TAKE ME TO TOWN AN AUSTRALIAN ALT COUNTRY COMPILATION

Over the past decade, the local alt. country scene has undergone something of a renaissance. An ever-expanding, increasingly diverse melting pot, its hallmarks have long been stellar songcraft and timeless instrumentation. Once uncommon sounds – pedal steel, Dobro, banjo – now jostle shoulder-to-shoulder with synths and distorted guitars, rippling through the shaded streets of inner Sydney and filtering from the iconic corner pubs of Melbourne. This landmark 47-track survey spans three immense discs, encompassing many of the best and brightest names in Australian country. Nary a stylistic touchstone is unrepresented, from the high drama and defiance of Amber Rae Slade and the Big Noise, to the Mexicali strains of The Ramalamas (‘Ol’ Bull’); there’s classic honkytonk (Emilee South’s ‘My Baby (Don’t Return My Calls)’), heartworn acoustic plaints (Sam Shinazzi’s affecting ‘Songs You Can’t Hear Anymore’), and muscly, low-slung country-rock (Charlie Horse’s ‘A Song for the Loneliness’). Take Me To Town unearths and champions a vibrant, bustling scene in all its ragged glory. Gareth Hipwell