March 25th, 2013
Proper Records (Distributed by Planet)
Australia has so far been denied the experience of the live ‘electric’ Richard Thompson. Not that we have been truly deprived; the live ‘acoustic’ Richard Thompson we have seen several times (although not for seven years) is no mere cut-down version of the main act. As a powerful solo performer he towers over many better-known entities. The Australian shows he performed in tandem with bassist Danny Thompson were exquisite. Having first seen him live at Birmingham Town Hall (UK) in 1977 as the ‘Richard & Linda Thompson Band’ though, I can bear witness to the magic of his electric guitar improvisations that lead many to assert that he is the most important exponent of the instrument performing today. The good news is that in his current compact trio setting, we may see him down-under before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, we have an excellent CD release entitled Electric to enjoy and straight away I will say, get the Deluxe 2-CD version. The title Electric is descriptive of the atmosphere on this set as much as of the content; note there is some outstanding acoustic playing as well. Produced by Buddy Miller at ‘Buddy’s House’ in Nashville, there is collaborative feel from the rousing rhythm section and all the musicians, giving Thompson a sound base from which to begin his music explorations. The tracks range from Celtic-folk to swamp-infused country feels, with contributions by Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Miller on guitar, harmony vocals by Siobhan Maher Kennedy and, on the sublime ‘The Snow Goose’, Alison Krauss. Lyrically, Thompson is at his most accessible, from the ribald opening of ‘Stony Ground’ to the closing country waltz, ‘Saving the Good Stuff for You’. The bonus CD contains 4 more tracks from the sessions at ‘Buddy’s House’ plus 3 tracks from previous releases. A vastly influential and important artist at the top of his game…what are you waiting for? Buy it now!
March 25th, 2013
Time As We Know It – The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker
Stem Music (Distributed by Planet)
Jerry Jeff Walker released his much-loved album Driftin’ Way Of Life’ in 1969. Recorded with Nashville’s coolest session men, it marked a turning point for the singer-songwriter who had recently tasted success with ‘Mr. Bojangles’ and would soon relocate to Austin, Texas and become an influential part of the burgeoning ‘Outlaw Music’ movement. Fast forward to 1995 when singer Keith Sykes gave his copy of the album that Walker had given him on the day of its release, to his friend Todd Snider as a birthday present. Snider had by then, been a fan of Walker for ten years at least; “He’s the guy I saw at 19 and decided to try to be like.”
Fast forward again to 2012 when Todd Snider (best known to us for ‘Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues’ and ‘Alright Guy’ ) released not only another original album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables, but also realised his long-time ambition to record an album of songs by his major influence, Jerry Jeff Walker. On Time As We Know It we find 16 tracks, mostly written by Walker and a few well-chosen songs that he covered. The material speaks for itself and Snider’s relaxed delivery and the understated backing doesn’t obstruct the ragged beauty of the songs. Production is by the legendary Don Was and amongst the backing vocalists are contributions by Kix Brooks and recent Australian visitors, Elizabeth Cook and Peter Cooper. This collection is a delightful reminder of the great legacy of Jerry Jeff Walker who is himself still out there performing and recording.
March 14th, 2013
On Thursday evening 14 March 2013, Stephanie Jansen was awarded the coveted Frank Ifield International Spur Award for 2013. Stephanie gratefully accepted the award last night at ‘Canterbury Country‘ from Frank Ifield OAM, in association with The Rotary Club of Galston and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL. In a stealth manoeuvre with Stephanie’s management, Mr Ifield was able to release the single ‘Shoes‘ off Stephanie’s 2012 Australian debut E.P ‘Risky’ to over 1000 radio stations across the UK and Europe. Ms Jansen was bowled over, on receiving the award, to hear that her single had on the first week entered the UK and European Country Music Charts debuting at number 9.
FRANK IFIELD, STEPHANIE JANSEN and TONY PAGE (Galston Rotary)
Photo courtesy of Mark Turnbull
"This is an incredible surprise and completely unexpected. I feel so honoured to receive this special award. ‘Shoes’ is a song I hold particularly close. I wrote it with a dear friend (Allan Caswell) and it spins me out that right now our song is being heard by millions of people in the UK and all across Europe!" said Ms Jansen.
March 10th, 2013
Photos (by Karen V) from the Memorial Park stage at The Entrance, NSW during the 2013 Central Coast Country Music Festival…
THE PIGS in action
A JETTY ROAD view of the crowd
JETTY ROAD try to keep a straight face while watching IAN LEES cut a rug!
Crowd pleasers McAlister Kemp