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!

Greenhouse Action & Musings – Day 8 NaBloPoMo 2016

Today, I’ll start with an apology – there’s no gratuitous cute bunny pic in this post. In truth, I forgot to take one today. To Bernard Black Bunny’s fans, I promise I’ll make it up in tomorrow’s post!

I went into the city today for lunch, catching up for coffee with a dear friend and calling into my favourite bookshop, but this morning after I fed the animals, I had a little bit of fun in the greenhouse.

I grow strawberries in pots so I can move them around the yard throughout the year and I’ve been picking fruit steadily for the last few weeks. But one poor plant really wasn’t looking great a couple of weeks ago, so I took it into the greenhouse, fed it some of my home made worm juice fertiliser and promptly forgot about it. What a lovely surprise this morning when I discovered this luscious beauty and more on the way 😀

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A few weeks ago, I planted my precious stash of chilli seeds for the coming summer. While I usually keep a few Cayenne and Rocoto in the greenhouse to overwinter, most get treated as annuals, so this is a big deal for a chilli-lover like me. I was thrilled to see the first of this year’s crop poking their heads up this morning. The weather has been downright cold at times in recent days, so I was worried that I wasn’t going to get any to germinate, not uncommon if temperatures are too low. I’ll post some pictures in the next couple of days.

This winter was so mild, there’s more chillies than usual held over from last summer, including a few Poblano Ancho and I’m really pleased the Cayenne are starting to flower already.

After, I went into the city and (not for the first time) I was quite astonished at the difference between my oasis here and being in town. All the more so that it’s a 10 minute drive or a 25 minute walk from here to central Hobart – it’s not like I like in the bush or even an outer suburb.

I had a great time with my friend but my last stop was the best – catching up with Richard and Mike at Cracked & Spineless New and Used Books. I love bookshops but this one is really something else. It’s not uncommon to bump into friends there, it can be hard to navigate around the shelves depending on how many boxes of books have arrived that day, sometimes you’ll even see the shop’s stick insects fornicating in their tank (I have photographic proof of this!) and for me it’s almost impossible to keep track of time once I set foot in the door.

And while I always come away poorer in monetary terms, I’m always enriched by the books I buy. Today I picked up a new sci-fi thriller, The Tourist by Robert Dickinson, and a very important book from my early adolescence, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

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My father gave me a copy of this same printing when I was probably 11 or 12 and it quite literally changed my life. It caused me to think about making a smaller footprint on this fragile planet, something I still strive to do to this day but above all, it brought me even closer to my father. I’m looking forward to re-reading it and remembering my dad ❤

Finally, for those of you in southern Tasmania, I’m playing a short set Thursday night at the Waratah Hotel in Murray Street. I’m opening the wonderful UNLOCKED show that, now the days are getting longer (and sometimes warmer), is back to being a weekly event. I’m really looking forward to playing 😀

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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 Update – Day 10 NaBloPoMo 2015

Wow, it’s Day 10 already – one third of the way through the month of blogging! It’s a little scary how fast the time has flown but I still haven’t run out of things to write about 😀

As many of you will be aware, there was much excitement on the weekend when the beautiful Boudica Bunny gave birth on Saturday morning.

I’m very pleased to say that all seven of them are very healthy, plump little bunnies, obviously being fed and already showing a light sheen of (mostly) white fur. There’s a couple with speckles of black skin like their mother but I think most of them are going to be like their father Beelzebun, who’s a crossbred Californian/New Zealand White. Newborns are more or less hairless and look like little pink peanuts but within the first week they grow an awful lot of fur! By this time next week they’ll be starting to open their eyes and get curious about the world.

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For the next fortnight or more I’ve got loads of work coming my way, mostly with regard to my final assignment for my current online unit at Griffith University. I have to complete a creative piece (short story, short screenplay or three poems) and a 500 word exegesis about my process. I’ve decided to go with the poems as it’s closer to lyric writing which I feel comfortable with but different enough to be of value to my learning. Interestingly, I’ve been reading far more prose lately but it’s flavouring my work in an interesting way. I hope my tutor agrees!

And next Thursday I’m playing a gig at The Homestead in Hobart, supporting my good friend, Cassie O’Keefe. I’m really looking forward to it and hoping we can find the time to rehearse some material together between now and then. If you’re in southern Tasmania, Cassie’s playing a set this Friday the 13th at the Worlds End in Sandy Bay, which I’m hoping to get to.

So, posts will still be daily – I don’t want to stop now I’m a third of the way through – they’ll still contain bunny and gardening updates but they might be a little shorter…….

To finish, here’s a photo of Boudica and my other doe Bella, when they were little girls – about four or five months old. Note the overturned bowl, something Boudica still does when she’s finished her daily kibble ration ❤

Bella & Boudica

Bella & Boudica

ASA Update

ASA July 2015 Poster

ASA July 2015 Poster

Hello friends,
I’m pleased to announce the Australian Songwriters Association Tasmania are returning at a new venue – The Homestead in Elizabeth Street on Tuesday July 21st.
I’m incredibly honored to be the feature artist that night – which also means I’ll be under examination by MC Matt Dean prior to my set. If you want to hear me rabbit on about my craft, performing and mentoring please come along. As with all ASA Wax Lyrical nights, this is a free show.
At the moment, I’m trying to find out if we can film the interview so those of you who are interested but don’t live here can get an opportunity to see and hear what I’m about.
Meanwhile, there’s more gigs to talk about soon!
Take care,
Debra ❤

World Record Store Day 2015

Record Store Day 2015

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder wherever you are on this beautiful planet, go out this Saturday and support your local record store – it’s World Record Store Day! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a turntable or even a CD player. The reality of running a bricks and mortar business in the 21st century means that you can buy not only CDs and vinyl at stores but also t-shirts, posters, books about musicians and other music related things.

I’m heading to one of Hobart’s hidden treasures, R & R’s Retro Music and Clothing Shoppe in the Imperial Arcade, off Collins Street in the city (shop 8/138 Collins Street, Hobart TAS 7000). The owners, Ross and Rhonda are much more than just business people. They’re truly passionate about music and in particular, supporting local Tasmanian artists. They have things in their shop that hark back to my misspent youth and my earliest times exploring the Tasmanian music scene as well as new work by emerging and established musicians. If you live outside Tasmania, call them to ask about their extensive catalogue (03) 6224 4891 or 61+3+6224 4891 if you’re overseas.

Anyway, Ross and Rhonda have kindly agreed to not only open their store this Saturday, but also host a showcase of very talented local musos – including me 🙂 If you’re in Hobart, I recommend you call in. It’s around the corner from my favourite book shop, Cracked and Spineless New and Used Books, who will also be open – just watch out for Mike and Richard dancing along with the rest of us 😉

For locals, if you’ve got any Wild Pumpkins at Midnight recordings, posters or memorabilia, please bring it along and I’m happy to sign it, coo over it and generally reminisce. Hopefully, see you there!

Debra ❤

All at Sea

I’ve been busy this year.

I feel like I’ve lost a couple of months somewhere, it’s been so hectic and now I realise that spring is here and I haven’t done half the things I meant to this calendar year. But I have managed a few that I wasn’t expecting!

The university experience has been wonderful so far although I won’t pretend I’ve enjoyed every unit. At the moment, I’m preparing papers on two of my favourite things – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the personal still camera. And I’ve had to watch classic films such as Rear Window and Citizen Kane. Yes, I’m loving my units this semester!

But today I’ve been distracted from study. Tomorrow night I’m playing at a House Concert in Hobart with wonderful Queensland singer/songwriter Francesca de Valence and Hobart duo Butterscotch Pony in one of their all-too-rare live shows. However, instead of doing a solo set or playing with the wonderful girls in Straddlepuss (more on that next time!) I’m doing a special set with dear friend (and half of Butterscotch Pony), Matt Sertori.

We’ve been friends for a long time and decided early in the year that we wanted to do a music project together that included a documentary about our personal process and the creative world that we inhabit. We’ve done some filming already but will be adding to it at this gig. Meanwhile, our trusty doco guru, Josh Troy put this little gem together to promote this event. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did all of us!

Please note, there’s some bad language at the end 😉

And we really did decide to call it ‘All at Sea’. The moral of the story is Matt has the attention span of a flea…………  ❤

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