Aly Cook – ‘Brand New Day’
Recently awarded New Zealand Female Country Artist of the year, Aly Cook introduced herself to us with her album Brand New Day; a collection of easy listening songs with influences ranging from country to rock and roll to pop to blues. The album is driven by Cook’s faultless cocoa warm alto voice and her strong sense of melody, complementing the nicely written and structured songs.
After releasing only singles including “I Wonder” which was nominated APRA New Zealand Country Song of the Year, Aly raised the funds for her album using crowd funding though a site called Sellaband.com where fans and facebook friends bought shares in her album at $10 each. After raising US$20,000 she went to long time personal friend Alan Jansson to co-write and produce Brand New Day. Alan is signed to Universal Publishing Australia and is one of their most successful kiwi writers, having produced and co-written monster hit “How Bizarre” a song and album for the OMC which went to number one on the US Billboard and 15 other countries.
The fruits of a year working together, Brand New Day kicks off with a mid-tempo track titled “The River” which offers a gentle and modest opening and is in parts described in UK Fatea magazine review: “reminiscent of The Travelling Wilburys”. “The River” is the current single from Brand New Day.
Aly Cook’s vocal clarity comes through on “Midnight Sun”, where she gives just enough falsetto to make listeners crave for more. This song enjoyed airplay around Australia, reaching #12 on the Top 30 country tracks chart. Slightly more folky roots are detectable in “Grow”, a rhythmic track about spiritual enlightenment, offers a sweet mix of instruments including mandolin and banjo with a cool piano accordion lead break. The first single to be taken from Brand New Day, Cook hits her home run on pedal steel-dripping, Sheryl Crow-vibed “Spend It”. Bending the notes in all the right places in the catchy melody and sassy lyric about money woes, this bluesy country attitude is so attractive and an end of the genre missed at radio. Title track “Brand New Day” boasts a guest vocal from kiwi Icon Sharon O’Neill for whom Aly has also sung Backing vocals for in the past.
While there are many different ends of the country genre detectable in the album, Brand New Day is essentially a country – pop hybrid. Quote from Fatea review “what is commendable to Cook (and undoubtedly her producers) is her ability to showcase the technicality and quality of her voice without over-exaggerating melodies; a trap into which many other country singers fall. This results in an album that holds appeal to more than just fans of country music”. Also worthy of note throughout the record is the quality of the musicianship; all tracks feature good, solid acoustic playing from Cook herself and many others featuring fantastic yet modest lap steel guitar parts, particularly The River and Spend It.
Lone Nashville-recorded, country pop offering “Country Storm” showcases Cook’s vocal strength in a solid chorus, where she uses the weather metaphor to predict how she’ll hit the international music scene. This track reached into the Top 20 of the Top 30 Country Tracks Chart also. Quite believable on sexy blues-pop “Laughing in Silence”, a tale of a man leaving for another woman.
All the tracks are very good; they offer pleasant and easy listening melodies, performed by a superb singer and showcase many aspects of many different extremes of the Country genre, making Brand New Day a very good crossover album.
Aly Cook’s Brand New Day is available on Itunes digital and via WJO.
Aly refers to herself as a FIFO artist (Fly in Fly out). Air New Zealand has carried Aly across the Tasman several times in the last 12 months. Aly Cook’s Brand New Day album is also the only New Zealand or Australian Country Album on the country section of Air New Zealand’s inflight program. She has performed at Urban Country Music Festival, Blue Water, Tamworth, Canberra & Port Pirie, and recently supported Bob Corbett at Rooty Hill.
Back home in NZ Aly has a small farm with her husband and 3 teenagers, from where she also runs her small label. She is one busy lady having fund-raised for her album by selling shares. She is now raising funds for her second album recording by selling 4,000 shares at 10 Euro or A$11 each. This gets her shareholders a % share of 50% of net sales from the album. She has already sold over 1,200 shares. Check it out here http://www.sellaband.com/aly-cook-music and find Aly on facebook here http://www.facebook.com/alycookmusic
Chelsea Basham ‘I Make My Own Sunshine’
“The stunner tracks for me were two ballads, ‘By the Light of the Moon’ and ‘Let You Lead’ which she slam-dunks like she’s channeling the great country divas (think Patsy or Trisha Yearwood) and sells with utter sincerity and soul to burn”
Country Update Magazine
“I’d say the primary theme of this album is rejuvenation…picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting on with your life” reflects Chelsea Basham, the bubbly twenty two year old country singer from the West Australian wheat belt town of Wongan Hills. “Sure, I had my heart broken… but so did every girl my age. It’s just not in my nature to wallow in self pity and I certainly didn’t want to bore people with stories of my little tragedy.”
Chelsea Basham spent much of her childhood larking around with her two older brothers and working in her parent’s Retravision store in Wongan Hills, 182 kilometres north east of Perth, population about 1,400 and shrinking. The radio was never far away. She loved the sound of the new breed of Australian country artists … Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar Daley, Melinda Schneider, Adam Brand, Beccy Cole … and wanted to be like them.
Chelsea went on to win some local talent quests and toured Western Australia with Lee Kernaghan at the tender age of sixteen before her first pilgrimage to the Tamworth Country Music Festival the following January. From there, she fell in love, moved to Sydney, made an independent single, toured as much as she could, broke up with her boyfriend and went back to Wongan Hills to lick her wounds. And all before she was 20!
In February 2011 Chelsea cold-called producer Graham Thompson. She wanted to make an album and she wanted him to produce it. “I grew up listening to Compass Bros records that Graham produced … Adam Brand, Melinda Schneider … other great records and I always wanted to work with him. He was like “OK, sure, let’s meet and have a listen to what you’re up to”.
Thompson was impressed. “Chelsea came into the studio and we chatted for a while. She pulled out her little guitar, I put a mic in front of her and she sang ‘I Learned The Hard Way’ which she had just written. She floored me with the opening line – ‘I was barely out of school when I left home to see the world’ – the sound of her voice was so sultry and soulful, like Dusty Springfield on the Memphis album. And it was her story. She was 20 years old singing about her life so far… she won me over as soon as she sang that line”.
The pair spent several months on pre production in Sydney before heading to Nashville to record the album. Thompson assembled an impressive cast including drummer Greg Morrow and bass player Mike Brignardello, both Memphis natives who had played together since they were kids and had become Nashville A-listers.
“Those guys were the perfect rhythm section for this album” recalls Chelsea “they play so laid back like all those great soul records.
Also on the sessions were keyboard player Tony Harrell, guitarist Rob McNelley and legendary Californian multi-instrumentalist Dan Dugmore, a mainstay of James Taylor’s and Linda Ronstadt’s bands in the 70’s and 80’s. Taylor Swift’s Grammy winning engineer Chad Carlson recorded the sessions.
“It was an experience I will never forget,” says Chelsea. “Being in the studio with those guys and knowing their history. They were so supportive and encouraging … it was overwhelming.”
I Make My Own Sunshine opens and closes with songs that Chelsea wrote with her friend Travis Meadows. “We didn’t plan it that way but it doesn’t surprise me because Travis is a good buddy and we understand each other,” says Chelsea.
“In fact it must have been because of our friendship that he agreed to work on ‘Laugh It Off’ with me because Travis does not do light and bubbly. I wrote ‘Laugh It Off’ on mandolin … it’s impossible for me to write a sad song on a mandolin. It came to me quickly but the verse lyric wasn’t really working and Travis helped me fix it. As he left the writing session that day he flashed me a cheeky grin and said ‘tell Graham you got the bubblegum out of me!’. I’m thinking BUBBLEGUM! Is that what this is? No!!! But I think he kind of secretly liked the fact that he’d had a hand in writing something that was completely alien to him”.
In palpable contrast, Starting Over, the closing song and another co-write with Meadows, is far from light and bubbly. It’s the album’s one heart-wrenching ballad and was recorded in one take, including Chelsea’s vocal. “Everything you hear on that song was recorded on the band track,” recalls Thompson. “Not one overdub. It took 3 minutes and 32 seconds to record that song. She sang it so well on the day because it meant so much to her. Oh, hang on, we did overdub a background vocal but that doesn’t count!”
You’ve gotta find yourself
And that’s hard to do when you gave it all to someone else
But you get it back with time if you fight like hell
When you’re starting over
And in between the Basham / Meadows top and tail there are two other influential figures in the evolution of the album. One is Allyssa Bonagura, the writer of I Make My Own Sunshine, the first single and title track of the album. “I Make My Own Sunshine is a pivotal song on this record”, says Chelsea. “I stumbled across Allyssa singing it in the street one day and loved it straight away. I’m not sure if I realised it at the time but Sunshine set the theme for the whole album. It showed me how I could tell my story without being maudlin or self indulgent.”
It don’t matter if it’s raining
Nothing can faze me
I make my own sunshine
And if you think you can break me
Baby you’re crazy
I make my own sunshine
The other notable influence is singer songwriter Bonnie Bishop who contributed three songs to the album. “I met Bonnie in Nashville and we hit it off straight away.” recalls Chelsea. “She’s got a big, soulful voice, a larger than life personality and is a great writer. My first thought when I heard By The Light Of The Moon was that it was a perfect song for Bonnie Raitt. As it turns out Bonnie Raitt has recorded some of Bonnie Bishop’s songs but, fortunately for me, not that one. Right Where You Are is another Bonnie Bishop song that fits in perfectly with the theme of rejuvenation.
In fact, there are several songs on I Make My Own Sunshine about picking yourself up and getting on with it.
There are also songs that are purely about being young and having fun. “In my mind songs like Weekend, 31 Degrees and Sunny and Chasing Trouble are a natural part of the story because they’re just about mucking about and having fun,” says Chelsea.
“Chelsea is warm, down home wise and positive and that’s how I’d describe this album,” remarks Thompson. “She’s also very funny. I think people will certainly get to know Chelsea through listening to the album.”
“I’m twenty two years old and this is an album about my life so far”, reflects Chelsea. “You know what it’s like … you leave home, fall in love, break up, crawl back home with your tail between your legs, get over it, start to have some fun again then the cycle starts over. And hopefully you learn something along the way, and get it right before you fall off the perch. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of time and plenty more albums before that happens to me!”
Chelsea Basham’s debut album I Make My Own Sunshine, released 24 August, 2012, on Compass Bros. Records through EMI.
There’s a vast expanse of ocean in the lives of the McClymonts, but in their indomitable style, they’re not going to let something like the Pacific get in their way.
The three sisters from country Australia have been leading a double life since they released their first album five years ago. While eternally loyal to the Australian scene that nurtured them and continues to invite them back to major events like the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Brooke, Sam and Mollie have set their sights on the massive country scene of the US, starting with Nashville, which they now call home. Or at least, half a home.
It’s this sentiment that powers third album Two Worlds Collide: not only are the McClymonts forever living out of suitcases in the pursuit of their dream, but this collection is a reflection on the nature of country and mainstream music. It the McClymonts’ hope that the walls between the two will continue to be broken down as fans opt to listen to universal music they love, rather than being boxed in to one genre.
But on to the music. The McClymonts understand the impact of a simple song with a lot of heart.
While the sisters have a deep appreciation for country artists like Deanna Carter, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, and are talented multi-instrumentalists, they’ve successfully woven in elements of pop, rock and dance music to create a sound that’s fresh and full of life. Undeniably, Two Worlds Collide is a feel-good album. Even in its darkest moments – moments of loneliness and heartbreak – there’s an appreciation of the beauty in life.
“We’ve always been three strong, independent women,” reflects Sam. “A lot of girls come up to us after shows and thank us for getting them through break-ups with our music and making them feel stronger. That’s a real compliment, to know that we can empower anyone through our music.”
Always keen to surround themselves with creative forces, the sisters chose to work with three very different producers at the top of their game. Nathan Chapman is a longstanding cohort who co-wrote songs on the McClymonts’ debut album, Chaos and Bright Lights, and produced some of their sophomore album, Wrapped Up Good. He’s become best known for catapulting Taylor Swift to fame thanks to his ability to give country music a fresh pop feel. Peter Asher, meanwhile, has five decades in the business, working on crossover greats such as Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. Then there’s Grammy award-winning producer Luke Wooten, a Nashville stalwart with country music running in his veins. Working alongside him and his sleek local players, who can nail a new song in two or three takes, was an incredible eye-opener for the sisters.
There’s no doubt about it: Nashville has made the McClymonts feel very welcome. Not only have they appeared twice on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, but they’ve rubbed shoulders with country music’s elite at George Jones’ 80th birthday. “We still feel like we’re breaking through, yet we get all these incredible moments and meet these incredible people,” wonders Sam. “They’re the light-bulb moments where you go, wow. To know George Jones just from being a picture on your dad’s album cover, and then to actually be there at his birthday…” And in a US market that’s notoriously hard to make a dent in, the sisters have found themselves playing to 10,000 people a night touring with Jason Aldean, not to mention opening for Ronnie Dunn (Brooks & Dunn) and Lady Antebellum.
While the sisters are humbled at their success, no one could begrudge them it, given the sacrifices they’ve made trawling between two different hemispheres. It’s a sentiment tied up in tracks like ‘Feel Like Going Home’ and ‘Piece of Me’; bittersweet tales of never having enough time with those who matter most.
“It’s hard,” muses Sam, “but we have a great group of friends and family who really get that music is our main focus. They all support us and understand we don’t like missing all the family events. Nobody makes us feel guilty for all those moments, because they know how important this is to us. We just make it work. We’re attracted to people who are have that very career-driven mindsets as well, who aren’t threatened by what you do and how much time and commitment you put into it.”
This drive for success that the sisters share originated back in their childhood days, spent in Grafton NSW – a country town of around 17,000, built on the mighty Clarence River. Prone to both drought and floods, its streets are lined with intoxicating, purple-bloomed jacaranda trees. Unsurprisingly, the town has a rich country music heritage, with Troy Cassar-Daley – a generation older than the McClymonts and an early mentor – just one of many musicians hailing from the area. It was here that Brooke, then her younger sisters, discovered a love of performing.
“Brooke is the oldest by five years and she was always writing songs,” laughs Sam. “We’ve even got old cassettes of her singing into a tape recorder – making songs up about random things going on in her crazy little 11-year-old life.” Brooke started entering into local talent quests that took the family further and further afield. Eventually, bored of sitting and playing cards, her younger sisters started to join in. “That’s how Molly and I got into it,” Sam admits, “through default that we were there and could sing. Soon it became the three of us on the road every weekend, with our little matching outfits for the group selection, those ridiculous things you do at that age.”
Grafton, say the sisters, was a rock-solid community that has always been behind the band. “Mum was a hairdresser and Dad was a butcher, so of course we knew everyone,” Sam smiles. “We were kind of sheltered from the big, bad world, and we’re lucky we had that innocent upbringing that allowed us to focus on music. It was the best environment a kid could ever grow up in. When Brooke was 16 she won a talent contest to go to America. We’d have fund-raisers and everyone would go out and help support and raise money for the flights over there. That support is still there today. We’ll always do a concert in Grafton and sell out a show, and the papers still call us to check up with what we’re doing. The town gets behind everyone.”
It’s this sense of community spirit that inspired the sisters to give back. In Christmas 2006 they took off to Afghanistan and Iraq for 20 days, to play for the troops. “It was nice to be doing something for people away from their family at that time of year,” explains Sam. “We’re lucky that music gives us those kind of experiences.”
Such a trip would have daunted many acts, but the McClymonts relish every challenge. As new track ‘Sweet’ suggests, these sisters have a truckload of pluck and spirit to fuel their Pacific-sized dreams. “When we struggled to get a US deal for Wrapped Up Good we just started our own label,” shrugs Sam. “It was scary, but we’ve been working towards this since we were little girls and we’re not going to give up now. Whatever happens, we can say that we didn’t back down and we gave it our all.”
Harmony James ‘Handfuls of Sky’
“A first rank songwriter” – Don Walker (Cold Chisel)
You’ve probably seen her out there, busking on a street corner, dandelions in her hair. The coins in her case might buy a train ticket home or a down payment on bigger things: a better guitar, time to write another song: one chance in a million to soar above the static and catch the ear of the world.
“She’s not me”, says Harmony James of the hopeful busker in “Emmylou’s Guitar” – although you may glimpse her past between the lines: a teenaged girl strapping on her guitar outside Woolworths in Cairns, a notebook of scribbled lyrics at her feet and a big sister quietly egging her on.
This captivating grey area between a killer song and an extraordinary life is the essence of HANDFULS OF SKY, Harmony’s debut album for Warner Music.
Part of that life is already public. TAILWIND, her independent debut of ’09, was surrounded by a slew of accolades: breakthrough awards from VCMA and APRA, Golden Guitar nominations for Best Female Artist and Best Album, eight Top Ten songs on the National Country Music Charts and first prize (for the title track) in the country division of Nashville’s International Songwriting Competition.
But Harmony’s remarkable back story as a church-born, outback-bred voice comes into its own with HANDFULS OF SKY. From the wry brimstone ramble of “Fires of Hell” to the rural panorama of “Hauling Cane” to the resolute emotional backbond of “Pride” – her ninth Top 10 single, and her third #1 – it’s an album of arrival after a long, quietly confident journey.
“A friend of mine had gone to the States and taped some country music from the radio”, she explains of her earliest inspiration. “She came back and snuck it to me so I had this little tape that I’d hide and listen to. Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, the Judds were on there … that was my lightbulb moment.”
In a family life where the Bible loomed large – her father was a Baptist preacher – Harmony was destined to keep the flame secret for a time. But her church choir years nurtured the skills and belief needed for another calling.
“My musical exposure was mostly church music until I got a job as a checkout chick and heard the radio”, she says. “Now when I hang out with other musos they’ll drop names and I’ll just look at them blankly ’cause my music history starts in ’95.”
“It’s slightly embarrassing”, she concedes with a laugh, “but it may be why my music is resonating with people. It’s not heavily influenced by anyone, it’s just evolved over time.” And experience. Harmony’s road took a dramatic turn when she left home to work as a jillaroo on some of the most remote cattle stations in south western Queensland, “covered in mud and blood, roughing it with the guys, working so hard I had biceps and thinking, ‘This is not what my mother pictured for me’.”
A gig at a school fete in Goondiwindi led to an offer from the local publican and Harmony’s songbook started filling, even as she continued her parallel life on the land, from the Cape to Tennant Creek, studying agriculture at Uni and working as a welder “in a shed of 80 blokes.”
TAILWIND changed everything again, fast-tracking her name onto country radio playlists and national tour posters alongside such stellar new fans as Kasey Chambers, Sara Storer, Troy Cassar-Daley and the McClymonts.
“I see HANDFULS OF SKY as a record of emergence from one period of my life to the next”, Harmony says. “I feel like I’m displaying a lot. There are a lot of tracks which are basically me in a nutshell, though I don’t know how many people will recognise that.”
Give or take a busker here or an outback oil driller there, chances are they’ll be too busy recognising themselves or someone they know among the soaring choruses and familiar scenarios of “Flying Too Close to the Sun”, “So Long” and “Wait This Long”.
The swell of universal emotion is the key to song after song, from the wistful waltz of “Reach For You”, a duet with Shane Nicholson, to the stunning piano-vocal confession of “The Girl You See”. “It’s kind of a letter to my family”, says its writer, “but I’m interested to hear what other people make of it.”
Then there are the more intriguing turns that show rather than tell. What are the words left tantalisingly unsaid in the snapshot moment of “Don’t Say It”? Where exactly are the grim four walls closing in on “Great Grey Cloud”? And what’s a self-confessed “goody two-shoes wowser” doing flirting with the devil in “Fires of Hell”?
HANDFULS OF SKY was produced at Sydney’s Ramrod Studios by the legendary Herm Kovac – “my champion from the start, almost a mentor”, says Harmony – and a stellar gang including Tim Crouch, Troy Cassar-Daley, Glen Hannah, the McClymonts, Mark Punch and Bill Chambers.
“I can’t wait to see what people make of it”, Harmony says “to see where it takes them. Sometimes I think ‘Geez, Harms, you’re being a bit too honest for your own good here’. Then I think ‘No, it’s art. You don’t know which parts are true and which parts are just good stories.”
Steve Passfield releases
‘The Soundtrack of My Life’
Musicians, and particularly songwriters, are a strange group, with a mix of curiosity, talent, fear, ego, strengths and weaknesses. They are, however, quite possibly just a tangible reflection of most of us in society. That is, they can write lyrics that strike a chord within us and connect in a very real way and yet their own journey can be a tortured one. Well, Steve Passfield has been performing and writing for many years and knows too well the highs and lows of the journey. As a highly awarded Independent artist he continues to work hard at what he loves.
His 6th studio album is the result of years of involvement in our musical world. The Soundtrack Of My Life is a collection of 13 cover versions of songs and instrumentals that have shaped Steve’s music and his life and the title track, penned for the project, a beautiful summary of the journey. Each of the songs has a special place in Steve’s musical heart. With a strong feeling for Australian songs such as the meandering version of the Slim Dusty Classic, When The Rain Tumbles Down In July and Winter Winds penned by Slim’s childhood duo partner, Shorty Ranger, which appears both as vocal and instrumental versions. These tracks paint a beautiful picture of Steve’s homelands around Kempsey in northern NSW and takes the listener to the green hills of the Upper Macleay. A troubadours tale, Song & Dance Man, written by The Song & Dance man himself, Mike McClellan, and the Bushwackers 1980‘s album title track Beneath The Southern Cross, referring to the Eureka Stockade. These all continue to reinforce Steve’s passion for touring and performing his own story. Steve’s fast tongue is certainly given a workout in his racing version of I’ve Been Everywhere, the Geoff Tangle-tongue Mack cracker. Geoff approached Steve at the Tamworth Festival back a few years and complimented him on how fast he sang the song and his “cacophonic” ability. They’ve been friends ever since.
The song Armstrong asked questions about times and places in the early 1970’s shortly after Man’s landing on the Moon, and was a huge hit for Reg Lindsay. Steve’s sensitive version continues to ask the same questions 40 years on.
I asked Steve how he chose the tracks for this his first “covers” album and he surprised me by tearing up over the songs Wonderful World and On the Wings of a Dove. Steve was asked to perform Wonderful World at the funeral of a young disabled boy a couple of years ago and tells me “I sing this song now with such a strong personal emotion, that seems to be felt by the listeners, that it gave me the inspiration for the album. Then, just a year ago, my cousins asked me to sing On the Wings of a Dove, the Ferlin Husky song, at my Aunty Dawn’s funeral. When I started to do this song live and the audiences just joined in singing it, it made me realise what a powerful song it is. I remembered one of the few albums my Mum & Dad had when I was a boy of Charley Pride, which included On the Wings of a Dove. Aunty Dawn’s funeral was March 18th and Ferlin Husky actually died the day before, March 17th 2011″. Steve went on to tell me about Lars, the young disabled boy who’s funeral he sang at, Studio ARTES, the adult disability group in Hornsby where his middle son, Micah, attends and where Steve’s involved with music and performance. “Lars was almost a neighbour of ours and was a gentle natured young man with a wonderful gift for painting our Australian native bush. His Dad allowed me to use some of Lars’ artwork in the Album. Check it out, he was a beauty!”
When you see Steve perform live and get to chat to the big fella, you realise that he wears his heart way out on his sleeve and doesn’t try to hide his feelings. This comes through in the moving versions of the Love songs on the album, the Bob Dylan penned Make You feel My Love and the Lefty Frizzell classic, That’s The Way Love Goes, which like the rest of the tracks on the album, are there because of some strange musical coincidence or event in Steve’s past. Each track has a note telling of how it came to be on The Soundtrack of my Life album and are worth a read. The lovable larrikan label springs to mind!
If all of that isn’t enough to squeeze onto an album, Steve has included 3 instrumentals, understandable for a Golden Guitar winning Instrumentalist. He’s included the Buck Owens, Don Rich tune Happy Go Lucky Guitar, the wonderfully melodic Winter Winds and a little bit of the banjo that he totes with Orange Mountain Special.
More Golden Guitar nominations, Independent Awards, who knows what lies ahead for Steve Passfield but when I asked him about his goals he simply replied “to keep doing what I do, singing, writing, picking, recording and hopefully always making a happy noise and entertaining people”. Simple goals for a complicated, multi-talented artist. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Steve produced this album himself, recorded it in his Handpicked studios, played almost everything on it and even designed the artwork, so it really is “the soundtrack of his life”. Well done big fella, you’re on a winner.
Available from www.stevepassfield.com and all good music stores.
The Soundtrack of My Life
– Steve Passfield. This album is a collection of songs and tunes that have been influential in my musical journey and the title track sums up the feeling of doing this album.
– John Stewart. Reg Lindsay had a hit with this song in 1971 about the moon landing on July 20 1969, I was 8 on July 22. I remember Reg’s Country Hour TV show, he was a trailblazer in our Country Music Industry.
The Rain tumbles down in July
– Slim Dusty. Written by Slim in 1945 on the upper Macleay, the Valley where my family all come from. My Mum was born in Hickeys Creek, just over Andersons Sugarloaf from Nulla Nulla, where Slim had the inspiration for this song. I have grazier cousins still isolated by the Macleay in flood.
Happy Go Lucky Guitar
– Buck Owens/Don Rich. I was fortunate to be introduced to Tommy and Phil Emmanuel in the early 80’s by Kempsey musician Chris Haigh and would travel to Sydney for a lesson, often on a Sunday, down and back. To find Tommy was busy with a session one day was a disappointment. Tommy’s wife rang Phil and I went around to Phil’s unit where he showed me this Buck Owen – Don Rich tune. Phil & Tommy have always been so enthusiastic with other guitarists and ever willing to share what they know. Thanks Phil for this one but I hope you’ve moved the snakes out of the bathroom mate!
Make You Feel My Love
– Bob Dylan. A Bob Dylan song that I first heard Luka Bloom, an Irish Folk Singer’s version of and fell in Love with it. Renate fell in love with my version.
On the wings of a dove
– Ferlin Husky. One of the albums my parents had in their small record collection was a Charley Pride album with this song on it. My cousins asked me to sing it for my Aunty Dawn’s funeral on March 18 2011. Ferlin Husky passed away the day before.
Song & Danceman
– Mike McClellan. One of my first concerts after leaving school was at the Kemspey Macleay RSL Club on the banks of the Macleay River. It was the Mike McClellan & Doug Ashdown show and I loved this song of Mike’s. I bought a cassette of Mike’s with this song on it and the longer I tour and perform the more the lyrics ring true.
– Shorty Ranger. Another Macleay Valley connection, Shorty wrote this back in 1942, a beautiful melody with great word pictures. I remember he would sometimes attend the little SDA church in Kemspey and I recall backing Him at a church concert on one occasion.
Beneath The Southern Cross
– Roger Corbett, Louis McManus & Dobe Newton. In the early 80’s I was travelling to Sydney for guitar lessons off Tommy Emmanuel and he had joined the Bushwackers. What an impact Dobe, Rog and the fellas made on me, and my music would never be the same. Celtic inspired, rockin’ Bush songs and tunes are still part of my Soundtrack.
Orange Mountain Special
– a banjo tune I first heard played by Mark Collins on a wonderful record Tommy Emmanuel, Pee Wee Clark & Friends From Out Of Nowhere. It was recorded “Direct To Disc” which means as they played the record master was being cut, amazing musicianship. No fixing things later on.
- Instrumental. Barry Thornton made this a great instrumental and was so influential on Australian Country Music from a guitar playing angle. I was fortunate to win the Barry Thornton Memorial Instrumental of the Year Award at the Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards (the TIARAS) in 2008 with my tune Stump Jumpin’.
I’ve Been Every
– Having been accused of having my Pop’s fast tongue, this was a necessary challenge a few years back, to learn Geoff “tangletongue” Mack’s cracking song. Geoff came up and complimented my version at a Tamworth Country Music Festival gig a few years back & he and his wife, Tabbi, have become good friends. We live close by each other in Sydney’s northern suburbs. This song has been literally ‘round the world’ with over 40 translations and many other different versions being recorded.
That’s The Way Love Goes
– Lefty Frizzell. My Friend Chris Haigh of Kemspey, a wonderful Musician, introduced me to the Emmanuel Brothers and also to this song, written by Lefty, along with many other classic country songs, it’s been done by Merle Haggard and many others. It’s a pretty, country love song.
What a Wonderful World
- Bob Thiele and George David Weissan, an awesome song that I was asked to sing at Lars Emerson’s funeral. Lars was a big part of the inspiration behind Wendy & Sue starting Studio Artes, a centre for adults with disabilities and where my Son Micah has attended and where I’m involved with music and performance.
Amber Lawrence releases ’3′
The release of her new album ‘3’ sends Amber Lawrence’s multiple award-winning country music career soaring as high as the giant jumbo jets that fly over her home in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Mascot, not far from the international airport.
Yes. Amber’s an inner city girl. She’s lived in the hustle, the noise and the hubbub all her life but it has never diluted her passion for country music and its endless themes of heartbreak, story-telling, love, joy, fun and core family values like loyalty. Now ‘3’, (named simply because it’s her third album) adds another dimension to a career that has been on a sharply vertical lift-off since Amber took up singing and song writing half a dozen years ago and rocked the industry with her burgeoning talents that include five Golden Guitar nominations, six number one songs, the Horizon award, TV performances on major shows like Mornings with Kerri-Anne and Spicks and Specks plus tours and stage appearances with artists including Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider and Lee Kernaghan.
‘3’, with its mixture of upbeat optimism, personal happiness and resilience along with some references to deeper issues including courage in the face of hardship, is another step upward on a sharply-angled career path that has seen Amber delight audiences all over the country – from sold out Tamworth concerts to the Gympie Music Muster – and vastly expand her fan base.
Her own experiences of life’s upheavals, including the death of her father, becoming an aunt to her sister’s two children and lost loves and the pursuit of new ones, have broadened Amber’s musical experiences and her maturity shows on ‘3’. Throw in Amber’s early experience of being dumped by a boyfriend who had given her a guitar so she could learn to play and boost her career and you get some idea of what ironies shape her lyrics. Songs like ‘Everything’s A Song’, ‘Everybody’s A Mess’ and ‘Huge’ talk about the importance of personal contentment and emotional stability instead of looking enviously at other people’s lives that may not be as perfect as they look.
‘Everybody’s A Mess’ has already generated such enthusiasm among Amber’s fans that it will be the first song released from the album as a single. “My last album was on a positive note as well but it was more based on moving on after the death of my father” she says. “This album says I know what life is all about at this point in my life and I’m making the most of it, good or bad. I have my glass half-empty days like everyone else but most if the time it’s half-full”.
Adding to her already glittering career lustre is Amber’s insightful skill to write one and co-write the other 12 songs on the album with some of the best known lyricists in country music, including award winner Colin Buchanan, Mike Carr, who wrote song of the year ‘Real People’ for Melinda Schneider, Sam Hawksley, Paul Greene, Suzy Connolly and Golden Guitar winning producer Rod McCormack, whose professionally deft touch in the studio is behind the unique sound.
Amber’s partnership with Buchanan produces the most poignant song on ‘3’, ‘The Man Across The Street’. It tells the true story of Bill, a young, returned Australian solider whose stark memories and ghastly experiences in Vietnam haunt his waking hours. He turns to alcohol for daily solace while sitting on the verandah of his house at Mascot across from Amber’s. One day Amber, a toddler, wanders toward the busy road risking serious injury or death from passing cars until she is scooped up by Bill and returned to her mother in the nick of time. Amber’s song was meant as a thank you for the now vanished Bill for saving her life but it became a metaphor for the actions of not just Bill, but all of the Australian soldiers who went to Vietnam and returned emotionally impaired unable to fit comfortably back into society.
The song expanded into a bigger picture to embrace the hundreds of young Australians who sacrificed so much of their own promising futures to protect their country. Not just Bill, as Amber sings ‘but a thousand more like him who paid the price.’
“Maybe he didn’t want to fight but he was told it was for the greater good of us all. So it became much bigger than him just saving my life when I might have crawled onto that road.”
“It was really emotional writing it. Those soldiers tended to be written off when they came home because they were young and no one realised there was a problem. With hindsight we know how he suffered.”
Amber’s family lost touch with Bill over the years after he moved but she remains hopeful their paths might cross if he hears the song. Amber also linked with Australia’s armed forces when she entertained troops in East Timor in 2007.
Amber’s debut album ‘The Mile’ and its follow-up ‘When It All Comes Down’ – which earned three Golden Guitar nominations – were commercial and critical successes. ‘3’ continues Amber’s evolvement into one of the most successful country music artists in the country, loved by fans and respected by industry super stars such as Lee Kernaghan and Adam Harvey, who brings his honeyed voice to track 6 ‘The Peace I Keep.’
“She writes great songs, sings with conviction and delivers a great show,’’ says Harvey. “Her talent and her connection with the audience put Amber ahead of the other young artists in the industry.”
Also joining Amber for a duet on the album is ex-Australian Idol finalist and Home and Away star – Axle Whitehead. Axle’s smoky vocals are a perfect fit for Amber’s on the sexy track 9 ‘My Attraction’. “Axle’s a great singer, who is a big fan of country music – so it was really fun to work with someone outside the normal realms of Australian Country Music”, says Amber.
By her own admission Amber was a late starter as a singer, spending her immediate post-high school years at the University of NSW completing a degree in Accountancy, a profession not known for producing an abundance of country music performers. But she says she is now secure in her confidence that country music is where she belongs and where she is staying. “I wouldn’t want to be any other place,” she says.
Amber came up with the ideas for her songs on ‘3’ but called in song-writing partners to give the finished product a distinctive twist in comparison to the first two albums.
“I wrote almost all the songs by myself on the first two and didn’t want ‘3’ to sound the same,’’ she says. “But I still wanted the songs to be my songs, to tell my story. The song writing sessions were successful because we had clear ideas in our minds as to where we were headed.”
“It’s my truth, it’s my take on the world as I see it right now. Life throws us curve balls and the only thing that’s constant is change, which always makes for great song subject matter. ‘3’ represents where I’m at personally and creatively at the moment. I’m very proud of this album.”
‘3’ was released through Core Music and Sony Music Australia on 20 January 2012.
Amber Lawrence – ‘3’
Track by Track
Everything’s a Song – Amber Lawrence / Colin Buchanan
A song about so many of the things I have experienced in my life so far – the boy that has my heart, the man I used to love, the good times that I had when I was nineteen! The lyrics came from out of no where when I was chilling out on the couch one day. I really loved the first verse, but was just a bit stuck on the chorus. Bring in Colin Buchanan! I played him the verse, he loved how it flowed, and we were able to finish the rest of the song in about an hour!
Essentially I guess this is a bittersweet song about how music gets us through all the times in our life – the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, and everything in between!
Try – Amber Lawrence / Drew Mcalister / Tamara Stewart
“I always try’… apparently this is my usual response whenever anybody gives me a compliment! I was talking with Rod McCormack one day about the upcoming album, and he said that the songs I’d presented were really good – and I said ‘well I try’… so Rod said, why don’t you go and write that song! So I did, I took the idea to a co-writing session with Tamara Stewart and Drew McAlister, and on a balcony in the Blue Mountains we wrote ‘Try’.
Everybody’s a Mess – Amber Lawrence / Suzy Connolly
“Everybody’s a Mess” is really just another way of saying ‘the grass aint always greener’ – albeit a much rockier way!! The older you get, the more you realise that everybody has their own problems and issues, so we should just get on with our own happiness, and not worry about how ‘together’ others seem to have it…cause everybody’s a mess! I wrote this song with Suzy Connolly, and really it’s all about letting go of the comparisons and worry and just ‘turn it up and let it go’!
The Man Across The Street – Amber Lawrence / Colin Buchanan
Of all the songs I have ever written, this is definitely one of my favourites. This song is a story about Bill, the man who lived across the street from me when I grew up. The song tells a story about how a young man, who came home from Vietnam a troubled, misunderstood and changed man, saved my life in the blink of an eye by saving me from getting run over on our street, but also on a much greater level. I must thank Colin Buchanan for helping to turn my true story into something I am so proud of.
Huge – Amber Lawrence / Mike Carr
Life has it’s twists and turns – we just don’t know what’s around the corner. So if I have any advice on life to give, it’s all in this song! I read a story about a women who had survived cancer. After going through the shocking treatment and staring down death, she came to the realization that we spend too much of our lives worrying about little things that don’t matter – building them up to be these big things. Really, what we should be doing, is taking the small moments in life – like playing with your kids, ringing your mum, witnessing an awesome sunrise – and make those moments HUGE! (thanks Mike)! This song also features me on my first ever whistle solo : )
The Peace I Keep – Amber Lawrence / Rod McCormack
This is a really honest song. A song about how many of us put on that face each day that says ‘Yeah I’m fine’…when some days things aren’t just fine. I know I do it sometimes. I just love this song…especially with the added smooth vocals of the one and only Adam Harvey! You may like to also call this song, ‘the mountain railroad song’!
Hide the Crazy – Amber Lawrence / Mike Carr
It’s a well known fact amongst us girls that sometimes we need to ‘hide the crazy’. Ok ok, this song is a little tongue in cheek, and yes the advice given in this song is useful in a 1950’s pre-feminism kind of way…girls “if you want to be his obsession, this aint no time for confession”. Despite the advice, this song is a whole lot of fun!!
Stars in My Eyes – Amber Lawrence / Suzy Connolly
This song was created from one line in my songwriting book which said ‘I won’t apologise for the stars in my eyes”. I’m generally a very positive person, and I was discussing the music industry with a legend of the industry. He mentioned that “it wasn’t like the good old days”, and I replied “well I wasn’t around in the good old days, so I’ll just have to deal with it as it is”. He replied with a smile “oh you make me sick – you’re too bloody positive!”… Hence the song – I’ll never apologise for these stars in my eyes, ‘cause I love looking at the world this way!
My Attraction – Amber Lawrence / Sam Hawksley
It’s time for a love song…or is this more a ‘longing for someone’ song? ‘My Attraction’ is a little bit sexy – about wanting someone, so bad and feeling the pull of attraction. Is it for real, or is it a dream? Who knows! And how much fun was it for me to sing it with my guest vocalist Axle Whitehead – he nailed it!
Time of Our Lives – Amber Lawrence / Paul Greene
It was appropriate that in preparation for the recording of this track I poured myself a nice glass of wine – I mean you have to live in the moment, and if that means pouring a glass of nice red in the studio – then so be it! The song is about being in the moment – how we will always look back on our life and think how good it was and how good it could have been – but it’s really here for us, right now to absorb and take in this very second. I wrote this song with Paul Greene on a wonderful South Coast writing trip.
Pretty Little Liar – Amber Lawrence / Sam Hawksley
I took the title for this song from an ad for a TV show of the same name. I’ve never seen the show – and I know that titles aren’t copywrite so we wrote another love song based around pretty little liars. My definition of a pretty little lie is one that makes us feel good…. no damage done…and a little bit sexy!
Where Am I – Amber Lawrence
The quickest song I’ve ever written. I wrote this song in a motel room in Tamworth – the same motel I used to stay in with my parents for the first few years of our attendance at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. 3 years on from losing my Dad to Leukaemia it was very confronting and sad to be back in that same motel. Almost in a half sleep, I imagined that I had seen my Dad, but he wasn’t back here on earth with us…. I was somewhere with him, and I didn’t know where I was – or whether I was supposed to be there. I just adore the production on this song.
Princess – Amber Lawrence / Katrina Burgoyne
This song really speaks for itself…it’s just fun!Publicity Enquiries: Hot Off The Press Publicity | firstname.lastname@example.org (03) 9014 1096 | 0404 848 666
New Country Singer, Adam Price’s debut album - ‘Paint You a Song’
Adam Price might only be a new-comer to the Australian music scene, but his first album is a very nice revival of some old classics through to some of his own new originals.
Only starting his career in February this year with his first hit single Faith, Hope & Love written by Gina Jeffreys, Rod McCormack, Mel Sommers and himself, this album is Adam’s first step in a promising country music career.
Adam’s story is a success story all in itself, being diagnosed with Leukaemia in July 2010, getting through the ordeal and being blessed to co-write Faith, Hope & Love with Gina Jeffreys, Rod McCormack and Mel Sommers. Faith, Hope & Love is his story as he went through treatment and eventually achieved remission by November 2nd 2010. This song has a very personal and intimate feel to it, and has pulled on the heartstrings of all who have listened to it… It’s a song that even Gina said “gave her goosebumps” whilst writing the lyrics.
The album also includes a range of songs written by the highly respected Australian country music singer/songwriter Mel Sommers, who lives locally in the suburb of Teralba in Newcastle. He is someone who Adam really looks up to and respects in the country music industry, having given Adam a lot of encouragement, mentoring and the courage to make his start in the Australian country music industry. Mel’s great song Roll With The Punches was a song that helped Adam get through his stay in hospital… Adam says it best, “I listened to all of Mel’s songs whilst in hospital, I love the meanings behind his songs and the words he writes touch a deep part of your soul and really resonate with you in everyday life, but Roll With The Punches helped me get through the toughest parts of my journey in hospital, it gave me the strength to keep on keeping on and never giving up until you WIN”.
Mel’s other songs on the album Let’s Be Lovers While We Can, Love Gone Wrong, Shoulda Coulda Woulda, Brindabree and the original Words & Flowers (which was released on Adam’s first single CD) are also songs which describe life, love, and the journey we all take through our lives. Especially Shoulda Coulda Woulda which is a bright, fun song about how we all look back and reflect on what we should have, could have and would have done differently if we had the chance.
Love Gone Wrong tells the story of finding true love, how difficult it can sometimes be and the pain involved with not finding it. Let’s Be Lovers While We Can explains how things change in life and how to make the most of every moment and love life and others nearest to us to the fullest right at this moment; and Words & Flowers is a beautiful acoustic song about how actions speak louder than words when it comes to love.
The album also has two songs that were respectfully and beautifully revived from the late Smokey Dawson. Homestead of My Dreams is an old favourite of a great many people, and the way in which Rod McCormack composed the music to this song, found Adam struggling to sing it without tears in his eyes… “It took me a great while to overcome the emotion of music, mixed with old Smokey’s beautiful words, but we did it and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out”.
Paint You a Song is quite a rare acoustic version which Adam couldn’t seem to find anywhere else (since he heard it many years ago on a tape that a friend of his mum’s gave him). How the song came to be on the album, was from a request of his mother Daphne Price that he decided to bring the song to life and put it on his album. Rod McCormack did a sensational job of arranging it the way it is (and it certainly gets the approval of Adam’s mum)!
The song Broken Bridges written by local Sydney songwriter Maree Stacey is one which really resonates with Adam. It tells the story of how life is way too short to hold a grudge about anything (let alone with those you hold closest to you in life) and that you need to act on forgiveness sooner rather than later, as sometimes it can be too late.
“When I first received the song demos from Maree, I listened through them all and they were all fantastic, but I always keep an ear out for that one song that JUMPS OUT at me on any album or list of songs I hear, and Broken Bridges was the one song that did. I loved the meaning and tune of the song and it was presented by one of Australian country music’s great voices Stuie French who sung the demo so extremely well, hence probably why I loved it so much (on top of the words written and the storyline). I sure hope it resonates with people and brings a need for them to call a loved one they may not have spoken to for a long time, and with any luck resurrect the friendship or bond they once had”.
Adam’s first new single Under Your Spell believe it or not, came from a dream of his where George Strait was on stage singing the song… “When I awoke from that particular dream, I rushed downstairs and got straight onto YouTube and Google to see if there was a song by anyone called Under Your Spell (just in case I’d heard the song and was dreaming of someone else’s lyrics and tune) but to my surprise the tune and words were 100% unique. I nearly didn’t take the song to Rod to hear the concept of the song, but I’m definitely glad I did after hearing how it turned out”.
The second single Something About You was a tune that Adam had in his head for a couple of years before it actually came about. After speaking to quite a few musicians and songwriters to develop the song further (as Adam was stuck on the first two lines in his head) he began to think maybe this song wasn’t supposed to be recorded. But when Adam presented it to Rod McCormack, he really liked the idea and played a nice little tune to it which matched exactly with what Adam was thinking, and so Something About You came into existence.
We really hope you enjoy this new album, and Adam really looks forward to you connecting with him online and at shows near you very soon for feedback.
A Special Message From Adam
Adam’s Websites & Linkswww.AdamPrice.com.au www.Country-Fusion.com www.steelcitycmc.com www.YouTube.com/C0untryfusion
www.facebook.com/AdamPriceCountryMusic Contact Adam
Bookings – Adam Price Country Music – 02 4915 7622
Email – AdamPriceCountryMusic@adam-price.com
Multi-Award Winning Country Music Star, Adam Harvey, goes home to the things he lives with his new album ‘Falling Into Place’
Adam Harvey, one of Australia’s most accomplished country music performers, reaches a new pinnacle of achievement with his seventh studio album FALLING INTO PLACE.
With a career that spans 10 years, 3 Gold albums, total sales upwards of 300,000 albums and 7 Golden Guitar Awards; including 2 for Album of The Year and 2 more for Male Vocalist of The Year, Harvey is already at the forefront of Australia’s most acclaimed country music entertainers and has the runs on the board to show for it.
FALLING INTO PLACE brings to life the friends, family and people who share Adam’s idyllic life around Bateau Bay on the NSW Central Coast. Adam has shown that home is an inspiring place for his heart by using its sanctuary and surroundings to write and record the new album, with longtime producer Rod McCormack at the helm.
FALLING INTO PLACE is Harvey’s most personal album. He sings about the things that have genuine meaning in his life; his wife and family, the mates he drinks with at the local pub, the characters he’s met and his love of fishing. “I think people will recognise the characters I sing about and relate to them amongst their own friends and relatives,’’ he says.
Adam invited Beccy Cole and Troy Cassar-Daley, two Australian country music artists that he admires the most, to co-write songs and contribute vocals on tracks on the album. Both are Adam’s close friends and regular touring partners and therefore the inspiration came easily. His frequent songwriting partners Colin Buchanan and Rod McCormack also contributed.
“I wrote the title track Falling Into Place with Troy. It’s the story of when I was offered a record deal provided I moved from Melbourne to Sydney (or closer to it!). I was studying horticulture and had doubts about tossing in a regular wage to chase a music career but my wife Kathy bought me a little plaque that said: ‘As long as we’re together the rest will just fall into place’. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album.”
Cassar-Daley has a similar sense of satisfaction about the song; “I really wanted to relate this song to both our lives”, he says. “It’s about a bloke’s fear of failure starting out on a career of any sort and the girl who holds it all together while he’s out there paying his dues”.
This song holds pride of place as the motivating force behind the feel of the album, the rest came naturally.
Bordertown is Adam’s own experience of a modern day dilemma of reconciling working away from home with romance. “I wrote this with Bucko and Rod. It’s from my truck driving days when love was young and I couldn’t wait to get home to see Miss Kathy”.
Hooked is self-explanatory if you know how much Adam loves fishing. “Even if I don’t catch anything it’s good for the soul and gives me time to think. As the chorus says: “bad day fishing beats a great day working”!
Beccy Cole’s contribution with Adam includes the humour of A Good Woman Can, a song about men and woman and the way men perceive females. “It goes over really well at our live shows and I think it’s a winner”.
Adam says One More Beer with its sing-along chorus is an audience participation hit at his concerts and he’s been waiting for years to get a chance to record it.
“Troy and I wrote The Hair Of The Dog in about an hour. It tells the story we’ve all experienced of waking up after a big night and wondering what the hell made you do that to yourself. Troy sings on the track and it’s got a good Buck Owens feel about it”. “It was a song that came together quickly” says Troy Cassar-Daley. “I wrote some of it on a plane boarding pass and finished it with Adam at his place. It’s lots of laughs”.
Everything I Own Has Got A Dent… “It’s got a great feel about a hopeless guy who’s heartbroken and treats his possessions with the same carelessness he treated his girl”, Adam says.
Built to Last is about an old workmate in Victoria who drilled into Adam the need to get tasks done competently and who would not tolerate shoddy work. He was always saying things like ‘you’ve got to do a job right’ and ‘back in my day we used to build things to last!’ Rod and I came up with an Alan Jackson style song.”
The Bay Hotel “it’s a typical night out at our local pub. A great bunch of characters, add nice cold beer and you have the recipe for a big night out. Some of the boys even came to the recording studio and sang on the track with me.’’
The album also features three revivals, each given a unique re-interpretation by Adam’s warm rendition.
You Don’t Know My Love was a Conway Twitty song. “I thought it could stand up as strongly today as it did 30 years ago. Once a great song always a great song”, Adam says. “It is the first single from the album.”
Dig Two Graves was originally recorded by Randy Travis, who is one of the best Country singers ever and this song has been a favourite for years. For me it’s a love song from a bloke’s point of view. I relate to this song because it’s exactly how I feel about my wife”.
“The last track is called Closing Time and I think it’s a perfect ending to any album. Lyle Lovett wrote and recorded the original version. It sums up perfectly that feeling when the show’s over, the crowds are leaving and you’re packing up in an empty room with just the sounds of empty bottles going in the bin, or cleaners working”.
FALLING INTO PLACE reaches the challengingly high standards Adam Harvey has set himself since arriving on the country music scene as a songwriter and performer a decade ago. This album will be welcomed by his army of fans around Australia and internationally as further testament that he just keeps getting better.
1. Built To Last
2. You Don’t Know My Love
3. Everything I Own Has A Dent
4. Hair Of The Dog feat. Troy Cassar-Daley
5. Dig Two Graves
6. Falling Into Place
7. The Bay Hotel
9. I Wouldn’t Be Me
10. A Good Woman Can feat. Beccy Cole
11. One More Beer
13. Closing Time
Beccy Cole Releases ‘Songs & Pictures’
Forget all you know about BECCY COLE… Her much anticipated 7th studio album, ‘SONGS & PICTURES’ showcases the real woman, artist and for the first time ever, the exceptional songwriter that she is. SONGS & PICTURES is all the proof you’ll need to see Beccy’s all grown up!
Whilst she has remained at the forefront of the country music scene for almost twenty years, performing for The Prime Minister, touring with international superstars and sharing the stage with the likes of THE WIGGLES, KASEY CHAMBERS, JOHN WILLIAMSON and GLEN CAMPBELL to name but a few, it is now that the effervescent BECCY COLE has finally come of age.
SONGS & PICTURES will cement the Australian country music star as an honest and revealing songwriter only complementing her reputation of all-round entertainer. Through her words and music BECCY COLE presents and exposes her vulnerabilities, personal stories and lets you see through her eyes and feel the moments that have shaped her life. This is BECCY COLE’s most personal album yet.
Lyrics such as “I don’t need someone to tell me who I’m supposed to be, there’s enough of that stuff always ringing in my ears” and “I trust everyone but me, only music sets me free” sets the tone as the multi-award winning BECCY COLE shares herself in music like never before.
The talented songstress can proudly lay claim to having written every song on this release. SONGS & PICTURES is honest and real, yet has a touch of the humour that we expect from Beccy, highlighted in the very funny, SINGER SEES IT ALL.
The first single, ‘SHINY THINGS’ debuts Cole’s songwriting freedom with its fun, upbeat and infectious melody that instantly reminds you why BECCY COLE is an Australian country superstar. Knowing how tough the industry is, Cole’s ‘WAITRESS’ pays tribute to those chasing their dream whilst waiting for their moment. A chance encounter with a bar waitress in Nashville who took to the venue’s karaoke stage and sang like Beccy has never heard before, was the inspiration for this track. A way for Cole to salute the many unrecognised talents around the world.
The heartfelt and autobiographical ‘ONLY MUSIC’ leaves you feeling like you know the artist as a person and more-so a friend, as though you’ve been let into the inner sanctum of her thoughts and emotion. Take in ‘GLORIA’S ROSES’ and ‘PURPLE HILLS’ and appreciate the sincerity of the stories sung. ‘HERE I GO AGAIN’ will have you tapping your feet and tackling the dance floor whilst ‘LEAVE THE LIGHT ON’ will connect with any lover that has yearned for their heart to return to them.
Essentially, this album gives you all of Beccy and willingly so, her stories that she has waited to share with her fans.
To ensure this release represented her new found musical freedom, just look at who Beccy enlisted to help tell the story. In an unprecedented move, Beccy chose to record every track with her long standing band of road musicians consisting of MAL LANCASTER (drummer/manager), DUNCAN TOOMBS (lead guitar) AND SEAN RUDD (BASS). Complementing this change in direction was the collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Shane Nicholson. Notable inclusions are ex husband /close friend, fiddle player Mick Albeck as well as special guest and COLE’S best friend KASEY CHAMBERS dueting on a new version of song MILLIONAIRES.
Even the cover art of the album seems to shout, “this is me” with a painted portrait by JUDY NADIN, an award winning freelance illustrator who captured the artist’s style in an artwork masterpiece.
Having already racked up an impressive 7 Golden Guitars, 3 Gold Records, 2 Entertainer of the Year awards and a legion of loyal fans, until now BECCY COLE could claim to having been there and done that! She is the real deal, a divorced working single mother who still delights audiences with single-handed pushups on stage whilst belting out one of her hits or taking her audience on a journey and story.
Her latest offering SONGS & PICTURES demonstrates she is much more than just a live performer, here is an album giving testament to the talents of a songwriter, BECCY COLE has come into her own!
After almost four years since a new album material release, Beccy took no chances when settling on her SONGS & PICTURES project, “I am so proud of this album, this is me with all cards on the table, warts and all. It’s been almost 4 years since I have recorded new and original material and now I know why, I had to wait until SONGS & PICTURES came to me”, says an excited Beccy.
BECCY COLE’S SONGS & PICTURES is released on 30th September 2011 through CORE MUSIC.
The full tracking listing for SONGS & PICTURES is:
1. SHINY THINGS
3. PURPLE HILLS
4. WOMAN IN ME
5. ONLY MUSIC
6. HELLO HAPPINESS
7. MILLIONAIRES (FEATURING KASEY CHAMBERS)
8. SINGER SEES IT ALL
9. GLORIA’S ROSES
10. HERE I GO AGAIN
11. AUSTRALIAN WOMAN
12. LEAVE THE LIGHT ON
13. SONGS & PICTURES
For more information please log onto www.beccycole.com or contact:
BECCY COLE MEDIA AND ARTIST REQUESTS:
DEB EDWARDS PUBLICITY | e: email@example.com | m: 0418 801 850
CORE MUSIC PUBLICITY:
KRISKAT PUBLICITY & MANAGEMENT
e: firstname.lastname@example.org |m: 0414 334 348
Beccy Cole – ‘Songs & Pictures’
Track by Track
1. Shiny Things - Beccy Cole/Lyn Bowtell
My focus has been interrupted by ‘shiny things’ all my life. This song is about embracing who I am rather than the struggle I’ve had with life’s distractions.
Co-written with my dear friend, Lyn Bowtell, ‘Shiny Things’ came easily during a day of laughter and reminiscing. So pleased with the production and feel of this song, Shane Nicholson is a treasure.
2. Waitress – Beccy Cole
Her name is Wendy. She was the woman serving drinks in a bar that I stumbled across in Nashville a few years ago. Her voice had me in absolute awe, this waitress was the most talented and extraordinary performer I’d ever seen and her story broke my heart. Moving from South Carolina to Nashville to be a star 18 years ago, she is still trying. I had seen some of the world’s finest that week, but Wendy stole my attention. It occurred to me that I am just so blessed to be living my little girl dream of singing around my Country when there in that bar was a woman so much more talented than I. I love my job.
3. Purple Hills - Beccy Cole
My son came home from school and with a heavy heart, informed me that he was the only boy in year five not invited to Cameron’s 11th birthday. Talk about heart wrenching. I remembered being left out when I was a kid and this led me to draw many parallels between childhoods. I was different, there’s no mistaking that. 286 pictures of Dolly on my wall and a love affair with the purple hills that surrounded my home. They were beautiful to me. A noxious weed to some!
This song is a celebration to those of us who have ever felt left out, because as I often say to my son, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My band make this song special. And I crack every time that boy’s Daddy starts playing the fiddle (he admits tearing up too…).
4. Woman in Me - Beccy Cole/Travis Collins
This song’s melody has been around the world and back! Trav and I wrote it as a ballad but when I got it home, I decided to write a new chorus, some extra verses and turn it into a retro Country song. The cool thing is, Trav kept it as a ballad and recorded it with the old chorus! I love that there are two versions of this song floating around, especially as I believe him to be an amazing talent. The song is about all the crap in life that has contributed to ‘The Woman In Me!’ I love the way the band filter into this track, it’s perfect for the feel.
5. Only Music - Beccy Cole/Cindy Boste
I wrote this song in Brisbane in a sad moment. It occurred to me that throughout my life, when I hit rock bottom, I crave songs, I need to lose myself in music. Music really does set me free and I LOVE that I still get to escape, no matter what. I took the bones of the song to amazing songwriter Cindy Boste who added the most crucial melodic elements, she completed it beautifully.
6. Hello Happiness - Beccy Cole
OK, so I may fall in love a LOT, but I rarely write about it! I suppose maybe it’s because it means I’m cementing something. I actually wrote this song when I was single; I was hoping it might come true! I LOVE singing this song live, my band invented the feel and my guitar player, Duncan, gave it a heartbeat with the guitar parts he wrote.
7. Millionaires – Beccy Cole/Kasey Chambers
Friendship – the best word to describe this song. Kasey Chambers and I know almost too much… Our journeys have been different but in 25 years, we’ve always been either cheering or praying for each other. I’m SO proud of Kase, not just her obvious achievements but her incredible heart and generosity. She does more for others than anyone will ever know. So when she brought me this song, my pride beamed. I love the humor as well as the honesty of this song – some of which I can’t believe we say out loud!
8. Singer Sees It All - Beccy Cole
I started my life on stage at age 14 in my Mum’s band, Wild Oats. 4 hour shows, 3 times a week was sometimes very hard but I’m blessed that I had such a great opportunity of learning my craft. To play crowds that don’t listen makes you want to learn what to do to get their attention. And boy have I seen it all from up there! This song is a tongue in cheek look at what I have seen from the vantage point of the stage – yep, the singer sees it all!
9. Gloria’s Roses - Beccy Cole
Gloria is my grandmother, at 92, she is beautiful. Ever since I can remember, Grandma has tended to the biggest and sweetest smelling roses I have ever come across, much like the love she has given her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. After my last heartbreak, I started to heal by remembering the strength that my Mother and Grandmother have shown me. Bless those amazing women. If only I could actually put some of this wisdom into practice as well as songs.
10. Here I Go Again – Beccy Cole/Kasey Chambers
Here’s a song about a girl who gets weak in the knees and finds it very hard to function due to the constant smacking across the face that a potential new love gives her. The bluegrass feel of this song is typical of the music I grew up with, it makes sense that Kasey and I broke our songwriting drought with a song like this, we played songs like this in our first band.
it’s about me…
11. Australian Woman - Beccy Cole/Luke Austen
My friend Bec Buchanan inspired this song. Bec and her husband Ross lost Mac and Neeve, two of their four children along with Bec’s brother, Danny in the Victorian fires in Kinglake two and a half years ago. To say that Bec touched my heart is an understatement. She’s nothing short of incredible as a mother, a wife, a human. Much can be learnt from her, a true Australian Woman. I wrote half the song but couldn’t continue without blubbering so I took it to Luke Austen who handled the subject perfectly with his kind heart.
12. Leave The Light On – Beccy Cole/Lyn Bowtell
The first line of this song is ‘get yourself dressed BIL.’ BIL stands for ‘Beccy in love!’
I think we meant to write a song about a girl with itchy feet searching for something she already has. I love the 80s feel this song has, I feel like Pat Benatar when I sing it! Shane Nicholson did an awesome job with the production of this track, its such fun.
13. Songs & Pictures - Beccy Cole
The title track of my album is about friendship. Judy Nadin is the artist who illustrated the cover of my album as well as the other illustrations and artwork throughout the booklet. Jude and I are so alike, two creative Scorpios who live in either their heads or the clouds – or both. But devoted hearts we have and we’re perfectionists in our work (her more than me!). I wrote the song as a gift to thank her for her constant and never failing friendship, especially throughout my breakup. The song also highlights her lovely outlook and how she helped me see the world in colour for the first time in a very long time.