Sydney held their annual Blues and Roots Festival on the weekend and from all reports, it went off well. It was not wet like it has been in the state of Victoria.
The 2017 Kazzie Awards will be announced this week, my own Totally Biased Awards which feature mainly Aussie Indies. There are a few new awards this year - a lot with a novelty award kind of feel, but serious ones too. I base these on the albums that I have reviewed and listened to each year (must be released this year or songs from albums to be released in the next few months). I am allowed the luxury of more than 4 or 5 nominations per category, though there are some which just have an outright winner.
The next few weeks, I will let you know those winners but for now, I want to give you a quick review of some of our very best from 2017 - which will probably give you a hint anyway!
Gretta Ziller's album is one of the best of the year in any category. The Queen of Boomtown has produced a couple of knockout singles already but the album overall gives a gift to everybody. Her multi faceted musical and cultural background comes to the fore with a unique sound to every track. It is beautifully produced and Gretta's stunning vocals are just pure joy. Aleyce Simmonds produced her best album to date and sadly has only received one Golden Guitar nomination for it. She pours her heart out into every song on More Than Meets The Eye. Never a better title for an album! The April Family are a combination of three very talented individual artists who have worked with other bands and on other projects. Michael, Kylie and Casey have produced probably the biggest surprise album of the year....wonderfully crafted songs with all of the elements for a great Americana album. These guys will do great things. Carpenter Caswell, also known as Michael Carpenter from the April Family and legendary Allan Caswell got together for this fun, lively and happy album that produces some great Travelling Wilburylike compositions and some sweet ballads. It is the burger with the lot kind of album. Brad Butcher produced a stunning album, which has been well received by audiences and his peers and has been nominated for several Golden Guitars. Brad's songs are story songs which are very close to his heart. Many critics already have it down as the album of the year. Do your ears a favour!
Catherine Britt and Michael Muchow have produced a stunning album for Melody Moko this year, The Wreckage. It has a lot of the qualities that Gretta's album does and will haunt you and lift you at the same time. A stunning album. The variety of albums this year from artists (from 10 through to their 80's) is incredible this year. The quality is there as well as the quantity. Matt Cornell and Chris Staff stepped out from the shadows and played their own music this year. Darren Coggan hit back with his first original album for a while (after doing Cat Stevens and James Taylor tribute shows). In the works are albums by Jodie Crosby, Sally-Anne Whitten, Anthony Taylor and Ben Ransom to name a few. Fanny Lumsden proved that she could do it again with another fine album after her new talent award last year at the Golden Guitars. Real Class Act is just that and it has earned her a few more nominations in January. Matt Henry released an amazing album Love Without Co-Dependency, one of my favourite albums of the year...and another surprise. Dean Perrett did some Aussie Bluegrass and together with young country singers, Michaela Jenke and Arna Georgia kept the country twang alive with their fresh approach to an old style.
Angus Gill delivered an amazing concept album, Nomad, which for a young fella is so incredible. He teamed up with some legends of Australian Country Music on the album as well. It has been a favourite with many Indie DJ's this year, and so it should be. Paul Costa came back with a long awaited album, Whisper in the Crowd. He mixes it up on this album. Some exciting newcomers like Tyson Lucas and Kora Naughton joined other youngsters like Rory Phillips, Phoebe Jay, Emma Jene, Bec Nethery, Finnian Johnson and heaps of others who adding a fresh coat of paint to the music scene. Legends like Rex Dallas, Gary Ellis, Reg Poole, Clelia Adams Mary Schneider and many others are still going strong.
Lyn Bowtell and Judah Kelly had great success on The Voice this year and invited new fans to country music. Stunning albums by South Australians, Sandra Humphries and Amber Joy Poulton showed that they are the trad. country queens of Australia. Neilly Rich kept things going with their very long awaited album.
Paddy McHugh, Jen Mize's offsider on Three Chords and The Truth, produced a fine alt. country album, City Bound Trains. Any album with a train in the title will always be good for me! Reliables, Amber Lawrence and Travis Collins teamed up for a beauty with a very Aussie feel.
Shane Nicholson produced another gem for himself and helped out a wee bit on a few other albums. Pete Dawson wrote some beaut country songs and like Billy Pitt and Jarrod Hickling, kept the Aussie Country movement very country. Rick Hart was one of the many Victorians (some I have mentioned already) who put their stamp again on the Indie Music Scene. The Weeping Willows toured extensively and have been writing a fair bit which hopefully means a new album from them next year.
Lloyd Clarke's Aussie/Celtic songs and some wonderful teasers by characters Andrew Swift and Mitch Power as well as the hope of a Lachlan Bryan album after his superb duet with Shanley Del make for an exciting Victorian 2018.
Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, Luke O'Shea, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider and all of our more well known artists have all had big touring years, with Kasey taking out the ARIA award last week for her album Dragonfly.
More of the year in review next week with the results of the Kazzie Awards.
Have a good one.