Sunburnt Country Music

Interviews with Australian country music artists

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  • 50. Katie Brooke can't fake that

    released a self-titled EP in 2020 and her debut album, Sticks, Stones and Stories, in 2022. Late last year she released the single ‘Too Far Down’ and her latest single is ‘Can’t Fake That’. ‘Can’t Fake That’ is Brooke’s tribute to women of the land, with a lighthearted feeling that was achieved by Brooke and her producer, Rusty Crook, by deciding to re-record the song after realising their first version wasn’t quite right. Brooke lives on the land and draws inspiration from it; she also makes it clear in our chat that connection with other people is her primary driver in creating music, and this is something she pursues with passion.We also have a little bit to say about Mercury Retrograde … for those who believe, or not!For more about Katie Brooke: to 'Can't Fake That' on Apple MusicListen to 'Can't Fake That' on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website 

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  • 49. Jayne Denham and his dynamite Moonshine

    Jayne Denham was nominated for a Golden Guitar in 2022 for her last album, Wanted, and she returns now with Moonshine, which is an irrepressible force of an album that features Jayne’s amazing vocal power.Whereas Wanted had a spaghetti western theme, Denham chose the Prohibition era as the creative inspiration for Moonshine. Working with her Nashville-based producer Brian White, she carefully selected songs that would not only work individually but contribute to the whole vision of the album. These included a cover of George Strait's 'Poison', as Denham explained when we spoke recently. The latest single is the emotional 'Lovin' a Wild Thing', which was originally written for a male vocalist. Vocal collaborators on the album include Colt Ford on the title track and Hurricane Fall on 'Are You Ready for This'. The track 'Risk it All' reflects Denham's decision to launch an Australian tour, which she is currently on (tour dates below) - and having seen her live I can see it is a low-risk decision to attend as she is an incredible live performer. We discussed the decisions she makes that feed into the powerful live experience, as well as the making of Moonshine. See Jayne Denham liveJun. 7, 2024 - Freemasons Hotel Molong Jun. 15, 2024 - Barra & Boots Music Festival Lake Proserpine in the Whitsundays Jun. 21, 2024 - Moonshiners Tamworth Jul 5, 2024 - Astor Hotel Goulburn Jul. 6, 2024 - Oaks Hotel Albion Park Rail Aug. 23, 2024 - Camden Hotel Sept. 27, 2024 - Texas QLD Country Music Festival 2024 Oct. 26, 2024 - Mandurah Country Music FestivalFor more about Jayne Denham: to Moonshine on Apple MusicListen to Moonshine on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website 
  • 48. Jay Santilli takes the 'Long Way Home'

    Melbourne singer and songwriter Jay Santilli has been immersed in music since childhood, listening to classic country artists on the radio growing up, begging her parents for a keyboard at age 10 and learning saxophone then guitar. She formed a band with friends and would go on to take part in such competitions as the (now-defunct) Telstra Road to Tamworth contest. This year she was a Grand Finalist in the Toyota Star Maker competition.The path to being a musician has not, however, been straightforward – nor has been the pursuit of her other dream, motherhood. Santilli’s new single ‘Long Way Home’ tells of pursuing dreams even when they seem impossible. It is emotional and inspiring, and Santilli has a lot more on the way this year, with plans to release one single a month. When we spoke recently Santilli’s love for her artform and her generous spirit and open heart were evident, making the chat just as inspiring as the song. For more about Jay Santilli: to 'Long Way Home' on Apple MusicListen to 'Long Way Home' on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website 
  • 47. Troy Cassar-Daley: Between the Fires

    When reviewing Troy Cassar-Daley’s last album, The World Today (2021), I compared him to Orpheus, going to the Underworld in search of his wife, Eurydice, who had been taken there by Hades. But after going into the darkness to find what he was looking for then turning back at the point of rescue only to see Eurydice disappear – as the myth has it – Cassar-Daley as Orpheus turned his face forwards and stepped into the light, as complicated as the path ahead was.‘Troy Cassar-Daley has long been a beacon in our culture,’ I wrote then, ‘for his songs and the way he delivers them. With this album he takes on not mythic status, because he’s still with us, but he becomes, perhaps, a warrior for the people. Out of his darkness we can find light, and the only thing left to say to him is “thank you”.’That album remains as one of its creator’s very best, and a classic by many measures. It seemed unlikely that he could better it, for how would he find a deeper well to draw on, how much further could he go into the darkness and, to balance, how much light would he discover on his return? The answer has arrived in the form of his new album, Between the Fires, which is an epic work of love, loss, water, fire and smoke, of country and connection, written almost entirely by Cassar-Daley alone in the wake of the death of his mother, then recorded in her home. The depth of Cassar-Daley’s sorrow is soaked into this album, as is his resolution to find light once again. He growls, he rails, he ponders the past and looks to construct a future that may not have included his wife, Laurel, as they went through a separation around the same time, which is also part of the fabric of this album. Most of all, though, he pays tribute to his mother, and we are shown – more than we are told – how much of a man she helped to make him. For the work done there is his too, and the unforgettable resolution of the album, ‘Moving On’, is his alone. There is a verse in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, a revealed text of Kashmir Shaivism, that goes: Live continuously for a few days in the meditation,‘I am immersed in the flame, The flame of life, the flame of love, the flame of time.The universal fire flows through me.’Step into that fire fully, wholeheartedly, Starting with the toe of the left foot – And then surrendering everywhere.Only the not-self, which doesn’t exist anyway,Is burned.(Verse 29, translation by Lorin Roche)Between the Fires documents Troy Cassar-Daley’s burning of the not-self and consequent revelation of the self. Through the fire of grief and change we are able to see the man as he is now and was always meant to be. There is so much bravery required to step into this flame and to go on afterwards, let alone present what remains to the world. For more about Troy Cassar-Daley: to Between the Fires on Apple MusicListen to Between the Fires on SpotifySunburnt Country Music website 
  • 46. Hana & Jessie-Lee's Bad Habits say what they mean

    Hana & Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits are a Melbourne duo who released their debut album, Southlands, in 2017 and have just released their latest album, the gloriously entertaining and thought-provoking Say What You Mean.  The longtime friends and collaborators started their performing life in punk bands over a decade ago in their hometown of Adelaide before forming Hana & Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, with Hana on vocals and Jessie-Lee on guitar, in 2014. The catalyst was a batch of country-tinged songs written by Hana. Jessie-Lee helped flesh out arrangements, and they then played a month-long residency at Adelaide's Crown & Anchor Hotel to cement the new formation. Over the next few years, Hana and Jessie-Lee continued evolving their sound while playing live extensively. It was the isolation of pandemic lockdowns that inspired Hana to write a new collection of songs which have now become Say What You Mean. In this interview we talked about their creative collaboration, their musical influences and songwriting process – and what bad habits might have prompted the band name. For more about Hana & Jessie-Lee's Bad Habits: to Say What You Mean on Apple MusicListen to Say What You Mean on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website 
  • 45. Tori Forsyth on her mesmerising new album All We Have is Who We Are

    Tori Forsyth released her Golden Guitar-nominated debut album Dawn of the Dark in 2018 then followed it up with rock album Provlépseis in 2021. She now has a new country music album, All We Have is Who We Are.The album was created after Forsyth decided that if she didn’t love the process of making music, she’d walk away. Around the same time the pandemic led to her once more living on the land, where she found herself grounded, both literally and creatively. The combination freed her to make an album that not only allowed her to tap back into the joy that initially drew her to music but which sounds like it. On All We Have is Who We Are Forsyth is by turns earthy and ethereal, wild and circumspect, thoughtful and unconstrained. The album is a story arc that documents how she arrived at where she is - how all she has is who she is. And our conversation about it was as rich, interesting and inspiring as the album itself.Forsyth has some live dates coming up, and having seen her place a showcase in Sydney last year I can attest that she is very much worth seeing live.MAY 17 SYDNEY - THE VANGUARD - Ticketsw. Chloe Gill, Piper ButcherMAY 18 NEWCASTLE - STAG AND HUNTER - Ticketsw. Chloe Gill MAY 23 MELBOURNE - THE TOTE - Ticketsw. Jay SantilliMAY 26 SUNSHINE COAST - SOL BAR - Ticketsw. Piper Rodrigues and Tyla Piper RodriguesFor more about Tori Forsyth: to All We Have is Who We Are on Apple MusicListen to All We Have is Who We Are on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website 
  • 44. Matt Joe Gow & Kerryn Fields release their stunning album, I Remember You

    The Matt Joe Gow & Kerryn Fields project falls into the category of ‘high risk’: two artists with solo careers that have seen them win audiences, acclaim and awards, with potentially nothing to gain from a collaboration. After all, if something ain’t broke, why fix it?What they have fixed on, though, is interesting and compelling work that draws on their individual talents and strengths to make something new and different to what they have created individually. What was apparent on their singles ‘Your Heart of Gold’,  ‘Love Ya Like I Can’ and ‘No Trace’ is now evident on their album, I Remember You: they have brought their talents and strengths as artists and openness – vulnerabilities, if you prefer – as individuals and created something unique, rich and stunning. The collaboration has required them both to set aside any expectations they have for their solo work and start afresh with each other. It could only have worked if they did not demand any more of the other than they demanded of themselves. The proof is in the ten tracks on the album, each different to each other just as Joe Gow and Fields are different to each other, but united in the common cause of telling a story of life, loss and love, of what home means and where to find it. Throughout these songs the duo also provide proof, over and over again, that for as much as they have great strengths as songwriters they are also extraordinary singers. Listen no further than to Joe Gow on ‘Carry On’ and Fields on ‘Here I’ll Be’ for that proof, but you’ll want to listen to it all, over and over again, and find yourself entranced.So, in the end, this high-risk project is, in fact, high-risk and high-reward – the reward being for them as the creators and us as the listeners. And I spoke to them both about the project in this interview. to I Remember You on Apple MusicListen to I Remember You on SpotifyFollow Sunburnt Country Music on InstagramFollow Sunburnt Country Music on Facebook Sunburnt Country Music website