Welcome to Down Under Beats #4.
Thank you for all of the great feedback.
Festivals are on all over the country at the moment, celebrating Australian Indie Alt. Country Music and traditional sounds. Winter is usually when most of our artists are working on albums that are released a bit later in the year – usually Spring and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere. When that time of the year comes, we get a rush of new music coming through. The reasons for this are multiple. Albums make good Christmas presents, they are also timed well for awards’ season and people are on holidays with time to listen to cool music. Having said that, there are some good single releases at the moment or singles that are about to be released. Ben Ransom, one of our best Country Rockers who can also be quite bluesy and soulful is launching his new single on Sunday, with an album coming out soon. Gretta Ziller is one of our finest Alt. Country artists, who has just released her new single, Slaughterhouse Blues. Her new album is out soon.
Two of our finest singer/songwriters, Allan Caswell and Michael Carpenter have just released another single together, High Hopes, with their debut collaboration album coming out shortly. I think that this will be a cracker. If the singles are any indication, we are in for one hot album.
Melissa Robertson is not only a terrific singer/songwriter, but she is also a great one for helping out other Indies. She hosts Melissa Robertson’s Showcase every year at Tamworth, with a balance of young and up and coming artists and older artists who don’t get as much exposure as some others do. Her style is folktry – country folk. Melissa is a frequent performer at festivals around Australia. Her songs are about what she knows best and the people who she meets along the way. Her gentle lilting voice and the songs that hit home with familiar stories make Melissa a must for rainy days and Sunday afternoons.
One of Australia’s most versatile artists. With his roots in Australian Country, he is also well known here for his role as Richie in the Happy Days musical, his War Stories stage show and his Cat Stevens’ Peace Train show. His latest album release, The Wide Horizon, harks back to his roots and it is one of his best albums to date. His distinctive voice and sound make him a unique and incredibly talented performer. Like many Australians, he has a Celtic background and that sound is often heard in his songs.
Susan leads a double life as a funny lady and a songwriter who can touch us emotionally with some sad and deep and meaningful lyrics. This combination makes her LIVE appearances a roller coaster as one minute she makes us laugh and the next minute she makes us cry. Susan is actively involved in the Adelaide music scene, a major part of the Fringe Festival there and she also does some radio work. A native of Hay in New South Wales, her style is a mix of folktry, country ballads and a little bit of the blues.
John is working on his latest release at the moment. His last album There’s Another Way to Where You’re Going is one of my favourite albums. If you love James Taylor, you will love John. His songs are definitely folktry or alt. Country. There is no denying that he sounds like James, but his songs are purely Australian. Having said that, the concepts of his songs are international. He is a well respected artist amongst his peers. I look forward to hearing his new music. It is music that makes you think (he is not afraid to tackle issues) but it is all so easy to relax to as well.
Craig is another versatile performer. He has made a return in the last few years after having a break from recording original material for a while. He has a successful Neil Diamond show as well. His latest album is a concept album. It is called Frontier and it covers Australian History from the first Australians through to the 1900s. He is currently writing songs for a “sequel” as the job isn’t done yet. It is a good history lesson in a non lecturous way. It would also be a way for overseas people who don’t know much about Australia to find out what we have been through. Craig has a voice that is a cross between Gordon Lightfoot and our own Kevin Johnson. A talented songwriter and a singer who just gets better with age.
What it means to be an Indie Artist in Australia:
I have been following Indie Artists in Australia for years, but it was only less than 20 years ago when I actually found out what and who I had been following. One of Australia’s best loved and accomplished acts, husband and wife, David and Merelyn Carter, better known as Carter and Carter, explained the concept to me and the way that it works. They have won more Indie Awards in this country than any other artist, though Allan Caswell is catching up with them and he has won more awards in other areas.
Having said that, the Indie world is not as competitive or as dog-eat-dog as the world that includes artists signed to major record labels. The last few Golden Guitar Awards nomination lists have had more Indie Artists in them than ever. There are even a few winners amongst them! Essentially, Indies pay for their own journey. Many of them have “real” jobs as diverse as teachers, chiropractors, paramedics and lawyers. There are truck drivers and social workers and mechanics. Their first love, their passion, is music, but for them to keep the dream alive, they have to work other jobs or find ways to fund their albums and singles. They tour constantly to small towns and pubs, clubs and dance halls. They live out of their cars, travel by train, plane, bus and ferry to go to their gigs. They camp by a river, stay in cheap hotels and with friends and family so that they can go. They do a lot of free gigs and a lot of self promotion through social media and even putting up their own posters. A lot of latter day Indies are learning how to produce their own music, set up their own studios, and play multiple instruments. They market and produce their own merchandise, designing their own hats, t-shirts and other goods.
When you are an Indie, you have control over your work. You can record the music that you want to record, you can do the gigs that you want to do, you are not governed by a higher power.
Indie Artists appreciate each other, they know how hard it is and how rewarding it can be when people appreciate your music. The Indie Artist industry is a growing industry in Australia. We are all very proud of our artists and what they have achieved and the inroads that they are making overseas as well.
Until next time,