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Press release for Spikey and Friends album ‘In My Backyard’

In My Backyard is an exciting kids album released by Spikey and Friends, Byron Bay’s top pop-rock performers. Based around the bushland of Byron Bay, it takes the kids on an adventure through their own backyards, where friendly bushland creatures introduce them to the magic of music and nature.

Spikey the echidna sings the kids through meetings with all his bushland friends and through them the kids learn simple lessons about the animal’s biologies and habits. With great respect but a great sense of fun, the kids meet Old Man Bray, an elder of the Bundjalung people, who shows them around the country his people have looked after for millennia.

It’s a brilliant way or teaching about the country and the animals, just as the indigenous people have always done it, mixing lessons with music and fun, so the kids are too involved to realise that they’re actually taking in a great deal of knowledge about the place they live in.

The album was recorded in the hills behind Byron Bay at Christian Pyle’s highly regarded Goonengerry studio, with the best musicians in the area.

Spikey and Friends are a band of experienced musicians and performers whose exciting music will captivate your kids attention while they romp with the bushland creatures. You’ll love the music too, its jazz-inflected grooving rock and roll with the guitar twang of Link Wray and the sinuous beauty of great pop-rock.

Spikey is Michael Turner, an Aria award winning singer/songwriter who has toured Europe and Australia with such bands as Wild Pumpkins and Midnight and more recently North Coast retro surf-folksters The Durga Babies. He has released a previous kid’s record; Peaceful Stars, Days & Dreams, a beautiful album recorded in Mumbai, India with under-privileged rural children. He also co-produced Kangaroo Club, an album by popular north coast children’s performer Mereki, an indigenous Kamilaroi woman, in 2001.

Thierry Fossemale, on bass, has played with the likes of The Whitlams and more top shelf jazz combos than he cares to remember, while drummer Nick Fisher used to work with Ed Kuepper and the New Christs when he was a crazy kid himself.

Assisting this terrific trio is Suzie Surprise, aka Suzie Leigh, a hugely experienced acrobat and circus performer who has turned heads across the world and trains aspiring circus runaways at schools around NSW’s north coast. While the band performs live, Tina conducts workshops in body balancing, juggling and hoops.

Assisting this terrific trio is Suzie Surprise aka Suzie Leigh, a hugely experienced acrobat and circus performer who has turned heads across the world and trains aspiring circus runaways at schools around NSW’s north coast. While the band performs live, Suzie conducts workshops in body balancing, juggling, hoops, plays games and dress-ups and dances with the kids as she plays different characters and makes sure they all have heaps of fun.

The album also features a cast of singing local kids and guest musicians on didjeridoo, saxaphone, violins and organs, all creating a huge album bursting with information and great music.

From simple nursery rhymes to energetic pop-rock reminiscent of The Beatles or Crowded House, songs about dolphins, echidnas, koalas, bush turkeys and cane toads will echo through your kid’s heads for years. They’ll learn respect for animals and the history of this ancient land, and get a great musical education too!

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Three album reviews for Plateau Magazine – Alstonville

Big Low – The Junction of The Two Rivers Big Low is the vehicle of Dan Tuffy, one time member of 80’s rock outfit Wild Pumpkins At Midnight, who had an eclectic career in Australia before exporting themselves to Europe for a sustained, if addled campaign of touring. The rest of the band returned home, worn out, and Michael Turner, of Nimbin’s own Durga Babies, is a North Coast resident. Tuffy stayed in the Netherlands, however and concentrated on an eccentric country/folk strain of music. His work in Big Low with Dutchmen Michiel Hollanders and Marc Constandse features a variety of odd, archaic instruments including the Velofoon, banjo bass, bendir and bandoneon (google ‘em). The songs on this album are then, of an odd, almost whimsical folksiness (I saw them at the Yackandandah Folk festival earlier this year). Tuffy’s unabashed Australian accent sits oddly with the lilting, very European musicality of his compadres and creates a stirring vision of an older era that’s almost magic realist – a cover of country great Merle Travis’ Dark as a Dungeon, and the convict dirge My Name is Jimmy Governor set the tone. Available only through online order, you can access this through Smoked Recordings.

The Tendons – Snatches of alt-rock from three decades glisten in this restless animal, throwing off echoes of Masters Apprentices, The Church, Died Pretty and the bipolar frenetics of Eagles of Death Metal. An audacious and enterprising debut from a promising Lismore band, Cult Leader imagines the trajectory of a Messianic individual, based on the antics of an interesting existing individual, pictured on the cover. The Tendon’s are the brainchild of local boy Glenn Deaf, frontman and songwriter, whose rambunctious guitar work enshrines this unusual rock and roll adventure. Standouts are Snow 2480 and King Brown. Produced locally at Music House Studios, you can get this through Flood Records, an estimable independent Lismore record label.

The Dennis Boys – No Story to Tell The Dennis Boys are a product of the highly fecund Hunter Valley, famous for coal, stud horses and great bands. A country rock outfit consisting of four siblings and a family friend, their influences are profoundly rooted in the greats – Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam, but there’s just as much Nick Cave, White Stripes and Lucinda Williams in their roughneck ballads. Brothers Shane, Lyle and Erle provide the brawn, whilst sister Leah is the beauty, and between them they bristle with authentic guitar twang and bravado. They are the real country deal – truckdrivers, horse farriers – Erle an award-winning harmonica player and Leah a jeweller. Lyle does most of the singing, and his authentic vocal growl easily carries opener The Right Kind, while Leah’s Falling For Me provides some of that Patsy Cline sass. Shane’s Hurts Too Much hits a poignant note – this a truly tender and beautiful song from the clan elder and contrasts deftly with the raunch and swagger of the albums general tone. Just released through Newcastle’s Rack Off Records, this album’s getting a lot of attention.