As things cool down in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is about to hit us in Australia. (This Friday, to be exact). More outdoor music festivals, people warming up for Tamworth (in January) and even a few Christmas tunes are starting to appear on the airwaves. The ARIA awards are on tonight, which are basically Australia's equivalent to the Grammys. I have not been a big fan the dozen years or so, I don't listen to a lot of mainstream music and the categories that I am interested in (Country, Blues, Adult Contemporary and Hall of Famers) rarely get announced on air. Having said that, good luck to those in the categories that I do care about.
In the next month I will be doing a series of reviews on here of the year in music - generalities and specifics. One thing that is evident in Australian Indie Music is that it has been a bumper year. Where the technical points of the music industry - modern technology and the changing ways of listening to music hitting the artists and the writers hard, The quality of the music is probably at its best ever in Australia.
In just over a week's time, I will be judging my own awards, called The Kazzies for a reason. I am putting my name to them, because they are my choices. It has been a tough year though and I have even added a few categories so that I can spread the love around a bit more. All the artists are winners to me. I think that I am up to about 78 album reviews for the year. What is great, is that this year, the young, the mature aged and the in between have all produced great music. All 79 types of country music have been represented. A lot of folks have made their debuts and a lot have made comebacks.
The review of my youngest artist was 10, the oldest in their 80's. It was a great mix of women and men and of styles.
The tours have been varied and interesting, from dance hall gigs from Fanny Lumsden, to Caravan Park tours by Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift to Beccy Cole and Libby O'Donovan taking a mob of fans and other artists on outback roads across Australia on Campfire shows. The Royal Easter Agricultural Show in Sydney hosted several free country music gigs and country music artists appeared at The Sydney Opera House. Small Sydney Harbour boat cruises with country music and large ships on Country Cruising took music to the water.
There were more festivals this year than ever, with three or four on one weekend at times. Some took it to the streets and beach like Broadbeach and the Central Coast Music Festival, to sheep stations like at Nundle, to Silverton Hotel in the Outback, to the mountains and to the wineries. With Australia's varied landscape, you can pretty much have a festival anywhere.
When I was a kid growing up in the Country Music Cap of Tamworth, I would sometimes cringe at some of the music played there. It was also an era dominated by about 4 artists and two styles: Country and Western. Country Music is so much more now. I played all of the female albums that I have reviewed this year again yesterday and they were all so very different. I am going to play through the male ones today but I know that I will feel the same way. I am doing this ahead of my judging, just to refresh my mind in time for the awards and also to consolidate my thoughts. The variety and the quality is amazing.
These are some clips from some of best Aussie female artists this year.
I think that I have it down to about 20 female artists for the nominations this year.....thank goodness that there were album delays on Sally-Anne Whitten, Jodie Crosby and Melissa Robertson, amongst others, they can go into next year's nominations!
The value of the video
The best thing about youtube and videos is that I can share them with people all over the world. Musically, I would still rather go to a live gig or listen to an album than take too much notice of videos when it comes to generalities. Sometimes, these days, people concentrate too much on the video and they don't think about the music as much. It kind of defeats the purpose. Also, I like to imagine what the song is about in my head, viewing my own made up video. I guess it is like seeing the movie based on a book. It is not quite the same.
I understand that it is another way of getting the word out there, but it is not always the best way.
Hopefully, I can get my computer functioning properly again soon. It has been a busy time. There will be lots of information in the next few weeks. Hold on to your hats!