I think it’s a good indication that a concert review is well overdue when you’re preparing to head out to another show and you still haven’t put your thoughts about the last one down. So a day before I venture back to Newcastle, I’m finally sitting down and casting my mind back to July 6 when I saw “Tim Freedman does Nilsson” at Lizotte’s.

Ordinarily, unless the venue forbids cameras, I take a photo to share with you. However, I decided not to this time around. What you would see is Tim Freedman, lead singer of The Whitlams and sometimes solo artist. A camera couldn’t capture the way that Tim channelled Harry Nilsson for this very special show. And so it felt more fitting, more in keeping with what Tim was trying to achieve, to post an image of that singer-songwriter instead.

What I didn’t realise when I stepped into Lizotte’s that night was that Tim Freedman wasn’t simply doing the songs of Nilsson. He was properly doing Nilsson, complete with a Brooklyn accent and the nervous presence of a man who was never comfortable up on the stage. He humbly told tales of his famous friends and life, and I found myself hanging on his every word. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about music history, but I found myself learning plenty about his relationships with John Lennon, Mama Cass, and Keith Moon. Clearly Tim’s done his research.

And clearly he’s got a deep bond with Nilsson. He gave stunning performances of the hits and the lesser known tracks, even ones I didn’t realise Nilsson wrote like The Monkees’ “Cuddly Toy.” His voice was never quite going to hit the same heights, but a smart arrangement of “Without You” didn’t make me want more. It had the right emotional core, unlike that terrible Mariah Carey interpretation. “Everybody’s Talking” was another real highlight.

Tim could have left after performing Nilsson’s material and everyone would have been happy, but he took a brief intermission before returning with highlights from his own catalogue. My dad commented that listening to these songs again made him realise just how much Tim’s songwriting has been influenced by Nilsson’s music.  Tim spoke about how he was still perfecting his Nilsson show in preparation for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. If he can get it better, Adelaide’s in for a real treat, because I thought it was already a stunning homage to one of the world’s greatest songwriters.

Image source: Wikipedia

Before David Campbell dazzled Australia with his turn as Johnny O’Keefe and his swinging standards, he was wowing crowds on Broadway. So it makes sense that he’s returned to musical theatre with his latest album, David Campbell Sings John Bucchino.

I consider myself a bit of a musical theatre nut, but I must admit that I wasn’t familiar with John Bucchino’s work. This album provides the perfect introduction to his music though. David didn’t simply take his songs and run with them. He enlisted John to play piano on all the tracks and the duo shares production credits.

There are a few other names in the album sleeve, but this album feels like a two-hander. If you were expecting big Broadway embellishments, you’d be disappointed. Personally I appreciate the simplicity of the delivery. Without frills, with only a tinkling piano as accompaniment, David’s voice and John’s lyrics shine. It’s a perfect marriage. Sometimes it can be difficult for an artist to inhabit someone else’s songs, but David’s connection to the material is obvious.

I felt invited into the intimate bond of these musicians as each track unfolded. I was captivated from the opening track “Sweet Dreams,” a tender ballad about a chance meeting between two broken-hearted souls and the different paths they ultimately take. It remains one of my favourite numbers on the album, but I was also swept away by the unbridled enthusiasm of “Taking the Wheel” and the romance of “Unexpressed.”

I don’t expect David Campbell Sings John Bucchino to set the charts on fire the way David’s swing albums did. He made a name for himself singing familiar songs, and it’s going to be tough to convince music lovers to work a little harder and embrace something new to them. But anyone who does will be richly rewarded, because the pairing of these stellar artists is truly something special.

Image used with permission from Jaden Social

It’s not a good time to be an Australian music lover right now. It seems like we were all still mourning the loss of Doc Neeson, and now we have to deal with the loss of another of our greats. Today Jim Keays succumbed to multiple myeloma after seven years battling the disease. He was just 67.

It was pretty easy to forget Jim was sick. He seemed permanently on the road with Darryl Cotton and Russell Morris, and he was still putting out albums right to the end. It might be some consolation to fans that there’s another on the way which Jim was apparently really excited for us all to hear.

But it’s no doubt be the music he made with the Masters Apprentices that is his greatest legacy. This song’s not just my favourite Masters Apprentices song, but also one of my favourite songs of all time. We’ll miss you Jim.

Way back in March 2012 I fell for New South Wales’ Patrick James when he supported Howie Day. I was so enamoured by this incredible lyrics and sweet demeanour. So I was thrilled to hear he’s releasing his second EP soon. But before that drops, we can enjoy the stunning lead single “Message.”

The song came about while Patrick was touring with Josh Pyke late in 2013. During one show Josh broke a guitar string so Patrick offered his own guitar. Josh altered the tuning for his performance, so when Patrick pulled it out after returning home it sounded a little differently. That sound sparked the idea for “Message’s” melody. Lyrically the song explores how difficult it can be to find the balance between life as a touring musician and the other aspects of life.

“Message” signals the new, bigger sound Patrick’s playing with these days. While it’ll hardly blow your speakers, it’s a big change from the bedroom recordings that made up his debut EP. It’s so exciting to see the evolution of this talented young artist.

Image used with permission from Secret Service Public Relations

What do you get when you put together a Hungarian-born composer living in Melbourne and a multitalented singer-songwriter-instrumentalist from Victoria’s capital? You get “Stowaway,” the magical new single from Zed Eppelin and Philemon.

The collaboration is part of the Prop Joe Presents artist collective, which looks to support self-managed artists hustle collaboratively. It’s certainly a great showcase for these two talented acts at a time when they could both use the publicity. Zed Eppelin has just launched his debut album Aerial Sway, which comes after the release of two independent EPs. Philomen will release her debut EP Frame at The Toff in Town on June 22. If her angelic vocals are any indication, the EP’s sure to be sublime.

What do you think of this pairing?

Image used with permission from Prop Joe Presents

Over the years I’ve really loved watching the musical journey of Brisbane electro-pop prince Carmichael. He’s developing his sound with a new outfit called Youthfire these days, and it seems its paying dividends.

Our first taste is the delicious single “World on Fire,” a stirring, primal number with tribal drums, retro synths, and lush vocals.

You can learn more this exciting new project when Youthfire launch “World on Fire” at Brisbane’s Metro Arts Theatre on June 20.

It’s Monday at there’s no beating around the bush: it sucks. It’s the worst. There’s no cure for Mondayitis, but you can at least feel like you’re not alone when you listen to Scott Spark’s brilliant new single “Two Alarms.” The Brisbane singer-songwriter has crafted one of the catchiest melodies and some of the wittiest lyrics about the soul-sucking nature of the corporate world that I’ve ever heard.

It also comes with an awesome filmclip, animated by local cartoonist Oslo Davis, which stars Lenny, the most adorable alarm clock you’re ever likely to see. And there’s a free app too which allows you to turn your iPhone into a Scott Spark alarm clock.

And if that wasn’t enough goodness, Scott Spark will also release his sophomore album Muscle Memory, featuring “Two Alarms,” this Friday, June 13.

The Sinking Teeth offer some sage advice with the release of their rocking new single “You Can’t Build a Bike Out of Muffins.”

The song doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with baked goods, but it’s a brilliantly intense number with an infectious melodic core. It’s also the first single from The Sinking Teeth’s second EP Salt & Stitches, which hits stores on July 26. The Melbourne band will build up to that release date with a string of shows which culminate with a big gig for hometown fans to launch the EP.

19 June 2014 – Surfers Paradise Beer Garden, Surfers Paradise (FREE)
20 June 2014 – The New Tattersalls Hotel, Lismore
21 June 2014 – Crowbar, Brisbane
27 June 2014 – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith (FREE)
28 June 2014 – Blackwire Records, Sydney
4 July 2014 – The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
5 July 2014 – The Pav, Launceston
18 July 2014 – The Jade Monkey, Adelaide
25 July 2014 – The Barwon Club, Geelong
26 July 2014 – The Workers Club, Melbourne

Image used with permission from Mucho Bravado

I was so sad to hear of the recent axing of the ABC’s rebooted Spicks and Specks. Sure it took a little while for Josh, Ella, and Adam to settle in to the chairs. However, I felt that the essence of the show remained that same, and for that reason it’s a shame more people didn’t tune in.

Watching the show I was delighted at so many of those quirky acts that chose to transform hits for “Look What They’ve Done to My Song Ma.” The Melbourne Ska Orchestra was one of those bands that blew my mind, so I’m thrilled to see they’re moving on to bigger and better things.

The 25-piece have played shows all over Australia supporting the release of their debut album, and now they’re preparing to take it to the world. Their originals and surprising ska covers of classics like the Get Smart theme are sure to win over music lovers at high-profile events like Glastonbury and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Rest assured readers in other parts of the world, you don’t want to miss this truly original act.

26 June 2014 – The Forge, Camden, London
27 & 28 June 2014 – Glastonbury Festival
30 June & 1 & 2 July 2014 – Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal
3 July 2014 – Festival D’ete, Quebec City
4 July 2014 – Yonge, Dundas Square, Toronto
5 July 2014 – Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Ontario

Australia’s hottest bluegrass act the Davidson Brothers are preparing to unleash their seventh studio album, Wanderlust. It’s an appropriate name considering the duo’s spent the greater part of the last few years gigging around Australia, Europe, and the United States.

The album sees Hamish and Lachlan exploring their desire to travel and new sounds which build on their love of contemporary bluegrass.

To coincide with Wanderlust’s June 20 release, the Davidson Brothers are taking us behind the scenes with the short film The Making of Wanderlust.

The Davidson Brothers will celebrate the album’s release early with a launch show at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on June 19. Tickets are on sale from the venue now.