Home' Rhythms Magazine : November-December 2018 Contents In a three-piece suit and no shoes, kd lang
sang ‘Hallelujah’ as if it was the last song
she was ever going to sing in her life. It
was a monumentally moving performance
in the Mother Church - The Ryman
Auditorium. She had just performed the
entire Ingenue album with an incredible
band. It was a deep and improvisational
performance, not just a shallow remake
of the original album. Pianist Daniel
Clarke and nylon string guitarist Grecco
Burrato were the main soloists, their jams
going in to jazz territory in a good way,
with some Brazilian feels thrown in. kd
too played around with her phrasing and
delivery to bring the 25-year-old album
into the present moment. Her voice is her
instrument and she is a virtuoso.
That was the final night of Americana
Festival. The night before, Jaime Wyatt had
pretty much stunned the audience at 3rd &
Lindsley with her showcase performance.
Visually, she has fun with the traditional
70s country look - reminding me a little of
Ronee Blakley in the movie Nashville - but
she accompanies this retro nod with all the
grit and hellfire of a young woman in 2018.
Has much changed for women since 1975?
Not really. But the women are different.
They have not been brought up to serve
the male music business fantasy. Another
example? Katie Pruitt at Mercy Lounge.
There is a gal with attitude and the voice to
match it. A vocal powerhouse with a killer
band including vocalist Maureen Murphy,
Pruitt represents the tip of the iceberg in
Nashville which has a huge pool of young
female artists in their teens and early 20s
who are about to break through. They have
not known as much of the prejudice and
closed doors that older women have had to
deal with. Fingers crossed they won’t have
Luckily, I was invited to an Up Close &
Personal session with Bill Murray and
John Prine. They had crossed paths back
in the ‘70s when Murray was at 2nd City
in Chicago and Prine was playing across
the road at a venue called The Earl of Old
Town. Prine started the conversation by
singing ‘Souvenirs’ and the session ended
with both Prine and Murray singing
‘Angel From Montgomery’. Murray had a
surprisingly moving voice.
It was a fascinating discussion and what
I came away with was the kindness and
generosity of Steve Goodman, who insisted
that Kris Kristofferson listen to Prine; and
John Belushi, who took everyone he could
with him on his rise to the top. Goodman
lifted Prine as Belushi lifted Murray - from
the gutters and bylines of showbiz history.
Prine said he learnt finger picking from
listening to Elizabeth Cotten. “As soon as
I learned one chord I lay my ear on that
wood and my soul was gone,” he said.
Trying to learn songs by the Carter Family,
he found that he couldn’t remember the
lyrics, so he started writing his own lyrics
and putting them into those songs. His
big dream was to be able to make enough
money playing music so that he could quit
his job as a mailman. Prine’s big break
came when he replaced The Beach Boys on
Saturday Night Live.
Bill Murray said his first real connection to
music came when he “smoked a joint and
listened to the Beatles white album. I felt
like someone was really talking to me.”
My story today both begins and ends with
bare-footed artists. Lydia Luce played her
album launch at Analog at The Hutton, a
new and very classy venue on West End.
She is a truly generous spirit who had many
friends open the show. The emphasis was
on strings - there were 13 different string
players - cello, viola, violin - and they
played on every song of the night in various
subgroups. Luce, a classically trained
violist, also performed in bare feet which
suits her beautiful down-to-earth nature.
Luce started the group Lockeland Strings.
It’s really hard to fathom how many string
players there are now living in Nashville.
They have come from all over, many from
New York City, which is becoming less and
less liveable for musicians. The line-up of
the night included a brand new piece by
Jordan Lehning which was performed by
the entire ensemble.
It feels good to be in Nashville at events
like this. We really can say it is ‘Music City’
now. And that now means all kinds of
music, not just country. Lydia Luce’s new
album is called Azalea.
Anne McCue reports in from the home of country music.
John Prine Credit: Brian Wise
returns after a
mere 38 years!
If you thought that twenty-six years
was an inordinately long time to wait
for John Prine to return to Australia,
then the gap between Wreckless Eric
tours must seem like an eternity.
However, the singer returns in
November after a mere 38 years.
It’s difficult to imagine why Eric
Goulden, who penned the insistent
hit ‘Whole Wide World,’ hasn’t been
back since then given the popularity
of just that one song but that doesn’t
mean he hasn’t been busy.
Eric was an early Stiff Records
signing, along with the likes of Elvis
Costello and Nick Lowe, both of
whom are also still going strong.
But while his former label mates
might have enjoyed success with
major labels, Goulden has remained
independent. After departing Stiff
Records soon after his first Australian
foray he went on to form the bands the Captains of Industry,
the Len Bright Combo, and the Hitsville House band as well as
recording his own solo albums and more recently writing and
recording with his wife Amy Rigby.
Eric has lived in upstate New York for the past seven years after
more than a decade in France. It’s a whole, wide world away from
the London that saw his first hit record back in 1977. That one
classic song has been covered by The Monkees, Green Day, The
Replacements, The Proclaimers and others. Will Ferrell even sang it
in a movie. But while you might be able to hang a career on it, Eric
also has a new album out, Construction Time & Demolition, that he
will be highlighting on his forthcoming tour.
Eric says that after the Australian tour in 1980 he needed to take a
break. Being on tour constantly caused him to reassess his life.
He explains. “Suddenly I thought, ‘I don’t know what my life is all
about. Why am I doing all of this? Do I wanna do this or am I doing
it because these people are telling me to do it?’ So I petered out for a
little while. It was like being Syd Barrett.”
“It took me a while to think it out, really,” he continues, “and to get
to what I wanted to do rather than what everyone else wanted me
to do. In that time, of course, I really lost contact with everything.
I didn’t play in America again, I don’t think, until sometime in the
end of the ‘80s or the early ‘90s. I had
played in America a lot but suddenly
I didn’t and I hardly played anywhere,
really. I started playing again but
Australia became this distant memory.
Occasionally, someone would ask
me to do something and it would
generally be some sort of thing like a
Punk revival show, or something and
I’d go, ‘Why would I want to do that,
you know? It’s not what I do.’ Even
now I’m scared to death of the whole
business of flying and all that way. It
just seems to be so monumentally far
away. But I do remember it with great
Does he recall anything of that first
“It was just me and I didn’t even
know we were going,” he replies.
“This is how it used to go. Like, we
were on tour in America for about
eight weeks and we had been on tour
in Europe, before that in the UK. I
had a band and people in the band
kept changing. To be honest I didn’t
like the band. They weren’t people I
wanted to hang with and didn’t know what we were doing. I was so
like ... it was very difficult for me, but I was making the best of it at
times. So it was complicated. Suddenly, we were in New Zealand and
then we were in Australia and I remember it being like seven o’clock
in the morning and all these journalists and they said, What do you
think of Australia? And I’m going, ‘I don’t know how to answer that
I explain that this is the first question touring musicians get asked
almost as soon as they touch down here. “Oh right,” says Eric.
“Obviously, I’ll work one up. I had about 40 years to do that.”
I tell Eric that I saw Nick Lowe, one of his former Stiff Record
colleagues, recently in Austin, Texas and that while he plays his old
‘hits’ he makes sure he plays his newer songs as well.
“Some people have a few songs and that’s what carried them
through,” says Eric, “but it doesn’t really work. I’ve seen people who
play the same old stuff and the edges are getting worn off it. I’ve
been making records for 40 years, and I like to play stuff from all
over my very long career, if you like. I don’t do nostalgia and I think
it’s the death of everything. It doesn’t do anyone any favours. But I
don’t think you can just kind of ignore your past. You have to sort of
look at it and try and bring something to it. I do all kinds of things.”
Wreckless Eric’s Australian tour starts on November 11 in
Melbourne. Check the Rhythms Gig Guide online for details
Links Archive September October 2018 January-February 2019 Navigation Previous Page Next Page