REBECCA DANIEL AND FIONA JOY HAWKINS JOIN FORCES TO CREATE THE LIGHTNESS OF DARK – A POWERFUL MUSICAL EXPLORATION OF LOSS, MOURNING AND FINDING BEAUTY AMIDST LIFE’S SADNESS
Superb Classical Crossover Music, featuring award winning artists Rebecca Daniel (Violin/Voice/Piano) and Fiona Joy Hawkins (Piano/Voice) Will Be Supporting Their Cathartic and Healing New Album With A USA Fall Tour 2019.
Leonard Cohen once said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Australian instrumentalists Rebecca Daniel and Fiona Joy Hawkins place this insight on the back cover of The Lightness of Dark to illuminate their creative and spiritual vision behind the project –their first dual album after many years of live and studio collaborations. The two explore the many facets of life and loss, the search for something positive in the crippling shadows and the potential beauty that can emerge from mourning and sadness.
The Lightness of Dark weaves its lush, cathartic narrative via music with varying instrumentation depending on the emotions the two are expressing. The opening track “Heavenly Voices” blends string quartet (featuring The Kanimbla Quartet)with organ, piano and vocals. Other tracks feature solo piano (“Ghosts, Insanity, Angels”), piano/violin duet (“Elegy”), piano with quartet pads (“Lake of Contemplation”), string quartet only (“Interwoven Threads of Chance”), string quartet featuring piano (“Empty Moments”) and other combinations uniquely fitted for the compositions they imbue.
“We believe our album will connect with everyone because we all experience loss in varying forms,” Fiona says. “It can be the loss of youth, a loved one, a pet, your health…Life changing events where we are left to mourn because of loss. People only face their own issues when you lead them to a safe place to do this.”
Rebecca and Fiona have enjoyed a long history of collaborations and are looking forward to working with renowned Australian Producer Llew Kiek. They have performed over 50 concerts together including at the Sydney Opera House for the 2012 MusicOz Awards, New Orleans for 2014 ZMR Awardsand 2017 Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival-and Rebecca has appeared on nearly every one of Fiona’s solo albums. The two have played together as part of Fiona’s Blue Dream Ensemble, and Rebecca produced the group’s album Live at the Q.
Rebecca Daniel studied violin and chamber music with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet at The Royal Academy of Music. She worked with Trevor Pinnock and Simon Standage, and The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Orchestra Leader for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. She has recorded and performed with, John Denver, Bread, James Galway and the Chieftains, Will Ackerman, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Men at Work and INXS.
Rebecca cites John Lennon, Amadeus String Quartet and Samuel Barber as amongst her earliest musical influences. She also told us that a collection of 78’s from the 1930’s was her first music purchase. Her natural penchant for music was evident when she was very young. “I started singing as a baby, was given a violin at 4,” she says. “It was just expected of me to be a musician. But I only started writing a few years ago.”
Fiona Joy Hawkins, a Conservatorium-trained pianist, renowned for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, is a prolific composer who regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Fiona’s song “Grace’ is on a 2014 Grammy Winning album, and in 2016 she won two Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York. She has several Best Piano Album ZMR Awards and has worked with Producer Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) for hi-resolution audiophile recordings.
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Big Merino’s second album to follow Surbuban Wildlife is Sweet Little Angel and it’s out now!
It features the singles that have already made an impact at radio – Hummingbird and the title track, as well as a cover of the classic Neil Young track Ohio.
The band recently played a successful launch for the album at the Marrickville Bowling Club and next Canberra audiences will have their turn. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than hanging at Smith’s Alternative with Big Merino!
Show starts at 4pm.
Sunday August 25 @ Smith’s Alternative, Canberra
Bruce Elder at the Sydney Morning Herald gave the album a glowing review recently – have a read below.
ADULT ROCK Big Merino
SWEET LITTLE ANGEL (Foghorn) ???½
It has long been an orthodoxy that second albums are more problematic than debut offerings. Here’s the exception. If Big Merino’s debut, Suburban Wildlife, was scattergun in its approach, this is a tour de force of, for want of a better term, classy adult rock, funk, soul and pop. It’s the kind of music Jo Camilleri and Van Morrison see as their bailiwick: a clever and sophisticated blend of heart-stopping gospel-style harmonies (I Watched the Light), and classy lead vocals (courtesy of Stuart Davis, a long-time member of Sydney-based choral masters Cafe of the Gate of Salvation).
Instrumental features include beautiful interplay between acoustic and electric guitar (the title track is seductive); searing guitar solos from Alex Craig (I Lay Me Down); delicious horns courtesy of James Greening (Satellite) and some pulsating funkiness on This Song and Living in the Past.
Oh, yes, and there is an astonishingly good reading (with blistering guitar solos) of Neil Young’s Ohio. The result is a deeply satisfying collection of songs which, while they defy any easy categorisation, sit happily at the richly mature end of popular music. Hear them at Marrickville Bowling Club, July 27. Bruce Elder
Sweet Little Angel was recorded at Damien Gerard Studios.
Watch the video for Sweet Little Angel at YouTube:
Sweet Little Angel is out now on Foghorn Records through MGM.
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Big Merino have put the finishing touches on their second album at Damien Gerard Studios in Sydney. It’s official release date is July 27 but you can pre-buy the album ahead of time by heading to the band’s online shop.
The first single to be lifted from Sweet Little Angel is the balladesque title track, while it’s B-side accompaniment is a cover of the politically-charged protest song of 1970, ‘Ohio’. Penned by Neil Young and recorded with his band Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the song is a guitar-led melodic track that will be familiar to most music lovers.
The single will be released on June 28.
Tracklisting for the album is:
Sweet Little Angel
I Watched The Light
I Lay Me Down
Mama’s Gonna Fall
Living In The Past
Day Without You
Guest musicians on the record are:
Alice Papademetriou & Lisa Spence : additional vocals
John Gauci, Mike Gubb : Keyboards
James Greening : Horns
Jess Ciampa : percussion
Watch a sampler video by clicking on the YouTube link below:
UPCOMING SHOW DATES ARE:
Sat June 8 @ Gasoline Pony, Marrickville
Fri June 28 Murringo NSW
Sat June 29 Quandialla NSW
Sat July 27 @ Marrickville Bowlo
Big Merino is a genre-busting band featuring Stuart Davis (lead vocals/guitar), Alex Craig (lead guitar), Peter Richardson (bass) and Colin Sevitt (drums).
Their songs blur the lines between rock, country, blues, soul and pop. Despite an obvious passion for Americana (blues, country and Gospel) their music somehow also sounds quintessentially Australian, shaped by our landscape and their own stories.
“Great songs, great songwriting and best of all – full of a real sincerity and commitment”
Michael Smith – Rhythms
The album will be released on July 27 on Foghorn Records through MGM.
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Following the Successful Melbourne Show last weekend including an appearance from Kim Salmon,
The Sydney Launch is Friday June 21 Next Week at the fabulous Patersham Bowlo
And for Brisbane folks there are still last minute tix available for tomorrow night at The Junk Bar
Sydney musician John Kennedy’s new album Raining Treasure celebrates the golden era of Australian independent music from the late ‘70’s and the 80’s. Kennedy compiled a list of classic indie songs (and some obscurities) from that era and with his band, John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special, has recorded songs from The Go-Betweens, The Triffids, The Scientists and many more. Some of these acts were contemporaries. Some were inspirations. All had some great songs.
The idea for this release sprang from the 2017 album, JFK and the Midlife Crisis. It was a concept album about a middle aged Sydney musician looking back over his life to the glory days of the Australian indie music scene. It explored the joys and disappointments of being part of the thriving music culture that was centred around Surry Hills at that time. The logical next step was to cover some of the great songs from that fertile period. These songs take you back to the Trade Union Club and the Strawberry Hills Hotel.
The tracklist is:
2. Raining Pleasure – The Triffids
3. Leilani – le Hoodoo Gurus
4. Come On – The Atlantics via The Wet Taxis
8. Ocean Liner – The Lighthouse Keepers
11. When The Birdmen Fly – The Fun Things
12. Brisbane (Security City) / Electrical Storm – The Saints / Ed Kuepper
13. Nothing Grows In Texas* – Sacred Cowboys
15. St Kilda to Kings Cross – Paul Kelly
( * Suggested airplay tracks)
Over the years Kennedy has shared stages with many of the acts covered on this new album. His band members have come from or gone on to the Triffids, Paul Kelly, the Go-Betweens and Ed Kuepper. The current line up of the band boasts its own fine indie pedigree. Long time drummer, Peter Timmerman was an original Love Gone Wrong member before moving on to the Widdershins. New bassist Phil Hall played with Sardine v, the Dropbears, the Lime Spiders and many others. Guitarist Murray Cook started out in Finger Guns before going on to found what is probably Australia’s most successful independent band, the Wiggles. Together with Kennedy they have created versions of these Australian indie classics, reinterpreting some, expanding some and celebrating them all.
TOUR DATES ARE:
Melbourne ALBUM LAUNCH – Swamplands, 744 High St, Thornbury VIC.
Saturday 8 June, from 8pm.
Brisbane ALBUM LAUNCH – The Junk Bar, 215 Waterworks Rd, Ashgrove QLD
Saturday 15 June, from 8pm.
Sydney ALBUM LAUNCH – Petersham Bowling Club, 77 Brighton St, Petersham NSW
Friday 21 June, from 8pm.
Pre-sale tickets are available via Oztix, or buy tickets at the door.
Raining Treasure (Australian Indie Gold Covers Vol.1) will be released on 7 June 2019,
on Foghorn Records through MGM.
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Texas Strangers – Borderline – Country – Album out now (MGM)
Featuring a dynamic live show of originals and covers, NSW Central Coast boys Texas Strangers are gaining a reputation for being one of Australia’s up and coming Country bands, with a strong Tamworth track record.
Taking his inspiration from great song writers like Jimmy Webb, frontman Steve Killeen is combining great lyrics with strong country melodies that are connecting with a growing audience.
The debut album Borderline is out now via the good folks at MGM and the boys will be playing around the traps in support. The first 2 singles Always in the Rain and River of Tears both received strong support from ABC Country and national Community Stations.
“Schmick production throughout gives this one an extra edge. And when the grandiose waft of Always in the Rain kicks in, you know you’re onto something special. Catchy as all hell. Pick of the bunch.”(Mark Fraser)
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Surrender to Robots is a solo album by the insufferable Paul Scott (The Likes of You, Montana, John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special and The Bad Machines. The album was written, recorded, performed and produced by Scott. “So really, there’s no-one else to blame,” he says.
The first single is Sheila and it’s at radio now.
Song subjects include existential angst, co-habitation as a means of financial easement, optimism, missing people, mobile phone culture. Influences include a splash of Suicides’ keyboard sound, a hint of James Murphy’s indie crashes into dance music, a lick of Wren sand a dollop of the Dukes of Stratosphear vocal stylings.
Paul Scott began his career in music, writing and playing bass in angular NZ group Pop Mechanix. Despite court cases, a revolving cast of singers and multiple record labels, their single ‘Jumping out a Window’ became a staple of New Zealand pop culture. Relocating to Australia Paul formed Montana with Ken Stewart (Mr Blonde), Michelle Margherita and Steve Melville. Their first release featured ‘Koolest Band’ which received national airplay and high rotation on Triple J. A USA Tour and performance at SXSW, led to ‘Koolest Band’ being included in the Hollywood movie ‘You Drive Me Crazy’. The subsequent album ‘Bubblegum Love’ was released in Australia, Spain, France and the USA. Scott has since plied bass for various Australian acts, playing everywhere from community halls and malls in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to the Sydney Opera House. More recently Scott has released an album on the Australian label ‘Half a Cow’ with his new power pop combo ‘The Likes of You’.
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The second slice of Texas Strangers forthcoming Borderline album is called Always In The Rain and it’s streaming and at radio now.
Rich in harmonies and melody, this rollicking tune bounces from start to finish and is bound to be an instant smash with the band’s loyal live following as well as country radio stations all over the country.
Piano and electric guitar along with strings and slide over the top of a tight rhythm section cap off the classic Nashville style production.
The band’s penchant for a catchy tune is already evident, since their debut EP spawned 3 Number One Singles on the Country Songwriters chart.
The previous single, River Of Tears gained great support across ABC Country and regional radio.
Texas Strangers are from the Central Coast of NSW and are fronted by singer songwriter Steve Killeen, who together with his bandmates create a sound rich in classic Country tradition.
Always In The Rain was recorded during the album sessions for Borderline at Damien Gerard Studios engineered by Russell Pilling. The song was mastered by Sage Audio Nashville Tennessee.
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