Like so many people, I’m going to be glad to see the back of 2016. It was a terrible year, marred with the loss of some of my favourite performers and people a little close to home, as well as devastating acts of terror. I can’t wait until the next one starts. But before it does, I’m taking a moment to remember that good things did happen in 2016. Trust me! Good things like the following. Take a moment to read back and remember them!

Top 10 Aussie Albums/EPs

1. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy – Brightly
2. The Blues Arcadia – The Blues Arcadia
3. Signal Lights – Sam Brittain
4. Backbone – Anthony Callea
5. Seven Years – Matt Joe Gow
6. Thieves – Tracy McNeil and The GoodLife
7. Eyes Still Fixed – Amarillo
8. Love is a Dog – Tinpan Orange
9. Synthia – The Jezabels
10. City West – Davey Craddock

Top 10 Aussie Tours

1. Prince
2. Rob Thomas @ State Theatre
3. Glen Hansard
4. Rob Thomas @ Opera House Steps
5. Jimmy Barnes
6. Conchita
7. Megan Hilty
8. Andrew de Silva’s Purple Revolution
9. Totally 80s
10. Ian Moss

Image source: jdmoar @ Flickr

In 2017, James Reyne celebrates a 30-year solo career. To mark the milestone, he’ll re-release his solo album on vinyl and play two very special live shows.

That self-titled album built upon his artistry developed with Australian Crawl. Even if you don’t own it, you’ll know the songs, tracks like “Fall of Rome,” “Motor’s Too Fast,” “Rip It Up,” and one of my favourites, “Hammerhead,” performed so beautifully here.

James will play with a full band at Memo Music Hall in St Kilda on April 28 and The Basement in Sydney on May 5. Tickets are on sale from the venues now.

Add a little soul to your day with “The Fader,” the gorgeous new single from Melbourne’s Zillanova.

I love the way Joshua Tavares’ chocolatey vocals combine with the delicate strains of an electric guitar. The pitch-perfect backing vocals give the track an old school soul sound that instantly evokes nostalgia. However, it’s not just some Motown throwback. It sounds fresh and funky.

“The Fader” comes from Zillanova’s debut EP, which is scheduled for a February 17 release.

Sydney rock act Halfwait take us back to the 90s with its grungy new single “Fly Away.”

The track documents the struggles of making a relationship work when you’re a musician living so much of your life on the road. The song itself is a little rough around the edges, but there’s an honesty about it that I find so endearing.

“Fly Away” is the first track lifted from Halfwait’s sophomore EP Forever, which will be released shortly. We can also expect the band to return to the live scene in the coming months.

After an unexpected death in the family a couple of weeks ago, my family has been having a fairly tough time. We needed some fun, but even Christmas couldn’t seem to pull us out of our funk. Last night at Ettalong Diggers, Ross Wilson managed to do what the silly season couldn’t and put a smile on the faces of my parents, my husband, and myself.
Ross Wilson gives a masterclass in the art of performing. He doesn’t rely on bells and whistles, just great music and a superb backing band. At times I found myself marvelling at the prowess of his keyboardist and guitarist. However, while they’re good they never overshadowed the main man, a man who has created countless hits in his solo career and time with Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock. All of the biggies were performed in Ross Wilson’s own inimitable style over two sets.

Ross Wilson is the kind of performer that just makes you feel good. His loud shirt was every bit as bold as his presence on stage. And that voice, it’s lost nothing over the years. He had us captivated in powerful numbers like “Touch of Paradise” and on our feet with “Come Back Again,” “Hi Honey Ho,” “Cool World,” and of course, “Eagle Rock.” I’m not sure there’s anything more Australian than being at a club dancing around to the Daddy Cool smash.

I always think music finds you at the time you need it. At a terrible time for my family, a night out with the musical gifts and generous stage presence of Ross Wilson was just what the doctor ordered.

Image source: own photo

It’s hard to believe that next year marks the 20th anniversary of Todd McKenney singing the songs of Peter Allen. He’ll celebrate the occasion with a string of shows in Queensland and New South Wales. After his years as a Dancing with the Stars judge, you’d be forgiven for forgetting just how good a performer Todd really is. As a reminder, check out this performance of “Tenterfield Saddler” from the vault.

These shows are worth getting to, even if you’ve seen Todd paying tribute to the late, great Peter Allen before. He promises he’ll play more Peter Allen songs than ever before and share plenty of new stories and laughs as well. Tickets are available from the venues for the following shows.

31 March & 1 April 2017 – Kedron Wavell Services Club, Chermside
7 April 2017 – Bankstown Sports Club, Bankstown
8 April 2017 – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill
21 April 2017 – Laycock Street Community Theatre, Gosford
22 April 2017 – Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood
28 & 29 April 2017 – The Piano Sessions, The Studio @ Sydney Opera House, Sydney
6 May 2017 – Norths Leagues, North Sydney
13 May 2017 – Castle Hill RSL, Castle Hill
19 May 2017 – Revesby Workers Club, Revesby
20 May 2017 – Dee Why RSL, Dee Why
26 May 2017 – Evan Theatre @ Penrith Panthers, Penrith, NSW
27 May 2017 – The Juniors, Kingsford
2 June 2017 – Hornsby RSL, Hornsby
3 June 2017 – Blacktown Workers, Blacktown

Perth band The Plastic Attraction continues its winning streak with another killer single, “No Foresight.” The follow-up to “Holding You” is an irresistible high-energy ditty which you’ll be humming for days to come.

“I’ll never forget how ‘No Foresight’ started its life,” lead singer Liam recalled in a press release. “We were at a rehearsal and Matt said he wanted to show us a new riff he’d come up with. He let loose playing what is now the chorus riff, and it was one of those moments when everyone was like ‘Yes!’ this is our next song! The track spiralled from there, with the instruments materialising very quickly”.

With the quality of their singles, hopefully it won’t be too long before we see an EP or album from these guys.

Image used with permission from the A&R Department

I’m sure after several Carols broadcasts and hours spent in shopping centres, you’ve reached your limit of schmaltzy Christmas songs. So this year I’ve decided to accompany my Christmas post with “One More Christmas (There’s More to Christmas Day),” the latest single from Melbourne band Third Earth.

This is actually the fourth Christmas song the band has released over the last few years, so these guys know what they’re doing. However, they don’t make a Christmas song quite like anyone else. This track explores how easily we can get caught up in our own lives, but reminds us that there’s so much more going on every December 25.

Whatever you’re doing this year, I hope it’s a happy one. I hope there is good wine, superb company, delicious food, and of course great music. Enjoy it Sounds of Oz readers!

When I first heard Betty Who’s new single “Human Touch,” I wasn’t that impressed. It was one of those tracks I could imagine getting played on radio, but while it was catchy I found it ultimately forgettable. I didn’t really get it. It’s amazing what happens when you strip away some production though. In this acoustic version she recorded with Jarryd James, I feel like we finally get to see what this song is all about.

“I write so many of my of my songs on guitar or piano – it seemed only fitting to showcase the way this song came to be,” she explained. And having Jarryd sing it with me is a dream come true, the first time I heard his voice on the radio I knew I just had to sing with him. So I am so honoured to share this performance with him.”

“Human Touch” comes from Betty Who’s sophomore album, which will be released early next year.

Few cities have been as romanticised as New York City. Visit New York and you’ll find your muse, your true love, or at least fall hard for the city they say. Timothy Nelson muses on the mythical magic of the city in his latest single “New York (You’ll Never Be Mine).”

As always, there’s top-notch songwriting here from Timothy. Its melancholy vibe may not be ideal for the festive season, but I think it’s lovely. He worked with fellow Western Australian Julia Ngeow, who’s now based in trendy Williamsburg, on the clip which was shot in the Big Apple over three intense days. Is there any other kind in New York?