Tag Archives: country

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Margaret Anne and The Rock It Man Don’t Look Back

After releasing the inspiring and amazing Americana song and video clip ‘Soul Laid Bare’ at the end of last year, Margaret Anne and The Rock It Man have released two exciting new songs. ‘Don’t Look Back’ co-written with Shane Nicholson and ‘My Mumma’ written while watching the passing of her mother 2 years ago.

Just 2 months after leaving a 20-year marriage, ‘Don’t Look Back’ was written with country artist Shane Nicholson at The Dag Sheep Station in Nundle, near Tamworth.  While sitting on the porch of a farmhouse, Shane helped Margaret Anne peel back the layers to look deep within. Doug Weaver (aka the Rock It Man) produced and played not one but all of instruments on the song.
The result is a song that examines the essence of her marriage, the struggle to get it right, the decision to move on from the wreckage and not look back.

‘My Mumma’ was written on the back of a bereavement envelope in about 10 minutes.  When faced with the death of her mother, Margaret fell back into childhood, writing this emotional ballad of grief while waiting and watching her pass away.  Played by her brother, the accompanying guitar forms the song into both a collection of vulnerable memories and a haunting goodbye.

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Margaret Anne and The Rock It Man Lay Their Souls Bare

Margaret Anne and The Rock It Man’s debut album is called Soul Laid Bare. Lyrically it’s an intensely personal exploration of emotional turmoil after a marriage breakup, while musically it’s an exciting blend of Americana, country, roots, blues, funk and rock.

The title track is due for release on October 25. It was written while singer Margaret Anne was making the agonizing decision to leave a 20 year marriage, break up a family and family home. The song conveys a search for clarity and expresses the fear and recklessness in making such a massive and life changing decision for all involved.

Another album highlight is a song Margaret Anne wrote  with renowned Australian singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson. Entitled Don’t Look Back, the track is an exploration of marriage in the aftermath of her breakdown. “Just 2 months after leaving my husband,” says Margaret Anne, “Don’t look Back was written on a sheep station in Nundle (outside Tamworth). It has undertones of loss, sadness and questioning and the decision to move on from the wreckage and not look back.”

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Growing up in a seaside town on the south coast of NSW, she was blessed to belong to a musical family so classical piano, guitar and song became a big part of her life.

Margaret Anne says she was heavily influenced by her surfing brothers as she grew up. “We would pool our pennies to buy the latest records. My favourites, and certainly most early influences were Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Stones, Carol King, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Hair! Anything Woodstock!”

Adventurous and a passionate singer songwriter, Margaret Anne continually touches her listeners with her inclusive heartfelt singing, dynamic stage presence and empowering songs. She currently manages and performs in the successful band Firefly.

Soul Laid Bare is a collaboration with Doug Weaver, a talented multi instrumentalist, producer and screenwrite. He has produced and written music for over 200 episodes of the American TV show The MythBusters and also many local programs including Border Security and Beach Cops.

Margaret Anne has always been an adventurer, having previously travelled the world for 11 years and visiting 56 countries. This time her attention is turned inwards and the result is an emotive album full of vulnerabilities and strength.

Soul Laid Bare (the single) is out on October 25.

The album of the same name is due in March 2020. 

Download or stream from October 25:

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Watch Soul Laid Bare here:

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Big Merino (AUS)

Big Merino’s second album Sweet Little Angel is out now!

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
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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

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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 (AUS)

Big Merino Release New Single and Album ‘Sweet Little Angel’

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
Satellite
Ohio
This Song
Hard Lesson
Living In The Past
Day Without You
Hummingbird

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:

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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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Texas Strangers

Texas Strangers – ‘Borderline’ album OUT NOW

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.

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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.

Latest Review

Courtesy of RedbackRock

“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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Texas Strangers

Texas Strangers deliver new single: Always In The Rain

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.

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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.

Stream now via your favourite service:

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New single from Texas Strangers – River of Tears

Texas Strangers are a 5-piece Central Coast-based country rock outfit.

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They’ve just returned from a successful trip to the annual star-filled Tamworth Country Music Festival, where they played 7 gigs to rapturous crowds.

River of Tears is the first single from their forthcoming album Borderline and it’s now been added to full rotation at ABC Country radio as of January 2019

The Forthcoming Album Borderline will be released On Foghorn/MGM in March

From the pen of singer/songriter Steve Killeen comes a soulful and haunting tale of alcoholism and abandonment. Much like a river itself, the song twists and turns, rises and falls as it reveals itself.

Set to a sweeping “Classic Nashville” arrangement, the Texas Strangers have delivered a great Country track that will remain with the listener long after they’ve heard it.

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The single 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.

OUT NOW through Foghorn/MGM

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John Kennedy’s Second Best reviewed by Bernard Zuel

In 2001, John Kennedy compiled the early vinyl singles and album selections from his bands JFK and the Cuban Crisis, Love Gone Wrong and the Honeymooners.

17 years later, its follow-up retrospective collection is out now in all good record stores. 

Leading music journalist and former Sydney Morning Herald writer Bernard Zuel has reviewed the set known as “Second Best: Greatest Bits Vol. 2″.

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“Well of course John Kennedy would call the second set of his career songs collections “second best”. If he’d called it something like “the other bits”, “warmed up leftovers” or “oh no, not me again”, none of us would have been surprised,” Zuel writes.  “This way he gets a play on words, a dig at himself, and a reminder he’s been around long enough to warrant at least two sets of favourite songs before we have stopped laughing: result.”

Kennedy and his band (with the current line-up of Love Gone Wrong drummer Peter Timmerman, ex-Wiggle Murray Cook on guitar and former Pop Mechanics’ leader Paul Scott on bass) blend pop, rock, folk and country, all topped with the uniqueness of Kennedy’s vocal and lyrics.

Zuel says, “Some of his lines have the double dose pleasure of being funny on first hearing and rather telling on second, an effect which is enhanced with a voice that sometimes just seems to be taking the piss. Even when it’s not. Speaking of his voice, yes, when he is not dropping down to a Johnny Cash-ish timbre he has always sounded a fair bit like Elvis Costello – which is what caught the ears of some of us way back when he first appeared as the presidential JFK & The Cuban Crisis.”

Read the entire review here at Bernard’s website: https://www.bernardzuel.net/single-post/2018/11/04/JOHN-KENNEDY-–-SECOND-BEST-REVIEW

OUT NOW on Foghorn Records through MGM.  

Available on CD and digital platforms. 

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Rascals & Rogues (AUS)

Medusa’s Wake – Debut Album – Rascals & Rogues

Medusa’s Wake – Debut Album – Rascals & Rogues

With the recent release (1 June) of Sydney Celtic Folk Rockers Medusa’s Wake’s debut album ‘Rascals & Rogues’ with a very uptempo and energetic style of music that will have you raising your beer glasses and showing off your skills on the dance floor. Rooted very much in a Celtic Rock style based on Australian and Old Ireland folklore, Medusa’s Wake has been described as a love child of The Pogues and Australia’s own Roaring Jack.

Their debut album portrays lots of characters of time past who in fact where Rascals and Rogues hence with the naming of the album. The band spent quality time in Damien Gerrard Studio’s in Balmain with the brilliant Russell Pilling adding his magical touch to the recording.

The debut single: ‘Seldom Sober’ was a late inclusion to the album. It is an ode to, lead vocalist Eddie Lawlor’s, love of whiskey. It is a hard and fast lively drinking tune to get you in the mood for a party! With band members John, Zane, Ben, Ron and Frank all fond of a drop of whiskey this song certainly shows the fun-loving high energy that this band is all about.

Seldom Sober (video) In the bands own words ‘It’s fairly lively as all good Irish Whiskey drinking songs should be’, and we heartily concur, with full band backing and great production this one will have ‘ye dancin’ a jig’ in no time at all. Band quote word for word “1. Seldom Sober. This is a song wrote as an ode for my love of whiskey with the origins being a young boy drinking with a friend up till my adult years. It’s fairly lively as “all good drinking songs should be”

Link to Scenestr Article with Seldom Sober video

Band Questions; Eddie Lawlor lead frontman

1. Your bio mentions your sound is a “lovechild of The Pogues and Australian’s own Roaring Jack” High praise indeed.

It is a comparison and I think that’s where it stops! We have a similar edge but In my view, if we were to be half of what both those bands where we would be doing alright. I think the Irish/Celtic influence is there. I have gotten to know Steph Miller who used play in Roaring Jack and he truly is one of the most gifted musician’s and performer’s I have ever seen. Big boots to fill! We can only stay doing what we do and see how we go.

2. Favourite artists of all time?

Did I mention The Pogues! Luke Kelly Folk singer with The Dubliners and Paul Kelly.

3. What current Australian acts inspire you and why? What international acts?

I also play with The Handsome Young Strangers Driza, Looch, Adam, Dave and Na na are really top muso’s and have been doing it so well for such a long time. International acts always have been and will always be The Pogues!

Medusa’s Wake launch ‘Rascals And Rogues’ at Norton’s Irish Pub in Leichardht (Sydney) 16 June.

Album Out Now

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