Down Under Beats: 9th June, 2017
Welcome to the 2nd instalment of Down Under Beats. There are lots of Country Music Festivals on this weekend in NSW as it is the long weekend here – the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, even though her birthday is not in June. That is the way that we roll in Australia! Two of the major festivals on are in Kiama, a beautiful spot in southern New South Wales and another one in the glorious Port Stephens area of the mid north coast of New South Wales. Both festivals will boast some of our finest established and up and coming talents.
I did a guest spot on Bob Browne’s community radio show, Country On this week on 2GLF-FM 89.3. We had 3 hours of fun and playing some of the best country music in Australia, all Indies, of course. We are so lucky to have such a wide range of the 79 types of country music in full force at the moment. It is such a healthy scene.
Infamous Five - Quick Focus:
Pete is one of Queensland’s treasures. If you look up Pete O’Brien on google, you will get more hits than a boxer in a title fight. If you add musician, it will break it down a bit...he has one of those names!
I love the comment on his website: He started guitar at the age of 10 and he stopped at 10 and a half. He picked it up in his 20’s and kept going.....he has worked with Charlie Pride, Don McLean and Tommy Emmanuel, amongst others. He worked with many bands and performed many styles of music.
His music on his LIFE album is very bluesy and soulful. Pete can morph into many different moods and music styles. He is a constant performer in Queensland, and in particular, his hometown of Bundaberg. He is a tireless worker for various charities.
You get the feeling that Pete has lived all of his songs, or he knows someone who has.
8 Ball Aitken:
Talk about blues! Talk about Swamp Music. 8 Ball is an amazing guitarist whose songs are so varied from amusing tales and ditties to some more serious songs. I remember seeing 8 at Tamworth many years ago at a People’s Choice Awards and he was breath of fresh air. He makes guitars out of just about anything that you give him and he has a dry sense of humour. He is great LIVE and burns up a stage and a few fingers, I imagine. He spends a lot of time in America these days but he always comes back downunder to do a few tours each year and he is a regular at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.
Like Pete, 8 is from Queensland, but just a little further North than Bundy! If you want to drench yourself in swampy, bluesy music, then 8 is your guy.
From the North of the East side of Australia, we venture south into southern New South Wales. Emma-Jene released her first album at 16. If you didn’t know that fact and listened to her first album, you would think that she was a much more mature aged artist. She is one of the hardest working Indies in Australia. Her second album has just been released (sort of an extended E.P.) and she continues to grow, at just 18. She has a lot going on in her young life, though her ship is being steered by two of the most dedicated people in the industry, Lindsay Butler and Shaza Leigh. Sometimes, one can get a bit worried about young ones entering the music business so soon, but with a young lady like Emma Jene, there is no cause for alarm. She has a great work ethic, big dreams and an even bigger voice. She has similarities to our greatest Australian Country Music entertainer, Beccy Cole and also to the great Dolly Parton. She can sing pretty much anything and she shows such passion for her music on stage that it is hard not to get caught up in the whole darn party when she is singing to you. You may not know her now, world, but you will.
Katie Brianna is one of the Queens of Alt. Country in Australia. She was nominated this year for a Golden Guitar for her album Victim or the Heroine. She is another young person who sings way beyond her years. I think that she was here before. Her songs get to you, with their soulful sound and liquid chocolate vocals. She walks on the dark side with her music, but it is not music to slash your wrists by. Her songs are completely hummable and you can easily get lost in her music. She has a great sense of humour, off the record. She is one of the most intriguing artists in Australia, on and off stage. Her lyrics leave a mark.
Matt’s album Love Without Co-Dependency is one of the best albums of the year in my opinion. It has been labelled Alt. Country but it is many things. Each track is a winner. Matt lives in Northern New South Wales in some of Australia’s prettiest country. There are some definite shower songs in this one – meaning catchy songs that you can’t get out of your head. Lyrically, the songs on this album are just so intense and intricate or alternatively, playful and quirky. The production on this album is tight and polished. Great music for a late evening or a Sunday afternoon. Easy on the ear yet there is room for contemplation. Matt has been looming for a while. The Eagle has landed.
One of my favourite festivals is coming up soon, July’s Hats Off, which is the mid year festival in Tamworth. It is much smaller than the big January festival and in the middle of Australia’s winter instead of Australia’s Summer. It is an intimate festival, with a merlot around the fireplace feel. It is growing each year, but I hope that it never gets too big, as it will lose some of its beauty. Lots of Australia’s best are performing, with many of Tamworth’s local artists flying the flag for Australia’s Nashville. Talking about Nashville and flying the flag, lots of Aussies are over in Nashville at the moment showing the world their talents at the big festival there.
This blog post is totally off the cuff this time around. I have slapped it together, but I have some cool stuff coming up. Australia may be down under but we have some hidden treasures here that are waiting to be discovered.....and when you do discover them, you will wonder why you haven’t had these gems in your hands before.
Down Under Beats #2