It’s only March, but I’m already predicting that the three-way collaboration between Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann, and Holly Throsby is going to be one of the real gems released this year. With three of our greatest singer-songwriters involved, female or otherwise, how could it go wrong?

Sarah writes on her blog that the album, which was recorded last August, has finally been mastered. So it’s only a matter of time before we get to hear it. The record was laid down in just ten days, so I’m expecting a really spontaneous feel and the sort of genius that comes out when such talent just flows.

She adds that we’ll “hopefully get to hear” it “very soon,” although I’ve got to admit that it can’t come soon enough! I’m already fantasising about that triple-bill tour!

Image source: Stuart Stevasos @ Flickr

Brazilian songstress Fernanda Takai is coming to Australia for the first time next month to play two very special shows.

Fernanda’s a household name back home, but you might know her better as the frontwoman of Pato Fu. No? Well cross Suzanne Vega with Norah Jones and you’re somewhere in the ballpark. Her solo album Onde Brilhem Os Olhos Seus has sold more than 80 thousand copies in her native Brazil, and become popular in Portugal, Japan, and China.

Fernanda will pay tribute to her Japanese Roots at Canberra’s All for Japan Benefit show at The Playhouse Theatre on April 19. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit the Japanese Red Cross and its work in recovery efforts following the earthquakes and tsunami. Then it’s off to The Basement in Sydney on April 20, where she’ll play an intimate dinner show.

While in Australia Fernanda will sing in Brazilian, Portugese, English, and Japanese, and pay tribute to her influences which range from Buarque and Ze Keti to James Taylor and Annie Lennox. It sounds like an amazing night for anyone willing to take a chance on something new.

Image used with permission from Positive Feedback

We first saw Perth’s Abbe May rocking out on her debut single “Mammalian Locomotion.” Now she’s back again with the equally dark and brooding follow-up, “Design Desire.”

There’s definitely more than a touch of the Patti Smith to Abbe, which is certainly not a bad thing. I’m in love with her big crunchy guitar riffs and rich, resonant vocals.

The song is the title track from Abbe’s debut album, which should be on record store shelves mid-year. Needless to say, I can’t wait!

When Miley Cyrus announced she was heading our way in 2008, it sent fans on my former blog into a frenzy. I received comments for months later demanding to know when we’d get some dates.

Goodness she left us waiting, but finally the patience of the fans is being rewarded. She’ll bring her Gypsy Heart show to Australia this June.

Gypsy Heart is not just a tour for me, but a mission to spread love,” she said in a press statement. Right …

What a shame for parents that Miley’s finally coming out when her image has taken a turn. Try telling those young Hannah Montana fans that they can’t see their idol because her show’s too racy. I really don’t envy the mums of Australia right now.

If you are old enough to appreciate she who “can’t be tamed,” you can grab your tickets from April 12.

21 June 2011 – Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
23 June 2011 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
26 June 2011 – Acer Arena, Sydney
29 June 2011 – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
2 June 2011 – Burswood Dome, Perth

Image source: Wikipedia Commons

Regular visitor to our shores k.d. lang is coming back for another tour this November. She’ll be here to promote Sing It Loud, the follow-up to her number one album Watershed.

k.d. lang will share the stage with her new outfit, The Siss Boom Bang. k.d. handpicked all the musicians who also play on Sing It Loud. It’s the first time k.d.’s played with a personally selected band since she recorded her second record more than two decades ago, so I’m expecting her to have some amazing chemistry with these musos.

It’s hard to imagine what you’ll be doing in November, but I definitely recommend penciling one of these shows in. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed by these shows. Tickets go on sale on April 18.

5 November 2011 – Sandalford Winery, Swan Valley
7 November 2011 – AIS Arena, Canberra
9 & 10 November 2011 – State Theatre, Sydney
12 November 2011 – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
13 November 2011 – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
22 November 2011 – Riverstage, Brisbane

Image source: Mandy Hall @ Wikipedia

It’s been a while since I featured any country music around here. But when the country’s national country music rag Country Update Magazine calls an act “the most exciting new band in Australian country music,” I figured I’d better give them a listen. That band is The Duke Wilde Band.

The band hails from Queensland, but their new single “The Band Plays” has a real Southern Americana feel to it. It’s the sort of song you’d expect to hear in a rough bar in redneck America. It’d be the tune near the end of the night that makes the punters forget about their beers for a moment as they raise their cigarette lighters and sway.

If you like this song, you’ll be happy to know there’s more where that came from. The lads are currently demoing some new tunes for their second album. Their self-titled debut was only launched in January, but this Queensland country act clearly aren’t resting on their laurels!

I was a bit surprised when Gypsy & The Cat got the call up to support Kylie Minogue on her upcoming Aphrodite tour. Somehow Gypsy & Cat fans don’t strike me as the Kylie loving kind. So I’m sure they’re all breathing collective sighs of relief to hear the Melbourne expats will play their own local headline shows before the Kylie dates start.

The May shows see the band riding high on the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Gilgamesh, which includes the monster singles “Time to Wander” and “Jona Vark.”

Tickets are on sale now from the venues.

6 May 2011 – Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide
7 May 2011 – Capitol Theatre, Perth
13 May 2011 – The Palace, Melbourne
14 May 2011 – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
15 May 2011 – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
19 May 2011 – Uni Bar, Wollongong
20 May 2011 – MetroTheatre, Sydney
21 May 2011 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle

Image used with permission from Sony Music Australia

You might not recognise his name, but chances are that you know Nathan Leigh Jones’ voice. The Adelaide born singer, songwriter, and pianist does voiceovers for MTV, Nickelodeon, and Eleven, but music is his real passion. He’s preparing to release his sophomore album Sooner or Later on April 6.

Sooner or Later is one of those truly independent releases, which has all the polish of a major label recording despite being arranged and edited in Nathan’s home studio. It features appearances from Grammy award winning guitarist Dan Warner, drummer Lee Levin, the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, and members of vocal group The Idea of North.

Fans will get a taste of what’s to come when Nathan plays Joe’s Pub in his adopted second home, New York City, on April 3. And just so that no one need miss out, the show will be streamed in real time through the Livestream website.

Thankfully local fans will get the chance to see Nathan in the flesh soon enough. He’ll launch Sooner and Later for Aussie audiences at an intimate dinner show in Sydney on April 14, and play the following Australian dates in June.

3 April 2011 – Joe’s Pub, New York
14 April 2011 – Slide, Darlinghurst
1 June 2011 – The Vanguard, Newtown
7 June 2011 – The Toff, Melbourne
8 June 2011 – The Promethean, Adelaide

Image source: Nathan Leigh Jones website

Australia’s losing another talented band to the bright lights of Hollywood. Electro kings Miami Horror will play a final string of local dates before relocating to Los Angeles.

Miami Horror are certainly a band on the up. They recently wowed crowds at South by Southwest, sold out shows in LA and Mexico, and even scored a number one in Denmark.

You can say goodbye to the local lads at the following shows. Tickets go on sale this Monday.

29 June 2011 – The Karova Lounge, Ballarat
1 July 2011 – The Zoo, Brisbane
7 July 2011 – Villa, Perth
8 July 2011 – The Gov, Adelaide
9 July 2011 – The Forum, Melbourne
14 July 2011 –  The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay
16 July 2011 – Metro, Sydney

Image source: own photos

There are few things I like more than free local music. And there’s some of the best this country has to offer on the free sampler CD from soundslikebrisbane.

Just as its name suggests, soundslikebrisbane is a cooperative of independent Queensland based record labels. Currently there are 17 labels and counting involved, including Dew Process, Plus One Records, Red Tape Entertainment, and heaps more. They’re showcasing the very best that the state’s capital has to offer which is a whole lot of diverse recording. The labels promote a bit of everything, including raw garage rock, smooth jazz, hip hop, mainstream pop, and country.

As a passionate New South Welshmen, perhaps I shouldn’t be throwing my support behind my rival state. But good music is good music, and it’s made even better when it’s accessible to the masses.

Check it out at the soundslikebrisbane website!

Image source: soundslikebrisbane website