|Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on March 30, 2016 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
KAYLENS RAIN – ALBUM LAUNCH – “In Our Blood”
Rooty Hill RSL, Friday 18th March 2016
The start of 2016 has been so busy on the country music front. The dust had barely settled on the 49th Tamworth Country Music Festival when it was suddenly time to play with the mud at CMC Rocks QLD. Then the inevitable post festivals withdrawal kicked in. Thankfully we only had to wait another week until the Kaylens Rain album launch! What at first seemed to be a delay in the release for no discernible reason, turned in to a clever piece of programming. With the festival hoopla behind us we could focus on brand new music from one of Australia’s premier country acts.
When you talk with Kaylee Stewart (nee Harrison) and Glen Harrison it is apparent that the accolades and adulation they garnered upon the release of their debut album “Found” hasn’t changed their down to earth personalities. While this is a welcome attribute, something that is also clear is that the sibling duo felt the weight of expectation upon them to deliver a worthwhile second album. Fans and the industry itself were abuzz with anticipation for another set of killer tunes with the requisite harmonies it seems only a brother and sister can produce, along with easy listening guitar riffs and clever song writing that was laden in their debut.
We spoke with Glen and Kaylee at the Sydney Country Music Festival last October, around the time they were laying down the new music in Andrew Cochrane’s FX Productions studio and back then they were saying they were well aware of the time between releases but they had been very conscious of finding the right songs and being absolutely sure about each track that would find it’s way onto the 2nd album.
What must seem like an eternity later, the duo were on stage at Rooty Hill RSL to launch the album with full band backing, including Kaylee’s new husband Joel Stewart on bass. The night opened with an acoustic set by rising singer/song writer Melanie Dyer who set the scene with a collection of her powerful country pop. Mel then doubled as the MC to introduce Kaylens Rain.
“Lost in the moonshine” kicked us off before Glen advised that they were playing all the songs off the album and that presented a real challenge. Title track “In our blood” was next up and the duo explained that it was about their sibling connection. An almost electro-drum sound presented a new sound for Kaylens Rain and gave credence to Glen’s challenge explanation.
The duo thoughtfully interspersed tracks from their debut album and these were well received by the knowledgeable crowd. “Waiting on a bus” was always a favourite of mine and it seems I wasn’t alone on the night. New song “Go there” has a message about being yourself and remaining genuine.
Kaylens Rain has always included some interesting covers in their live shows and the launch featured a couple of great versions of well-known songs. “Back for good” is one of those songs that has everyone waving their phone lights in the air, which is a lot safer than the old gas lighter days at concerts.
Kaylee described “Stars don’t forget” as the prettiest song on their new album and explained that they get lost in the song when performing it. It has the same effect for the listener. Close your eyes and drift away with the beautiful sound of perfect harmonies and melodic guitar. It’s a wide soundscape and it will be more than just Kaylee’s favourite track when people listen to the album. “Take it away” is the album closer and has a 70’s guitar blues anthem feel about it.
“Outta here” is perhaps the duo’s signature song from their debut album and again proved popular on the night. My personal favourite track on “In our blood” is “Living on love”, which sees Glen take control of the lead vocals. Well, sort of. In what can only be described as a moment that would have been cringe worthy if it were anyone else, Glen struggled with the words and had to re-start. I suggest it is because of his wonderful down to earth personality that the moment stayed light hearted and if anything brought the seated crowd closer to the action and seemed to lift the spirit in the room. This is a killer song and will be a single at some point.
“Catching red lights” is a song that is well known to veteran Kaylens Rain concert goers as it was written at the time of the debut album and has been performed live since then. It is only right that it found it’s way on to the second album. “Forever dance” is an upbeat anthem that went down well with the now more heavily invested crowd. The band finished with an outdoor anthem in the form of “When the sun goes down”.
We all knew there was unfinished business so an encore was mandatory. The duo returned and belted out a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The chain”. The party continued with the duo’s hugely popular “Wildflower”. Glen and Kaylee thanked everyone who has had a hand in their career and the new album, including manager Tom Inglis and producer Andrew Cochrane. Lead single “Firefly summer” closed out the show and what was a brilliant album launch.
Talking with Glen and Kaylee after the show, it was clear they were relieved the album was now officially released. They should also dismiss any residual pressure they may still feel about their 2nd album living up to the hype of their debut. It isn’t the same album and nor is it another collection of similar songs. “In our blood” is a mature album that belies the duo’s (relatively) short career thus far. This is an album that could have been made by a long time band, with swag of number 1 hits behind them. Credit must go to the siblings for patient song writing and careful song selection. Props also to Andrew Cochrane, who is a master producer.
The duo along with manager Tom Inglis now face the tough call of which songs to release as singles. How do you choose, when it’s all killer, no filler!
|Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on November 5, 2015 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
Concert: 17th October 2015 - Rooty Hill RSL - Review by Big Stu
There’s a saying in business “The moment the rate of change outside a business exceeds the rate of change within it, the end is near”. That might apply to the business world, but what on earth does it have to do with a concert review? The concert in question represents a moment of change within the country music industry, which to be fair, isn’t one single business, but seeing as it is a small industry in Australia, let’s look at it as one business. By the way, this is a concert review . . .
So how did the Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland twin EP launches change the ‘business’?
Both artists reflect a new wave (no, nothing to do with that British movement in the 80’s) of artists coming in to country from different backgrounds and all musical genres. Now there may be nothing new in that, people have been making ‘different’ styles of country for some time, but not always with the support of those established in the ‘business’, or more importantly, fans of the genre. But I sense a change in the air. Music is changing – the world over. Some mourn the generication (not a word, but I claim it when it catches on) of music. A seemingly headlong burst into over commercialised sound that fits multiple genres and maximises ROI for record companies who, quite frankly must be scared stiff about making any money at all in this rapidly changing world. By the way, this is a concert review . . .
For every mourner, there are ten-fold fans, that are lapping up current music that crosses over, under, between and around multiple styles. Remember when you read what I wrote about change outside a business? That is what is happening in music. But country, as a ‘business’ has not embraced change at the rate of that which is occurring outside. So what does that mean? Is the end near? Thankfully no, and I contend that it is because of artists like The Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland that the end is nowhere in sight. These two ‘modern country’, ‘new country’, ‘contemporary country’, call them what you like performers are taking country in a new and exciting direction. By the way, this is finally heading towards being a concert review . . .
Before we get to the concert, and we will get there; I need to address the tutt tutters, who are fans of ‘traditional country’, ‘real country’, call it what you like. No-one is suggesting the type of country that you like has to go. No-one is suggesting that artists who play that music have to change. My synopsis of the country music ‘business’ is predicated on the belief that for the business to remain viable, it must embrace new and alternate markets. There will always be a space for traditional country, but there must be space for new country, otherwise the business fails. Think about it. How many festivals (that include all types of country) would cease to exist if ‘new country’ was not embraced. How many radio stations would be viable with only traditional country to play? And here’s the kicker, how many new fans would be turned on to country, if ‘new country’ didn’t exist?
By the way, we’re nearly at the concert review bit . . .
So, now that I’ve established the importance of this new and exciting direction for country music, why are The Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland so important to it’s success? It’s very simple. Any other form of music’s loss, is country’s gain. Jay Seeney is a guitar virtuoso who could have been a Rock God in the hard rock world. The fact that he identifies with country and wants to bring his rock sensibilities (is that an oxymoron) to the genre should be applauded. Jade Holland grew up listening to Metallica and Alanis Morissette with her parents before discovering country. How fortunate we are that she did. The point here is that these two musicians have embraced country and we need to be sure that country embraces them. I only say this because not too long ago I witnessed some country artists virtually hounded out of the genre for being ‘too rocky’. What a load of . . .
OK, so here is the concert review. Awesome.
You expected more . . . all right then. This show had been highly anticipated for several of us Jay Seeney fanatics, but we wondered how it would work with Jade Holland. Who would get top billing? That issue was solved by having one almighty show with both artists on stage and rocking out to each-others music. The members of The Jay Seeney Band played all the music backing both artists and there was a sense that this was just one big band. I’m not sure if there are tour plans for both to support their respective albums, but it would make so much sense to tour as they played at the launch.
So you read all the way through to get to a few sentences about the concert and you waited weeks to read it. What gives? Well the wait was because I wanted to see how the fans at the Sydney Country Music festival reacted to the Jay Seeney Band. The answer is they welcomed them. The crowd wasn’t huge but there was a mix of older traditional country fans and younger new country fans and they all seemed to get on. If only the social media world was as well behaved as the fans at the festival.
I read some very nasty dribble on social media overnight about new country, relating to the CMA Awards in America. It seems the defenders of traditional country have been gloating about Chris Stapleton winning several awards over some new country artists. Maybe labelling them defenders of traditional country is a little kind, seeing as one of the pages is named “We hate pop country”. Memes have appeared declaring the death of new country and hail Stapleton as digging Florida Georgia Line’s grave. Look, I get it. You like traditional country, but do you really have to poor hate on others? I have attempted to use rationale in this article to state my position about new country and the new artists such as the Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland. I really wouldn’t like to revert to name calling. Can’t we all just get along?
BTW, final score at the CMA’s:
New country: 8
Traditional country: 3