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The Right Dereliction – Al Carr



Al Carr has released three solo albums, the third of which is The Right Dereliction. It sees him reuniting with his band and longtime collaborator Simon Maiden (guitar, keys) to craft ten new songs.

Clinton Kraus (Something For Kate, The Peep Tempel, Mike Noga) produced and mixed the record to mark the third release of Carr’s that Kraus has worked on. Written at home after a move to regional Victoria, these songs have been gestating for several years. 

Carr’s band ventured into Aviary Studios in late 2022 and set about putting down the bedrock of each song quickly across three days. Final flourishes and vocals were added at Kraus’ home studio in Portarlington, with the end result delivering something special that digs into a myriad of stylistic corners in the world of rock and country music.

“Each song on this release is tinged with a sense of hopefulness whilst recounting stories, characters and personalities who are struggling through a moment in time,” explains Carr. “With this batch of songs I wanted to get inside the head of a character living through a small town drama and balance the lyrics almost like a confessional of sorts. The verses offering up the dilemma and the choruses providing the redemption.”

The album title itself (The Right Dereliction) follows the themes on the album, a play on words attempting to frame both sides of the coin. Across the record we get songs that celebrate one’s favourite music (‘Those Diamond Notes‘) and question the sturdiness of a long term relationship (‘The Curtain Removed‘). There’s a plea for positivity (‘Let a Little Light‘), and on the album centrepiece ‘Sinking Moon‘, Carr evocatively details heartfelt words of advice between friends.

Sonically and stylistically, Carr has taken a freewheeling approach to the sound of the album and it all hangs together perfectly. A melding of the old and the new, the sensitive and the swaggering, the Antipodean and the influence of timeless American rock music. Indie rock sensibilities tumble into loose and ragged country rock, choppy power-pop dovetails into weighty soul music and reflective singer-songwriter balladry.

“I’m thrilled with the way the album has ended up sounding!” enthuses Carr. “I think this album wants to lean into dirty…which is good’ were Clint’s first words to me after hearing a rough version of the album tracks. I couldn’t have been happier to follow that approach as it tied in perfectly with the lyrical themes of finding light in the grittiness.”

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Lucie Tiger’s Covers Tyler Childers For Latest Single ‘Shake The Frost’



Lucie Tiger’s latest single, Shake The Frost, marks a captivating departure from her recent releases. The title may ring a bell, as it was originally penned and performed by esteemed Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Tyler Childers. Lucie has held a special affinity for this song, making it a staple in her live performances for several years. It feels fitting that she unveils her rendition of it during her first Christmas season in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

For Lucie, “Shake The Frost” embodies a sense of nostalgia and a longing for change, an anthem of knowing that one can emerge from the darkness and ‘shake the frost,’ especially with the support of the right people. While the song may carry diverse meanings for different listeners, Lucie aspires to introduce it to a fresh audience. For those already acquainted with the tune, her added instrumentation amplifies the warmth and hope embedded in the lyrics.

Much like the songs that have influenced her, Lucie’s music is recorded organically, with all musicians collaborating in the studio, creating an authentic and vibrant sound. Performed by Lucie Tiger (acoustic guitar, vocals), Shake The Frost also features Bob Wray (bass), Brad Kuhn (keys), Will McFarlane (electric guitar), Justin Holder (percussion). Engineered by Colin Lott, produced by John Gifford III and mastered by Chris Bethea.

Lucie Tiger has some excellent runs on the board. Her self-penned song Gasoline won Country Blues Song of the Year 2021 and she’s the only independent Australian artist to have five singles on the MusicRow Country Breakout Chart plus four singles in the CountryTown Top 40 chart in Australia including Found My Home, Midnight Goodbye, Do Me Right, Right Next To You and Burn It Down.

Lucie’s April 2022 album Alabama Highway debuted at #14 on the ARIA Country Albums chart (Australia’s equivalent to the Billboard Country Albums chart) and #10 on the AIR (Australian Independent Record Label) Albums Chart. Lucie’s September 2022 acoustic album The Memphis Tapes recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, Memphis, debuted at #7 on the AIR Albums Chart.

Lucie Tiger has featured in Americana Rhythm Magazine (USA), Rhythms Magazine (Australia), CountryTown, Today’s Country Magazine, The Music, Country Music Capital News, Scenestr plus CMT Television and the television program Songwriters Across Australia. Her song Christmas In The South was listed as one of the 10 Best Australian Christmas Songs in 2022 and her songs are regularly in the Top 10 Australian Songwriter Awards 2022, where she’s been industry-nominated twice for the Rudy Brandsma Award for Songwriting Excellence by the ASA.

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Hey Dawn – Fanny Lumsden



Taking out the Aria Award for Best Country Album 2023, announced by none other than Dolly Parton herself, we have been reminded how Fanny Lumsden’s latest offering, ‘Hey Dawn,’ is a brilliant testament to her artistry, capturing the essence of rural life, love, and the unwavering spirit of the Australian landscape. The album is a delightful journey through a diverse range of emotions, skillfully woven together with Lumsden’s soulful voice and evocative storytelling.

The album kicks off with the titular track, ‘Hey Dawn,’ a heartwarming ode to new beginnings. Lumsden’s vocals are pure and earnest, setting the tone for an album that is both introspective and celebratory. The production is stripped back, allowing the authenticity of her lyrics to take center stage.

Throughout the album, Lumsden effortlessly blends elements of country, folk, and Americana, creating a sound that feels both timeless and contemporary. Tracks like ‘Great ‘Divide’ and ‘Millionaire’ showcase her storytelling prowess, painting vivid pictures of life in the Australian countryside, or “the sticks” as she affectionately refers to it. The instrumentation is rich and textured, featuring twangy guitars and harmonious arrangements that complement Lumsden’s voice beautifully.

One of the standout tracks is ‘Enjoy The Ride,’ a poignant reflection on the passage of life and finding the strength to keep on striving. Lumsden’s ability to convey deep emotions with simplicity is a testament to her songwriting skills. The song is both nostalgic and forward-looking, resonating with listeners on a personal level.

‘Hey Dawn’ also features moments of infectious joy, as heard in the upbeat and lively ‘You’ll Be Fine.’ This track, in particular, is a celebration of resilience and self-discovery, showcasing Lumsden’s versatility as an artist. The catchy melodies and foot-stomping rhythm make it a standout track that is sure to leave audiences in high spirits.

In a musical landscape often dominated by polished production and formulaic songwriting, Fanny Lumsden’s ‘Hey Dawn’ is a breath of fresh air. The raw honesty and genuine emotion woven into each track make this album a standout in contemporary folk and country music. Lumsden’s ability to connect with her audience on a personal level, coupled with the album’s impeccable production, makes ‘Hey Dawn’ a must-listen for anyone craving music that is both authentic and beautifully crafted.

In ‘Hey Dawn,’ Fanny Lumsden has not only delivered a stellar collection of songs but has also solidified her place as a leading voice in the Australian music scene. This album is a triumph of authenticity, and its impact will undoubtedly resonate with listeners for years to come.

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Harvey Russell Reviews New Turnpike Troubadours Album “A Cat In The Rain”



On “A Cat in the Rain” Turnpike Troubadours give us a glimpse into the struggles of the past few years and reassure us they can still produce quality, red dirt country.

There were many times over the last four years when this record seemed inconceivable.  With the band on an indefinite hiatus, following frontman and songwriter Evan Felker’s breakdown, there was a chance we’d heard the last of the Turnpike Troubadours.

With Felker getting sober, and with some firm guard rails around his return to playing live, the band began touring and recording again in 2022.

A Cat in the Rain is a comeback album.  It’s release is emblematic of the unlikely, yet triumphant, story that is the Turnpike Troubadours of 2023.  A while back (early 2019 to be a little more precise) things came apart at the seams.  This was at a time when the band’s recognition and success was at an all time high.  Put simply, without a functioning lead man and songwriter the band couldn’t go on. 

Away from the distracting and escapist comfort of the road, and with the fortitude it took to face his demons, Felker turned things around.  As with the band, it appears he has come out stronger on the other side.  And with fans flocking to their shows in the past 15 months, support has only grown.  There’s a lot of love at these recent live shows as well as gratitude and understated forgiveness. For the band, and for Felker in particular, there’s redemption in all of it.

Given the circumstances of its release it might be tempting to assess the merits of this album with wide and fawning eyes.  Indeed, it’s existence is a feat in itself.  On any assessment this is a strong Turnpike Troubadours album. But it doesn’t introduce a new direction or change of style, and it would be bold to say this is their absolute best effort yet.  However, what it does do is ground the band firmly in its roots at a time when they need it most.  It signals a brave return and a message that the band is back in town and hopefully here to stay.

I read somewhere that Felker is an Ernest Hemmingway fan.  ‘Papa’s’ short stories, one of which shares the same title as this album, often employ the iceberg theory to writing (or theory of omission). This is where only limited but important facts about a story become evident, leaving much of the real structure under the surface for the reader to deduce.  This should sound familiar to Turnpike fans.  Felker often gives us clear descriptions of situations pertinent to his lyrical storytelling, yet there always a lot bubbling away under the surface.  Many of the songs on A Cat in the Rain are no exception.

The band announces its return together, in an ominous and eerie fashion at the start of the opening track and first single, “Mean Old Sun”, with curdled backing vocals chanting behind a lone banjo.  Lyrically, this is Felker defining the period he spent recently in the wilderness, putting in the work to be strong enough to return.  This one hits with a heavy beat and makes a strong statement.  It’s the anthemic “Gin, Smoke, Lies” ten years on, with the production befitting a world class country band.

“Brought Me” is next.  And it’s a hard ask not to have this hook-soaked gem on repeat. This is the kind of track Turnpike fans will have been waiting for during the six years between albums.  Combining country, red dirt and cajun influences this is an affecting love song to the Turnpike community to say thank you for waiting.  There are also reassurances: “Oh now, it still beats steady/This heart I handed you for free/Should you ever need a thing/It won’t be hard to find.

Written by emerging artist Lance Roark and bassist R.C. Edwards, “Chipping Mill” is a catchy, familiar track, jostling for air with classic upbeat Turnpike songs such as “Morgan Street” or “7&7”.  “A Cat in the Rain”, “East Side Love Song” and dark, western “Lucille” have Felker contemplating his muse with varying degrees of intensity.  Interestingly, the persistent character of Lorrie is noticeably absent on this record. 

Felker does hunting songs well and “The Rut” is no exception.  Reminiscing about family trips into the mountains, the songwriter uses this opportunity to reflect honestly about his struggles with alcohol and the resolve he is now applying to create a better life. “I don’t miss the taste of liquor or really anything about it/But the temporary shelter was a welcome compromise/Oh friend, I’m gonna ride out of the rut I’m in/A little elevation and an open-ended prayer.”  The southern country cover of Ozark Mountain Daredevils “Black Sky” is an interesting choice and a change of pace for a record that, stylistically, is otherwise not a significant departure from previous Turnpike outings. 

Producer Shooter Jennings has managed to maintain much of the familiar Turnpike sound while bringing things up a notch, certainly compared to the early albums.  The band is playing as well as they ever have.  And Jennings has allowed each member’s contribution to shine, perhaps moreso than on previous albums.  The team effort is emphasised in the final moments of the last song on the record, a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Won’t You Give Me One More Chance” with the band singing their appeal in unison, just as they came in.

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