Tag Archives: Soul

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Luke Escombe Releases New Album ‘Whale Beach Road’

Finally out on all digital platforms here is Luke’s latest album, an ode to brilliant songwriting and musicianship all wound up in family stories.
Luke says -

“I genuinely believe that Whale Beach Road is the best album of “adult music” I’ve made, and it’s very special to me because of all the family history written into the songs.

Whale Beach Road is the first full studio album I’ve made solely under my own name. I started writing the songs in early 2020, towards the end of the fires and before the first lockdown. Initially, I was working on a memoir but then the stories started turning into songs instead.

At first, I was hesitant to apply for Jobkeeper in 2020, as I felt like other people needed it more than me, but then I realised it would give me the funds to go and employ all of the amazing musicians on this album, like drummer Evan Mannell, bassist Zoe Hauptmann, Aaron Flower on guitar and Clayton Doley on Hammond organ. There was even enough to get string and backing vocal arrangements for most of the songs, which gives it that luxurious 70’s soul vibe I was after while still sounding modern and clean. I could have been a hermit and lived off beans and rice, but instead Jobkeeper enabled me to keep creating and collaborating with my community.

Whale Beach Road is a very personal album, but I think there’s also something very universal there in that the songs are all about searching for love and hope in an uncertain world. It was all written and tracked between the Northern Beaches of Sydney and the Central Coast, and I think those beautiful locations feed into the sound. Hopefully the album takes listeners to a good place.”

Family – On Feature Track ‘Max and Melanie’

“While I was writing Max and Melanie I had the idea that it would make a good 70th birthday present for my Mum, a way of paying tribute to her family and where she came from. I’d never actually realised it before, but she was a political refugee, an asylum seeker in her own country. I carried on her story in another song on the album – “Lady Sunlight” – and then started to think about my own story, and all the events and circumstances that had led me to the exact place I found myself at the time of writing these songs: a house on Whale Beach Road. That’s how the album found its narrative, and its title. It’s about people trying to hold on to love and hope while confronting the powerful tide of history. To paraphrase the chorus of Max and Melanie, history makes plans for us, but we can still make plans for ourselves. I find that idea very hopeful.”

“Luke Escombe is a rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter, and very good at them all” – Sydney Morning Herald

Luke Escombe is an ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter who combines his blues, rock and soul influences with subversive humour, poetic lyrics and heartfelt storytelling. He is the creator of the internationally acclaimed one-man show “Chronic” and the writer and front man of multi award-winning Aussie kids band The Vegetable Plot.

Luke has released numerous albums and EPs with his band Luke Escombe and the Corporation and one album solely under his own name, 2017’s Skeleton Blues. The album was recorded direct to tape in a three-hour session at Damien Gerard Studios, featuring his smoky-voiced cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat” alongside distinctive originals like Punctuation Blues and The Lipsi. This new Luke Escombe studio album, Whale Beach Road, was recorded in between lockdowns with some of Sydney’s most in-demand session players.

Luke received his early musical education in London, where his father’s job in the rock and roll industry enabled him to see hundreds of legendary performances by artists like Freddie Mercury, Prince and Bruce Springsteen while he was just a boy. When he’s not channelling his childhood idols, Luke is an ambassador for a number of health charities, a member of the NSW Arts Advisory Panel, a teaching artist with the Sydney Opera House’s Creative Leadership in Learning Program. He is also a song writing mentor with the Sydney Children’s Hospital’s Chronic Illness Peer Support program [ChIPS] with whom he wrote and recorded the track “Wake up Call” in 2021. He believes strongly that music and storytelling can play a transformative role in health, education and society. Among his more obscure awards is the title of “Sydney’s Sexiest man voice”, which he won in a competition on a once-popular Sydney radio station.

Luke Escombe – Whale Beach Road (Foghorn/MGM) August 19

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Luke Escombe – New Single – Whale Beach Road

Luke Escombe’s personal and professional life reached a high point in 2019, culminating in him moving into a new home with his young family in one of Australia’s most sought-after postcodes.  Everything was going great.  Then the world ended.

A giant cloud of bushfire smoke descended on his Northern Beaches paradise, and the excitement of 2019 was replaced by a creeping sense of anger and despair.  “Whale Beach Road”, the first single from Luke’s upcoming album, his first in over five years, came at the start of an intense period of song writing and soul-searching fuelled by his desire to reclaim a sense of love and hope.

Checkout the video

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Recorded at Damien Gerard studios on the Central Coast in 2020 and then added to in stolen moments between lockdowns, the track features soaring strings and Luke’s fiery electric guitar over a tense rock-reggae groove laid down by some of Australia’s most acclaimed players, drummer Evan Mannell, bassist Zoe Hauptmann, guitarist Aaron Flower and organist Clayton Doley.

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“Luke Escombe is a rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter, and very good at them all” – Sydney Morning Herald

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Luke Escombe is an ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter who combines his blues, rock and soul influences with subversive humour, poetic lyrics and heartfelt storytelling.  He is the creator of the internationally acclaimed one-man show “Chronic” and the writer and front man of multi award-winning Aussie kids band The Vegetable Plot.

Checkout The New Single OUT NOW on Foghorn/MGM

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The DK Effect release their Debut Album ‘Moving Time’

This Deep South(Tasmanian) Soul and Blues band release their debut album and premiere their latest video courtesy of scenestr

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The DK Effect are an 8-piece original funk, soul and gospel-infused RnB band from Australia’s deep south (Tasmania). Fronted by the powerful yet exquisite vocal and focal trinity (Crystal Campbell, Ruby Austin-Lund and Belle Richardson) the band’s material focuses on storytelling, melody and harmony, and is saturated with the passion and polyrhythmic ‘call and response’ vocal synchronicity of gospel music. The band: Randal Muir (keys), Aleks Folvig (guitar and vocals), Al Tolond (drums), David Johnstone (bass) and Jed Adams (sax) deliver grooves as deep as a freshly pressed 45.

Songwriter, David Johnstone had been content to satisfy his passion for writing and recording in sheltered isolation but following the illness of a close friend he reluctantly acknowledged that life is a ‘one-time only offer’. He began the Mama K project. Mama K and the Big Love release their ‘Blind’ album in 2017. The album received rave reviews including 4.5 stars from the Sydney Moring Herald. At this time David had the amazing good fortune to be introduced to Crystal Campbell. Her innate musicality and perfect interpretation of his ideas took each new song to a soulful new level. They quickly formed an enduring, productive and creative relationship.

Having been born on Kiribati in the South Pacific, Crystal was adopted and raised in Tasmania. She is also an accomplished singer songwriter with soul music running through her veins, and as with the African-American originators of soul, she has a sense of identity, culture, consciousness, pride and an unbreakable bond to her homeland.

Crystal and Ruby were together in an all-female band called The Duchesses and formed a great musical relationship and friendship. Ruby is from Northern Tasmania and completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Songwriting. She is also an accomplished keyboardist and has always had a love for soul music.

Ruby met Belle (also from Northern Tasmania) at the Conservatorium of Music where Belle is currently studying music, specialising in Blues, Funk, RnB and Gospel. As well as The DK Effect, she also sings with the soul band Belle’s Boys.

The vocal trio have an undeniable chemistry that radiates the authentic early soul / funk power and vulnerability of the genres pioneers, which allows them to reflect the full range of emotion and meaning embedded in every lyric and groove of The DK Effect repertoire.

Though the band was originally formed purely as a recording entity, there has been an overwhelmingly positive audience reaction from every DK Effect performance at venues including MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), The Moonah Arts Centre, Kickstart Arts and the iconic Republic Bar, establishing their reputation as an exciting and dynamic live band.

A selection of the band’s material has been captured on their debut recording – ‘Moving Time’, which has been expertly mastered by Grammy Award winning, Dave Darlington (Bass Hit Recording, NYC), and accurately presents their organic and authentic, early funk and soul sound.

The album was recorded and mixed in Hobart, Tasmania using vintage gear, 4 mics and a whole lot of enthusiasm. We wanted to capture the natural sound of the band so you’ll find NO fancy production techniques, NO auto-tune and NO midi on these recordings. Just the band, performing the songs – the way we do live…

The original plan was to release a 5-track EP, but got carried away and ended up recording a 10 track album!

Album Trailer

Moving Time single official video:

Song journey from rehearsal, to gig, to album release:

Clink on the album below to Stream/Download from your preferred service:

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Big Merino (AUS)

BiG MERiNO – Debut album Suburban Wildlife

BiG MERiNO – Debut album Suburban Wildlife

Big merino

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.

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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.

Reviews:

Beach sloth – “Big Merino goes for a powerful, heartfelt sound on the symphonic folk musings of Suburban Wildlife.”

http://www.beachsloth.com/big-merino-suburban-wildlife.html

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.”

https://dancingaboutarchitecture.info/2018/05/19/suburban-wildlife-big-merino-reviewed-by-dave-franklin/

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.”

https://www.midtnmusic.com/big-merino-suburban-wildlife/

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Carol Albert – New Album and a chat

Carol Albert releases her new album ‘ Fly Away Butterfly, a Jazzy, Soulful offering with some modern twists and talks to us about her early influences-

Tell us about the moment you decided to become a Songwriter and Performer?

It was never a conscious decision . I grew up with music in my church playing the Organ for Worship Services and Singing with the Oldschool southern “Singing Schools” of the South where we learned Solfege (shape-Do-Re-Mi ) notes which we sang to the music instead of lyrics to Gospel Songs. I took piano lessons as well while I was growing up. I didn’t decide to major in music/piano until my Sophomore year of College. It was after I graduated from College that I decided to play Pop Music in Clubs, Bars and Private Events as well as teaching private Piano Lessons.

How did my family feel about it?

My Dad publicly announced at a family gathering that he would give me 10 cents when I graduated from College because that is all my Degree would be worth. He always thought I should just be a school-teacher.                

Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show?

 My music is a combination of Smooth Jazz, Ambient World and New Age Music. I intersperse Instrumental Piano and Vocals with other instruments like Saxophone, Guitar, Bass , Drums . With some really upbeat tunes mixed with more introspective Ballads that are Piano driven.

What is the first record you bought and why?

I bought the Album “Close To The Edge” by Yes because it was my 1st Concert to ever attend. I was blown away and listened to the record until the Grooves were worn down. Then Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. The keyboards were so over my head I just listened over and over trying to figure it all out.

You are on stage with Hans Zimmer.   What do you say?

i would be awkward and speechless but, having seen him this summer in Atlanta, I think he would be very earthy and friendly. I wouldn’t know what to say except “ I’m in awe of your work! “

What is the one thing you want/need that you think will make you a successful artist? Why?

What is success? is it making enough money to retire and travel around the World or is it having the ability to create music that is so intrinsically satisfying that it doesn’t matter if you ever do anything else? Success for me is reaching as many ears as possible and have people contact me saying “Your music is beautiful . it really touched my soul. We want to hear more.” Of course , making it monetarily feasible is always a challenge and some people equate success with how much money you make/made. Recognition is always a nice validation that your work is successful with monetary rewards.

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Joel Sena (AUS)

Joel Sena – QnA with Foghorn Media

Joel Sena is a Sydney saxophonist and producer with his debut self-titled EP expected for release 11 November, 2016. The first single off the EP, “Be With You,”Featuring Female Vocals from Phoebe  will be available 7 October, 2016.

Listen to previews of the EP here: joelsena.com/music

Foghorn Media: What inspired you to become a musician? Who
are your early influences?
Joel Sena: I’ve been playing and writing music from a very young age. It has always been a great emotional outlet for me, being someone who is quite shy and reserved. Sharing an emotional connection with others through music is something really special and that’s why I try and write songs that are honest and direct. I’ve always thought the saxophone to be a uniquely lyrical and compelling instrument when played well. Mastering that instrument and its potential has been a long term pursuit of mine!
FM: Tell us a little about how you write; how do the songs come?  What gets you going creatively?
JS: I write songs in the strangest of places. More often than not I’ll have an idea in the car or on the train. I’ve learnt to jot down ideas quickly and then unpack them when I have some time to be more creative. I produce my own music and the pre-production phase of putting songs together is really helpful in developing them further. I love finding something compelling – whether it be a melody, groove, or set of chords – to expand upon bit by bit. I’ve always found that experience drives creativity. Travel, relationships, and life’s struggles have all spurred me on to create more and more music.
FM: What is the first record you bought and why?
JS: Miles Davis – “Kind of Blue,” I bought it because my sax teacher told me to! It took me more than a decade to really appreciate all of the nuances of that album but it inspired me from the start. It has remained one of my favourite albums of all time.
FM: What current OZ acts inspire you? International acts?
JS: I’m loving the current resurgence of soul inspired music in Australia. Artists like Hiatus Kaiyote, Daniel Merriweather, and Chet Faker are pushing the boundaries and creating some incredible stuff. I’m inspired by international acts that are fusing the spontaneity of jazz and soul with modern production and contemporary songwriting. Artists like Robert Glasper, Kendrick Lamar, and Jill Scott have been huge inspirations to me. I’m also a sucker for a great female vocalist – Melody Gardot and Lianne La Havas come to mind.
FM: Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect
at a live show?
JS: The music is groovy and engaging. It’s for people who love a well written song and a great sax sound. It’s music with an infectious groove. Those coming to a live show can expect a fair bit of spontaneity within a seriously tight sounding band. They can expect soaring instrumentals with wailing solos to soft, delicate and contemplative ballads. There may or may not be a dose of my dry sense of humour in there too! I always feature at least one world class vocalist at my live shows to sing several of my songs.
FM: Favourite artists of all time?
JS: Miles Davis, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper, Kenny Garrett, Michael
Brecker/Brecker Bros, Toto, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder,
Chaka Khan.
FM: Favourite film? Favourite Book? Favourite place?
JS:
Film: Lord of the Rings.
Book: The war of art (Steven Pressfield) – helped me
so much with getting over myself and making the music happen!
Place:I love the hustle and bustle of big cities like NYC. When I was there I met and jammed with some killer musicians who were some of the most welcoming people I’ve met. I turned up unannounced to a funk jam run by one of Lauryn Hill’s horn players. I had a play and slotted right in. It was a great experience. They value music there and are so accepting of people from any walk of life. It’s a great place for art to thrive.
FM: Favourite food or drink and is there a story associated with that?
JS: I’ll go to great lengths to find a perfect coffee. Whenever I’m traveling I’ll be sure to suss out where the best coffee spots are with a little help from Google Maps. Unfortunately this obsession has oft taken me on wild goose chases and long detours.
FM: You are backstage with Miles Davis; what do you say?
JS: I don’t think I would have to say much. From what I hear, Miles had a knack for imparting years of wisdom in a single phrase. I’d be quite happy to be on the receiving end of an MD one liner!
FM: Where do you see Aussie music heading?
JS: There are a bunch of highly motivated and talented artists that have been a little late to the self promotional internet age we’re in now. I think as more and more of these artists start coming to terms with the new tools we have to connect with fans we’ll start to see some really special stuff. I think that really well crafted songs and a high level of musicality will come to the forefront somewhat again.
FM: What are your future plans for 2016/2017
JS: After releasing my own EP, I plan to get playing live regularly. Live shows are where my music will really shine and inspire people. I love playing live and creating special moments with an audience. I’m really excited to return to the studio in 2017 and follow up my EP with another release. I’ve learnt an unbelievable amount over the past year and I can’t wait to put all of that new knowledge to use!