A sampler of music from Melbourne Australia launched at AmericanaFest
If you are at the Americana Festival and Conference and you attend any of the Australian events such as the Aussie BBQ you can get some free Melbourne Music – sponsored by the Melbourne City Council.
Just grab one of our Melbourne Music dropcards, visit the website, enter the access code and voilà (or as we say, Bob’s your uncle!). I have a few with me, so if you see me loitering around Nashville, just ask me for a card. Australian readers don’t fret.
Here are the artists you will find and the albums the records they have released. There is some great music here!
Formed in 2014 to showcase the songwriting of vocalist Jac Tonks and guitarist/singer Nick O’Mara (from Raised By Eagles) the group’s debut album is powerful and appealing. Recorded by Nick’s cousin Shane O’Mara at Yikesville we reckon it is one of the albums of the year – which is why we have included this song.
ARCHIE ROACH, EMMA DONOVAN, BLAKE SCOTT, ELLA HOOPER, AND RICHARD CLAPTON – From Little Things Big Things Grow From: Rockwiz Episode 180) This Kev Carmody/Paul Kelly classic song was performed with the brilliant RocKwiz Orkestra and Vika and Linda Bull to close theRocKwiz Salutes The Legends of Australia on SBS. This is just one small example of the great music that has appeared on our favourite-ever TV music quiz show.
BLACK SORROWS – Fix My Bail From: Faithful Satellite (Head Records) Joe Camilleri is an institution on the local music scene leading of the much loved Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons (soon to reunite for a tour) and The Black Sorrows with a catalogue of huge hits. Now it’s back to his roots for the latest album with some of the best songs of his career, including this brilliant slice of Americana.
Cash Savage has built a reputation for gritty and raw performances with her band The Last Drinks and this dynamic song (originally intended as a country song) is taken from the group’s third album, is a perfect example of what has been called ‘a heady mix of rock and country blues.
DAN TUFFY – The Biggest Bastard Who Ever Rode The West From: Songs From Dan (Smoked Recordings) Formerly of the Wild Pumpkins at Midnight and more recently Big Low, Dan moved to the Netherlands where he is now based and where this album was produced, along with a large component created in Melbourne by Zlaya and by Matt Walker. This is a barebones album but there is nothing sparse about the songwriting.
PAUL KELLY & THE PIGRAM BROTHERS – Gypsy Queen From: Some Lonesome Picker: Greg Quill Tribute (MGM) The late Greg Quill was one of Australia’s singer–songwriters of the ‘70s (with Country Radio) and his former colleague Kerryn Tolhurst – a legend in his own right – has gathered a team of fellow icons to salute Quill including Paul Kelly (with The Pigram Brothers), Russell Morris, Richard Clapton, Ross Wilson, Joe Camilleri and many more.
HENRY WAGONS – Melbourne From: After What I Did Last Night (ABC) Recorded in Nashville and produced by Skylar Wilson with a cast of local players this is Henry’s debut solo album and we would say it promises much for the future, except that he has already established himself (along with his band Wagons) as one of Melbourne’s most dynamic and most loved performers. When we think of Henry we think of a cross between Johnny Cash and Screaming Lord Sutch! Henry says that he wanted to record in Nashville because so many of his favourite albums have been recorded there.
JEMMA & THE CLIFTON HILLBILLIES – Fighting Mad (Lynchian Remix) From: Jemma & The Clifton Hillbillies (Independent) Jemma Rowlands has assembled a local ‘supergroup’ with Sean McMahon (Downhills Home, The Moon Men), Ben Mastwyk, Cal Walker (Van & Cal Walker), Josh Duiker(Downhills Home, Sean McMahon & The Moon Men), Ben Franz (The Waifs), Jason Bunn (Amarillo, MSO). Their album was nominated in The Age Music Victoria awards for Best Country Album. This is a remix of the group’s first single!
LIZ STRINGER – Anyone From: All The Bridges (MGM) Liz Stringer was playing piano before she could talk. Her Dad was a music teacher, her Mum a literature and history teacher and at thirteen Liz won a music scholarship. How could she not become a musician? Since 2006 Liz has released five albums with this latest one recorded in Portland, Oregon.
Pepita Emmerichs and Olivia Halley have put in the hard yards in the USA and it is paying off. The duo was chosen by NPR for the Tiny Desk concert series (which also featured Courtney Barnett as a guest). They were also named as one of the 5 ands to watch at last year’s Americana Festival. Their debut album was recorded in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Born and bred in the mountain valleys of Victoria, Kimber’s powerful songwriting is shown to full effect on her third album, produced by award-winning producer Shane O’Mara at his Yikesville Studio. On banjo, guitars and vocals, Sal performs solo, duo, trio but most comfortably and most frequently with her talented band ‘The Rollin Wheel’.
The Ukulele Queen of the Bellarine, Sarah Carroll is one of the best known Melbourne singer songwriters of the past decade, having made waves with Git and other outfits and pursuing her own solo career. Sarah has been to Americana several times and is a frequent visitor to Austin, Texas.
Sean McMahon is no newcomer. Already his work with Melbourne country rockers Downhills Home, singer Jemma Rowlands, and with his own with Western Union, have see him regarded as one of this country’s finest country-tinged guitarists and songwriters, albeit one who’s never really taken centre stage. With new outfit The Moonmen however, Sean McMahon has stepped forward, and has hit his straps.
Suzannah Espie has been acclaimed In Melbourne since she first appeared with the ‘alt-country/pop’ group GIT back in 1997. On her latest album, Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today, she proves once again to be one of the city’s finest writers as she explores personal experiences via the soulful side of folk and country music.
While their musical inspirations are from the past, Alice Keath and Sime Nugent certainly give them a modern twist. As a broadcaster Alice was inspired to create her own music after interviewing so many of her idols. Sime, also a Wilson Picker, has been a long-time local musical hero.
The Glorious North have been tagged as alt.country pop and slacker country but their blend of old school rock’n’roll and country blues might suggest other inspirations. This song also has a classic country title. The band takes their inspiration from Paul Kelly, Dinosaur Jr and Creedence Clearwater Revival – that says it all.
This Canadian born singer-songwriter has been releasing albums in Australia since her arrival in 2007. Now a permanent resident, Tracy’s 2014 release Nobody Ever Leaves received two nominations in The Age Music Victoria Genre awards (Best Country & Best Folk/Roots album). This song is one of Tracy’s best and been compared to Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac.
The Weeping Willows’ are Andrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates and their second album, Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’, was recorded in Los Angeles with multiple Grammy winner, Ryan Freeland. They are the first direct Australian signing to Redeye Worldwide (based in North Carolina), who look after some of our favourite artists including Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings Machine and others.
A sampler of music from Melbourne Australia launched at AmericanaFest