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Review by Ewan MacKenzie
..... are the 'breaking' of American artist Hart Benton (1889-1975) and a poignant pun on lost love. They are Michael Davidovich guitar and voice and Lee Fielding banjo and voice, with Alice McDowell on violin and Shani Forrester on vocals. Their music is the sound of old wooden verandahs and open fields, bush tracks and country sunsets. There is an Appalachian tinge without it quite being an obvious influence.
Michael's songs are evocative and thought-provoking, and they are wrapped in the most beautiful gossamer of interwoven violin, banjo and harmony vocals. Like some unlikely synthesis of acoustic music past and present, BHB challenge your awareness of their backgrounds. This is contemporary folk music thrown into the future.
Lee has penned one song, the bitter-sweet My Michelle, featuring shimmering vocals.
The others are Michael's, ranging from the great story-song Gilding Lilies to the urgent and plaintive Everybody's Lonesome (I love the image of the blind man salivating on a nudist beach...)
Alice and Lee interweave with such thoughtful maturity it's hard to believe they're not a couple of grizzled old hillbillies sitting on a back porch.
Shani's vocals are restrained and support Michael beautifully.
There is a kind of robust delicacy about their music that keeps you pressing the repeat option on your iPhone...
And it hangs together beautifully.
Buy the CD - don't copy it!! Facebook them NOW and demand one!
Review by Julie Minto
Three masterful performers and musicians in their own right, well here they are together on the one CD! Combine the velvet vocals of Nadia Sunde with the guitar genius of Michael Fix and the clever multi-instrumental talents of Paul Robert Burton (PRB) and you end up with total listening pleasure. Track 1 is a steamy cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire followed by the seductive jazzy original I Wanna Do it Again and I guarantee you will wanna play the CD again and again
Old Guitar Blues, another original with Michael singing, is the only track not featuring Nadia on lead vocals and I have to say it makes a nice contrast in this position on the CD. Love this track! Slinky walking double bass from PRB, finger clicking and of course those great blues guitar riffs will have you grooving along.
There’s the story song The Best Years of My Life superbly written by former band mate, Mark Cryle. Many will remember this one from Nadia’s time in the iconic Brisbane band Spot The Dog.
The Leiber Stoller classic I’m A Woman shows off Nadia’s versatility as a vocalist, she can holler, yeeha and yodel with the best! Wooo hoo baby don’t mess her around! She’s a woman! Tongue in cheek do- whop backing vocals from the boys and some nice harp blowing from PRB. I’ve seen them perform this live a few times and it’s a real hootenanny!
To end the CD on a sweet note there’s a lovely tender version of Belafonte’s Turn Around about children growing up. I’ve seen this live a few times as well and Nadia always dedicates this to her children and to families. Awww ……So is there anything not to like about this CD? Well I’d probably like it to have a few more songs on it but that’s the only real criticism I can think of.
Featuring faultless musicianship and a great selection of songs which captures the chemistry between this consummate trio, expertly recorded and mastered by Michael Fix.
Buy the CD, you won’t regret it or even better go and
see them live as well!
www.burtonsundefix.com - nadiasundemusic.wordpress.com www.facebook.com/nadia.sunde
www.michaelfix.com - www.paulrobertburton.com.au
Review by Julie Minto
There is an underlying deep dark thoughtfulness to this self-titled debut EP from Brisbane duo The Whiskey Archive that combines the talents of two singer songwriters Jane Cameron and Mark Bentley.
Their style is aptly described on their website as “folk meets grunge”, but like any good whiskey there is much to savour and the more I drink in this CD the more I like it!
Beautifully packaged with the song lyrics included, the recording quality is crisp and clear with a touch of atmospheric reverb in all the right places. It’s very easy on the ears and the arrangements are luscious, melodic and interesting. The opening track, The Outlaw with whistle and distorted electric guitar makes you feel as if you’ve taken a journey to an alternate Wild West movie. This is followed by the harmony and glockenspiel - enriched nu -folkiness of Echoes Raise Ghosts.
Although Whiskey Archive perform live as a duo with just voices, tastefully plucked ukulele and guitar, Mark cleverly plays keys as well to round out a few tracks. Some excellent local guest musicians have also been added to include cello, glockenspiel, percussion and accordion.
Mark’s song writing style and voice is all his own but to make a comparison, in complimentary way, that voice and some of the songs put me in mind me of early Neil Young or the solo material of Bernard Fanning especially in Black Bobs Rivulet.
It is the unusual ukulele playing style and the blend of the two quite different voices that gives Whiskey Archive their unique sound. Mark’s excellent falsetto is a highlight in Losing The Night and in contrast Jane’s voice has richness and depth. The Cameron penned Now is a stand out track for me - haunting, sweeping and orchestral and that cello is just to die for. Brisbanites will also love her ode to the city In My Town.
They seem to be playing at venues all around Brisbane so check their website or The Folk Rag gig guide for details.
Also available is their Live At The Zoo EP that presents some other material not included here and is the Whiskeys in their more raw state. However, due to running out of space, I think it warrants a review of its own!
Both Whiskey Archive CDs are available on iTunes or from their website
www.thewhiskeyarchive.com or Bandcamp www.thewhiskeyarchive.bandcamp.com
Review by Nick Weinert
“Hope you enjoy it!” the note said. “It” was an advance copy of The Company, the debut long-player from The Company.
The opening instrumental, Come on down, eases out, finding the gear and coming to speed. It whistles by as only the best acoustic music can. And there’s that extra beat in the bar… Beginners they ain’t. Red eye follows, all choppy string interplay.
High on a hill introduces Mick Patrick’s clear vocal and slick mandolin. Dark lyrical theme, crystal clear. Pure. Whatever the story behind Ikea Breakdown, I don’t know. I once nearly had a breakdown there myself, and the tune took me back to that disorienting maze. Turning, turning, only one way out, then the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thief of the vine, the first Jamie Clark number, had me holding my breath for the whole intro. The tune challenges the form. This is something else (bluejazz?) and stellar. There’s something funky about Easy child, twin fiddles, an arrangement that punctuates the lyrics, rising with the tale.
George Jackson’s banjo opens The Divide, rolling like a scenic wander, undulation in the pace. It’s graceful. With bowed bass by Markus Karlsen, and fiddles sounding more in number than just the two present, Heavy hours is transcendent stuff. A beautiful song, sung beautifully.
The album closer, The lime tree, has the ringing notes, time signature changes and effortless runs of the best. Counted in, it steers the album back toward its own roots, letting them show for a moment or two. The band recorded in Hervey Bay, in a studio that pulls down the wire the best players Nashville has to offer (who knew?) Their services wouldn’t be required.
Hamish Davidson of the Davidson Brothers says this record totally caught him by surprise and raises the bar for acoustic musicians in Australia. I concur. It’s that good.
Review by Mary Brettell
Their live performances will excite the senses, and the feeling has been faithfully transferred onto CD with the release of the self-titled debut CD from Sásta.
The band members are all imports with banjo/mandolin player Tommy Donovan hailing from Co. Kerry, guitarist/vocalist Mick Hughes being London-Irish born, Joe Murray from Co. Antrim and accordionist Rocky Towey from Co. Mayo ... and we are indeed fortunate that these fine musicians call Brisbane home. The album also features guest musicians Alan Kelly on Bodhran and Steve Cook on Bouzouki (and Steve also did the artwork).
Instrumental expertise shines throughout this album - effortless virtuosity on accordion, vibrant fiddling, the driving force of the banjo and mandolin and guitar rhythms and vocals second to none.
Their CD is a showcase of Sásta's musicianship and ranges from their driving, clean, tunes, a beautiful, haunting melody, Venue I, by the band's Joe Murray, to some wonderful songs including Luka Bloom's You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time and two, An Bhfuil Tú Sásta? (Are You Happy?) and Stay Strong, written by guitarist in the band Mick Hughes
Raglan Road / Emily features our own Irish-born Maleny bard, Joe Lynch, reciting his own composition.
Sásta produce music which will have dancers frantically spinning and if the tunes on this CD do not get you up on the floor, or at least tapping your feet you must be dead!
You can find the band at
- they have their YouTube channel at
and facebook finds them at www.facebook.com
Review by Mark Dalton
Happy Road features the extraordinary talents of well known Brisbane musicians, Rachel Witney-Lacey & Steve Dorahy. Rachel plays fiddle in the Celtic tradition and sings some fine songs with heart and soul on this album, sublimely accompanied on each track by Steve on an array of stringed instruments. A multi instrumentalist, Steve plays mandolin, Spanish, Dreadnought, acoustic bass and baritone resonator guitars on this recording. Kevin Higgins, one of Australia’s great Irish-flute players joins them on several tacks. Mick Tunny’s whistle virtuosity on track 10 augments Mark Dalton’s vocals and lends authenticity to Boolavogue, circa 1798, the song that immortalised Father Murphy and the Croppies.
Rachel and Steve’s music is anything but genre specific as this album attests. Listen to Rachel’s plaintiff vocals soar in pathos for unrequited love on Lady Franklin’s Lament and the sheer joy she brings to John Martin’s May You Never then the heart wrenching singing of James Taylor’s Copperline all to the exquisite accompaniment of Steve’s virtuosity. Each track is delivered in a style completely theirs. No wonder Cider House is one of Brisbane’s most revered duos; their take on Trad as well as more contemporary music is always a pleasure to listen to. Track 4 Summertime testifies to this, simply beautiful musicianship. The combination of Steve’s sensitive playing and Andy McNaught on blues harp evokes an age long gone when there was time enough to relax and no one to please but yourself; exquisite mandolin playing on this track. Steve’s rendition of Jimmy Rogers favourite Rough and Rowdy Ways has his unique stamp on it, Jimmy would love it.
The 13 tracks - recorded at Steve’s Atlantis Studios - showcases his consummate playing and arranging in counterpoint to Rachel’s fiddle virtuosity. My personal favourite is Mando in the Middle #11, Rachel on fiddle with Steve playing various instruments. This track will excite any lover of traditional music and is up there with the finest Trad sets ever to come out of Ireland.
Happy Road will enhance anyone’s library and may be seen in the years ahead as a valuable resource for anyone harbouring ‘the dream’ to play music in the Celtic tradition.
Rachel: 0409-096-658 or Steve: 0400-319-786
Review by Mal Lloyd
This album opens somewhat biographically with the traditional song Leezie Lindsay. The first verse has Donald McKay asking Rebecca Wright…umm…sorry, Leezie, to be his wife. Donald’s rich strong voice gives full credibility to his claim to be a chieftain of highest degree. In her characteristically clear tones Rebecca replies that this couldn’t possibly happen, but of course we now know she didn’t mean that. As they join in the chorus we are treated to their beautiful harmonies. These are two voices that each have their own distinctive character but blend perfectly.
The second song, Baking Bread, was written by Michael Kennedy but I felt that the sentiments being voiced could easily be Rebecca’s own. Taking that along with Rebecca’s Today’s the Day, which reveals some of the angst of a writer, and Real this time, one of her earlier compositions, I sensed that I was being invited into the singers’ home to share a little of their daily life. It was only after that recognition that I read Rebecca’s own wish in the CD cover – This album hopefully captures some of the joy and spirit of the beginning of our journey together….. Yes Rebecca, I believe that it does.
Other tracks take us through laughter, quiet reflection, and a rollicking shanty written by Donald with additional vocals by Cloudstreet.
The instrumental accompaniment never intrudes upon the voices but it is well worth paying attention to. Donald plays a Spanish requinto guitar which gives a subtly different sound to that most often heard in British/Australian folk music. His accomplished bodhran playing is also distinctive. Rebecca adds her own skilled guitar picking and of course the glorious cello.
Any CD that mentions the two main necessities of life, hugs and chocolate cake, is a must to have in your collection. They are indeed Joys that never weary.
Review by Ian Dearden
Back in the day, there was this fabulous Brisbane band, The Poachers. Recorded an album, played lots of gigs, became festival favourites, had songs played on ABC radio, all that sort of stuff. Then the singer moved to the USA, and for many years, with an occasional outing when the singer came back for a visit, we heard nothing more from The Poachers.
Fast forward to this February’s (2012) FolkRag Old & New Folk Rag fundraiser. Great night, even if I say so myself, and the last act on a superb bill was …The Poachers. It was like they never went away. Cathy Bell (fiddle, accordion, harmony vocals), Andrew Heath (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, bass) and that exquisite voice of Penny Boys were, and are once again, The Poachers. They blew us away with their stunning set, and threatened that they would have a new CD out for the National Folk Festival at Easter. I’m here to say that they’ve done what they said they would, and they done good!!
It’s a six song EP. It builds the distinctive Poachers sound on the pyramid principle. Bedrock, bottom row, anchoring everything else is Andrew Heath’s superb guitar playing, often in DADGAD tuning, utilising his custom Brisbane made Melville acoustic. Layered over that, lashings of Andrew’s mandolin and bouzouki playing, and underpinning it all, Andrew’s gorgeous fretless bass holding down the bottom end. Next layer, either of Cathy Bell’s virtuoso fiddle or accordion (or occasionally both double-tracked), always tasteful and cognisant of the old maxim that music is as much about the spaces between the notes, as it is about the notes themselves! Cathy is one of my favourite accompanists, but in addition to her instrumental skills, she is a peerless harmony singer, chiming in with just the right harmony in just the right spot, and sometimes where you don’t even expect it.
Then there’s the lead vocals of Penny Boys. It is an understatement to say that Penny has a “voice” - she is gifted with a set of pipes that lets you know within two notes that it is Penny, and not any other singer on the planet, that you’re listening to. This is a rare and precious gift, and Penny parlays it generously across the EP. I can see why the reunion works so brilliantly. This is a perfect combo, a magical combination which is, in the very best sense, more than the sum of its parts.
And so to the songs - all chosen with taste and discretion. The mining disaster song with a twist - a widow who has lost both a husband and a son (Lydia). A paean to childhood that has you singing in harmony before you know it (Three Long Years). Mark Cryle’s fabulous turnaround of the whaling song genre (Queen Of The Great Below) with Cathy Bell’s stand-out fiddle line. One of my favourite Bob Dylan songs, Tomorrow Is A Long Time, in which Penny wrings all the heartache out of a song that has stood the test of time. A tribute to blue collar, small town fidelity (One Man). Then, to top it all off, Henry Lawson, put to music by Chris Kempster - the heartbreaking Do You Think That I Do Not Know, in which Henry lets us know that he was much more than a blokie poet, that he too had the heart of a romantic, dashed by the tragic early death of his beloved. For the whole 4 minutes 59 seconds, we feel, through Penny’s vocals and the sympathetic backing of Cathy & Andrew, the utter depths of despair felt by one who has lost the love of a lifetime.
So there you have it - not just Back in the Woods, The Poachers and back in the game and firing on all cylinders, ready to thrill audiences coast to coast, and ready to tug your heartstrings with this fantastic EP. Google The Poachers, and buy it!!!
More at: www.thepoachers.com.au or:
Review by Chris Cobcroft (4ZZZ)
EP (Beanstalk Records)
The furious deluge that beset Brisbane back at the beginning of 2011 - those were some unpleasant (and soggy) times if you happened to be up here. Yet many people have talked about how the floods brought the people of this little burg together. Collectively digging Graceville out from under a metre of river mud was one way, and the Rusty Datsuns represent another.
Sian Evans, Al Skinner and Fern Thompsett were all trapped by rising flood-waters, in a house (a big old Queenslander of course), up the back of that quintessential Brisbane hippie burb, Highgate Hill. Without power or a place to go the (as yet unformed) trio relied on uke, fiddle and vocal chords to pass their time together. The Rusty Datsuns was the result, the name arising from the very first song they came up with. You'll find it tucked away up the end of this little EP of theirs - a tune called Gypsy, in which a heart is illicitly carried away to Sydney in the back of a dodgy old Datsun. It's a delightful tune, actually, I'm a little uncertain why they hid it back there - the uke driven, 30s jazz-pop of this sweet duet has the whimsical quality of a Noel Coward number.
Since the Rusty Datsuns fancy themselves a bluegrass band, I guess the other tunes are up the front because they're more blue-grassy ones. Speaking of which, the EP kicks off with Blood On The Bluegrass, a fast-moving but wistful, old-timey thing about relationship woes. The second tune and the EP's first single is a curiously cautionary tale in it's mournful ode to raw life and 'drinking whiskey in the scorching sun'. My ears pricked up at the almost indecently seductive vocal close-harmony of the Appalachian lullaby Lay Me Down, a definite favourite. Things move into more classically folky territory on the EP's other two tracks, beginning with the heartbroken love song of Second Choice Man which adds a cello just to make sure you don't get away without donating a tear or two and then probably the most genuinely happy that the Rusty Datsuns get here with the spirited romance of Song In E. It turns out that the band have been exercising a bit of creative licence, since not any of them have ever even driven a Datsun, rusty or otherwise. Still, if it results in songs full of ol' timey goodness like this, I reckon they can take all the creative licence they like.
www.myspace.com/rustydatsuns or on FB www.facebook.com/rustydatsuns
Review by Frankie Armstrong
This is a CD that really deserves close listening. The tunes vary from catchy, haunting to surprising and the arrangements are varied with wonderful musicianship but it's Christina's words that give the reason for this challenging and rewarding listen.
The themes and their treatment carry ambiguity and images and intriguing metaphors that tease the imagination. Her lyrics are poetic without being pretentious, leaving the listener room to interpret and ponder - in a way that I find a wonderful balance in shunning either the obscure or the banal. None of the songs are vague and abstract even if they leave you with haunting uncertainties. No two songs sound the same which is a great compliment in these days of homogenised sounds.
The instrumentation (a star-studded cast that includes Sandy Evans on saxes) always enhances the nature of the song. In Deep has a beautiful guitar and double bass accompaniment. Song for Tony, the track about the strange process of getting older (old enough to know better, young enough to forget you know better) has a jazzy Eastern European feel. None of the songs are corny or predictable which keeps me waiting to hear where the journey will take me to next.
Some are personal some have a more political or universal feel. The Wind Remainsis inspired by a poem by Oodgeroo Nunuccal and has resonances for today though the massacre the poem speaks of took place last century.
Christinas voice is clear and her articulation excellent. My only quibble, a nd this is with most modern recordings, is that the voice could have been a fraction further forward in the mix.
I thoroughly recommend this first hearing of a fine songwriter with wonderful musicians and arrangements.
Rumours of Summer is available from www.christina8arms.com or downloadable through iTunes
Review by Mark Davidson
Mostly, when something of quality is ready to reveal itself, it does... There have been various people over the years who have said to one Paul Cannon, You should record your own songs!
Happily, Paul has now heeded that call. His CD Rhythm of a Dream displays his considerable talent as a songwriter and showcases the musicality of his playing and singing. Paul is a man who has always been committed to his music. It’s an abiding passion in his life.
There are 12 tracks on the CD. All of the material except for two traditional tunes have been written and/or composed by Paul. The songs are, in the main, personal reflections but are never self-indulgent. They deal with themes that are familiar and are part of the experience of us all in some way or other. There is a positive feel that shines throughout the album.
Paul does all the singing. He goes solo. Just his voice and it works wonderfully well. It focuses the musical experience Paul provides. It is about the singer and his song and needs nothing more than is there.
Paul’s singing is strong. It is tuneful with good tonality throughout his range and his diction is superb! Paul plays all the instrumentation except for Bass (Rory O’Donnell), Didgeridoo (Andy Copeland) and Percussion (Mark Paltridge). The arrangements and the instrumentation confirm Paul as a fine musician. Well done Mr. Cannon!
to obtain your own copy
25th Anniversary Re-issue of the classic 1986 Australian Folk-Rock LP
Review by John Broomhall, Thirroul, NSW.
Birchgrove Quay remains just as exciting musically and thematically, as when it was first released in Sydney in the spring of 1986. Sensual, exciting, poetic, musically innovative, inspiring. A template of excellence for other creators and producers who aspire to achieve a contemporary relevance reflective of the Australian experience. Remarkably, after all these years, it is still ahead of its time.
The late eighties was a period of intense creative activity for Penny Davies & Roger Ilott in terms of recording and producing, as they worked to establish Restless Music. But it was also a time of great change. By the end of the decade they had relocated to rural Queensland, a move which coincided with the birth of their son, Jordan.
The imminence of the new life they were about to embrace is central to this album, poised as they were ‘on the edge of change’. Although it is very much anchored in a specific time and place, effectively evoking the flavour and feel of one of Sydney’s most historic harbour suburbs ‘where the seagulls wheel and scatter’ and ‘streets and houses huddle like old folk reminiscing’, Birchgrove Quay takes us ‘away from the shore’ of Australia’s most built-up of urban environments, and places us squarely upon the open ocean of the past, ‘where the reeling mast heads swing and sway’, and women and children wait anxiously on rocky island outcrops for the return of their loved ones.
It also takes us inland, journeying down the Darling in the heyday of the big riverside shearing sheds when the wool was carried by paddle steamer; and just for good measure, it gives us a taste of what the wet season is all about in far North Queensland.
Along the way, Roger reminisces about childhood steam train journeys to the Blue Mountains on family holidays; while Penny, planting vegetables in the backyard garden of their Balmain home, pauses, knee deep in soil, and remembers lovingly her coal-mining granddad, and the small plot of earth that now contains him in distant England..
At the heart of all this movement is a camp by a dam, moon rising, a loving couple observing the changing colours of the sky: ‘glowing sparks fly up from the campfire as it’s blazing, like small red stars they dance as the galaxies are turning…’ We go even deeper, contemplating ibis dancing, ‘a rhythm beyond: one bar is eternity, one beat stretches across the empty continent and back again, echoing…’
Finally, we are left with a thought on what the future could hold for Sydney’s harbour-side encampments, ‘where TV towers lace the sky’; an insight into the possibility of renewal, a change for the better: ‘the streets and houses shimmer, and I see a forest vision of days before and after, where wild birds are returning.’
Every song stands up. Every arrangement works. Birchgrove Quay is an album which has lost none of its cutting edge.
Birchgrove Quay (CD with 4 bonus tracks) is available from
Review by Ian Dearden
This self-titled debut album by the duo Mama Juju (long time Brisbane folk identities Julie Minto (Juju) and Lex Weddell (Sugar Cane Slim) is an absolute blast. Lex has hung up his bass guitar for the duration of this album, and instead demonstrates his immaculate blues/jazz/ragtime guitar chops. Julie slides effortlessly from 1930s blues mama (He May Be Your Man) to the soundtrack singer in a piece of 1950s film noir (Keep It To Yourself), and a 1960s pop chanteuse (Autumn Leaves), before slipping into a fabulous reading of John Martyn’s 1970s slurred folk classic (May You Never). I should just mention that it is one of my all time favourite songs, and they’ve done it good!!
Along the way we get the Western Swing sound of Sweetheart, the (multitracked) Andrews Sisters style harmonies of Undecided (originally sung in the 1950s by the Ames Brothers), the bad girrl growl of Bad Attitude and Big Bad Handsome Man, and then the piece de resistance, a sexy as all getout version of the late lamented Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes.
In short, this is a fabulous album, sparsely (but very tastefully) arranged, superbly recorded, and the album concept and artwork is just divine!! It’s got the look of those big round black vinyl objects that we used to call LPs, magically reduced to CD package proportions. Recorded (so it is claimed) “especially by the Filma label on their portable magnetised Bakelite Recordon recorder using the patented super tonal Microgroove electric process”!! Sounds like bulldust to me, but then you can never be sure.
You can find out more at www.mamajuju.com.au Check the Folkrag gig guide for performances - they seem to be playing everywhere at the moment. Oh, and go and buy this album - you won’t regret it, and maybe Mama Juju will walk up and down your spine (if you think you can survive!!)
Review by Lindsay Owen
Alan Mackey has just returned from a successful Tamworth promoting his hot off the press CD Pages of the Past. The radio in Tamworth gave the CD good air play, as is the local Toowoomba ABC Country Music show with David Iliffe. Alan was kind enough to ask me if I would do a review of the CD and as Rhys and I were about to head for Stradbroke Island for a few days of R & R of our own, it was perfect timing. So here I am sitting on Stradbroke Island looking out across the ocean to Moreton Island and listening to a great CD.
The first song, Make the Diamantina made me feel like dancing. I work with an ex drover and hearing this song brought to life all the stories she often tells me about the unpredictable cattle, weather and droving in our outback.
Many of the songs on this CD relate to the pioneers, battlers and people of this beautiful land. The dying art of a Blacksmith in Condamine Bells, the sheep shearing season, captured so well in Northwards to the Sheds. Then there is Slim ‘n Stan ‘n Buddy reminding us of the Country singers and storytellers of the past, especially Slim Dusty and the many songs he wrote in Slim Titles.
I guess for me I love Marbles, like so many others who grew up in the sixties and early seventies, we remember conscription. We all knew family or friends whose number would come up in the lotto and before we knew it, they would be on their way to Vietnam. As the song says, they were all our heroes.
Alan chose some of our great musicians for his CD: Ewan MacKenzie (electric & acoustic guitars), Ryk Rostron (harmony, vocals & Mandolin), Helen Rowe (violin, viola & harmony vocals), Andrew Kucks (keyboard), Laurie Keating (drums), Ray Moore (bass guitar) Doug Martin & Dale Robbins (electric guitar, track 14) and Peter Dobe (saxophone). All the songs are Alan’s originals, some with a little help from his friends.
So if you have a Lazy Sunday and want to treat yourself, grab one of Alan’s CD’s Pages of the Past, find a nice quiet peaceful place to relax with a glass of your favourite beverage and enjoy!
Obtain your copy from Alan on 0422467108, or PO Box 3225 Toowoomba QLD 4350. or visit reverbnation.com/alanmackeymusic
Review by Lonnie Martin
One Good Woman is a project from Annie Edwards and Tony Chambers comprising original songs about common human experience - falling in love, falling out of love, parenting, working, the search for joy and the struggle to find peace in the midst of chaos. Songs about the marginalised and forgotten - the deprived, the disadvantaged, the demonised and the broken.
This is a lovely recording, simple and unpretentious, with some well crafted, heartfelt songs which would fit into the alt country scene with ease and a measure of grace.
Annie has an appealing fragile voice that I found myself drawn towards, likewise the more I listened the more I liked Tony's vocals. They both sing with great feeling and sympathy and are well supported by some glorious arrangements.
(I especially enjoyed their use of violin and cello on Baby). In my opinion this is a recording well worth a listen, although my major criticism is that I found it quickly became background music rather than my usual sing along.
The recording is available through Paypal online at www.onegoodwoman.com.au
Review by Mark Cryle
Sarah is best known for her work fronting highly-successful Brisbane Celtic outfit Súnas. Fans of that band will fine much to enjoy on this, Sarah’s first solo release. While a release on the ABC Classics label might suggest something of a departure for Sarah stylistically, As Night Falls does in fact stay close to her Celtic roots. Súnas members are still very evident in the cast of supporting musicians.
The album opens with Sean McCarthy’s Step it Out Mary– a somewhat more poignant reading of that song than is typical. The lean stripped- back acoustic backing works perfectly. Other tracks songs such as a Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street emerge from a richer, not to say lush setting. The cd features duets with two high profile guest vocalists. Mike Scott of The Waterboys delivers half-spoken verses in a rendering of the traditional “girl missing her soldier-boy” song The Blue Cockade. The warm, unmistakeable flavour of a Shane Nicholson vocal helps drive a powerful version of the traditional Demon Lover– probably this reviewer’s favourite on the disc.
There is much to enjoy here– fine songs delivered with precise musicianship and powerful, rich, emotive vocals. What is there not to like? As Night Falls is a high quality release, beautifully packaged (yes it matters!) and produced to the very highest standard. Any criticism is minor. Sarah’s fiery flute and whistle playing might have been more in evidence. I would have welcomed the inclusion of some of her own songwriting too which, as evidenced on the 2008 Sunas album, A Breath Away From Shadow is of undoubted quality– at the expense perhaps of standards like Wild Mountain Thyme with its highly-orchestrated setting. Perhaps we’ll just have to wait for the next Sunas release to hear some more of Sarah songs and playing. Till then we have this one to relish.
Visit shop.abc.net.au/products/as-night-falls or