Downunder Beats 21
October and November in Australia are big country music months. Apart from festivals all over the country for both blues and country music, the award nominations are looming for January’s big Golden Guitars, Australia’s biggest country music awards. A lot of Australian artists who are now living overseas, start to come home this time of year as the weather heats up downunder and the music season is in full bloom.
The new releases are coming thick and fast. Some just release singles now, with the big launches of albums coming in January at Tamworth time. Others release albums and EPs and start to do tours, culminating in Tamworth or just tease us with promotions.
Michelle Plozza released her EEP this last week, a wonderful follow up to her E.P release a few years ago. It has been a long time in the works but it is an amazing recording. The review will appear this week on my blog CountryAs. Michelle has quite a diverse background, culturally, but also, her music is an absorbing mix of folk and country.
My new home state of Victoria is thick with gigs over the next few months, so I hope that I can get to some gigs. 8 Ball Aitken is definitely on the list. Rick Hart has a few gigs on with his new album just about to be released. James Blundell will be having a great gig in Melbourne with the cream of Aussie country, as featured on his cd this year. Michael Waugh has a new album out soon, as well.
Lyn Bowtell will be venturing to Melbourne soon as well, and I am looking forward to catching her in concert. The Country Cruise is back in port in Sydney and all went well at sea. A big congrats to my Country Music hero in Australia, Mike Carr, who got engaged to the lovely Lisa just before they boarded the ship. Felicity Urquhart hosted ABC’s Saturday Night Country from the ship and it was a wonderful show, featuring Mike, Luke O’Shea, legends Anne Kirkpatrick, Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and many others.
Sounding Australian or not and being yourself.
A young pop band in the 70’s and 80’s were one of the most successful groups of all time. They were even mentioned by some as being equal to or better than The Beatles. This group was Swedish, but they sounded like they were English. That band, of course, was ABBA. Australians have often been compared to various American bands and solo artists, particularly in country music and the traditional Australian sound is lost amongst many in the world. The truth is, that apart from our Aborigines, all of us in Australia are from somewhere else. I call myself Swirish, because, I am virtually half Swiss and half Irish. I was born here and 3 out of 4 of my grandparents were born in Australia, but that is as far as it goes. My accent is as Australian as it goes but I have been mistaken for other nationalities. A lot of our Aussie Artists sing in what could be described as an American style country music voice. There is also a sound that Kasey Chambers started that has been copied and altered slightly amongst several young country music artists. Imitation is supposed to be the most sweetest form of flattery. The Greeks invented a lot of things, but the Romans perfected the Greeks’ inventions. One of our biggest country music stars, Melinda Schneider, wrote a song called Be Yourself, which included the words, ‘everybody else is taken’. There are artists that you hear, all over the world that you can identify from the first note that they utter....Reba, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Mick Jagger, Billy Joel, Elton John, no matter what the genre. Our Adam Harvey has a sound similar to Randy Travis but he has his own style and content to his music too. My creative writing lecturer at Uni said once that you are what you read. I guess that the same thing can be said of singers and songwriters. The best of them adopt the good qualities of their heroes and add their own spin.
The next few months will be hectic. I am not sure whether I will get to Tamworth in January, due to work commitments, but I will have a feast of country and blues to tell you about. Hold on to your hats!
Hooroo for now,