elvis like in melody, (later songs), this is a good one to dance to.
5.Facets of the Diamond Australia’s Rhinestone Cowboy sings about a diamond. One of my favourite songs on the album. I love the feel of it and the country content. Again, it works on a few different levels. There are a few metaphors. It is like Dolly and Kenny melted into one persona and produced this.
6.What if Everyone Gets What They Want – A bluesy country number, which again can be taken a few ways. One gets the feeling that not everybody gets what they want, only a couple of other people and not the storyteller. Is it a case of it is what it is and let’s just accept it as that, and maybe that it is what it is meant to be.
7.One Of Those Things – If I could dance, I would be doing the Samba or the Tango. The music has that feel. It must be a Ben thing, Ben Ransom did this sort of thing also, but it all connects into the country groove.
8.Pushin Through The Blue – This song has a gentle groove and a helpful message. Love this one. Great sound and feel and it is a sad and happy song at the same time.
9.Baby’s Stayin In – From the first note, I thought that this sounds like a Hank song. Then Ben sings the word ‘hankering’ and cigarettes and drinks are mentioned and there’s some old fashioned playin’ and a fairly short country song (how they used to make them) and there you have it.
10.The Rest – one of my fave Ben songs. I dare you to resist singing the chorus….it is pretty darn impossible.
11.Fool Than A Thief – One of the slower songs on the album and a great way to wind it down. Great song.
Michael Hubbard producer – Social Records, Mastered by Michael Carpenter

The Millions are:

Michael Hubbard (Guitars and Vocals)

Ben Franz (Pedal Steel)

Craig Kelly (Bass and Vocals)

Josh Duiker (Drums)

And:

Ryan Oliver – Piano and Organ

Loretta Miller, Brooke Russell, Rose Zita Falko

All songs written by Ben Mastwyk.

The Single Life – 21st February, 2021

Image result for 45 singles
The Single Life begins with another song called Hummingbird, this time by Courtney Keil and it is a tad less sadder and much more upbeat, than the other sad, sweet song by Sandee Facy. It is equally as good, though and Courtney has one of the most amazing voices around at the moment. A song of hope in a pretty stuffed up world at the moment.

One more kiss is the latest from Hudson Rose, an uptempo, fun song that is probably a good one to complement the previous song! Another young lady on the up and up and flying.

I have never hidden my admiration and undying fan respect for Katie Brianna. On and off the record, she is one of my favourite people in Australian Country Music. She is such a gifted and underrated singer/songwriter and she is a top notch human being. The soulful and blue Wedding Ring is just an amazing song. One of my favourite songs of the year, so far. I literally have goosebumps listening to it.

Yes, yes, yes. This is the sort of song Troy Kemp should do all the bloody time. What a beautiful and amazing song Happy Ever After is. Troy is now in America, and his timing has not been perfect in moving there, but hopefully things will get better soon over there and he keeps producing songs like this. Brilliant (as my friend, Beth Brown, would say.) I am sure that young folks will have this song at their weddings soon!

Goin’ for a Ride is the latest from Warren Kearney who is on a roll at the moment. This is a true story and it is actually a piece of history from the area in which I live now. For those who love the storytelling of Tom T Hall and the history writing of Craig Stewart and Allan Caswell and the like, then this one is for you. A wonderful story and a top song.

Jayne Denham has released a new song, Better Settle Up in her country rock/blues style. It has a touch of Bon Jovi (think Wanted Dead or Alive). She belts this one out to perfection.

I think that I have covered a few of the country music types here!

Totally Biased Fan Review: Beginnings – Briana Dinsdale

Image result for briana dinsdale Beginnings

What were you doing at 17? Briana Dinsdale is 17, a young singer/songwriter based in Brisbane. She’s a raw talent, who has mixed and mingled with the likes of Bill Chambers and Allan Caswell.

This is her debut album. I don’t have much information on Briana. I don’t know who produced the album or who played on it. I do know that the album was produced with a grant that she won. On her website, some of the lyrics have been published, with most of the songs featured here and her name is on all of those, with some co-writes. There aren’t any reviews up that I can refer to or compare notes with, so I am going to wing it. I am only going by the Itunes copy so I don’t have a hard copy to read off, either, but I will do my best.

Itunes lists this album as pop, but it is not pop. There maybe a couple of songs that have a country pop feel, but most of them are more country than pop. There are obvious influences, but there’s no absolute copycat stuff, just subtle intonations in the vocals and the sound.

Ball and Chain is not the Cathy Dobson song which both Cathy and Andrew Swift performed and recorded. This is a song penned by Briana. I believe that this has already been lifted as a single. Small Town features Bill Chambers and it is a standout track, maybe it is because I can relate because I have lived in small towns and I live in one now. There is definitely nothing pop about this song, it is absolutely country.

Why Did I Fall for you is a lovely ballad – a sad song with a folky feel. It is one of my favourites on the ballad. The musicianship on this album is very polished and varied.

Lost at Sea is obviously a true story or based on one. I am not sure if it is family history but I wouldn’t be surprised. As a student of history, I would be interested to know. It is quite a haunting song.

Used to this has some interesting key changes and vocal gymnastics. It is different again. Briana changes up the songs in tempo and subject matter, there is a lot of experimenting here which is what you should do on your first album.

Eyes is absolutely beautiful. Ashlyn Dinsdale is featured here, I can only guess that she is a sibling? Beautiful harmonies girls. Just lovely.

I have a feeling that I have heard Breaking the Silence – it may have been a single release. It is up tempo but it has a message.

This is not the end is a song full of melancholy. It is a song about change. An interesting song.

Every country artist has to have a song about or called Wildflowers. This one is just fabulous and a lovely way to end an album.

This is a great first up effort from someone so young. There is a lot of potential here. If she is this good at 17, I can only imagine how good she is going to be at 30. She is most definitely on her way.

Tracklist:
01 – I’ll Run to You
02 – Ball and Chain
03 – Other Side
04 – Small Town (feat. Bill Chambers)
05 – Why Did I Fall for You
06 – Lost at Sea
07 – Used to This
08 – Eyes (feat. Ashlyn Dinsdale)
09 – Breaking the Silence
10 – This is Not the End
11 – Evaline
12 – Wildflowers

One more time – The 79 types of country music – plus one

It has been requested again, so I am just going to post it and press the repeat button when I am asked in future. I would like to make this point quite clear – this is not my list. It is an old story, but back in 2004, when I returned from Tamworth Country Music Festival, I was sent an email from one of the official Tamworth Country Music organisations, asking me to complete a survey. They asked me normal questions like was it my first time to Tamworth, where did I stay, what did I do, where did I eat and it had a question that I have been asked repeatedly about for 17 years. Which of the following types of Country Music did you listen to in Tamworth? There were 79 types. I had to tick boxes. To be honest, I am still not quite sure what a lot of them mean, and thus I would be flat out giving you an example. Some are more obvious – again, this is not my list, I just checked (yes or no, as George Strait would sing). Added to that is Allan Caswell’s donation, Temporary Country and now it is 93, given a site that I looked up this morning which added some more. So it is 93 or 94 types now. In the end, if it floats your boat (or horse), just enjoy it for what it is.

Country Blues

Country Rock (Hard)

Country Rock (Soft)

Steam Punk Country

Country Comedy

Newgrass

Children’s Country

Spoken Word Country

Appalacian Country

Yodelling

Classic Country

Country Swing

Texas Swing

Yodelling

Country Waltzes

Calypso Country

Northern Country

Southern Country

Heartland Country

Disco Country

Fusion Country

Country Romantic Music

Country Love Songs

Thread Country

Blues and Roots Country

Orchestral Country

Country Strings

Country Brass

Country Steel

Latin Country

Mexican Country

Outback Country

Bar Room Country

Gothic Country

Cowpunk

Bakersfield sound

Neo Traditional Bluegrass

Bluegrass gospel

Bro Country

Bubblegum Country

Canadian Country Music

Christian Country Music

Urban Country

Cosmopolitan Country

Franco-Country

Gulf and Western

Hokum

Honky Tonk

Lubbock Sound

Nashville Sound

Psychobilly

Punkabilly

Outlaw Country

Talking Blues

Truck-driving Country

Southern Soul

Southern Rock

Red Dirt

Tex/mex

New Mexico Music

Countrypolitan

Country Reggae

Country Gospel

Plains Country

Island Country

Hillbilly Country

Home Sewn Country

Bluegrass

Soultry

Traditional Australian Country

Traditional American Country

Celtic Country

Swamp Music

Cajun Music

Country Pop

Thrash Country

Alt. Country (Americana)

Country Folk

Bush Ballads

Mountain Music

Country and Western

Western Music

West Coast Country

Punktry

Kiwi Country

Contemporary Country

Heavy Metal Country

Country Instrumental

and Temporary Country (added by Allan Caswell)

Totally Biased Fan Review – Time Travel – The Family Sowell

The Family Sowell - Shop 4 Stuff

A bunch of young kids singing the classics….bluegrass style. They have awesome harmonies and amazing muso talents. Their parents weren’t even a twinkle in their grandparents’ eyes when some of these songs were written. Their readings of the songs are amazing and they add their own twist to them. They have serious writing cred themselves, but this is a fun project with some interesting choices….especially for a bluegrass/gospel band.

Never in a million years would I have thought that Hey Jude (as a religiously dedicated Beatles’ fan) would be transformed into a bluegrass song, but it works.

Jailhouse Rock (yes, I am an Elvis nut) on the other hand, always had that possibility, probably because I think of Elvis as a country boy first.

Somebody told me once that every song has country in it if you listen to it closely enough. I think actually, it may have been Jon Bon Jovi!

I wanna dance with somebody is a case in point. Who would have thought that Whitney’s song could have been converted. I actually listened to it again, between listens to the Family Sowell songs and I could hear it…who would have thunk it?

I love The Way You Look Tonight done bluegrass, the kids have been very adventurous, here, it sounds like it was meant to be bluegrass and no other style. One of the standouts.

I have to admit that Achy Breaky Heart is one of my least favourite country music songs of all time, but I went very close to liking it here. These kids can make me like anything.

As if they knew, the next song that they play is I Hope You Dance, which is one of my favourite songs of all time, in any genre. I have many friends who feel the same way. The Womack. So beautiful. Rollicking banjo and fiddles. Harmonies add to it. The Womack would be proud.

Ed Sheeran? I must admit, I am not a huge fan of a lot of modern pop, but Ed is one that I don’t mind. I am not that familiar with Beautiful People. These kids never cease to amaze me. Even when they do covers, which is rare, they do stuff which is outside the box.

I have become such a groupie of these guys, they are just so amazingly talented and lovely. They can turn a classic into a new classic, and they can write a fine tune. They are so broadminded in their taste and styles and so amazingly instrumentally and vocally sharp.

These guys are just awesome. Check them out.

Tracks:

Bye Bye Blackbird

The Way You Look Tonight

Candy Kisses

Jailhouse Rock

Hey Jude

Rhinestone Cowboy

I Wanna dance With Somebody

Achy Breaky Heart

I Hope You Dance

Beautiful People

Totally Biased Fan Review: J.T. – Steve Earle and The Dukes

Steve Earle & The Dukes: 'J.T.' Album Review - Paste

J​.​T.

by Steve Earle & The Dukes

1.I Don’t Care 01:54
2.Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving 02:52
3.Maria 02:46
4.Far Away In Another Town 03:06
5.They Killed John Henry 02:34
6.Turn Out My Lights 02:35
7.Lone Pine Hill 02:43buy track
8.Champagne Corolla 03:35
9.The Saint Of Lost Causes 05:01
10.Harlem River Blues 03:10
11.Last Words 04:21

This is the album that Steve Earle never wanted to make….shouldn’t have had to make. For the record, all of the profits go to Justin Townes Earle’s daughter, Etta James Earle. This is an album of Justin’s songs, who died at 38 in 2020. I love this family. I loved Justin, I love Steve, I love Steve’s ex wife, Allison Moorer and I love Justin’s namesake, Townes Van Zandt. There’s a whole lot of love there and not just their music. I also loved the fact that Steve recorded a wonderful song with my country music grandson, Angus Gill, last year.

Justin and Steve didn’t always have the greatest relationship, but in later years, they recovered. If anyone was to make a tribute album to one of the finest young singer/songwriters of our time, it was Steve.

Only one of the songs on the album is an original, the last one, called, aptly, Last Words – My last words to you were I love you, your last words to me were I love you too…

If your heart doesn’t break into a thousand pieces when you hear this song, then you must be a robot.

Justin had the ability to be one of the legends of this genre…he still probably will be remembered as such, but it was a strong possibility that he would go on to be even a greater force. He had a bit of Steve in him and a bit of Townes and he knew how to write and sing a song that you could all relate to.

This is not a sad album, apart from the last track, which is heartfelt, Steve has chosen carefully the songs that Justin wrote and performed, mostly more upbeat tracks. Justin mixed it up and Steve does too.

This is a hard review to do. It is also a special one. The music is Justin and Steve and as Steve said, it is the only way that he knows how to say goodbye.

The great thing with artists is that their legacy goes on forever, long after they are gone. We will always love you, Justin and the wonderful music that you gave us. Steve, I salute you, you are an incredible man to do this for your son and for us. Thank you.