BiG MERiNO – Debut album Suburban Wildlife
Sydney based Alt-Country/ Rock/ Soul band Big Merino released their debut album Suburban Wildlife on the 13th of May 2018, all recorded and engineered by Russell Pilling over three weeks at Damian Gerard Studios.
Big Merino songwriters Alex and Stuart write socially and politically-charged song lyrics that are sometimes gentle and nostalgic and at other times nothing less than a fierce cry for revolution.
Big Merino’s music has a handmade quality to it, they try to blur the lines between Rock, Country, Blues, Roots, Soul, Funk, Grunge occasionally and make their way into lesser known genres. Stuart’s passion for New Orleans second lane and Cuban music has its influences in the bass lines and rhythms of several songs.
How did the Big Merino start Alex?
It just grew like topsy, at first it was Stuart and I we went to school together and we played in bands together for years. It was just two old friends jamming and making up tunes then suddenly there was a bass player and finally we found a drummer (We did manage to explode another drummer along the way) and my wife had a birthday coming up so we played a few songs and after that we just kept going.
What was the first record you bought? And what drove you to make music Alex?
My first record I think it was “Night at the Opera”. It was awesome but I remember ABBA being on high rotation a lot back then or it may have been something deeply uncool.
It’s hard to walk past something as beautiful as a guitar and not want to pick it up. I was your regular earnest, spotty, undateable 15 year old when I first started playing the guitar. I never lost the passion and my early influences were all those sixties and seventies bands.
What was the first record you bought? And what started your journey to make music Stuart?
My first record was The Monkees “Someday Man”. I loved that song! It was classic 60’s pop song written probably by Neil Diamond or some other great songwriter. The B side was a Mike Nesmith song called ‘Listen to The Band’.
In my early 20’s I lived in London with a friend who introduced me to the infamous 100 Club. At that stage it was a Jazz/ Blues venue and I was lucky enough to see several old Blues legends like Memphis Slim, Nina Simone and Slim Gaillard. The night I saw Memphis Slim my whole world changed and I was going to be a performer.
My other big influence is Black Gospel Music. I spent years listening to the great Gospel groups like The Soul Stirrers and The Swan Silvertones – trying to emulate that sometimes ferocious, sometimes tender vocal delivery.
What are the future plans for Big Merino?
Get our album done and out there, get some gigs at festivals and play to bigger audiences, more travelling and playing & singing!
Other cameos on the album include:
Featuring guest performances from the creme de la creme of Australia’s musical talent, including:
Musician of the Year at Tamworth Music Festival Clare O-Meara, player extraordinaire Jonathan Zwartz double bass, Johnny G from Johnny G and the E-Types on piano, organ and accordion, Australia’s most sought after percussionist Jess Ciampa, Living legend James Greening on trombone, sousaphone, euphonium, trumpet, flugelhorn and pocket cornet, the pedal steel player of choice for Australia’s leading country performers Michel Rose from the band The Catholics, a string quartet from the Sydney Chamber Orchestra. Stuart’s wife Alice is featured on 2 songs for vocals.
Beach sloth – “Big Merino goes for a powerful, heartfelt sound on the symphonic folk musings of Suburban Wildlife.”
Dancing About Architecture (by Dave Franklin) – “The art of pinning down a band in just a few generic descriptions or a handy soundbite is the stock-in-trade of the music reviewer but I have to admit that it will take a better man than me to concisely pin down Big Merino.”
Middle Tennessee Music.com (by Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman) – “Comprising of a team of seasoned music makers, Big Merino is the culmination of various musical styles, years of various experiences and the talented personalities which have come together like Voltron to form an appealing, soul-infused rock record that can be listened to from beginning to end…multiple times…without getting old.”
Intrepid Blues & Roots man Daxton releases new album “In Verses” and scores Amrap Chart Spot.
Review Update! Check out all these great reviews from all over the world
America to Germany everyone is loving Daxtons New album “In Verses”
Links to other reviews:
“I Don’t Mind” Single from “In Verses”
The new album from NSW Central Coast Blues and Roots Songwriter and Performer Daxton has instantly struck a chord with National Community Radio with first single Sanctuary sitting at number two on the Amrap/Airit Regional Chart for April 27 .
In Verses starts off with a colourful up-tempo song track named ‘I Don’t Mind’ with high falsetto reminiscent of artist such as Marvin Gay or Eagles of Death Metal. As the album progresses further in you will notice some of the songs have a more psychedelic/grungy approach.
There are nine tracks on the album, all highlighting Daxton’s multitude of influences ranging from psychedelic blues and alternative rock with a little Spanish guitar. As always with ‘Dax’, the sound of the south is a dominating force – a touch of delta blues working its’ way through the album.
Daxton will be playing local shows followed by a tour to support the release- see website below for dates.
“It’s not that much of a stretch to think that a fan of bands like Kings of Leon or artists such as Ray LaMontagne or even John Mayer could easily find something to like here..the crossover exists for sure.” Sleeping Bag USA Review.
The Album is Out Now Via MGM.
The Mezcaltones latest Album Second
Sydney is a long way from Mexico but The Mezcaltones still know a thing or two about sultry nights and dangerous days – not to mention sultry man and dangerous woman.
Inspired by tunes from Tito and Tarantula, Dick Dale, Link Wray, Los Lobos, Santana and other artists with a sizzling Mexican sound.
The Mezcaltones latest Album Second has sounds only described as Tex Mex, 60’s, cowboy rockabilly surf guitar style of twang and incorporating Mimi’s spellbinding dance moves they are hard to pigeonhole.
But one thing everyone does agree upon is The Mezcaltones are highly entertaining! It’s more than a band: it’s a show, a journey… with ATTITUDE!
Tamworth Country Music Festival Recent completion of ‘Here’s to Love’ film clip Humble Pride clip due out April 5
Tamworth Country Music Festival Sydney Winterfest Blues festival Sydney Blues & Roots Festival ‘Painted Lady’ film clip featured on Alt Country Segment of CMC.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
‘Painted Lady’ featured in Amrap Regional Top 10 charts for 3 weeks
Self-titled EP voted #6 in the Top Ten CDs of 2016 by 100%
Just announced Byron Bay Blues fest performance on the
The new single Silence Creeping is Due out March 2nd but you can checkout the stunning new video right now as it was premiered recently on Whatsmyscene.com
With the girls already on tour here’s some little known facts the girls have recently divulged….
Ten Things You Never Knew About Hussy Hicks
- Hussy Hicks started out as a three piece, playing a residency in a bar in the Middle East with Julz, Leesa, and Leesa’s sister, Kristy
- The original three members of Hussy hicks, Julz, Leesa, and Kristy, recently got the band back together to feature in ABC for Kid’s TV series “Get Grubby TV” as Dirt Girls’ all girl band, encouraging kids to get outside, be creative, gros things, and be less wasteful.
- Both Leesa and Julz started playing music as tweens, playing a similar circuit of pub venues around NSW and SE Qld from the ages of 11 and 13, yet never crossed paths until they were in their early 20’s.
- Aside from music, Hussy Hicks’ current obsessions are:
- Julz – Astronomy, cheese, and crypto currencies
- Leesa – fermenting, fermenting, fermenting
- Julz and Leesa did a stint as “artists in residence” for five months in Dachau, Germany where the only phrase they managed to learn in Bavarian dialect directly translates as “Hello old sausage skin”
- Leesa was a signed country music starlet with a record contract with ABC Country and a songwriting deal with Warner/Chappell Publishing at age 17. When she was 18, she appeared in a Rolling Stone feature on the rising stars of Australian country music.
- Sinead O’Connor once said, “This is Julz – She’s the funniest f*cker you’ll ever meet,”
- While touring in australia, Hussy Hicks usually trip around in their old Hiace camper van, and often still choose parking out under the stars over posh hotel rooms. On their first tour of the USA in 2006 they hired a Ford F250 van and drove it thousands of miles ending up in situations that certainly can’t be condensed into a point form article!
- The infamous Hussy Hicks bass player “Tracy Bassy” has been playing with Julz and Leesa since well before the band got together, though doesn’t like photo shoots, video shoots, or any kind of extra publicity.
- Out of Julz and Leesa’s combined 6 siblings, 4 have been gigging members of Hussy Hicks at some stage.
Although they’ve been playing together since 2005, February 2018 marks ten years since Gold Coast act Hussy Hicks released their first album and undertook their first National Tour. It’s been an amazing decade with the release of five full length albums, many circumnavigations of the globe, playing countless gigs in the US and Europe as well as pretty much every festival and town in Australia.
To celebrate this landmark the girls are starting their National Single Release Tour in WA and then across the East Coast for a string of gigs from February and stretching all the way into June.
Complete Australian dates
17-18 Feb Boyup Brook Country Music Festival WA
20 Feb – Perth Blues Club WA
21 Feb – Mojo’s Fremantle WA
22 Feb – Settlers Tavern Margaret River WA
23 Feb – Karma Rottnest WA
24 Feb – South West Blues Club WA
25 Feb – Redcliffe on the Murray, Pinjarra WA
1 March – Live at the Backlot, Perth WA
2 and 3 March – Nannup Music Festival WA
4 March – Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough WA
9,10,11 March Port Fairy Folk Festival VIC
14 March – Open Studio Northcote VIC
15 March – Republic Br Hobart TAS
16, 17 March – Forth Festival TAS
23rd March Currumbin Soundlounge QLD
25th March – Stag and Hunter, Newcastle NSW
31 March & 1 April -Bluesfest Byron Bay, NSW
6 April – Royal Mail Goodna QLD
15 April – Bleach Festival – Gold Coast QLD
May 3 – Surfers Paradise Live Festival (Gold Coast Music Awards)
May 6 – Surfers Paradise Live Festival
8-10 June Peak Festival Perisher NSW
Current Album ‘On The Boundaries’
With their first single BIG LOVE just released from the forthcoming album of the same name due out mid March we managed to get hold of the bands singer and founder Sheyana all the way down in the deep south of Australia – Tasmania to be exact. The interview reveals theres a lot more to this rocking blues band and Sheyana’s influences than you may think – London, Sri Lanka and even Keith Richards earn a mention……
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?
“Born in the UK, I was inspired by the British 70’s era. Raised in London, watching “Top of the Pops” and listening to music by David Bowie, Jimmy Hendrix & The Jackson 5, we would often go to concerts at Hyde Park to see our favourite band, The Rolling Stones. The feeling was overwhelming and I knew back then, I wanted to write songs and play music. I come from a musical family. My Nan was a mezzo soprano champion and my Pop hand-crafted acoustic guitars. After my Pop passed away and my Mum & Dad separated, we migrated from the UK to Tasmania and I found inspiration in our local chapel listening to the beautiful harmonies from my mother’s family choir. David Bowie, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt, Renee Geyer, The Beach Boys, AC/DC & Alice Cooper, and Kiss were all constant on my record player.”
Your Bio Mentions Keith, tell us the story?
“My Tasmanian mother and my Sri Lankan father met in the late 60’s on a ship bound for England. I was born in the UK, living in London in the early 70’s. We were living in an apartment at Ivor Court in London, two doors down from The Rolling Stones. I used to ride my tricycle up and down the hallway, and Keith Richards took a shine to me. He used to always take the time to talk to me and pat me on the head as I rode by, learning to ride my first bike. I have early memories of being drawn to him, often talking with him as they were going in and out of their apartment. This is a memory I will never forget. I went on to begin my music career in the late 90’s, with my song “Wash me in the Water” being selected to feature on “Bloomers One” – Australian Women’s Singer Songwriter’s Album. Following with my debut album “Firehorse” in 2002, and EP “Sweet Honesty in 2010, which received an International songwriting award. During this time, my Dad who was now living in Sri lanka reconnected with me after all these years and we set up a Sri lankan tour with a promoter in Columbo, which included MTV appearances, live shows, radio interviews and airplay, and I made my first video clip for the single “Undone”. It was a successful, exciting, emotional time for us all. The missing piece in the puzzle was found. I also found a new fanbase for my music and a second island home. The 2nd EP release, “Keep the Change” ( first release with The Sheyana Band), hit the charts in Columbo at Number 6, and The Sheyana Band were nominated in the Top 5 Band’s in Sri Lanka 2015. We were invited to their awards night, so I headed to Sri lanka to make my second video clip, along with TV & Radio appearances and some shows. This has been the journey, which has brought me to the release of the latest album “Big Love”. I’m hoping that my Father will be around to see my new music, as he is battling with cancer. Im planning to meet him in the UK later this year and play some shows. So it has come full circle, as I will return to the UK for the first time since I was a child meeting Keith.”
What current Australian acts inspire you and why? What international acts?
“Meg Mac, Gang of Youths – I recently saw both when I performed at Party in The Paddock. They have become favourites. I love their stage presences. Both send clear messages with great vocals, loads of soul, with catchy riffs and good hook lines.”
“Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age – these International acts have been a huge inspiration for me, with their clever songwriting, high energy & big guitar sounds, and I”m really inspired by the way they have always done what they believed in without wavering or selling their soul, much like Tom Petty did throughout his career ”
Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show?
“The songs and our live shows are exciting, edgy & accessible. Featuring great musicianship from my band, there is something for everyone in our music, From heart wrenching acoustic ballads, to rocking dance songs and catchy riffs, rooted in the blues, we cross over into rock, country and pop.”
Whats your favourite Place?
” Laurel Creek – in the midst of a NW Tasmanian rainforest by a babbling brook. This is my property with 50 acres of wilderness. Its a magic healing place with naturally formed hexagonal sandstone rocks and crystals, which I built my house from.”
What are your future plans for 2018/2019?
“Developing songwriting skills and collaborating with other artists. Going back to my roots to Perform in the UK & Sri Lanka. Going back into the studio to record some new material with The Sheyana Band & to record a stripped back solo album.”
Thanks Sheyana , finally what shows have you coming up ?
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