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Essential Listening This Weekend – “Say What You Mean” – Hana & Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits



Hana and Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits have been a staple of the rising alt-country scene in Australia live since the release of their debut album “Southlands” in 2017. They have played at various festivals such as WOMADelaide, Out On The Weekend, Brunswick Music Festival, Adelaide Guitar Festival, Dashville Skyline & Queenscliff Music Festival, and Tamworth Country Music Festival, where they have tirelessly worked to perfect the band’s sound.

Eleven songs make up the album “Say What You Mean,” which was recorded at Alex O’Gorman’s Pakenham studio and features the lead singles “Arrowhead” and “Tallest Of Tales” (which have been added to high rotation on ABC Country) as well as “Paper Boats” and a variety of rock’n’roll swagger, country influences, and soul ballads. Hana and Jessie-Lee have been performing music together for nearly a decade. On this new album, they are accompanied by the Bad Habits rhythm section, which consists of two of Melbourne’s best musicians, Tommy Brooks (bass, slide, pedal steel) and Patrick Wilson (drums & percussion). Additionally, Norwood (backing vocals), Joe Cope (keys), Jordie Gilmour (drums), and Kate Alexander (backing vocals) make an appearance. With the exception of three tracks, Alex O’Gorman mixed the album at Phaedra Studios. John Lee mastered it, while Stephen Mowat (Wilsn) mixed the other tracks.

Love, awful first dates, insomnia, loss dread, longing home, and avoiding troublesome individuals are some of the lyrical topics covered. In the first track, “Misery Queen,” the band playfully points out the problems in a relationship while playing languid rock and roll in the style typical of the South. Without missing a beat, Jessie-Lee strides into one of her characteristic earworm guitar riffs on her distinctive green Gretsch, which harmonises perfectly with Hana’s brassy vocals. Title track “Say What You Mean” is a raucous rock anthem that implores people to be honest rather than silent in their relationships, while “Under The Vines” is a haunting tribute to homesickness in the vein of Bruce Springsteen.

“When we were picking songs to put on the album, it was a matter of what fit together, and what felt good playing as a band. I think I had about 25 songs and was still writing new material right up until we were going into the studio. We played a few at shows in their rawest form to see how they felt, how people reacted and that helped us make the final decision on the songs included.” – Hana

“These Shambles,” a cover of an older song with updated lyrics, is a bonus track on the CD and digital releases.

“We decided to record These Shambles again because it seemed to be a crowd favourite at shows” says Jessie-Lee Zubkevych of the re-record. “People sang along, and the song had changed shape into a bit more of an upbeat heavier version.”

In support of the new album, the band is taking to the road to play some new places and return to some old favourites all over Australia. For the first time, Tasmania, Bendigo, and Beechworth in Victoria are all on the list, as well as several features at the Cronulla Jazz & Blues Festival in Sydney on the last weekend in May.

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