4th studio album from Melbourne based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jed Rowe follows his critically acclaimed 2015 The Last Day Of Winter.
There is a distinct Australian thread running with Australian characters, towns and landscapes featuring heavily. Paradoxically though, many of the songs were finished while Rowe was on tour in Europe late in 2016. It is the work of a songwriter writing about what he knows, but with the perspective of observing it from a distance.
The album title references the often quoted line from LP Hartley’s novel The Go-Between: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” The protagonists in songs like ‘Tailem Bend’ and ‘Devil Wind’ seem to belong to an Australia that no longer exists. They inhabit the declining remnants of railway outposts or farming towns whose heyday is long gone. These characters aren’t wallowing in nostalgia, however – they’re grappling with the harsh realities of a present that feels increasingly foreign to them.
There are departures from these central themes: ‘Life’ and ‘Silk Road’ both reflect an eastern musical influence and showcase Rowe’s deft lap-slide guitar work, while ‘As The Crow Flies’ is tongue in cheek escapism with old-timey fiddle from John Bedggood and an emotive duet vocal from Beth Barker.
Rowe continues his working relationship with co-producer and multiple ARIA winner Jeff Lang.
For fans of: Jason Isbell, Paul Kelly, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle.