There seems to be a running joke between Irish-born, singer-songwriter, Damien Leith and I, because whenever we chat, it’s due to one of his shows being brought back by popular demand. This time around he revisits his cabaret, The Parting Glass – An Irish Journey.
“It’s my favourite show of anything I do! I treat it like a trip to Ireland – you come to the show, forget about the world for two hours, and get involved in what’s going on in this Irish setting. It’s not like a musical. [There’s] clear separation between the acting and the band parts.”
For the first time, country music singer/songwriters Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence have collaborated on their debut seven-track EP, Our Backyard. Friends since 2004, when they met at the College of Country Music (now Academy of Country Music), it’s been eight years since the duo hit the road together. With cemented solo careers and album releases, Amber and Travis agree that now was the best time to combine their talents.
Your collaborative seven-track EP, Our Backyard is out this week. How did the idea for the EP and the tour of the same name come about?
Amber: We’re touring together for the second half of this year [so] it was our manager who said, “Why don’t you guys do an album together to support the tour?”
Singer, songwriter and producer, Shane Nicholson has just released his new studio album, Love and Blood. Following that Americana-influenced, Country sound, it’s a follow up to the ARIA-award winning, Hell Breaks Loose released in 2015. About to kick off on a national tour, we sat down to discuss the process of writing the new album and the importance of creative isolation.
Your new album, Love And Blood, is released on July 28th. How were the feels leading up to its release?
I don’t think it’s changed since my very first album came out; it’s still that same feeling of excitement when something new comes out. It’s the product of a lot of man hours, time and work. It’s also a sense of relief – it’s like a purging. I can give it to the rest of the world and move on with my life (laughs). [Before it’s released] it’s just my album, but [once it’s released] it’ll be everybody’s. I love making records, but I’d do it anyway even if I wasn’t releasing them [so] it’s such a bonus people seem to enjoy them. As long as that’s happening, I’m happy to still keep making them.
Hot on the heels of his UK tour, Jon Stevens is hitting the road around Australia for a national tour to celebrate his latest album release, Starlight. The tour, which will see him rock into six states and territories, will also feature very special guest and Jon’s long-time friend Kate Ceberano. He has fronted some of the most legendary Aussie bands – Noiseworks, INXS and Dead Daisies.
You recently got back from touring in the United Kingdom. What was it like playing in London, especially as you were there when London was essentially in chaos?
We arrived three days before the [attack on London Bridge] – so it was all [going] awesome and then we got caught in the middle of London. We got stuck till about 5:00 a.m. in the morning – couldn’t get a cab, couldn’t get a car, you couldn’t get anything – they locked all of London down. It was a pretty scary evening actually. It was a ghost town. [We were] staying at Shepherd’s Bush, looking out the hotel window, then there’s Grenfell Tower on fire about four blocks away! Waking up that morning and opening the curtains; London was a bit strange this time around.
Australian singer/songwriter, Caitlyn Shadbolt’s career has gone from strength-to-strength since competing on 2014’s The X-Factor. After a strong EP release in 2015; she released her debut album, Songs On My Sleeve earlier this year. The album debuted at number one on the country ARIA Chart, and featured its infectious, fun, runway smash hit single, My Break Up Anthem. Caitlyn is set to perform at major festivals this year including Broadbeach Country Music Festival, the Gympie Music Muster and the Deni Ute Muster, followed by a national tour later in the year.
Your debut album, Songs On My Sleeve debuted at number one on the country ARIA charts. Congratulations! Were you surprised how fast it charted?
Yeah, it was bizarre. I got a text message at 7am that morning. I was like, “Aw, go away” It was my Project Manager telling me the album was at #1 already. It’s great [and] so exciting!