Down Under Beats #3
Welcome to the third instalment of Down Under Beats. I am very proud to be able to bring you information on some of our best musicians in Australia. I am hoping to introduce some acts to the world that you may not know. We have such a massive amount of talent in Australia, I personally think that it is the best crop that we have ever had in Country Music and all of its 79 types. We have young artists who are just teenagers producing music that most people in their 30’s and 40’s can only dream about. We have artists in their 60’s and 70’s still producing some of the best music in the country and mentoring the young ones coming through. Then there are all the ones in between. Many of the artists are writing and co-writing their songs. Many of the Indies aren’t in this music “business” for the awards and the money and the stardom. They just want to share their music and their stories.
Cathy Dobson: Cathy is an award winning songwriter. She is constantly writing songs but her album in 2015, Ball and Chain allowed the country music fans to hear what she truly had to offer. One of the most persistent and passionate songwriters in this country, Cathy is not a million dollar seller and I doubt if she really wants to be but her songs are from the heart and they are real. Cathy is sure to write a few more songs before she is done.
Catherine Britt: Catherine started singing at a very young age. She drew on the traditional country sound, especially Hank Williams and the early torch and twang. Her association with the Chambers family gave her a leg up but Catherine is her own girl. She was one of the first to take the old style to a new platform in Australia. As a LIVE artist, she gives one of the best shows in the country. Her Tamworth show is usually sold out within hours. She has introduced the classics to a younger crowd and written songs that will in turn be classics for future generations. Catherine has made inroads into the American scene, she is not afraid to go against the current, and she will always be a bright and shining star.
Seleen McAlister: I often call Seleen the Aussie Trisha Yearwood. She has a lot of Trisha’s qualities, though she remains uniquely Australian. She has a fighting spirit and one of the most beautiful voices in Australia, in any genre. She can sing pretty well anything. All of her performances are emotional and strong. She is a wonderful ambassador for women in Australia. Seleen won Best Female Vocalist at Mildura Festival in Victoria last year and she was nominated at the Golden Guitars this year. Like Catherine, she has had some major health struggles. It has not been an overnight thing for Seleen, but look out world, our girl is firing up.
Lachlan Bryan – with and without the Wildes: Lachlan is one of the finest songwriters in Australia, in any genre. One of the leaders in the Alt. Country (Americana) sound, with his murder ballads and clever lyrics, Lachlan will definitely be one of the staples in Australian Country Music for years to come. Sometimes, he appears solo, other times with his band, The Wildes. He brought the piano back into country music and he is just as comfortable with a guitar. Lachlan and the boys are currently in Europe and they have visited America many times. With growing interest overseas, he may be lost to us physically one day, but he will always be one of OUR finest.
Shane Nicholson – Shane, like Lachlan, is one of the leaders in Australia’s Alt. Country movement. He produces some of the finest artists in this country as well as writing and recording his own albums. He can make you cry and make you feel with his songs and other songs are hard to get out of your head with their catchiness. He has huge respect from his peers and he goes from strength with his music. Like Lachlan, he doesn’t release albums constantly, but the quality overrides the quantity. He is very dedicated to producing quality music and he is one of the hardest working artists in Australia.
Keeping it In The Family
Australian Country Music is not unlike American Country Music when it comes to famous families. The Schneider Sisters, who travelled overseas many times, were one of the most famous yodelling comedy teams in this country. Mary Schneider is still singing in her eighties. She handed the baton down to her daughter, Melinda, who is one of Australia’s finest ever singers. I mentioned her in the first instalment, a truly versatile artist. Her partner is one of Australia’s best rockers, Mark Gable, and they have a son, Sullivan, so it would not surprise me if Sullivan Gable is a muso one day too. The Kernaghan Family hit it off with Ray back in the seventies and three of his four children, Lee, Fiona and Tania are carrying on the country music tradition in a big way in this country. The King of Australian Country Music, Slim Dusty, passed away in 2003 and he would have been 90 this week if he was still alive. He broke all records in Australia by producing a massive amount of albums. He and Reg Lindsay (who had a few International Hits – chiefly with Armstrong), married two singer/songwriter sisters. Diane Lindsay has gone on to be one of our best bush balladeers. Slim’s daughter, Anne, is considered by many (including me) to be the Queen of Australian Country Music. The next generation is starting to make inroads into music as well. The Dallas family, headed by Rex, who is still producing records at a mature age, handed down the talent to his son, Brett, who plays in his daughter Ashleigh’s band along with her brother. Ashleigh is one of our finest young and versatile talents. The world is her oyster at the moment. Mike Carr is our best. That is a biased statement from me, but it is not without evidence. His brother, Darren is a multi talented ventriloquist, musician and comedian as well. Their Dad, Warren, played with one of Australia’s pioneer Rock n Rollers, Col Joye, who also had some country hits. The Crosby Sisters, two of Tamworth’s finest girls are great together or alone. Their parents can hold a tune and Jodie’s son, Ethan, is starting to make some inroads. Beccy Cole, often called our greatest entertainer by her peers and fans in this country, appeared very early on stage with her Mum, Carole. Carole often comes on stage with Beccy still, to big cheers from the audience. Beccy’s son, Ricky, whose Dad is Beccy’s ex-husband Mick’s son, is carrying on the family tradition by singing and playing at his Mum’s gigs. The Chambers family are probably one of the biggest families carrying on the music family tradition in Australia. Bill, Diane, Kasey and Nash once formed The Deadringer Band. They were very successful. When they split, Nash went on to produce some fine music, including his sister Kasey’s music. Bill went on to be a solo artist and supported many country acts. He is a mentor to many and a legend amongst his peers and the kids coming through. Kasey is the superstar of the family, going on to have some incredible albums that have not only topped the country charts but also the blues and folk charts and the pop charts. She also had a couple of very big albums with ex-husband, Shane Nicholson and a family album with Bill and the Chambers offspring. No doubt, the Chambers Family will keep it all going. Trad Country muso, Alby Pool’s daughter, Melody, is one of our finest Alt. Country singer/songwriters. There are many others who are carrying on the genes. We hope that the sounds can continue for many generations.
A trend has started over the last few years, with some great artists in Australia coming from places far and wide. They have chosen Australia as their home or in the case of many New Zealanders, they come and go across the ditch. It is not unusual to have Kiwis sharing their music and their lives with us. It is just becoming more and more common. Husband and wife acts, Camille (NZ) and Stuie (Australia) and Matt (NZ) and Amelia (Aus) from NeillyRich are two ANZAC couples. Marie Hodson, Aly Cook, Kaylee Bell and many others have come across from NZ as well. New Zealand has a very big country music scene which is getting better all the time. Doug Bruce, Chris Lee, Jane E Robertson and Jen Mize and others have come over from America to be part of our music scene and our life. Doug has been particularly successful with his Tailgaters. They are one of our best bands, playing a traditional style of country music, in the Alan Jackson/George Strait/Merle Haggard style but with all original tunes. As a country, we are all from somewhere else. Many of our country artists have Irish roots, which is a known source for some of the best music and music which is firmly imbedded in country music. One of our dearest imports was Karl Broadie, who was from Scotland and who we lost too soon last year. The Celtic is sound is very dominant in our music genre.
Until next time,