COUNTRY ALL OVER   

  Celebrating All  Country Music

AL'S COUNTRY MUSIC DRUM ROLL



CAPTIVATED BY COUNTRY


This page is dedicated with love and respect to our dear friend Al Slade.

Al was a shining light in the country music family and was a passionate supporter of all artists, live shows and festivals.

The music will play on and Al'wonderful photos will never fade. Country All Over will forever be in debt for Al's contributions to our Facebook page and web site, but mostly for his friendship and support.

Rest In Peace. Al Slade 1943 - 2018



Al's Drum Roll - Every Edition

WATLING & BATES

COL FINLEY

CHALKIE WHITE

SIMPLY BUSHED

After a couple of years of turmoil including the loss of a tour bus and some gear 
due to a fire, and then a major health scare it is good to see a new album from

                   CHALKIE WHITE titled MY SONG ISN'T WRITTEN YET.

I would think that there are a lot more songs whirling around in his mind and I am sure a lot of them will be very personal stories about his life, both past and present.

The title track of this new offering just about sums this all up.

NEW DAY and GINGERBREAD MAN are both catchy, well written songs with a great theme.

Everybody enjoys a party and Chalkie sure deserves one and with BYO being a
great party song.

After listening to all these tracks many times I find different meanings in all the 
songs but this is especially true of the last four tracks MY DAY EVERY DAY, DO
YOU FEEL IT TOO, DOES IT TAKE YOU HOME and SAYING GOODBYE.

This is another disc that is a sit and listen to, so many hidden messages in all
tracks I feel sure that everybody will get something different out of it. It is another
that is in my high rotation stack.

  For more information on Chalkie and his music visit www.chalkiewhite.net
Now to the latest offering by the "larrikins" of the Bush Band scene.

               SIMPLY BUSHED with HERE AND NOW

I refer to them as "larrikins" but PAUL, CHRIS, DAVE, HUGH and PADRE know I
love everything they write about. This disc contains some great songs covering a lot of subjects which should concern most Australians and that could get lost in time but are now immortalised in song and I hope will not get forgotten about, they also have included some of their tongue-in-cheek offerings.

The first track is a wonderfully written tribute to all the good things that Holden
Factory produced before the travesty of it being closed down and affecting most
of the country.

With the boys heading overseas many times to entertain our servicemen and
women it is not surprising that they can write and perform songs which honour our brave troops, like RAISE YOUR GLASS and WHAT ABOUT ME.

Another area of our history they cover so well with their material is the very early
time of settlement included on this record are HERE AND NOW also THE TALE
OF THOMAS ACRES.

On the larrikin side of their songwriting they cover about when your driving out 
beyond the Black Stump and all the oncoming drivers lift a finger with WAVE 
YOUR FINGER and THE TRUCK SONG which could become a real 
tongue-twister and has to listened to very carefully. Another track which falls under this category is the first offering by "PADRE" (JOHN HEALEY) both in songwriting and lead vocals with NOT LIKE THAT.

Along with GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, BELLINGEN BOY, SHE'S A PICTURE 
and WONDERS OF THIS LAND it all adds up to a great collection of music from a great bunch of guys (larrikins), but the stand out track for me is WHITE SIDE OF THE FENCE which carries such a powerful message about something which must not be forgotten.

A must in any record collection if you your enjoy music from the Bushies side of 
the fence.

      For more information visit www.simplybushed.com.au
Drum Roll
by
Al Slade
© 2018 Country All Over
This artist is celebrating 25 years as an independent country artist and released a 2CD offering as a celebration. It contains 13 new tracks on disc 1 and 12 digitally remastered on the second. This second disc contains fan and Col's favourites including some of his early writings and recordings.

     Congratulations COL FINLEY with THE COLLECTIVE.

On the new tracks disc, it all starts with COL'S own story in 25 YEARS GONE. He does not hide much and wears it all on his sleeve.

Great to hear a bluesy feel on one of the tracks THOSE TELEPHONE CALLS
which is also a duet with NELLIE DONOVAN (his wife NELLIE FINLEY). I never 
tire of listening to their voices which fit together just like a hand fits into a glove. A ripper of a song about having to rely on those mobile phone calls when the touring starts. Another track in the same vein is LIFE GETS IN THE WAY which makes you realise how difficult life must be for any touring artist.

COL always writes some great songs about this country of ours and he does not 
disappoint this time around, with LEMONGROVE SUNSET, WORKING ON THE LAND, LEGENDS OF THE HIGHLANDS and the patriotic DON'T CHANGE AUSTRALIA.

The two outstanding tracks are EVERYTHING TO ME and SHE'S YOUR 
MOTHER, both being heart breakers and tear-jerkers that mean so much to COL
personally and his family, but will also resonate with everybody who loves their 
family (which I hope is everyone) and have also suffered a close loss.

Now to disc 2 MOST WANTED - this offers all the favourites and most
requested including GIFT WRAPPED, MEXICAN LADY, PARADISE and RICH
WITH FRIENDS.

Also included is the title track off a compilation album that COL put together to 
assist and promote THE BLACK DOG FOUNDATION...ABOVE THE BLUE.
The three tracks that I love are MY PLACE about his old home town of Grafton.
Then there is IDOL which he wrote about his Dad, the last being the beautiful 
song about the purple trees of Grafton JACARANDA TREE.
  
So all told 25 great tracks covering many different subjects.Certainly it should be
in all country record collections.

For more information on COL and his music visit www.colfinley.com.au
If you like your music with that folky, country with a bit of bluegrass feel take a 
listen to NSW Northern Rivers duo WATLING & BATES comprising of KYM
WATLING and GEOFF BATES on their new CD titled SMALL TOWN TALES

This being a collection of songs and tunes all written by them. I feel sure that most are written about some of the people and communities that abound in the mountains and valleys up here that have some great names like THE CHANNON, THE RISK, ROUS MILL and UNAMGAR.

With both of them being multi instrumentalists there is a great range used 
throughout along with some guest musicians from near and far including THOR
PHILLIPS  who helped to produce this offering.

The disc covers a large range of topics from the difference between the young
people of today and days gone by SMALL TOWN TALES. Another is a Ned Kelly
history song but a good one SUCH IS LIFE along with a mining song I GOT GOLD and a train song THE TRAIN WAS LEAVING.

A reoccurring fact about these communities  are the halls which are used for 
dances and gatherings which has been caught with FLORENCE MEETS FRANK.

There are three tracks that I feel stand out is one that was written in 1993 titled
CIDERVILLE also OLD TIMES which is the only track co-written by KYM and 
GEOFF. The third track is SAT IN THE CAR AND REMEMBERED.

Would love to see this duo in a writers round and hear some of the stories about
this collection of tunes. With both having such great story-telling voices this is a 
disc you have to sit and listen to the words. It has not got that high end production but does not need it leaving it raw, earthy and I feel sounding just right and is in 
my pile of high rotation listening.

   For more information visit https://watlingbates.com

KYLIE ADAMS-COLLIER with "LITTLE STONE"

KIARA RODRIGUES with "PLAYING WITH FIRE"

This artist has been singing on stage since about 1987 and has been in various groups and genres but in 2014 settled into country and recorded her first full album  in that genre, now it is time to talk about her third and latest release.

KYLIE ADAMS-COLLIER's album "LITTLE STONE" is a well produced twelve track album which was recorded at KROSS KUT RECORDS with LINDSAY (WADDO) WADDINGTON in the producers chair.


All the songs are written by KYLIE and offer a varied range of subject matter included are a war story, a tribute to one of our country music legends and a few about this great country of ours. When it comes to picking stand-out tracks and my favourites I would like to mention two or three.


First off songs about this great country I am singling out "FERRY OVER THE CLARENCE", "THE QUITE OF THE BUSH WELCOMES ME" both have strong story-lines and are able to paint a picture in your mind whilst listening to them. The tribute to one of our country music legends is "ON A SANDSTONE RIDGE" paying homage to SMOKY DAWSON of a time when he had his ranch on the outskirts of Sydney. Then the fun/singalong tracks include "BACKYARD TRUCKING FIRE" great story and one KYLIE has to get right, "MOONSHINE" a great singalong and "HOOK, LINE AND SINKER" (No not a fishing song.... but then it could be) but think about what can occur on the last day of February in a leap year. My personal favourite is "MONTEVIDEO MARU 1942" about a war story concerning a tragedy that not a lot of people are aware of but is a very personal part of KYLIE's background and she has told the story with great feeling and respect.


Must stop otherwise I will end up writing about all the tracks and leave nothing for you to find out yourselves. A worthy offering as a follow up to "SWEET DREAMS 'TIL MORNING" that I reviewed before (see previous Drum Rolls. An album that needs to bought, listened to and enjoyed.


More information on KYLIE ADAMS-COLLIER at www.kylieadams-collier.com

TOM CURTAIN with "TERRITORY TIME"

This artist with his compositions of and from The Outback released his first CD in 2004 and then his second in 2007, then nothing for ten years but 2017 brought a great new disc of songs that we know him best for. Welcome back

    

  In the meantime he has been busy up there in Katherine getting his "OUTBACK EXPERIENCE SHOW" up and running (well worth a visit if you are in the area), he has also been busy songwriting all the top songs on this new offering which deserved to enter the charts at number 1 on the Australian iTunes Country Music and number 8 on the All Genres charts.


  A ten track disc of all original music by TOM and some great co-writers GARTH PORTER and LUKE O'SHEA among them. I can visulise most of the stories behind these songs being real because they are all so well penned and if you have spent time in The Territory or The Kimberley you would know first hand about places like "WHERE THE PINDAN MEETS THE OCEAN" and "ROPER RIVER". Also if you have worked in these environments you would know about a "HORSE TAILER" and "CAMPDRAFTING", both job/sports brought alive with TOM's songs about them.


  The stand out track would have to be the Golden Guitar winning duet "NEVER NEVER LAND" written and performed with LUKE O'SHEA, it just brings The Top End alive and the video that goes with it is not too shabby also. Another great fun track written in the same vein as "THE WINDMILL SONG" which was on TOM's first album "SMACK BANG" is "BILLY DON'T LIKE NO HIP HOP", OH the picture this song conjures up is mind blowing.


Welcome back TOM you have been missed by many folk and congratulations on a fantastic third album.


More information on TOM CURTAIN at www.katherineoutbackexperience.com.au/music/


This young artist has been performing for many years delighting audiences with her powerful voice and great songs (both originals and covers). She was the youngest person to graduate from the Country Music College in Tamworth aged 10 years old (not saying in which year as you don't give a ladies age away).


KIARA RODRIGUES new album is titled "PLAYING WITH FIRE" is certainly well named as it is a furnace of ten tracks with seven written by KIARA. one written by her Dad JUDE and two covers of tunes that are always requested at KIARA's shows (ROY ORBINSON's "CRYING" and the standard "I AM AUSTRALIAN").

Great production work in Hervey Bay by ROBERT McKAY at PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL MUSIC STUDIOS.


The disc opens with four powerful ballads about love and heartbreak (you know country songs but no dog or truck) which are well phrased and delightfully sung. these are followed by a great country blues number called "PRETTY BABY BLUES" which is one of my favourites.  The last two KIARA originals are "MR. VANITY" wonder what or who that is about, yes about one of those boys forever looking in the mirror and "MURRAY STOLE MY DARLING" a well written fun song inspired from being at Wentworth Wharf during the Mildura Country Music Festival, very clever use of words and phraseology Kiara.


The stand out song in my opinion is the one written by JUDE (her Dad) the cleverly penned "FATHERS DAY" about a one parent family which will resonate with so many people.


A great selection of worthy songs to follow up on her previous releases. KIARA's voice is now showing a lot more maturity as well as her songwriting A beautifully presented album by a very confident young lady.


More information on KIARA RODRIGUES at www.kiararodriguesmusic.com



TAYLOR PFEIFFER with "TAKE HER"

After watching and listening to this artist for many years with her piggie-tails (plaits), blistering 5string banjo and wonderful yodels (I am sure that these will still be a large part of her live shows [maybe not the piggie-tails]). It is very pleasing to see and hear what a beautiful young lady she has grown up to be.


     TAYLOR PFEIFFER with her five track EP "TAKE HER" produced by the gifted SIMON JOHNSON at HILLBILLY HUT STUDIO is a very different sound and pathway from her earlier offerings, (no more JED CLAMPETT, SKIPPY or MULESKINNER) but a very sophisticated collection of self-penned ballads with some subtle banjo playing on some tracks.


  My pick of five great tracks would be the co-write and duet with MATT SCULLION "MAKE TODAY COUNT" and "MURDER IN THE DARK", this last track I could very well see being picked up for inclusion in a film soundtrack if pitched in the right places.


  An artist well ahead of her years in musicality and song writing. Was not sure if I would enjoy this new direction but was blown away with the final result. Well done TAYLOR and good luck in this new direction.


More information on TAYLOR PFEIFFER at www.taylorpfeiffer.com

First cab off the rank is by a talented storyteller/song writer/ singer, with his six track offering titled "FROM THE HEART", PAUL CROWDER has certainly penned and recorded these tracks from his heart.  In every song you hear and feel the love Paul has for his wife, family

and life.

The stand out tracks from my point of view are "BRICKS AND MORTAR" with his take on the

difference between a house and a home. I cannot say too much about my second choice without giving the story of the song away, but "LITTLE STEPS" is a beautifully crafted song.

Paul with his unique voice and his ability to write songs of this calibre, the closing track "YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD TO DREAM" is certainly true keep dreaming PAUL and success will arrive.

A great first offering superbly produced and mixed by SIMON JOHNSON with a top line-up of musicians. This is a CD which any country music fan will want in their collection.

The next disc off the pile is a six tracker with the title of "TROUBLED MAN" by PAUL "RICHO" RICHARDSON which contains four original songs, a co-write with the late ‘KARL BRODIE’ and the sixth track being a radio edit of the title track "TROUBLED MAN".

I am sure that "RICHO's music would be put into the "Alt Country" genre (wish I could get a definition of what is "Alt Country" and what is "Country"). In spite of that it is a great EP, and the stand out tracks to my ears are "BRING ME HOME" and the co-write with KARL "LOVE IS A VANDAL". I personally prefer the original version of "TROUBLED MAN" over the radio mix.

Being such a clever songwriter, I could sit and listen to RICHO's music nearly all the time as with every play I pick up a different message. Keep  doing what you do so well Paul.

For the second EP, another six tracker with half of them co-written by this young man (and I mean young - only 10 years of age). RORY PHILLIPS has a great future ahead of him. His EP titled "CARS AND GUITARS" shows his ability to wield the guitar that means so much to him.

I enjoyed listening to the whole album but particularly took great interest in two of the  Originals - the title track "CARS AND GUITARS", co-written with hid producer ROGER CORBETT and "TRAIN WRECK BLUES" co-written with BILL CHAMBERS and JAMES VAN COOPER.  Both of these tracks showcase the talent this young man has. He also does a killer version of  JOE WALSH's (one of his idols) "ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY"  as the closing track on the EP.

In places you can hear an immaturity in his voice but I feel sure this will disappear as he gets more years and experience under his belt. I think he feels more at home in the rock and blues genres but I hope he keeps some of his country roots alive. A great talent with a big future ahead of him with the right advice and guidance.

Drum Roll
by
Al Slade
© 2017 Country All Over

The next offering is by a gutsy young lady, who in most cases does not have to be asked twice to whiz to the front of the stage to sing a song. She now has a four track EP which contains three co-writes and a track written by LANA DOUBLET. The disc is titled "SO MUCH MORE" and recorded by RENEE McALPIN. When she is co-writing with songwriters of the calibre of Gold Guitar winner ‘LUKE O'SHEA’ and ‘LANA and PHIL DOUBLET’ (who reside across The Ditch but are classed as

honorary Aussies), it is impossible to pick any outstanding track as they are all worthy of a single release and I am sure mean so much to RENEE and her Mum CORAL.

With the ability to write such heartfelt songs I know I want "SO MUCH MORE" and think a lot of other folks will be saying the same.





The last offering for this episode of Drum Roll is a four tracker which I believe to be a preview of a full album, which has been delayed. If this is the case, MELODY MOKO hurry up and finish the full album as you have more than whetted my appetite. There are three originals and a PAUL KELLY written song on this EP.

 The three written by MELODY are all well written songs and worthy of inclusion on any album and in any country music lover’s collection - "GOING DOWN SWINGING", "TAKE ME" and "BURY ME SANE" with the last being the best in my view, but all are keepers. The PAUL KELLY written track "DON'T EXPLAIN", what can you say about a PAUL KELLY song except top shelf. Get that full album finished MELODY and you will have a winner.

Enjoyed meeting this artist in Far North Queensland, while we were on our trip, for her local album launch in Mareeba, She comes originally from Chillagoe. 2016 has been an amazing year for her getting awards for her songwriting and new artists awards. Yes I am talking about -

BECCI NETHEREY's new album 'BEAUTIFUL LIFE'

which consists of ten great tracks including two originals YOUR HAND SLIPS INTO MINE 
and HERE I GO, both being beautiful crafted songs which left me looking for more originals.

Out of the other eight tracks I had only heard one of them before I DREAM HE DREAMS OF ME (not sure if was a recording or at a live show) enjoyed BECCI's version. Also enjoyed listening to the title track BEAUTIFUL LIFE, LEAD ON and CAN'T JUST KISS YOU, in picking out just halfthe tracks I must admit I could of easily listed all the tracks because this is a great east listening disc produced by GREG WILLIAMS in Tamworth.

Feel sure that this offering will result in more awards for this talented young lady and raise profile considerably.
Had heard of this lady before meeting and listening to her music at Clarence Valley Country Muster in October. She enjoys her music and being on stage, undertaking child and dog minding to help pay for her recordings and travel.

KYLIE ADAMS-COLLIER has released a twelve track CD titled SWEET DREAMS 'TIL MORNING which includes seven originals, including a finalist in the Tamworth Songwriters Awards for gospel song 
which will be announced during the Festival in January, that song is WAITING FOR HEAVEN TO RAIN which is recorded as a duet with JUSTIN STANDLEY and is one of the stand out tracks. Some of the other great original tracks include SWEET DREAMS 'TIL MORNING I love the way KYLIE brings this song alive, GOODBYE DEAR TAMWORTH which is written from KYLIE's Tamworth adventures during the Festival and her  
memories of her father in GOODNIGHT DEAR DAD GOODNIGHT. After selecting these tracks I must say that all the originals are well crafted songs and beautifully sung.

The covers are a varied selection of standards, show songs and a couple one written by HANK WILLIAMS and another by BUCK OWENS. In all a great CD produced by GARY BROWN. The easiest way to sum up this album would be to use KYLIE's song COME ON AND DANCE WITH ME as it will have your feet tapping and you bopping in your seat.

Drum Roll
by
Al Slade

© 2017 Country All Over


Having met and listened to this artist way back in 2005 when he released his debut album THE SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA and then his second offering BELLBIRDS AND BLACKBOYS in 2007. Have always enjoyed his original songs about this great land we live in. I have been waiting and hoping for more and at last he has released a new
offering which he has written and recorded a history lesson and what a lesson it is.

CRAIG STEWART has excelled with his new Cd titled FRONTIER.

He covers all the important periods in Australian history starting with the Aboriginals in FLOWERS OF BLOOD, through transportation in ONE SATIN DRESS and the penal society with GOVERNMENT MAN.

The path then continues with an ANZAC story, the great Murray River and it's paddle steamers, bush rangers (Ned Kelly), a Eureka Stockade visit and explorers (Robert O'Hara Burke).

The outstanding track for me is the title track FRONTIER written from the perspective of an indigenous person on the wrongs that have been done to this land by white man, also CHRISTINA'S WALTZ which brings a very big lump to the throat of this old sentimentalist.

In all a great CD of songs written and recorded by a singer/songwriter that should in my opinion be a lot better known than he is, this offering was also produced and engineered by CRAIG.After a listen and reading the enclosed booklet I discovered that only CRAIG and CHRIS HAIGH played all instruments and only adds to the talent on display here.

If you think LEE KERNAGHAN's SPIRIT OF THE ANZAC is a great patriotic collection of songs then this album is another one for your collection.

Please do not leave it as long again before the next release.

Another CD to hit the desk that is worthy of a write up, this one by a great Singer/Songwriter who is celebrating half a century residing in this great country.  ALLAN CASWELL who is well known for writing that great TV series signature tune "ON THE INSIDE" he has a new disc to spin titled "50 YEARS IN OZ"

 

A great album produced by ROGER CORBETT in THE VALLEY STUDIO, which covers songs of the road, rodeo songs and more most of which have been written with some great co-writers. This offering starts with Allan's recollection of arriving in Sydney and his life in Songwriting/ Performing. A great co-write with LACHLAN BRYAN.

 

Covering the songs of the road are two co-writes with Nashville writers and friends...

 "BACK WHEN WE HAD NOTHING" with MAX.T. BARNES and "MERCY OF THE ROAD" with FRED KOLLER. Australian road songs include "A TRUCKIE UP IN QUEENSLAND" written with bush poet MANFRED VIJARS and "NOTHING LEFT FOR THEM" co-written with his wife MARIAN CASWELL. Also is a song Allan wrote for SLIM DUSTY in the 1980's RED ROO ROADHOUSE which on this album has become an Allan's cover of a SLIM song. Rodeo songs are "HERO JUST THE SAME" written with BILLY BRIDGE and "LEFTY O'REILLY written with MANFRED VIJARS.

 

The three stand out tracks for me are "GOLDEN DAYS" written and recorded with THE WEEPING WILLOWS, "SWEET BY AND BY"  written with NIA ROBERTSON which is their take on Australia's worst mining disaster and last but not least "HIS OLD PIANO" which came out of a songwriting workshop during when Allan and SEVEN co-writers (very unusual) came up with this great album closer.

 

All round a great traditional country CD by an Australian icon.

This time it is the turn of a lady from up here on the Far North Coast of NSW. Yes I am talking about "THE ITALIAN COWGIRL".                                          


CLELIA ADAMS with her newish CD "RIVER VALLEY DREAMING" produced by STUIE FRENCH at his SWINGING DOORS studio and contains a mix of covers, co-writes and six written by CLELIA herself.

 

Loving both the songs she wrote with poet RAY ESSERY "RIVER VALLEY EXPRESS" and "THE ITALIAN COWGIRL". The first telling the story that all us Northcoasters would love to see happen in our rail corridor and the second CLELIA's musical story.

 

Of the solo writes "RAINBIRD YODEL" puts into words something all of us could see from outside our living room windows, a nature lesson very cleverly worded. "MY BABY'S LOVE" was written when CLELIA was hospitalised  and as what happens in those places you spend long hours trying to find a radio station to listen to....imagine her surprise when she found such a station and the voice she heard was her daughter singing (who also records). One track which is a joy to listen to is "GOLDEN BUTTERFLIES".

 

Just a few words on three of the covers CLELIA has recorded for this album, I love her version of HANK WILLIAMS "BABY WE'RE REALLY IN LOVE". "PEEL STREET BUSKERS LAMENT" I think is a clever and lighthearted way of describing Peel Street during the January Festival, but the best one for me is CLELIA'S take on "PLAY THE SONG" written by the late RORY FEEK.

 

The last track being "LA PALOMA" sung in CLELIA'S native Italian......BUT WAIT

(as the ads say) there is more an eighteen track extra Cd titled "THE ARCHIVES" containing a selection from FIVE previous albums dating back to 1985 (sorry about mentioning the year CLELIA lol) but shows how long this great artist has been recording and the progression her music has taken. Both discs worthy to be in any collection and also great listening.

After listening to this CD multiple times, I am still finding new meanings and stories with every play. This artist has been away from the Country Music scene for about  eight years, but has come back with an explosion. I think her voice is stronger and more mature, with a slight sultriness that she did have before. As for the song writing well you can hear her pouring her heart out in stories of her life, but can be interpreted to include a lot of listeners stories, but some of that may be the influence from her co-writers.

Welcome back        REBECCA LEE NYE

With her new album GYPSY HEART which to my ears is a winner all the way. Twelve great tracks with every one being worthy of a single release. Bec and her co-writers have certainly poured their hearts and creative juices into these songs - congratulations to the co-writers MEGAN LAURIE, PETA CHERAE PETERS and husband BILLY BRIDGE. Also a great overall sound thanks to the production team led by "the new kid on the block" MICK LOCKHART at PARKWAY STUDIOS in TOWNSVILLE.

This album deserves many award nominations in a lot of categories. Favourite tracks on this CD very hard to pick, I would love to say all twelve but I have to leave some for you to listen to and make up your own minds.

I am going to pick a few tracks that I think stand out on their own.

ME AND THE RADIO love the driving beat and story woven through the song. Just be careful that if you are listening to this track when driving that the right foot does not get heavy trying to keep up with the beat.

ONE TEAR IN MY HEART a beautiful written and sung song. I think everybody will have their own interpretation on listening to this offering. A track that I love sitting in a quiet room and taking every word in the lyrics.

GYPSY HEART the title track is a true life/love story that a lot of travellers will relate to and one that I can relate to so well. This is the reason that "DRUM ROLLS" are sometimes so long in coming as I follow my gypsy heart and follow the white lines.

FINGERPRINTS what a clever way to write about your little family and the memories that they bring.

The first single YOU ME LOVE (ON A SATURDAY NIGHT) does not need any introduction, just follow it's incredible chart success, I think this spells out how good this album is and that this artist has been missed.

This is an album that all Country Music fans should have/hold and as another singer/songwriter said in one of his songs "LISTEN TO THE WORDS". Thank you Rebecca for sharing so much of your life in these songs. Also make sure that there is plenty of room in the trophy cabinet because between this album and Billy's new one there will be a heap of accolades and awards heading your way.

Rebecca's Web Site:  www.rebeccaleenye.com.au  and follow Rebecca on FaceBook

This drum roll is looking at 4 EP's that have fallen into my hands by fair means or foul.  They are all by young or young at heart artists that are all out there working at their craft and to my ears, and are making and writing fine music that is a pleasure to listen to.

Showing no favouritism they will be looked at in alphabetical order.

First off the rank is a group of three young siblings with beautiful family harmonies, that rate with some of the most famous harmony groups. This trio comprise of KATELYN, LIAM and KASEY O'DONOGHUE and record under the group name of  HOMEGROWN.

Their EP contains 5 tracks, 2 of which they have co-written (1 with MIKE CARR and 1 with MELANIE DYER). I first saw them at Tamworth Festival 2106 at The Hillbilly Hut Showcase (yes SIMON JOHNSON produced and mixed this record). AMBER LAWRENCE introduced them to us all during her short set at this show and I believe they are opening at her KIDS ALBUM LAUNCH in Sydney.

This disc has 5 outstanding tracks with vocal lead being shared between them. The stand out tracks for me are the 2 original songs "HOMEGROWN" and "SLEEPLESS EYES" and the LIAM led bluegrassy number "NICKAJACK". Cannot wait to revisit the great place their music takes me to, hope to catch them again before too long somewhere and hope they have been busy writing some more original tunes.

The second EP is another 5 tracker with 4 originals co-written with great writers in ROGER CORBETT, COL GENTLES and ALLAN CASWELL, with ROGER CORBETT in charge of the mixing desk. It is the first offering by a young lass (and a new mother) from across the ditch. After being one half of :THE HARTLEYS" for 6 years has now spread her wings and gone solo  KAYLA MAHON.

The disc titled "GIRL ON THE MOVE" is all true traditional country music with a slight modern twist and KAYLA sure will be a "GIRL ON THE MOVE" if enough people and radio presenters buy and play this her music.

Can I pick favourite tracks.....not really but must make mention of "NEW TRICKS" and "THROUGH GEORGIA'S EYES" you get the feeling both of these tracks have special meaning to KAYLA and it shows in her delivery of these songs.

I will be keeping  my eyes open and ears close to the ground, to find out touring dates from this artist as I feel sure that KAYLA will put on a great live show, if the energy and enthusiasm that she has put into this record is anything to go by.

The third offering is 6 tracks of traditional country music by a travelling troubadour with a big heart for Australian stories and is one of the first artists to put his hand to help fellow singers who are in need.

All tracks are originals with 3 being co-writes with some of the best in the business ALAN CASWELL, FELICITY URQUHART and PARRIS MACLEOD who is also the producer of this disc by

                                                  PETER DAWSON (aka SMOKIE PETE)

Six tracks of pure country music, if you enjoy the BUSH BALLAD type of music then this is one disc you should look at. In my opinion the 3 best tracks are "MOVING ON", "MORNING RIDE" and "ALL THE RIVERS IN BETWEEN", they all have great story lines and well played and produced music that lifts the story being told. I must also mention " NICE TO HEAR AN OLD SLIM DUSTY SONG" I know there have been a lot of SLIM DUSTY tribute songs, but feel this one breathes new life into what a tribute song should say.

Keep a lookout for SMOKIE PETE doing a gig close to you and go and support a true travelling minstrel.

The fourth disc is another 5 tracker by an artist that will be slotted into that ALT COUNTRY drawer but I like to think of her as a COUNTRY/FOLK/AMERICANA artist. I have had to think outside the box to describe her style and think the best way would be to say it is earthy 1970's folk sound with the ability to paint you a picture with her lyrics. 

This record carries the title of "BLACKBIRD" and is the first release by

                                                    TORI FORSYTH

A great offering from a Central Coast studio with TRENT CRAWFORD and SHANE NICHOLSON sharing duties on the mixing console. All 5 tracks are worthy of being single releases. The first single "JOHNNY AND JUNE" is the love between JOHNNY CASH and JUNE CARTER CASH as seen through TORI's eyes and pen,there is also a great video of this track that has been released. Another track worthy of mention is the disc's title track "BLACKBIRD".

A young lady who has a big future ahead of her and one I will be following very closely (music wise that is).

All these artists have Facebook pages for more information.


This artist has a new album out five years after "DUSTY DIRT TRACK", and again has written eleven great tracks, including one co-write with BILL CHAMBERS. I can hear a lot of maturity in her song writing since 2010 and this new offering should make a lot of people sit up and take notice. My pen wants to write that she has an unique voice like KASEY CHAMBERS  but my ears tell me that she has an unique voice like 

Her new album "ALBANY" has many tracks that are worthy of finalists berths in many awards either at Tamworth 2017 or other award competitions. This disc covers a multitude of subjects from love in many guises, to heritage, drama and work ethic. Sounds like a very mixed bag but all tracks seem to gel very well on listening to the disc.

LOVE comes in many forms from JO's pen but are all very well written and keep the listener captivated, "AIN'T LOVE THE SWEETEST THING" which is the latest single release and also JO's first video offering, to "SONNY BOY'' and "DREAMING 'BOUT THE RIVER".

Worthy of a HERITAGE based award would have to be the title track "ALBANY" a story from World War 1, when so many servicemen left from Albany WA to fight in that terrible conflict in Gallipoli. Also under the HERITAGE banner and worthy of award nominations are "THE CATTLE TRUCK" and "THE BABY'S CRY". The first of these is JO's take on her early life with her father travelling to all the showgrounds and the second is about the disgrace of unwed mothers-to-be in the early 1900's.

The DRAMA raises its head in two songs - the first in that old age question "BABY DON'T YOU LOVE ME?" which JO looks at in a light-hearted manner, the second takes on a more serious matter of drink driving and that person who is waiting at home, in the track titled "COME HOME".

The WORK ETHIC appears in "I THINK I'M LOSING IT" - all the mistakes that happen when you have been working too hard or too long and "KEEP THE WOLVES FROM THE DOOR" which is the main reason most people work.

The question being, is under which heading do we include TRACK 6 as it could fall in any category being titled "CAN'T KEEP MY PANTIES ON" , I will leave the answer in your hands. 

A very worthy collection of great songs that should reap a lot of rewards and awards for this accomplished singer/songwriter. An album launch party has been arranged in The Southern Highlands which has sold out, I am sure that others will be arranged and just keep in touch with on her Facebook page JO CASELEY MUSIC or at http://jocaseley.com/home.

This group/duo have now been together for ten years and this disc is their sixth album release. It is incredible that the main songwriter (GARY KOHLER) still has the ideas and inspiration to write enough new songs on new subjects for this disc after all the previous songs that have already been released.


I am talking about  'THE BOBKATZ'

Their new CD which is titled "DUST" which has been skillfully engineered by GARY's co-conspirator ROB McKAY. The disc contains 13 tracks all written by GARY and covers many different subjects but they all gel into a great story disc to spin.

From the first track "NO WHITE CARD" which covers the controversial subject of job hunting with all the experience and skill, but not the right piece of paper. This leads on to "ACID AND SALT" - we all know what a terrible state our rivers are in can only hope that this song opens some eyes as to what is actually happening,  Then onto "THE GALLERY" a tribute to our First Australians, just what are those hands trying to tell us?

So in the first three tracks you have three vastly different subjects and then you still have "DEVIL'S KITCHEN" about how some people will do anything to climb the ladder of wealth or success - legally or otherwise. Going into the mind of a dog with "WHERE IT ITCHES", to "ONE MAN TEAM" a tribute to single parent families and also covering Australian history with the story of HARRY REDFORD in "SPIRIT OF THE NEW FRONTIER".

Where does the albums' title come from you may ask? It is from the last track and is looking that "DUST" (or hard times) affects most people, and then enjoying the good times, when you work through the battle and shake off the "DUST'.

A very diverse album but very enjoyable listening and a very worthy addition to any music collection.

              For more information or to purchase this album go to http://www.thebobkatz.com/ 
COUNTRY FOR A CAUSE

This time I am reviewing two CD's (one an EP and one full album)  both of which are supporting worthwhile charities.

I will start with the EP which is supporting PARAMEDIC SUICIDE (www.paramedicsuicide.com) and this also the title of this offering. This recording was done by a paramedic and really hits home with me, as I have a relative who is also a paramedic who has been attacked whilst working and seen some very devastating sights.


This disc has been recorded by BRENDAN SMOOTHER (pictured below right).

It is a four tracker with three of the songs written by Brendan.

 "PARAMEDIC SUICIDE" is a self penned track which gives some insight into what these brave Emergency Service People face every shift.  

"WARNING SIGNS" is again a very personal song by Brendan about losing someone to suicide. A very well written song,  which was awarded CONTEMPORARY COUNTRY BALLAD at the TSA awards in Tamworth 2016.

The other two tracks "STRETCHER BEARER" - a tribute to all medics, and the only cover on the album, which was written by TROY ARATA "SATISFIED MIND" - one of Brendan's favourite songs.


For more information join BRENDAN SMOOTHER MUSIC on Facebook.



The full album is a compilation of 14 artists who have given their permission for their tunes to be used in support of BEYOND BLUE (www.beyondblue.org.au) aptly titled "ABOVE THE BLUE". Most of us have been or know someone who been bitten by "THE BLACK DOG"

This album has been produced by COL FINLEY and PAUL "RICHO" RICHARDSON, most of the tracks have been reviewed in other publications, so I will just list the wonderful artists who have been a part of this project...MICHAEL BRYERS, BRENDAN NAWROCKI, COL FINLEY, JEN MIZE, ANDREW LAIDLAW JONES, KEVIN BORICH, KELLY CORK, CAROLYNA LOVELY, LOU BRADLEY, PAUL "RICHO" RICARDSON, LUKE O'SHEA, NELLIE DONOVAN (singing a tune penned by G.STAINES & the only cover on the album), PADDY McHUGH & THE GOLDMINERS and last but not least TOM RICHTER.

For more information go to www.abovetheblue.org
Both discs deserve a place in any record collection not only for the great music they contain but also for the support of these great charities that they are helping. All these artists should be very proud of themselves.

COUNTRY MUSIC TO THE FORE AGAIN

When a singer/songwriter submits a bunch of songs to the TSA (Tamworth Songwriters Association) and walks away with 6 semi-final places which then became 4 finalists spots before the album is released, then that album has to be something special.
This album deserves every award that comes it's way. that album being

                      STORIES THROUGH TIME by BILLY BRIDGE.

Welcome back Billy it has been far too long between new albums (The first in 2004 and the second in 2008). The new release is a 12 track offering with 9 Billy Bridge solo writes and 3 co-writes. It is also I believe the first disc from a new studio ( Mike Lockhart's Parkway Studio in Townsville), if this is the case and the standard improves on this one then lookout Country Music.

 The first single "IF I GET TO THE RAINBOW" has been setting the charts alight and I can see future single releases doing the same. Not sure if I can pick out some stand out tracks as they are all great songs, but I will try. 

"THE RING" the story of which was told to Billy at the funeral of a "Rat of Tobruk" (it is surprising where some songs originate). Two of the TSA finalists "GHOST TOWN and "HEARTBREAK TOWN" are both true heart tugging songs and a sign of modern times in the country, must also mention "MAN ON THE MOON" a cleverly written song about Armstrong's walk on the moon but written from the aspect of "The Dish" at Parkes that relayed all the pictures, also the use of a saxophone (unusual in Country Music) but brings this track to life.   The real stand out track for me is "WE KNEW" a duet with his wife REBECCA LEE NYE (who is also recording a new album due for a March release), which is their personal story and is written with true love and sung with great feeling.

All in all a top album...WELL DONE Billy and Parkway Studios. I think Billy will take home some awards from this Tamworth Festival (his first visit since 2008). I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next album release.

One of our storyteller/bush balladeers took a swag of songs by some great Australian songwriters to Madison TN (yes America) and came back with a new album to rank with some of the best, including SLIM DUSTY (and I never thought I would compare anyone to "THE KING") but this album gets very close,

                               BACK TO THE BUSH by DALE DUNCAN

All 14 tracks are well written (writers are DALE,TERRY BENNETTS, KEITH LETHBRIDGE, PETER COAD,TONY SERGEANT, KEITH JAMIESON,PETER SIMPSON, DIANNE LINDSAY, GRAHAM RODGER,NATHAN CHARLTON, BEN JACOBS, GEOFF SIDEBOTTOM AND DEAN PERRETT) and produced tracks and should stand Dale in line for many awards and chart successes. The first single "THE OLD CAMP OVEN" has already started this trend with high chart placings throughout the country and the next single "WHERE THE EAGLE FLY'S ABOVE THE ROCKS" is worthy of continuing the same path.

A couple of other stand out tracks are "THE 'SLIM DUSTY' ROSE' a great memento to "THE KING', "WILSON RIVER COUNTRY" and "THE BULLOCKY" a comparison between old and modern transport trends. The tearjerker is "A TRUCKIES LAST LETTER" which I believe was adapted from an actual letter written by a driver that had had a crash in his rig (Carol always asks me to pass the tissue box when this track is played), another semi tearjerker is " MY DOG, NUI DAT", one or both of these tracks will also have you reaching for the tissue box. The final track is a great fun song "BACK TO THE BUSH AGAIN" a duet with DEAN PERRETT.

Dale should be very proud of this album as it sure is a winner and wil appeal to most Country Music listeners. This is one CD in my collection that will soon be worn out as I can not get enough of it. I will be very surprised if you can find one filler track on this album.
March 2015
The latest collection from "The Hippy" who lives in the hills above Mullumbimby, yes we are talking about  LOU BRADLEY.
If you enjoy well written songs, recorded in a house concert atmosphere, then look no further than her new ten track album "MOONSHINE" . The album was recorded at Bill Chambers house, sitting in a circle with husband Phil and Bill.  Every time I spin this disc it feels like they are in the room with me.
Again Lou has written some very personal songs reminiscent of "One Shoe" with memories of family members.
This is one disc that is very difficult to write about without giving the mystery away - like the story of "MOONSHINE" written about a resident of Billinudgel (see Lou for the story about that song) and the poignant personal messages of "CHEERS BARBARA" and "YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE FOR ME" - both about family members.
The stand out track for me is "WASHED UP HIPPY".

Thank you Lou for a great entertaining "House Concert". I could come to this sort of gathering again and again. 
March 2015
This offering is from a man who has his fingers in all aspects of his music from writing, singing, recording, producing and mixing...I am talking about DOUG BRUCE

Along with his trusty TAILGATERS (Rusty Cochrane, Mark D'Rozario and Andrew "Frog" Hosking), he has released another great disc "SOMEWHERE BETTER TO BE".  A thirteen track CD with Doug writing seven and co-writing three of the songs. If you like your music honky tonk with a texas twang...this is a must have disc for your collection.

This collection of songs have all the ingredients of a country disc...Love, Heartbreak, Trucks and Dogs. With such a choice it is hard to pick favourites, but with a love of singer/songwriters I choose "IN THE BACKYARD" (a childhood story song in the same vein as "Coffey Road"), "MAMA WAS A SAINT" and "WITHOUT YOU" are my personal choices, but must also mention "I CAN'T DANCE" as another stand out track.  
Along with Doug's two previous discs, this one will also get plenty of spins around this home.

Thanks Doug for coming out from behind the drum kit and showing your true potential as a front man.
February 2015
First heard this artist at Tamworth 2013 in a showcase which was not long enough to really make a decision whether I was impressed with her or not.  But after listening to her on an iCAN cruise and repeated listenings to her TRUTH ABOUT US CD, I am certainly now a member of Team Seleen.

A beautiful crafted eleven track disc with two solo writes, three co-written tracks and six well picked songs by other writers, that all melds into a great disc produced by Simon Johnson at Hillbilly Hut. You could say that it tracks Seleen's life with titles like NOT 21 ANY MORE (sorry to include that one Seleen}, GOT ME A GOOD MAN and THREE LITTLE LIVES.

A CD that will get plenty of spins on my stereo. My favourite tracks are GOT ME A GOOD MAN, THREE LITTLE LIVES and the final track PART OF ME a duet with her eldest daughter Eliza (not sure of Eliza's age but a young girl with a great voice). But must admit I could have easily listed all eleven tracks here.

Will be following this artist's career with much interest and I am already looking forward to her next album. 
February 2015
I remember sitting at a songwriters show at Tamworth a few years ago and being enthralled by the songs and voice of MICHAEL BRYERS 
After a long wait he has released his 3rd album, SIDESHOW. But the wait has been worth it, with 9 self penned tracks and 3 co-writes recorded and produced by Pacific International Music both in Nashville and Hervey Bay.
I have been listening to a few of these tracks at live shows for a couple of years. It is great to have them on a disc so they can be played over and over (LIFE'S LIKE THAT, SIDESHOW and LONG WAY BACK). 
I love the track SOMEDAY with the beautiful voice of Ann Marie Boskovich backing Michael's amazing voice - making this track sound heavenly.
Do I have favourites?...Not really. I love all 12 tracks, all written by great wordsmiths and can be listened to again and again.....are there stand out tracks? YES I believe there are 4 stand out tracks, INVINCIBLE YEARS, RAINY DAY SUNSHINE, SOMEDAY and SIDESHOW.

Certainly a disc that will get plenty of spins in my house and while on the road. 
Now that Christmas and  the Tamworth Country Music Festival are done and dusted, it is time to sit down and write another review in
AL'S DRUM ROLL
This time I have picked a singer/songwriter who is better known as one of The Four Australian Highwaymen. That person being:-
BRUCE McCUMSTIE
 After listening to his "UNSUNG HEROES" album, I have come to realise what a great writer he is of Aussie stories. I could write about all 12 songs that he has written or co-written on this album but will leave some for you to discover for yourselves. One thing that I like about this album is the liner notes do not give you the lyrics but a note about how, why and where each song was written.    The original 12 tracks were written over a 25 year span but sound as if they could have been written in the last 2 or 3 years.  The tracks that stand out to me are:-
"USED TO BE" the story of how a changing landscape affects us all and the effects of living in a altered valley.
"FAR AWAY" love the way this song traces three generations of family life with family members away in armed conflict, the way different female vocals have been used to tell the story of the different generations.
"LAST TRIP" a droving song about the famous Murranji stock trail in The northern Territory.
The track that I could put on repeat and never tire of is "ROSLYN'S PRAYER" not really a song but a narration about living on the land and enduring drought conditions. An exceptionally worded story by a master wordsmith and beautifully spoken on this track by Makaylie Foodey.
An album that I treasure in my collection and advise those that love true Australian stories to add it to your own collection.
Having influences such as Heart, Led Zeppelin, Suzi Quatro and Free/ Bad Company you would not think this young lady could record a Country Album....
But she then found Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies. The outcome is "ROAD TO REDEMPTION" and the artist is....

CHANTELL ALEXI

This album contains 15 well co-written songs. With the co-writers being Cletis Carr, Linda Mizzi of Hobo Grace, Jason Aquilina from Wildseed, Eliot Reynolds of Sideshow Alley and Shannon Guiholt.
The tunes range from Chantell's pretty voice (her words) on LOVE SPELL to her dirty bluesy voice on THE DARKEST ROAD, then onto her rocking melodies (with great distorted guitar) on CRAWL to the nearly bush ballad GRANDFATHER'S HAT and everything in between. Being so diverse I think it would be classed as 'Alt Country' (I am still trying to figure what the difference between Country and Alt Country is).
If what songwriters say about having to live the moment before writing about it is true then Chantell has been down some dark roads in her life (like THE GARDEN was it true or composed from news stories.....a very powerful song) but is now rising to redemption and better things.
I think this album has 14 very strong tracks and 1 strong track making it very hard to pick favourites, but for me the stand out tracks are GRANDFATHER'S HAT, LOVE SPELL, FLY and PILLAGED (the last 2 lifted by the beautiful soaring voice of BRIANNA HOLM supplying backing vocals).
To find more information visit her website CLICK HERE
This first artist review is about a singer/songwriter from Far North Queensland who was raised on the land. Jayson Watkin has a real earthy country voice and a way of writing songs, that not only paint a picture, but drag you by the scruff of your neck into his stories.

His first CD titled "Rain of Mercy" contains 11 original tracks all of which are worthy of mention but will single out my ...favourites.
"A Thousand Words" is Jayson's love song/tribute to his wife, one of the best romantic songs I have heard.
"Jacky Kneebone" is a story about one of our indigenous cousins and how they were treated, this is so well written that you feel you are there.
"Shamrock Hotel" another well written song about the loss of a landmark.

His latest 5 track EP "Upon This Stone" again follows on with great droving and fly-in fly-out mining stories like:-
"The Life of a Drover" which is self explanatory.
"Upon This Stone" about finding a place to settle down after a wandering life.
,
He also has a DVD titled "A Ride To Remember" which takes Jayson, his family, his friends and 5 retired drovers on a 1,000 mile stock route journey from Camooweal to Auvergne Station. A great film with memories from the old drovers, all them in their 70's and 80's.

A lot more information at Jayson's website : Click Here

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