No One Can Run – CD Review

 

Last week, in between snow and spring sunshine, I had the opportunity to attend a CD launch by Hobart-based musician, Matt Dean. I’ve played quite a few shows with Matt over the years, perhaps most memorably, a Butterscotch Pony single launch in Launceston a few years ago. It was lovely to catch up with people, not have the pressure to play myself and hang out with friends, especially Matt.

This CD, ‘No One Can Run’ is (I think) Matt’s third solo release in about as many years and there’s a profound step up here in every way. I think the six songs on this disc are musically his best pieces so far, lyrically far stronger, very tastefully arranged and the whole benefits from the solid production of Mike Raine. I must also mention that Matt is offering download cards as well as physical CD’s and has produced a wonderful, limited edition booklet to go with this (which he keeps telling everyone, isn’t an autobiography), but gives further insight to the songs and Matt’s back story.

Thematically, the songs are all intensely personal, documenting a relationship breakdown, but I didn’t find them maudlin. Rather, there’s something really genuine in Matt’s words that reaches audiences and speaks (to me at least) about love, loss and learning lessons as part of the journey.

While the recorded tracks have added instruments and they’re well played, I love hearing Matt perform live – just him and acoustic guitar. There’s an immediacy that really displays the man’s skill and the depth of his message. I liken it to a painting in the naive art tradition. On the surface, there’s a direct frankness and simplicity – but if you look a little deeper, there’s complexity, pain and joy.

You can find ‘No One Can Run’ at Matt’s Bandcamp page but I’d recommend contacting him via email to see if you can get the CD, download card and booklet package, especially if you don’t live here. Worth doing!

We’ll Keep On Going – Remembering Tony Cohen

Back in the dim, dark reaches of the last millennium, I was making music with a great bunch of folks here in Hobart. Together with Michael Turner, Dan Tuffy and Mel Fazackerley we made up Wild Pumpkins at Midnight.

Through Michael and Jo Volta (Stevens back then), we managed to get in Tony Cohen’s ear and he agreed to work with us on our first recording. It was a frantic, funny, at times frustrating but overall, an incredibly rewarding experience. Tony was insane, shambolic, intense – but literally amazing to work with. And for a new band, we knew how lucky we were to have him for the project. Working with him also led to meeting Chris Thompson, his great friend and the other very prominent engineer/producer in my time with WPAM.

These first sessions with Tony though, became the self-titled, bright yellow EP, with the little dancing figures in the bottom corner. People still talk to me about that first recording and even after 30 or so years, I’m proud of it. Looking (and listening) back, I can see how good Tony made us sound, and for that fact alone I will always be grateful.

We worked with Tony again over the years, hung out, made some questionable choices but always ended up falling about laughing courtesy of that razor-sharp Cohen wit. But, like so many people from those days, I lost touch with Tone over the years as other relationships, kids, physical distance and different lives got in the way. Occasionally Jo Volta would let me know what he was up to and I was always thinking I must catch up next time I’m in Melbourne.

And of course, now it’s too late and that makes me very sad.

It was only a brief moment in Tony’s stellar career, but I’ll leave you with my favourite track from that first EP.

 

Vale Tony, and thank you ❤

The Last Gig of 2015

Hi everyone, it’s been lovely to have a break from blogging but I’m itching to write again – there’s been so much going on!

It’s the busiest time of year for me in the garden – I’m planting out heat-hardy salad vegetables like mad to take advantage of our brief but often vicious summer. There’s been several kilos of fruit off the raspberry canes already and several more to come, basil is being cropped, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis and chillies are starting to ripen. On top of all this, I’m making some small wicking boxes this week for the front balcony, which gets all the morning sun and is great for tender salad greens.

A couple of weeks ago, local musician and friend George Begbie won the Rudy Brandsma Award at the ASA national awards in Sydney. Many of us who knew George when he first started performing were thrilled but not really surprised – he’s always been that good!

And my wonderful singing group at Oak Tasmania are playing at the in-house end of year BBQ this Friday. Rehearsals are getting tighter and more intense, we’re all getting excited about showing off some new skills. I hope there’ll be some photos I can share with you all from that too.

But tonight is my last public gig for 2015.

I’m playing a short set at The Homestead in support of my dear friend Matt Sertori. I’ve known Matt for many years and despite his seemingly irreverent lyrics, he is one of the most thoughtful, intense and inspiring performers around.

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There is a misconception that Matt playing solo is just a comedy act but I think it’s important to understand there are two distinct sides to this demanding performer. Listen to his (often scathing) lyrics and look behind the laughter, there are some deep and incredibly serious subjects being dealt with. Here, there is a depth to the writing and an intensity in performance that can be downright confronting.

I am honoured to be playing support tonight for many reasons. Matt is also the man who drew me into the ASA over a decade ago and instigated the supportive, mentoring attitude that prevailed until quite recently. If you’re in or around Hobart I urge you to come and listen to this most fascinating and complex songwriter. And say hello – I love catching up with you all.

Take care wherever you are ❤

A Quick Gig Update – Day 17 NaBloPoMo

Hey everyone

A quick reminder for southern Tasmanian folks that tonight the monthly ASA show is on at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, starting with the wonderful Cassie O’Keefe at 6:30 pm. I’ll be coming along to have dinner, catch up with friends and cheer everyone on, in particular the feature act, George Begbie.

And Thursday night, (19th November) I’m playing a show with Cassie, again at The Homestead from 7-9 pm. This should be a fabulous night with one of the best young up and coming talents around town 🙂

One of my beautiful Seagull guitars

Hopefully, I’ll get time to do a longer post later, but we’ll see – it’s going to be a busy day I think!

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

Road Trip Notes

Seagull July 2015

 

Hey everyone,

So, last week before the snow hit Hobart, I went on a jaunt up to Burnie and Launceston. I haven’t played in Northern Tasmania for a few years. Too long some friends up there told me – and I have to agree!

Although it was primarily to support Butterscotch Pony launch their single, I found an excellent venue in Cafe Jucobi in Upper Burnie, where the welcome is warm and the food is excellent. There was a very small audience but it made for an intimate gig and we all had fun, despite some pretty awful weather. My heartfelt thanks to Stacey Wing, who not only organised the gig but also gave us somewhere to stay, fed us and is generally something of a superstar in my book ❤

Launceston was great fun! We arrived early at Shots on Wax in St John St, which meant brunch before a lunchtime gig. The coffee was perfect and I can highly recommend the pastrami melts! This was to promote the Butterscotch Pony single launch later that night and the idea was we’d do a teaser of the evening show, each doing two songs from our sets. Also, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen for four years. Seeing Phil was worth the whole trip 🙂 I had such a great time and it must have been okay, as Andy wants me back to do a Launceston launch of my solo CD later in the year 😉

Matt Dean performing at Shots on Wax 1 Aug 2015

Then off to the Northern Club, a beautiful old building in Cameron Street. After dealing with all the usual issues of discovering there wasn’t the right sound gear there for the gig and managing to source that gear, we all managed to get a sound check and had time for a sumptuous feast before the silliness started.

Me being a loudmouth - image courtesy of Josh Troy

Me being a loudmouth – image courtesy of Josh Troy

It was a great crowd and I caught up with another dear friend I literally hadn’t seen for years – absolute bonus that Mareka had her now adult son and his partner with her. All the acts were great but headliners Butterscotch Pony were their usual brilliant and unique selves. If you haven’t had the BP experience, I highly recommend it!

While I really enjoyed playing, I did get accosted by a drunk towards the end of the night who was happy to tell me what I “have to do”. It was quite hilarious and a little sad when she put her hand up and said “I know what you’re thinking”. I somehow doubt she did…….

After a long few days, we discovered a stuff up in accommodation arrangements, we wouldn’t be able to get to our room until after 3am. *Sigh*

So, I found the all night petrol stop in the middle of Launceston (who make excellent coffee, by the way) I hit the highway with my trusty wing man, and under the light of the blue moon, made it safely into my own bed at 3:30am. Worth the drive ❤

What are your best/worst road trip experiences? Leave your thoughts in the comments – I want to hear your stories!

 

 

New Playlist

And because it’s Friday – the best reason for everything – I’ve updated the playlist in the sidebar.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve uploaded three tracks from the digital download version of my solo album, “The Woman on The Edge of The World”.

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

It’s recently been remastered for a limited, numbered and signed CD release. More news on that soon – including ordering directly from here.

Meanwhile, have a listen and let me know what you think. I always value your comments.

Debra ❤

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