Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 - my music tastes

So, 2006 is over….its been a year of big changes for me, moving house, moving suburbs, change of living arrangements etc etc…but that is not the point of this post. I thought I would reflect on my music tastes and what I have been listening to in 2006. This is not one of those best of 2006 lists, but more about the music that I have discovered during 2006.

To sum it up in simple terms, 2006 was probably the year when my appreciation of acoustic music really grew. This is probably largely attributable to Liberation Blue acoustic series – of which I bought Mark Seymour’s “Daytime and the Dark” and James Reyne’s “…and the Horse You Rode in On” in 2005, but continued to listen to heaps in 06.

During 2006, I also purchased other albums from this series – Ian Moss’ “Six Strings” and, possibly the 2006 album that brought me most joy, Nick Barker’s “C – Sides”. This album joined my CD collection on Labour Day, 2006. My beautiful girlfriend surprised me and bought me tickets to A Day on the Green at Rochford Winery in the Yarra Valley. On the bill this particular day, was a selection from, you got it, the Liberation Blue series – featuring Joe Camilleri, Stephen Cummings, Christine Anu, Diesel, Mark Seymour, James Reyne, and, to open the day, Nick Barker.

I knew a few Nick Barker songs – “Time Bomb”, “World’s a Peach”, and his 80’s cover of “(Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile”. I had even seen him play support for Tim Rogers at the Corner Hotel, and thought his music was OK. But in an acoustic setting on a very very hot day, it sounded fantastic. He played both “Time Bomb” and “World’s a Peach”, and even did a very very different cover of the Van Halen song “Jump” which I really enjoyed.

After the end of his set, it was announced that he would be up the back signing copies of his album, so I thought why not, and I went up and purchased it, getting Nick to autograph it for me. So, with the comment “To Dean, Cheers Mate” and a brief chat, I walked away a happy boy. In the chaotic traffic jam we experienced trying to leave the concert, I think we played the album twice before we turned it off. After that night I started to listen to it more and more, and I love it – it is just great acoustic music. Choice cuts include “Miles to Go”, where Nick duets with Paul Kelly, “Protection”, a rockier track and almost ventures outside the strictly acoustic definition (but that’s OK) but features a line which for some reason I love (“it ain’t the knife in the heart that tears you apart, its just the thought of someone sticking it in”), “Lights Action Coma”, a slow, powerful song, and a couple of covers, namely “Jump” and Tom Petty’s “The Waiting”.

The next “discovery” for me in 2006, was Bob Evans. Bob is the alter ego of the Jebediah lead singer Kevin Mitchell. But that is probably where the similarities end between the music of Jebediah and the music of Bob Evans. Kevin deliberately chose an alter ego to break the stereotype of Jebediah, allowing him to record something a bit more stripped back and acoustically based.

In an move that was out of character by my standards, I bought Bob Evans album “Suburban Songbook” on the basis of a review. The even more interesting thing is that it wasn’t particularly good review, but for some reason it just sounded like something I would be interested in.

And interested I was. At the risk of using the cliché, the music is Beatlesesque at time. Simple ballards, acoustic tracks, usually with feel good type messages. Highlights for me are “Saddness and Whisky”, the untitled final track, and “Don’t Walk Alone”. If I had to nominate my favourite 2006 album, this would be the one, and I would recommend it to anyone that likes acoustic ballards. I have heard people liken Bob’s music to Pete Murray and Jack Johnson, but whilst I can understand the similarities, I think Bob’s music is different again.

Recently I have purchased Bob’s first album “Suburban Kid”. I like this album, but would definitely prefer “Suburban Songbook”

Moving on from the acoustic theme, but possibly a logical progression, 2006 was the year when I started to get into country music. I have always had an appreciation, rather than a love of country music, probably most evidenced by the fact that I enjoy countryish sounding tracks by non country artists (The Beatles “Don’t Pass Me By” comes to mind), but I took the plunge this year, purchasing albums by Sara Storer, Troy Casser-Daley, Johnny Cash, and Bily Bragg and Wilco (some may call this folk rather than country, and to be honest, I don’t really mind what you call it, it clearly has similarities to both)

The desire to buy Johnny Cash’s greatest hits came about after seeing and enjoying the excellent film “Walk the Line” (me and everyone else probably!). I like it all, from his early work right up to his covers of more modern songs, like U2’s “One”.

Purchasing works by Sara Storer (“FireFly”) and Troy Casser-Daley (“Long Way Home”) came about after seeing them both perform live while watching the filming of RockWiz, another big influence on my musical tastes in 2006, but probably has been covered in enough detail on Jiggy’s blog. Sara’s album I love, she has a beautiful voice, but quintessentially Australian (arrrggg….I can’t believe I am using such a meaningless word as quintessential). What I like about Sara is that that her songs often tell great stories (eg. “The Ballard of Tommy Foster” about a prisoner with regrets), but she is also equally comfortable with ballards as with more upbeat tunes. Favourites on this album for me include “Dungarees”, “Chiller’s Bend”, “FireFly”, “Snow in Mid-July”.

The Troy Casser-Daley album hasn’t brought as much delight as Sara’s album yet, but it still has some great highlights and seems to be a bit of a grower. The title track “Long Way Home” is brilliant, and a great songs which I am sure rings true with all blokes, “River Road” a nice country track, “40 Miles” a lovely ballard, and “I Wish I was a Train”, where Troy teams up with Paul Kelly, is a most enjoyable track.

I touched on Rockwiz above, and the release of the Rockwiz duets album (which as a fomer contestant on the show enabled me to attend my first CD launch and rub shoulders with people like Brian Nankervis, Julia Zemiro, Ross Wilson, Tim Rogers and Linda Bull) also got a fair bit of listening time from me this year. My favourite track on this album seems to constantly change, but I do like “Islands in the Stream” by Troy Casser-Daley and Ella Hooper, “Woodstock” by James Reyne and Mia Dyson, and “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” by Tim Rogers and Rebecca Barnard – but that is just to name a few, there are plenty of other highlights on this album.

Wow, this post is starting to get long, and I haven’t even gone into details on live gigs yet!!! I think I might make them the subject of a separate post and sign off for now….

Happy New Year!


At 8:32 pm, Blogger nomeatpete said...

Bloody hell, Wally is back with a bang! Nice entry Walkerville, see some nice themes, I think you're mellowing in your vintage.
To borrow a line from the Blues Brothers (and frequently used by Jiggs), I think Billy Bragg and Wilco do both kinds of music, country and western. Must admit that if I was to sum up 2006, would be the year I got into (American)country music myself. Josh Rouse is a great singer-songwriter, highly recommend his debut album, "Dressed up like Nebraska," will do an ahoy matey if you want.


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