Deep Down South

Guest contributor: Fanny Lumsden.

Hello there. Bringing you the ‘Deep, Down South’ segment from a not-so-deep and not-quite-so-south. Up here on the border, we are known for wearing slightly more colour and yes, still have our coffees ‘in a cup or a mug, Love?’ Cute.

Andrew Swift has kicked off his 2019 with what seems like 89 stops at the Dog on the Tuckerbox already. With Swifty’s road ally, Gretta Ziller, and 2018 Star Maker Winner Brad Cox on their Great Australian Caravan Park Tour, they hit up a whopping 21 Caravan parks in 21 days leading up to Tamworth. Upon arriving no slowing down…again more Swifty than you could poke a stick at. He topped off his week (and potentially his year) with not one but TWO Golden Guitars, for New Talent of the Year and Alt Country Album of the Year for Call out for the Cavalry. A mighty win for a mighty hard-working fella! And his Mum’s t-shirt might have been my personal highlight; reading ‘I’m Swifty’s Mum, and proud of it’. 

Still up north in the not-so-deep and not-so-south, on the Eastern side of the Snowy Mountains, Cielle Montgomery and James Church aka Montgomery Church are schooling everyone on how to be the most graceful duo literally gracing stages right now. They seemed to be floating everywhere over Tamworth week and not one sign of being sweaty or flustered. Their debut record In the Shadow of the Mountain released independently last May, is earning them some serious nods with their two part harmonies, lilting dobro and acoustic guitar. Montgomery Church are like the Australian version of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings but if Gillian was the daughter of Allison Krauss…sitting on a porch, with tea and not whiskey. They are ones to get your little flappy ears around, they are not even a dash up themselves and to be honest, I’m a tad obsessed.

Sara Storer who hails from up here in the north of the south, has just released ‘Raindance’ ahead of her 7th studio album. She may just be the keeper of the rain song. Her and Gene Kelly that is. She has also finally joined Instagram. I know, it’s been a long time coming.

Michael Waugh may be writing some of the most poignant and underrated Australian songs right now. His song ‘They Don’t Let The Girls In The Game’ (along with every other track on his record The Asphalt & the Oval) is quietly and poetically pointing out things that perhaps need to be shouted. His lyrics cut the fat, one moment they make you feel like you’re having a chin wag with a local, down at the pub, the next, you’ve been told a deep velvet secret. It’s unassuming, intelligent and quite ground breaking in its’ bringing to light of the extraordinary mundane…that often gets missed in song writing and pop-culture. If Waugh is playing somewhere nearby, go buy the ticket and go to the show, dummy.

If you haven’t caught wind of the Roadshow Deluxe yet, you need to get out from under your comfy little rock and get on this bandwagon. The brain child of Mitch Power, Rose Zita Falko and Ben Mastwyk, the tour which was conceptualised over a game of pinball (naturally), as Mitch puts it, ‘harks back to an older and often overlooked format in which comedians would tour with musicians, open up proceedings and then slip into MC duties for the rest of the show’. They have taken their tour far and wide and are really bloody good. Don’t miss that one if the wind (or Mitch’s reliable Commodore station wagon) blows it your way.

Literally right off the wild and woolly back of her record Feral Fusion, Freya Josephine Hollick has gone and gotten herself a ripper of a grant, thanks to Creative Victoria, to help her head over to the States to record a new record with Lucinda Williams’ band, Buick 6. The recording sessions will take place at Rancho De La Luna studios in Joshua Tree, California which Freya claims she might not be conscious for as she might just faint when she meets them all. Fair enough, I’d say. Looking forward to hearing the fruits of that creative labour. (Still not sure about that analogy, but going with it).

Speaking of babies, mine is currently chewing on a capo on the floor which is a step up from the power cord he munged into earlier.

All you out there poking your cows along the road (or driving a car, or Marie Condo-ing your house), word is Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez’s superb record Twilight on the Trail has been picked up by Fanfare Records (Sub of Sony) and they are set to celebrate its re-release and will be hitting up the Spotted Mallard in Brunswick on March 29th.

Lachlan Bryan, the statesman-stalwart of the deep south, black coffee and other fineries has been playing a very gracious host to Hannah Aldridge who is over here on tour from Nashville.

They seem to have clocked up a lot of shows in a short while. You can catch LB if you are reading this from the US (good for you!) as he heads over there this month, or when he joins Kevin Bennett and the Flood at the Caravan Club on May 10. LB and the Wildes are also teaming up with Ben Leece who recently burst onto the scene with his exceptional record No Wonder the World is Exhausted for an east coast run in May and June.

Georgia State Line is jumping in the car with Patrick Wilson and William Alexander and doing a whip around the deep (Australia ie – just in case you got lost there for a bit) south on a run of shows in March. This really is not to be missed, the quality of song-writing and performance is frighteningly high.

Would be remiss of me not to mention quickly, Tom Brooks who might just be more than one person – he played that many shows at Tamworth. Who knows though, there were many trucker cap wearing, guitar slinging lads, loitering around the Tamworth hotel, there might have just been some Parent Trap swaps going on.

Other shows that you shouldn’t miss or if you did, well you should feel a little pang of damn-it ,include; Wagons who celebrated their 20 year anniversary this February, and the Weeping Willows who should win the good egg award for being dead set the most supportive pair, out. Honestly don’t know where they find the energy. They will be out and about this next couple of months including appearing at Port Fairy Folk Festival and their harmonies will haunt you like the ghost of Casper… or maybe another more serious and less child-like movie sounding ghost. 

Hussy Hicks are hitting up Firefly in St Kilda March 9. Don’t miss. They will knock your socks off with their sheer force and skill.

Dashville have ventured south recently with the Victorian Chapter featuring Magpie Diaries and Steve Smyth bringing awareness to the mental health issues surrounding tough times including drought in parts of Australia and sharing songs, stories and Smyth’s Secrets from Spain.

Others to keep a beady eye on include: James Ellis and the Jealous Guys, Katie Bates and Ryan Daykin whose EP Keeping Secrets is out soon and who are doing some bloody great work with RUOK, including putting on the very successful fundraiser at TCMF.

So, look I could go on. There is a lot happening down here.

Also, at risk of sounding like a wanker… we (Myself and my rad film making team Dan Stanley Freeman, Anna Phillips, Sam Brumby, Meg Hardie and I) got a very surprising GG

for Video of the Year for ‘Elastic Waistband’. What an unexpected, much appreciated, rush.

Okay – over and out folks. Fanny.