Respected music journalist Bernard Zuel recently reviewed NWTWIE. BZ calls things exactly how he hears/sees them so the positive feedback here has this pelican pretty chuffed.
BEN LEECE – NO WONDER THE WORLD IS EXHAUSTED; JP HARRIS – SOMETIMES DOGS BARK AT NOTHING: REVIEW
Daddy, what did you do in the genre wars? Son, I stayed indoors.
Last week I took a ramble through Take Me To Town, a collection of new Australian acts playing Americana which is being launched at the Marrickville Bowlo on Saturday, and pondered how to squeeze people into the various categories within Americana, a genre that seems like a way of saying “I like country music” without having to associate with the beers-bros-big hats brigade.
This week I have two artists whose strategy for this conundrum is to avoid it altogether. Their choice is to say “I like country music and it sounds like this” and leave it up to us. And you know what, it may not get them played on radio here or in the States because those are creative dead zones, but it might build a few bridges between safe country and alternative country buyers.
Australian Ben Leece (whose lonesome-in-the-night Twenty One is a highlight of Take Me To Town, but does not appear on this debut album) draws from the 1970s and ‘80s in a way that is as unpretentious as his album cover.
It’s a full band sound that has the chunkiness of a rock quartet in Highway Not The Dream, and the pep and propulsion of a new wave outfit in A Hole (which is like Any Trouble covering Springsteen, as they were fond of doing), but the ability to lighten up for a pedal steel two-step such as Sunny Side.
It feels solid, in the sense of unfussed by being anything other than what it is, right from the opening Rebel Alone which has the straight work of Jason Isbell and the bruise of an oft-forgotten Australian pioneer Broderick Smith.