Northern Star Column

Northern Star column, 3/5/2010

After his performance at Bluesfest I’ve been listening to nothing but Justin Townes Earle. Apart from Christian Pyle, Wilco and Lucie Thorne, of course. Son of Steve Earle, Justin is named for Townes Van Zandt, who was equally, a trader in traditional blues, folk and country-based narrative, flipped on its back and twisted into a strange and compelling beast.

A tall, skinny, oddly bobbing and quietly hilarious showman Townes Earle may be, but what he does with these revered genres was as startling at Bluesfest, in cahoots with ex-Drive By Truckers cohort Jason Isbell, as it is on record, Midnight at the Movies.

Another great record on high rotation is the aforementioned Pyle’s Nothing Left to Burn, on Mullumbimby label Vitamin. Pyle played every note himself on this astonishing landmark of laconic, avant garde, post-electro rural pop (gulp), produced with as much painstaking verve as his other new release with his band Ghost Mountain.

Meanwhile, breaking news from Lismore is that the Celibate Rifles, Australia’s punk prototypes, have just been confirmed for Mazstock on May 22, at the Italo Club. Promoter, Sideshow Bridge, is missing, presumed delirious.

Northern Star Column

Blues mutterings

Big ups to our very own Lennox-based blues bawler Dallas Frasca, who just took out MusicOz Artist of the Year and Best Blues and Roots song at their Awards last Friday night. Also of course to her right hand man, Eumundi’s very own Jeff ‘Goat Boy’ Curran, the filthiest chicken-pickin’ dobro hand this side of the Beyond. These two have worked their arses off for years now and righteously deserve the plaudits.

And onto the Blues itself. Checking out the programme, I don’t know where to start. In no particular order, tent or time, here’s who’s what.

Jools Holland; – absolute must see. Jen Cloher and the Endless Sea; fulsome songwriter, enduring voice. Jeff Beck; mate of Ronny Wood. Hat Fitz; another barbed wire bluesman from Eumundi, living. Lyle Lovett; all class, all country, Johnny Greens Blues Cowboys; Australia’s authentic blues survivors. 10CC; Don’t like cricket? I’m your man. Kev Carmody; the black Bob Dylan is still angry, potent and prodigiously important. Justin Townes Earle; Son of Steve. Gogol Bordello; genuine gypsy trouble. The Wilson Pickers; all I know is Sime Nugent is in ’em. Nuff said.