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Alan Craig: Session Tunebook + CD

Link to: Session Tunebook review


cdcov Chloe & Silas, SPRING HILL

Review by Dave Burton

Spring Hill is the acclaimed offering from Chloe Hall & Silas Palmer, an album recorded at, and named after a miner’s cottage in central Victoria where Chloe’s father lives. The overall sound is quietly acoustic with positive overtones. Chloe, the songwriter for all eleven songs, is an accomplished guitarist, using Celtic tuning and cruising the higher registers of the fretboard. Her voice is strong and confident with vocal techniques reminiscent of The Cranberries. Silas provides an array of harmonies, fiddle and light percussion.

There is simplicity in the music that belies the techniques and chord sequences. Chloe’s vocals are clear and warm. She creates space in the music, which is ably exploited by Silas with his harmonies and understated fiddle. For someone with his talent, there must be the temptation to overdo such opportunities, but the final product is clean and uncluttered (99% fat free). The melodies resonate in an entirely natural way.

As a lyrics person, I found this album totally refreshing. Chloe is the complete wordsmith, creating vistas with clever, feminine rhyming, making it sound so natural and sometimes creating the feeling, at times, that nothing rhymes, no words wasted - natural.

Chloe writes of the mundane, the memories and the emotions, but keeps it completely believable. The pictures painted are detailed and beautiful. The listener is drawn into the scenes as they scroll past. In Tax Office Love Song, for example, Chloe nails the office environment in a very human way. She deals with complex emotions realistically while keeping the music up-beat and hopeful.

I would thoroughly recommend this album and have taken to carrying a hairbrush in the car to sing along.

Visit www.chloehall.com.au or www.chloeandsilas.com for details or



Review By Ewan MacKenzie

Smooth .... spiky… Intimate .... brash … Subtle .... open and accessible… Cool .... warm… Light and airy ... down to earth and funky.

Journeys is an inviting set of songs to help you through a long cold night or a warm breezy afternoon.

The five original songs range from whimsy to funky and the lyrics are personal, articulate and involving, while the covers - Portishead's Glory Box a standout for me - are genuinely different interpretations of some well chosen songs.

Of the originals, One of Those Happy Days is a friendly easy-going wander through the bush on a sunny afternoon, and She Don't Love Me - "but she still hangs out with me" - is a fine funky blues.

Warwick and Tina both have distinctive voices which complement their own songs beautifully, and they adapt the covers to fit their style with the ease of seasoned professionals. Their take on Bruce's I'm on Fire is pure OOA (Out Of Abingdon), with quirky yet totally appropriate dobro playing and a great lay-off-the-beat vocal.

Tina's bass is solid and lyrical, underpinning Warwick's guitar journeys which are jazzy and fluid, but have a certain pungency reminiscent of Mark Ribot, whose clean but edgy work has graced many albums, including much of Tom Waits. But there's also plenty of mainstream jazz influence here too.

This CD is one of the finest local recordings I've heard. OOA have matured before our eyes folks, they've just returned from Europe and are planning next year's visit as we speak. Grab this CD and catch them live before they move on up and away.

For further info visit www.outofabingdon.com.au and www.myspace.com/outofabingdon


cdcov Munchin’ Mountaingrass Music ~ HILLBILLYGOATS

Review By Lonnie Martin (for the Folk Rag Brisbane)

From the Port Douglas Hinterland, the core duo of Bryce and Mahney Wearne along with some amazing musicians notably, Nick Young (banjo) - Dave Martin (fiddle) - Kirk Steel (piano)  - Lachi Smith (percussion), become the Hillbilly Goats. They describe their music as influenced by Hillbilly Roots, Ole Time Music and Modern & Traditional Bluegrass combined with Rock'n'roll Favourites and Australiana. I would describe their music as faux hoedown combining outstanding musicianship with the occasional cheesy overtone.

The recording is lively and gives one the impression that this energetic band would create a fabulous, fun night out. As I said, the musicianship is outstanding and the arrangements are well constructed using clean honest vocals with an emphasis on storytelling and showcasing the range and talent of the instrumentalists. Though this is lessened somewhat by the predominance of the double bass in the mix which occasionally overshadows a solo.

The recording has a nice mix of originals and favourites (including Man of Constant Sorrow, Rolling in my Sweet Babies Arms, Arkansas Traveller, and The Fixing to Die Rag), all of which are given the Hillbilly Goat treatment of hoedown and humour. The original material adheres to the Hillbilly pose with an Australian edge - Barramundi fishing and Aussie parties in the shed.

Overall this CD is enjoyable and worth a listen and would encourage me to see them live given the opportunity.

Bookings / Enquiries: Mahney 07-4094-1417, 0401-038-786, www.hillbillygoats.com.au


(Volumes 1,2, & 3)

(Pioneers, The Old Australian Ways, and A Singer of the Bush)

Review By Hugo Fitz-Herbert OAM

These three CDs have been produced to be a musical tribute to the great A.B.(Banjo) Paterson. John Wallis himself (being the writer, arranger, and producer of the music) has been the driving force behind the success of these CDs. Paterson's poetry writing technique must have been a huge challenge for John Wallis to come up with such a variety of musical styles to make his efforts a) appeal to the listening public, and also b) to have some chance of commercial success.

These three CDs are unique and are justly copyrighted. The reason Pioneers went "platinum" is because of the masterpieces Clancy of the Overflow and The Man from Ironbark. The mix of writing, performing, and production came together right on queue for these two songs in particular. It would be surprising if anyone reading this review had not heard of at least one of these productions on the radio at some time in the last thirty years. Yes, that's right! This band and these CDs have been around a long time!

On each CD there is a song that goes for longer than 15 minutes. It could be suggested that these efforts were possibly done as a challenge, or simply for posterity! They are certainly not "commercial"! Most of the tracks have John Wallis' vocal way out front in the production, but it is where his vocal is strongly supported by the group vocal (and / or other instrumental arrangements) that the uniqueness of the songs, without doubt, have their greatest appeal. It is my thought that this may not have been recognised earlier. The harmony structures and general musicianship are all very sound, and the band Matilda are to be congratulated for contributing so professionally to all the productions.

For further info visit www.wallisandmatilda.com.au



Edward Bassingthwaighte

Review by Rita McMorrow

I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to the CD Tree Brother, Live in the Studio; it is certainly a CD that you can listen to over and over again, and I have.

Tree Brother consist of the very talented singer, songwriter Edward Bassingthwaighte and percussionist David Pincott. Edward is from Townsville in Far North Queensland, all tracks on this album were written by Edward, on which Edward sings, plays guitar, clap sticks and a stomp box, drums and all other percussions are performed by the Wizard of Rhythm, David Pincott, the album was recorded in Edward's studio.

The CD consist of seven songs, Little Boy, The Light, Ever a Time, Mary, Singin' to the Trees, Heaven's Above and Walking Song.. Little Boy, Singin' to the Trees, The Light and Walking Song would have to be my favourite tracks.

The album is a variety of foot tapping, thought provoking and truly uplifting songs. Edward's unique voice takes you on a journey through what I'd imagine are his life's experiences, bringing together the earth's life and spirit.

Tree Brother has been performing on the Townsville folk scene for quite some time, they have performed at the 2010/2011 Woodford Folk Festival and 2011 Palm Creek Folk Festival.

Tree Brother is all about the music... There's certain things that won't die, and music is one of them... Music is the life... Music is the breath of the world... (Edward 2009)


cdcov Indian Souvenir ~ Indigie Femme

Review by Anne Infante

Tash Terry and Elena Higgins’ roots are powerfully planted in the Navajo/Maori-Samoan Nations. As Indigie Femme their original songs are a powerful and absorbing mix, strongly influenced by their ancestral traditional music. Their style is Acoustic/Folk/Worldbeat with Tash and Elena on vocals and guitar and Larry Mitchell (who also produced, engineered and arranged the album) on electric/acoustic/bass guitars, keyboard, drum and percussions. They are also joined by Chris Redmond (harmonica) and Candy Jones (flute).

Indigie Femme create resonant, intense song statements, blending their rich voices and melodic musical sounds in a fervent vibration to reconnect the collective consciousness with Mother Earth and speak for the healing of the planet and the empowerment of women and indigenous peoples everywhere.

Indian Souvenir is their latest album and features 10 songs of vivid images of the land, nature and life’s passions. Their deep connection with and commitment to the planet carries through to the attractive, Earth-friendly packaging which uses recycled plastic trays, cardboard from ‘green’ sustainable forestry practices and recycled paper and vegetable dyes.

The songs are: Indian Souvenir; Powerful Woman; Mother Earth Father Sky; Why Are You Here; Gotta Let It Go; Sing Your Song; Beautiful Spirit; No Compromise; Am I Ready and Blessed Rain.

Indian Souvenir offers an intense, powerful and vivid musical experience.

More at: www.myspace.com/indigiefemme

(Ed: Indigie Femme will be touring NZ & Australia again in early 2012)


cdcov AMANDA GILMOUR – Fallen Angel

CD Review by Averil Mareé

CD Amanda Gilmour – Fallen Angel

Amanda Gilmour captures rare beauty on her most recent album Fallen Angel. It's raw approach sounds and feels like a live performance with nearness and clarity. A project to record Amanda's songs written over the last ten years was motivated by ongoing requests to record a treasured favourite, and the album's name sake, Fallen Angel. Long-time friend and musician Maggie Adeney-West shared in the effort to produce this lyrical and evocative collection of Amanda's originals. Together they blend the dulcet tones of guitar and mandolin with Amanda's exquisite voice and Maggie's beautiful harmonies.

Visit for more information www.myspace.com/amandagilmour


cdcov MZAZA: Journey over skin

CD Review by Shane Murray

La Tarara. An opening track that does what every opening track should do. It captivates and transports. It draws you in and opens up to you all the wonderful potential of what is to follow. The voice is just the right distance away. Inch perfect. Not a fraction more or less. I'm in an open area, a gathering place; watching it all unfold. There is food and wine, firelight and brilliant colours. Reds and oranges. There is laughter and the glints from many eyes wide open as mine.

A voice, held aloft by the most exquisite and masterful musicianship, weaves its way through time and space; reaches through the crowd and sings only to me.

There is an extremely filmic quality to the music of Mzaza. Unconsciously at first; and then very pleasurably and deliberately, one cannot help but close ones eyes. All the time there are snippets, fast cutting images, slow motion grainy memories of stories that I am only now being told; apparitions that flicker in the corner of the mind's eye and defy any attempt at concentrated focus.

Adio Kerida. Haunting. This time I see in black and white. The words elude but the meaning is crystal clear; testament to the vocal quality and story telling ability of one whose delivery exudes all the poetic and romantic nuance of a beautiful, ancient language.

Mzaza have traveled back to the times and places they sing and play of. They tap the source with the collective feeling and innate understanding of those who came before them. Perhaps their producer hitched a ride? For theirs is the keen perception of someone with not just a wonderful ear, but with a passion that is surely akin to those who feature so elegantly on these wonderful recordings.

Mzaza's hundreds of years of playing together surely auger well for a very promising future.

Buy the album at: www.mzaza.com

Two of the tracks off the album have been Highly Commended by the Queensland Music Awards 2011 (World Music)!
Listen to these tracks at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=umckMANDKV0 &


cdcov Madeline Jane ~ Mark Davidson

CD Review by Joy Duncan

Who is Madeline Jane? Maybe the Belle of the Ball in an old frontier town, a blue and white sail boat bobbing on a Celtic bay or that eccentric lavender scented maiden aunt with a penchant for peculiar gifts. Maybe...

Madeline Jane is also the title track of Mark Davidson's latest CD - an album which may well have been sub-titled Mark Davidson Plus (or MD+ if you're a technophile).

Plus what? Plus an awesome array of music writing talent. Mark tells us that the cornerstones of this CD are the 4 songs Madeline Jane, '59 Jive, Love's Just Waiting To Pounce, and In The Ballroom Of The Stars, - compositions which Mark co-wrote with Steve Crass, Chrissy Euston, Ewan MacKenzie and Julie McGonigal respectively.

Plus ten terrific support muso's each with their own unique style and perspective. The contributions of of Mary Brettell, Maxine Chisholm, Christine Douglas, Robin Etter-Cleave, Chrissy Euston, Chuck Euston, John Groome, Terry Jacob, Ewan MacKenzie and Michael Tully create balance and guarantee variety throughout the album. While each track has the capacity to stand alone, congruence within the overall CD makes listening to it feel like a harmonious journey among friends.

Plus the magical musical moments when the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. Madeline Jane holds a resonance for those familiar with Mark's warm narrative style, crisp delivery and gentle lyrics exploring strong universal themes. Themes of family, humanity with all its flair and flaws and the unifying power of music unfold in this upbeat optimistic CD.

So who is Madeline Jane? I'm not telling. To find out more, as Mark says, "Buy a Frizbee".

Copies of Madeline Jane are available from www.markdavidson.com.au



An Introduction to the Rhythms and Techniques
Of the Flamenco Guitar by Andrew Veivers

Review by Chris Bourne

Locally based Flamenco Guitarist Andrew Veivers recently launched The Rhythm Method: An Introduction to the Rhythms and Techniques of the Flamenco Guitar (instructional manual & DVD) at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in April 2011. The launch a part of a three-month solo tour of concerts, workshops and master classes (further details available from www.redchair.com.au)

Over the past twenty years Andrew has established a reputation as a fine flamenco guitarist as both a soloist and for his work with ensembles The Saruzu Quartet, Jaleos Flamenco and of course Flamenco Fire. He has a wealth of teaching experience including teaching at the Classical Guitar School (Brisbane), The Spanish Guitar Centre (London), and The Spanish Guitar Studio (Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast), the latter of which he opened in 1997 and is now in its 14th year of operation.

The method provides a thorough study of flamenco guitar technique, exercises and some common flamenco forms or palos and is written in standard musical notation and tablature. Careful consideration has been given to the design and sequence of the techniques and music in the book which becomes more evident with practice.

Whilst being informative and well researched, Andrew's book is written with a refreshing humour making it a more inclusive learning experience. As the blurb on the back states, the book also dispels "some myths" and the accompanying 60 minute DVD includes clear well filmed sequences of all the techniques, studies and music within the book and is a valuable resource for visual reinforcement of technique, getting the right tone and also to play along to.

As the name suggests, The Rhythm Method is an introduction to flamenco guitar however importantly, the method is also an introduction to the role of the guitar as an accompaniment to the singers or dancers. This is where the strength of this method is apparent and differs from many other flamenco guitar methods - it provides a context for the complex rhythms and structures of flamenco forms by explaining their purpose, which also makes it easier and more enjoyable to learn.

This method requires at least basic guitar skills as a prerequisite. Flamenco can be technically demanding but a good method like this one will help you along your way.

To purchase the book and DVD or for further information visit www.redchair.com.au


cdcov pear and the awkward orchestra: Oh Katrina

CD Review by Sally Bourne

Brisbane's own quirky and juicy sweet pear and the awkward orchestra, have earned critical acclaim through their unique sound and whimsically poetic songs encompassing folk, pop, roots and Jazz. With their new EP Smocks due for release in June, the release of the single EP Oh Katrina in May tantalises the senses and certainly whets the appetite as we anticipate the new album's debut.

'Oh Katrina' is a track that demands your attention; a great introduction to the forthcoming album. Katrina gets a serve through the "wake up" and brutally honest lyrics but there is also humour there, especially through the quirky back up vocals and bright 'pop' sound. The arrangement is fun, cheeky, and leaves you with an impish smirk on your face. You just can't help it...

Where Oh Katrina is all brightness and brash, the second track Safe and Sound is the sublime shade showing Pear and the Awkward Orchestra is not just sweetness, they also have soul. A beautiful contrast to the first track with melancholy and at times discordant harmonies that are all heart. The piano arrangement sits beautifully with the simple drumming guitar and vibraphone pulsing us along through the song while we take in the achingly beautiful vocals.

What I love about Pear and the awkward Orchestra is that their raw musicality is untainted and honest. There is an integrity to their craft. The diverse instrumentation with its clever "off centre" arrangements combined with Pear's pure and emotive vocal style, blends together to create a truly beautiful and refreshingly unique roots-based sound.

Listening to the single EP of Oh Katrina certainly leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. It leaves you yearning for more. Luckily, we don't have long to wait...

The single is available online through Itunes, Amazon and CDBaby.

Website: www.myspace.com/pearau

The album, Smocks, will be available in June 2011 in all the regular places.


cdcovMARK CRYLE: Sideshow Alley

Review by Anne Bourne

 Mark Cryle's CDs just keep getting better.  His latest CD Sideshow Alley is another listeners' treat, showcasing both his wonderful talent for songwriting, varied and interesting arrangements, and flawless performances from Mark and fellow musicians  Richard Evans, Cathy Bell, Andrew Heath, Michael Fix, Doug Gallacher, Silas Palmer, Sue Hibbs, Joe Cryle, John Holmberg, Kevin Higgins and Helen McCreevy.  Once again, Michael Fix has produced a CD of stunning acoustic quality - close your eyes and you could believe it was a live performance, up close.  Helen McCreevy's vocals blend particularly well.  These friends know how to bring a little magic into Mark's beautifully written songs.

 The graphics on the cover and booklet evoke long forgotten happy childhood memories of those sights, sounds, smells and the excitement of Brisbane's old "Ekka" - a big event on the year's calendar.  The title track is a gorgeous song;  Sideshow Alley will elicit your own nostalgic memories (you're bound to have some) and bring some vicarious joy to your heart.  And that's part of the magic of Mark's songs - heart, but with some humour and a wiser perspective than a younger songwriter might have.

Mark's songs cover a broad range of topics and moods, from beautiful songs of love, heartbreak, humour, and whimsy to politics and history.  Like his previous CD House of Cards, this one keeps you listening and tapping along to a variety of tempos and rhythms and keys, to match the mood of each song.  Mark manages to colour his lyrics so that just a word or a detail can hook into your own emotions and memories, giving these songs their own personal meaning for each listener.  However, it's by no means navel gazing or self indulgent.  The first track may trick you into initially thinking it's just going to be one of those nice - slightly schmaltzy - Paul Kelly type songs about seeing your girl on Saturday night after working hard all week.  But no, this is a Mark Cryle song that will come around and bite you at the end. 

 All the tracks are good and all are quite different, although I do have one or two (or three or five) favourites.  In particular, I just love the song Waiting for the Ice to Thaw - in my opinion, it's worth buying the CD for this track alone.  You can't possibly hear it without wanting to move to its funky groove, and it's guaranteed to put a big smile on your face. 

See: www.markcryle.com also www.myspace.com/markcryle

Available from: store.countrymusic.com.au also www.tradandnow.com



with Mark Cryle

Article by Jan Nary

Mark Cryle has done it again, adding another first-class CD, Sideshow Alley, to his canon of homegrown music - distinctly Australian, beautifully crafted and always insightful. Mark's distinctive style fronts a backline that includes such local luminaries as Richard Evans, Cathy Bell, Andrew Heath, Doug Gallacher, Sue Hibbs, Helen McGreevy, Michael Fix and Silas Palmer.

Displaying the skill with words and music that have made him a household name in the Australian music scene, in Sideshow Alley Mark has created a collection of complementary and contrasting musical gems, polished to perfection.

Kalgoorlie Girl is a country love song with an unexpected difference - surprise endings are a specialty of Mark's; Waiting for the Ice to Thaw keeps the country flavor and adds a dash of irony. Drawing on his special talent for pulling focus on historical events and lives of Australians, in Eddie Gilbert's Dream Mark pays special homage to one of Australia's great - and almost forgotten - Indigenous cricketers. The horrific 1902 Port Kembla Mine disaster features in Never Again; The Paddy's Day Bash is a poignant reminder of one shameful day when protesting Queensland unionists were attacked by police.

Threaded through the CD are gentle songs of love, regret and philosophy and a rollicking dance tune, Corrigan's Ceilidh Band. The Cryle way with words is at its best in the title track, Sideshow Alley, as sweet and wistful as they get. As one listener put it, he certainly knows his way around a song.

Mark - in a nutshell....

Mark, of whom respected Courier Mail critic Noel Mengel once said; Mark Cryle is one of the best songwriters in Australia, writes, sings and plays guitar, also mandolin and bass.

Finalist in the Australian Songwriters Assoc.'s National Awards, nominee for Songwriter of the Year at the Q.R.A. Sunnie Awards, Mark was the principal songwriter in Spot the Dog, creating such classics as One More Roll of the Dice.

Mark is typically modest about his skills as a songwriter/ solo singer.

I didn't believe I could write songs until a few years ago when I actually started doing it - then I realized that I could couple words and tunes together in a way that was really satisfying for me.

The challenge for me is to write songs, whether they're from a global or personal perspective, that will engage the listener, make them feel as if they can identify with that song, that they could own the story. I'm an inveterate collector and I'm always jotting down ideas, phrases, - perhaps even just a word - that I think I may be able to use I try to find phrases or words that people will be familiar with and I try to write lyrics that bear closer investigation, unlike some pop material that just throws itself onto the floor, everything exposed, the first time you hear it.

As well as song writing and performing, Mark is engaged in a PhD on the history of the celebration of Anzac Day - which research will no doubt find its way into a new suite of future songs.


cdcovTEMPLE DOG by Steve Tyson

Review by Cathy Bell

While Steve Tyson has been a regular fixture around the Brisbane music scene for many years, he is probably best known to us folkies as the guitarist, mandolin player and songwriter with local hero's Rough Red.

This is his first solo album and the songs represent to the listener a series of postcards from a life well spent. Thirteen songs that, in his own words, encapsulate Steve's extensive travels through exotic locations like India, Russia, Japan, Butan and Vietnam interspersed with tales of post 9-11 trauma, family skeletons, caustic political satire, and matters of the heart.

It all started in 2009 when Steve and his wife Karen spent an idyllic few months living in Paris. Every day Steve would disappear to a little café around the corner, hoping to draw on the inspiration of this beautiful city and the great Ernest Hemingway and write a novel. However, the notebooks soon became full of poems and stories and journal entries that became the foundation of the songs on this album.

With the help of some fantastic Brisbane musicians, Chrissy Euston on accordion and harmonica, Joe Cryle on pedal steel and dobro; Ben Hooper on cello, Dave Lee on violin, Dave Spicer on piano, Lee Matthews on double bass, and Dave Cotgreave on drums and Sarah Collyer duets with Steve on one song. Former Rough Red band mates John Barr and Dave Parnell played bass and drums and Dave also engineered and produced this album.

The quality of Steve's voice as the opening track Road begins is a surprise. It's breathy, almost fragile quality draws the listener in like an intimate embrace. Track highlights for me are War Torn, a song about wars, from WW2 to Vietnam to the recent wars including Pakistan and the emotional scars that result. Bluesy, distorted guitars and wailing harp punctuate the succinct, poignant lyrics. My favourite is the tale of lost love To Be There. Pedal steel, mandolin and cello combine in a lilting wistful reverie.

Old Whores was inspired by a trip to Russia where Steve saw the headquarters for the KGB. It is a sultry jazz track with sparse piano, double bass and drum accompaniment. Steve trades vocals with Sarah Collyer to create a very mellow groove.

The Great Divide has a happy country feel with some fantastic fiddling and pedal steel.

Just as the subjects are as vast as their locations around the globe, so are the musical styles on this album. Each track moves seamlessly from blues, rock, jazz and even country. Just when you think you have a handle on the groove, the next track will catch you unawares.

Steve is performing around town with The Industrious Felons featuring regular collaborator Dave Parnell on drums and guitar, John Barr on bass, and Chrissy Euston (from Stockade) on accordion, mandolin, and harmonica.

As the great Ralph Waldo Emerson once said Life is a journey, not a destination... I'd hazard a guess that if this album represents his recent journey's, he'll be hoping he doesn't arrive at his destination any time soon.

You may obtain your copy through www.stevetyson.com.au


cdcov SÚNAS - Celtic Road

Review by Rebecca Wright

The new album from Brisbane band Súnas, recently released through ABC Classics, is a wonderful introduction to the genre; indeed a gentle stroll and lively skip down a Celtic Road. This, the band's second recording, is a great combination of traditional and contemporary Celtic classics such as Ride On and Ready for the Storm, alongside a few welcome surprises, including a reworking of The Cure's dreamy gothic pop Love Song. The three-part acapella opening of Dougie MacLean's Turning Away draws attention to the group's vocal talents, whilst the instrumentals within each of the songs show the dexterity and musicality of each of the four players, with fiddle, flute, whistles, bodhran, mandolin, bazouki, gazouki and guitars all finely represented.

The sentiment expressed in the song of peace for Ireland River brought goose bumps, as did Sarah's beautiful rendition of Bushes & Briars, with the sweeping lushness of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. A personal highlight is Sarah's original song, Drink Up Me Boys, with its strong vocal counter-melody and seamless transition into the session favourite, The Star of Munster. I look forward to the next release where perhaps the band's original compositions are given more of a chance to shine, but in the meantime, Celtic Road is a very satisfying album, with the added bonus of a well produced live concert performance on DVD. A high quality release from a fabulous local band.

Visit www.sunasband.com to order your copy or attend any of their regular gigs.


cdcovTHE STETSON FAMILY ~ Hey Sister Mary, Where'd you get that gun?

Review by Catherine Rogers

This is a CD I enjoyed listening to. The Stetson Family (TSF) are a Melbourne based band who have recently completed a tour up the east coast. I had the pleasure of hearing them perform in Victoria and their last gig in Queensland at the Coast Acoustics weekend.

The Stetsons have a Country/folk/bluegrass sound with lots of great rhythm and quite upbeat. TSF deliver a live performance in keeping with their CD, Hey Sister Mary accomplishing exactly what they do on stage - a tight performance from solid, experienced musicians coupled with a good choice of material. I was impressed by the thoughtful combination of songs - a good mix of their own, with some traditional/popular/contemporary with their varying arrangements, thus keeping your interest and utilising all the skills of each band member.

Nadine Budge and John Bartholomeusz are the songwriters and main vocalists of this group though all contributed with vocals/harmonies. Nadine's voice was a highlight and she played guitar, harmonica and Dobro. I especially enjoyed the instrumental breaks throughout these songs which really showcased their talents - Andrew Carswell on mandolin, Colin Swan on banjo, Luke Richardson on double bass and John Bartholomeusz on guitar/ vocals.

1. Hey Sister Mary by TSF
2. Jackson by Lucinda Williams. * double bass
3. Brother Harlan by Nadine Budge. * banjo
4. Dark side of Town by Nadine Budge. * vocals standout
5. Crooked Highway by TSF. *mandolin
6. Old Paint - * good version of a traditional
7. Nashville Blues

Overall, I would say a good CD for this genre, well produced and worth buying. My only disappointment was it felt like a taste with only 7 tracks, so left wanting more. I am sure there is more to come from this band.


Available thru Vitamin Records, CDBaby & Itunes,


cdcov Soldiers and Slaves - CHAD SWABY

Review by Ewan MacKenzie

Troubadour (noun) 1. Medieval poet or singer: a writer or singer of lyric verses about courtly love, especially in parts of Europe between the 11th and 13th centuries; 2. Love poet or singer: a writer or singer of love poems or songs.

I could end the review right there - Chad is the quintessential troubadour and fits any definition of the word. But he's more than that - he is a voice of conscience whose lyrics have the true gift of insight.

Chad has taken the early work of Dylan as his inspiration for the production of this album and his faithful recreation of the simple authenticity of that sound gives his songs real focus and strength.

With his voice, a Martin guitar, harmonica, bass and simple percussion, Chad has crafted nine songs ranging from the personal protest of Soldiers and Slaves and Advertising Sergeants to the simple honest love poetry of The Stranger and Forever.

The album opens with the blues-inflected riff that anchors Soldiers and Slaves, visits the haunting sadness of Forever - "Not everybody stays", pauses for a while in reflection with Spirit Wind and Old Times - "Hurry let's kneel down and pray" before leaving us with a statement of determination and grit in The Grave - "When you're lying in that grave you can't do nothing wrong". Every song has the tinge of personal sadness, but the highlight for me is The Stranger, a love song to a woman he hasn't met - yet.

Like most songwriters, Chad would tell you that your interpretation of the words is just as valid as his, and he'd be right. But there's plenty here to think about, and feel.

Chad lives the gypsy life on the Darling Downs, travelling around in his bus, where he recorded this album. It's a great statement of the man and his music. Track him down and grab a copy. Chad's Website: www.myspace.com/chadswaby


cdcov Innes Campbell & Present Company ~ Something Quick and Neat

Review by Greg McGrath

To describe Innes Campbell as a guitar player is somewhat of an understatement. In 2009 the folks at Tamworth awarded him the title of National Guitar Champion. This CD highlights Innes's extraordinary guitar work and gives credence to the fact that his is not only one of the country's best flatpickers, but a talented songwriter also.

Innes Campbell has delivered a range of music styles in this CD. Seven of the fourteen tracks are original songs or tunes with influences from the folk, country, swing and bluegrass. As a very capable songwriter he covers topics ranging from the serious (with questions to the overly serious Richard Dawkins) to the absurd - bemoaning the fact that his baby has contracted a case of the dreaded the swine flu. His arrangements of traditional tunes like St Anne's Reel, Clinch Mountain Backstep, Big Sandy River and Beaumont Rag are further testament to his musical dexterity.

This CD features a host of other great musicians in his band Present Company with Luke Moller on mandolin, Mark Webber on bass, George Jackson on fiddle and The Davidson Brothers also playing banjo and mandolin.

I have had this CD playing in my car for the past three weeks. Nothing disappoints in this CD and there is every reason to add it to your collection.


cdcov Women Do ~ Anne Infante

Review by Julie Dendle

Women Do is Anne Infante's new CD celebrating women and the ways we think, feel and act. Eleven of the thirteen tracks are her original songs and embody her characteristic insight and devastating wit. Anne's extensive repertoire and knowledge of folk music assist her to write in different genres with pinpoint accuracy.

In Sheepskin Creek, Anne presents the, mostly untold, distaff side of Australia's pioneering days - hard physical work and crushing loneliness. While Said King Willie's Mum is a whimsical romp which gives the bad girls of English traditional ballads the right of reply - and a drink or three!

Many of us cut our folkie teeth during the Vietnam War years, heavily influenced by the peace songs of that era. Today, Australia is yet again involved with the USA in forlorn wars with mounting death and injury tolls. But where are the peace songs of the 21st century? Anne redresses this lack with Peaceful - a gentle reminder to live peacefully.

I'm Obviously Well Out of That (my theme song) and Good Cleaning Man (my fantasy) display Anne's comedic talents to great effect. We can all relate to being dumped but who knew that housework had such erotic potential? Clowns is for those of us who didn't grow up to be in the spotlight - but remember, performers need an audience just as much as an audience needs performers. Real Time recalls the gentle pleasures of the time before we became enslaved by computers. I can't remember when I last took time out to pen a letter.

I defy any listener not to sway in time to the lilting strains of The Maybe Waltz. Anne urges us to take a chance on love - which could lead to A Very Good Year ... perhaps next year.

Bahama Mama commemorates the life of Anne's dear friend and folk stalwart, June Nichols - to whom the album is dedicated. This track concludes with Terry Jacob playing June's Silver Wattle Waltz on concertina.

I was initially disturbed by the inclusion of The Devil's On St Helena. It is not about women and there were no female prisoners on the island. Eventually, I realised that the brutality it depicts underlines the lack of female influences.

Two non-Infante songs feature on the CD. The plaintive Lass from the Low Country is a tale of unrequited love by American collector/songwriter John Jacob Niles. Andrea Baldwin's powerful Women Do explores the different ways men and women handle conflict. The song provides the album title and the concept for its theme.

To make this CD, Anne took a bunch of muso friends off to Mark Smith's Real Productions studios. The sensitive arrangements beautifully complement Anne's vocals and the CD has a lovely clear sound. Mary Brettell designed the cover and liner notes and also sings harmonies.

Women Do is a CD for all women and all men who have had a significant female in their lives.

The CD available from Anne or wherever she is singing (eg: the Kookaburra Folk Club on Wednesday nights).


cdcovTHE APRIL MAZE: Recycled Soul

Review by Mary Brettell

I have seen Sivan (aka April) and Todd, The April Maze, play live four times now and every time has been an absolute treat. Their music brings an instant smile to the lips and lifts the spirits. It is fascinating to watch them mesmerise their audience with their unique musical style.
Their latest CD Recycled Soul continues in this tradition.

The April Maze are Sivan Agam and Todd Mayhew. Sivan has a wonderful rich voice with a husky quality which is absolutely enchanting. Her instrumental work on the cello is totally captivating with deep sexy bowing interspersed with syncopated plucking -- I just can't get enough! Todd has a voice which is a delight to listen to and his instrumentation on guitars banjo and stomp come together to create a magical music experience... The vocal blend of Sivan and Todd is awesome!

Besides having a unique and fascinating sound the songs of The April Maze tell stories. I love all the songs on this CD ... I guess if I had to pick a favourite it would be Where Do they Go, co-written with Canadian singer/songwriter Faye Blais, Steve Mayhew and Arlo Picasso Enmark.

Recycled Soul was produced in the studio of Hugh McDonald (Redgum) who also plays Bass, mandolin, bouzouki, violin, keys and Backing Vox on the CD.

Guest musicians are Sophie Kingston, Catherine Leslie, Lizanne Friebel and Lilli Waters on violin and Anna Petelin on viola, Jason Chalmers on Sax and Andrew Rogers on drums.

I would also like to add that the presentation of this CD (using recycled materials) is creative and certainly relevant to the standard of perfection of the music. It is simple but the photographer, Haydn Cattach, has done a superb job -- buy the CD -- have a look and a listen, it's ONLY $20!! What value!

Get it from their website at www.aprilmaze.com

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