I’m having one of those times where there seems to be far too much work and too little time to accomplish it. Those times where I’m up working until midnight to meet deadlines, then up at seven the next morning to do it all again. It’s not exactly fun, but as a freelancer you have to take the opportunities when they come, because there’s always that niggling thought it might all dry up tomorrow.

I’m doing my best to take time during this period to listen to the tracks coming through to me and make a blog post a day. I hate when this little piece of the web lies dormant, because I think we all rely on music to get through whatever it is that’s going on. And listening to music is my happy place, especially when I discover songs as fantastic as “Run To Me” by Bathurst-raised, Hunter Valley-based musician Gareth Jay. This is so soulful and soothing, just the kind of thing I needed for a little respite on a busy day set to get even busier.

I’m also very impressed to read everything you hear comes from Gareth, from the lyrics and vocals to the guitar, ukulele, bass, and drums. Who needs a backing band? More like this please!

Eagle & The Wolf’s debut album dropped last year, but with the release of the third single “Lost But Not Alone” it’s the perfect time to revisit the Central Coast duo’s music, or discover it for the first time.

This is straight up country-folk music, honest and earnest, without any bells or whistles. It’s incredibly sad, but there’s also a note of optimism about it too.

“I wrote ‘Lost But Not Alone’ in true country music fashion just after I’d lost my marriage, house, dog, car … Basically everything except my guitars,” explained Kristen Lee Morris aka Eagle. “The one thing I had to cling onto was a special love I’d found in my Wolf [Sarah Humphreys]. Despite the darkness I could see a way through. Thank goodness. I have a hope for this song that it will encourage folks to be honest about where they are at and open up to folks around them. No matter how lost you feel you never have to be alone. These days I play this song for my departed friend Simon who felt too alone to continue. I wish you would have known that you were not alone my friend.”

Whatever you relate this song to in your own life, it’s powerful stuff.

I have a real passion for old school soul music. I spent my formative years listening to a lot of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, bemoaning the fact that no one makes music quite like that any more. Anyway, it seems I was wrong, because Melbourne’s The Teskey Brothers sound like they’ve come straight from Stax.

It’s unsurprising really, because Sam and Josh Teskey were listening to a lot of the same music I was as teens. They wear the influences of their parents’ record collection on their sleeve, and they’ve shared that soul sensibility with their brothers from another mother, Liam Gough on drums and Brendon Love on bass guitar. Their current single “Pain and Misery” from the album Half Mile Harvest gives you just a taste of what these guys are all about.

The Teskey Brothers will support Busby Marou on their Aussie tour before embarking on a run of headlining gigs in July.

24 May 2017 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli (with Busby Marou)
25 May 2017 – 48 Watt Street, Newcastle (with Busby Marou)
26 & 27 May 2017 – Leadbelly, Sydney (with Busby Marou)
1 June 2017 – Southern Cross Club, Woden (with Busby Marou)
3 June 2017 – Wrest Point Casino, Hobart (with Busby Marou)
8 June 2017 – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast (with Busby Marou)
9 June 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane (with Busby Marou)
11 June 2017 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay (with Busby Marou)
15 June 2017 – Fat Controller, Adelaide (with Busby Marou)
16 June 2017 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (with Busby Marou)
17 June 2017 – Workers Club, Geelong (with Busby Marou)
18 June 2017 – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave (with Busby Marou)
30 June 2017 – Caravan Club, Oakleigh (with The Meltdown)
1 July 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane (with Busby Marou)
6-9 July 2017 – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen
13 July 2017 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
14 July 2017 – Junk Bar, Brisbane
22 July 2017 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
27-30 July 2017 – Echuca Winter Blues Festival, Echuca
4 August 2017 – Music on the Hill, Red Hill
5 August 2017 – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan
12 August 2017 – Ed Castle, Adelaide

I’m not sure Ayla has released a song I didn’t enjoy. She continues on her winning ways with the release of her new single “Shallow End,” lifted from her forthcoming EP, which is scheduled for release later this year. It also marks her first release through new musical partners Caroline Australia.

“Shallow End” has everything I love about Ayla’s music, stunning vocals, interesting instrumentation, and real heart at its core. If you love it, make sure you catch Ayla when she travels around the country next month.

22 June 2017 – Workers Club, Melbourne
23 June 2017 – Factory Floor, Sydney
24 June 2017 – Sheriff @ The Transit Bar, Canberra
30 June 2017 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

I am such a sucker for a big emotive ballad. So “Start Over,” the lead single from Aussie expats O’Shea’s new album 61-615 hits just the right note for me.

O’Shae’s Mark and Jay penned the song with Alex Lloyd, who they have known since their early days in Balmain. “When we got together in Nashville to write, we just started talking about relationships and the ebbs and flows that any married couple goes through,” said Mark. It’s something Mark has first-hand experience with, as his O=Shea bandmate Jay is also his wife!

“’Start Over’ is about feeling off track with the communication in a relationship and wanting to get back to the connection that pulled you together in the first place,” Jay added.

O’Shea will leave Nashville behind for a while to return home to celebrate 61-615’s release on July 28. The band’s Aussie tour kicks off the same day in Sydney.

28 July 2017 – Leadbelly, Sydney
29 July 2017 – Centro CBD, Wollongong
30 July 2017 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle
3 August 2017 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
4-11 August 2017 – Tunes in the Tropics, Fiji
12 August 2017 – Mt Isa Rodeo, Mt Isa

I must admit, I’ve never been what you’d call a Shannon Noll fan. I thought he was very good at producing radio-friendly music for the masses, but his songs rarely stood out to me as anything above average. But I’ve been forced to eat my words after hearing his latest track “Southern Sky.”

The track is every bit as patriotic as you’d want a Nollsy song to be. But it’s got an epic anthemic quality to it that puts it a cut above his other singles. The song’s video is also gorgeous, although since it was filmed around some of my old NSW stomping grounds – Pokolbin and Nobbys Beach – I may be a little biased.

“We had a beautiful few days in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle filming the Southern Sky video,” Shannon said. “As an Aussie who grew up in the bush, I love being able to show the beauty of our country in my music clips. We travelled from cliffs to the coast, with each scene giving just a taste of the amazing Australian landscapes out there beyond the cities.”

“Southern Sky” is the second single from Shannon’s fifth studio album, which will be released later this year. Expect to hear a preview of more new material at Shannon’s shows all around the country.

19 May 2017 – Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide
20 May 2017 – Coopers Alehouse, Wallaroo
21 May 2017 – Fleurieu’s, Goolwa
25 May 2017 – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle
26 May 2017 – Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong
27 May 2017 – Taren Point Hotel, Cronulla
2 June 2017 – Parkwood Tavern, Gold Coast
3 June 2017 – Racecourse Hotel, Ipswich
4 June 2017 – Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay
9 June 2017 – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville
10 June 2017 – The Jack, Cairns
15 June 2017 – Friends Restaurant, Perth
16 June 2017 – Wild Goose Restaurant, Gidgegannup
17 June 2017 – Charles Hotel, Perth
18 June 2017 – Ravenswood Hotel, Ravenswood
23 June 2017 – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart
24 June 2017 – Launceston Country Club, Launceston
14 July 2017 – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill
15 July 2017 – Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi
21 July 2017 – The Blue Cattle Dog Hotel, St Clair
22 July 2017 – The Ettamogah Hotel, Rouse Hill
27 July 2017 – Club Old Bar, Old Bar
28 July 2017 – South West Rocks Country Club, South West Rocks
29 July 2017 – Casino RSM, Casino
11 August 2017 – Hamilton Hotel, Brisbane
12 August 2017 – North Leagues Club, Brisbane
18 August 2017 – York on Lilydale, Mt Evelyn
19 August 2017 – Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights
25 August 2017 – Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster
26 August 2017 – Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave
10-12 November 2017 – Airlie Beach Festival of Music, Airlie Beach

If there was a contest for the best band name, I think The Dollar Bill Murrays would win hands down. But this Brisbane rock act has more than a catchy moniker on its side. The quartet shows it knows how to craft some real earworms with the release of its second EP, Always On.

The guys from The Dollar Bill Murrays embrace old and new music technology, releasing the EP as a digital download and on cassette. It features the infectious track “The More You Know” and the lead single “I Want Everything,” which has clocked up more than 3,000 streams.

What do you think of The Dollar Bill Murrays?

Tasmanian producer Akouo has played it smart, teaming up with one of Australia’s most exciting, dynamic vocalists Montaigne for his new single “Feel That.” Her voice is just sublime, and her passionate performance on this gives the track real heart which is often missing in the electronic genre.

Montaigne doesn’t just sing on the track; she’s also responsible for its lyrics.

“It’s a rare occurrence to have a chance to work with people who are rich in artistic ability but also have a strong passion for the entire creative process from start to finish,” Akouo explained. “True to the nature of art, the lyrics came to Montaigne very quickly and naturally, but it took months to wrap them carefully into this cosy blanket of sound that we both love. ‘Feel That’ is about a yearning for love, and the hopeful uncertainty that comes with it.”

Do you think Akouo and Montaigne have a hit on their hands?

I think most of my readers would believe Trump’s presidency hasn’t had a lot of positives. But for me the silver lining in his election is watching how inspired young people have become to take an active role in politics. Not since the late 60s can I remember a time when younger generations stood up to try to make the world a better place.

It’s in that vein that Perth singer Olive has released her first single “Changing the World.” It sounds far too polished than any debut cut should, with flawless sweet vocals and a soulful spirit that reminds me Motown would be proud of. The lyrics, which speak of the way we can all make a difference if we just play our part, are so persuasive.

If this single is any indication of her talents, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Olive.

When I first heard music from J▲M▲T▲R last October, I was really excited about his creativity, yet wondering if he could be a one-trick pony. Creating music with a Gameboy is so cool conceptually, but there was always a chance it would become gimmicky. However, since I first heard from this Victorian artist, J▲M▲T▲R has gone from strength to strength. He’s played sold-out shows in London, signed a UK record deal, and appeared on the bills of leading local festivals like NYE on the Hill and The Hills are Alive.

His latest single is “Reflect,” a fantastic vehicle for showcasing J▲M▲T▲R’s unique approach to music-making and the vocal talents of his long-time pal Natalie Foster. It was inspired by an Alice Carroll animation depicting a girl lost in space. She feels fearful when her reflection leaves her, but she soon overcomes her doubts and discovers a new strength on her journey.

J▲M▲T▲R will play Sydney’s World Bar on June 9 and Melbourne’s Yah Yahs on June 16 to support the release of “Reflect.”

Image used with permission from Little Giant Agency