An Interview with Casey Barnes

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It feels like only yesterday I was talking to Australian country-pop, singer/songwriter Casey Barnes about his latest release – but here we are again. His latest single, the catchy Keep Me Coming Back was written with MSquared Productions’ Michael Payter and Michael Delorenza; the team behind his two previous hit singles – Just Like Magic and The Way We Ride. We spoke about the new music, performing at the Gympie Music Muster and celebrating his wedding anniversary.

“The Way We Ride” and “Keep Me Coming Back” have been released within months of each other, which is quite a short time between singles. Do you have a favourite between the two?

It’s funny; I use my kids as a barometer [and my daughters] both like Keep Me Coming Back because it crosses over a little more from Country into Pop. I love both! I love performing The Way We Ride but I think Keep Me Coming Back might have that crossover sound a little more than the other. We played both of those songs up in Gympie at the Muster and that was incredible! Keep Me Coming Back [has] just been added to the iTunes Hot Tracks chart in America, which I’ve never done before – which is absolutely huge!

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An Interview with Casey Donovan

Earlier this year, 2004 Australian Idol winner, Casey Donovan survived the jungle in I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Now she’s released her crowd-funded EP, Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between and its singles Lonely (her first in seven years) and The Villain, and is later set to tour this October.

What can you tell me about the new EP, Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between?

I used Kickstarter, so it was crowd-funded to cover recording costs. It has been such a great experience. The whole reason and premise behind crowd funding was to see if people really wanted to hear my music. I love writing original music and I was doing so many cover gigs that I was like, “Why can’t I sing my stuff?” (laughs)

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An Interview with Liam Bryant

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Although traits more so than talent are inherited through genetics, it’s fascinating how similar family member’s generations apart express themselves.  Like his Grandfather, Liam Bryant began writing poetry when he was 12 years old in the school playground. Little did he know that 17 years later he would discover a collection of his Grandfather’s poems, put one to a piece of his music and name an album after it.

Your lyrics are very thought-provoking. Do you tend to write the poetry first, then create the melody?

This changes for each song, but most of my songwriting happens from building a melody on top of a written chord or note progression, with the lyrics then being written to the melody.

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An Interview with Damien Leith

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.”

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An Interview with Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence

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?”

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An Interview with Shane Nicholson

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.

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An Interview with Jon Stevens

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.

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