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.

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, one Matchbox Twenty or Rob Thomas show was never enough. I’d see multiple gigs, never wanting the tour to be over. They were so much fun, but the sets rarely changed from night to night. I’d get excited about the odd cover that was different and insist that was worth the price of admission alone.

So when I bought tickets for Rob Thomas’ State Theatre show, despite having plans to catch him at the Opera House Forecourt, I expected a similar scenario. What I got was two completely shows this tour, both wonderful in their own way. After the party atmosphere of the Opera House show, it was wonderful to have a quieter night and enjoy the intimate and personal vibe of the State Theatre show.

Rob downsized his band to a trio and delivered stripped back versions of songs, ensuring their lyrics came to the fore. It was so exciting to hear a new complexion to upbeat tracks I’d heard a couple of nights before like “This Is How a Heart Breaks” and “Lonely No More.” I also loved the chance to hear the songs that didn’t make Wednesday night’s performance. “Heaven Help Me” from The Great Unknown probably would have been lost in the electric set, but it was perfect for this more intimate evening. “Sunday Morning, New York Blue,” a track lifted not from an album but the Someday EP, was another welcome new addition.

But for a girl whose love for Rob’s music began with Matchbox Twenty, the number of tracks that came from his band was really exciting. Ordinarily Rob plays just a couple of Matchbox songs, preferring to stick to the solo material. However, the stars aligned on Friday night and we heard everything from hits like “Bright Lights,” “Disease,” and “Bent” to the moody “You Won’t Be Mine,” an album track from Mad Season.

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows I love an acoustic show. Jumping around and dancing to a band turned up to 11 is a blast, but it rarely moves me as much as sitting down listening to songs stripped back to their core. Add in personal stories about the origin of those songs and I’m sold. I’ve seen Rob Thomas perform many times, and I’m sure I’ll see him many more, but Friday night’s acoustic show is the one that will stand out from the rest. It was perfection.

Image source: own photos

Reece Mastin sent a clear message that his days of throwaway pop are far behind him with the release of Change Colours earlier this year. So it’s only fitting that he’s doing what all serious musicians do and playing acoustic on his next tour. The Down to Earth tour will take in coastal New South Wales towns over the festive season.

Reece will be joined by Nashville-based, Sunshine Coast-born singer-songwriter Alys Ffion. The pair met earlier this year for a songwriting session, which actually produced the ballad “Down to Earth” featured on Change Colours. They’ve performed the song together at instores around the country, so hopefully we’ll see them playing it together again the following intimate and acoustic shows. All gigs are all ages, although people under 18 must be with a parent at all times.

27 December 2015 – Ballina RSL Club, Ballina
28 December 2015 – Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour (FREE)
29 December 2015 – Club Forster, Forster
30 December 2015 – Laurieton United Services Club, Laurieton
3 January 2016 – Batemans Bay Soldier’s Club, Batemans Bay
8 January 2016 – Oaks Hotel, Albion Park Rail
9 January 2016 – Toukley RSL Club, Toukley
10 January 2016 – Ettalong Digger’s Club, Ettalong Beach

Image used with permission from Ferris Davis PRM

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since Ian Moss recorded his Six Strings album, a brilliant bluesy acoustic album with cuts from his Cold Chisel days and solo work, as well as some choice covers. We’re all used to seeing Mossy plugged in and rocking out, but that album and the accompanying tour showed us all a new side to this true Aussie legend.

To celebrate the album’s anniversary, Ian will tour some of Australia’s most intimate venues in stripped back mode.

“Doing these shows remind me time and time again that it’s all about how you play. I’m amazed at how much colour and variation and emotion I’ve been able to get with just voice, guitar and a foot tapping on the floor,” he explained. “Less is more.”

If you’ve never seen Mossy playing acoustically, you shouldn’t miss these shows. And if you have, well you know for sure you shouldn’t miss these shows!

26 February 2016 – The Palms At Crown, Melbourne
27 February 2016 – Theatre Royal, Hobart
4 March 2016 – Street Theatre, Canberra
5 March 2016 – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong
11 March 2016 – The Events Centre – Playhouse, Caloundra
12 March 2016 – The Tivoli, Brisbane
18 March 2016 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
19 March 2016 – Astor Theatre, Perth
24 March 2016 – Laycock Street Theatre, North Gosford
26 March 2016 – Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Cessnock
2 April 2016 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Image used with permission from AAA Entertainment

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar enjoyed playing shows together in March so much that they’re set to do it all again with an acoustic tour this August.

Jack should be in fine form because he’s currently touring his latest album Esk across the United Kingdom and Europe. Meanwhile, Jordan will be taking a break from recording his next album for this tour. After time spent in the studio, he’s probably itching to get back out on stage!

If you’re on the fence about the shows, take a look at this video capturing one of their performances together in March. Do you really want to miss two singer-songwriters of this calibre playing together? I think not!

It’s also worth pre-ordering your tickets, as every one bought on presale comes with an 11-track digital live album Jack Carty & Jordan Millar – Live @ The Front Gallery. Tickets are available from Jack Carty’s website.

1 August 2015 – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth
6 August 2015 – The Commons, Newcastle
7 August 2015 – The Street Theatre, Canberra
8 August 2015 – Venue 505, Sydney
14 August 2015 – The Milk Factory, Brisbane
15 August 2015 – Rous Mill Hall, Rous Mill
20 August 2015 – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide
21 August 2015 – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne
22 August 2015 – The Grand Poobah, Hobart

After warming up with recent sold out shows in the United Kingdom, Lisa Mitchell is back on home soil and ready to tour the country in acoustic mode to support her dreamy single “Wah Ha.”

Lisa will be joined on stage by guitarist and serial collaborator Tim Harvey. These shows represent a special and rare opportunity to see Lisa doing her thing stripped back in some of the country’s best and most intimate venues.

Make sure you arrive early to see the support act East, a young artist who’s already starting to generate some serious buzz.

Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.

25 March 2015 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
27 March 2015 – Howler, Melbourne
2 April 2015 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Incomparable Gomez frontman Ben Ottewell will bring his solo show to Australia next month. He’ll showcase the songs from his forthcoming release Rattlebag, some old favourites, and even some surprising covers in these intimate, acoustic shows.

Rattlebag again sees Ben collaborating with his childhood buddy Sam Genders.

“Sam and I grew up together in a little village called Bonsall in Derbyshire and have been friends since childhood. I love his songwriting — the stuff he did with his bands Tunng and The Accidental, particularly lyrically.”

Ben Ottewell’s tour kicks off in Fremantle on October 24, the same day that Rattlebag gets a local release. It might seem a bit of a gamble getting tickets for concerts showcasing a brand new album, but this sublime stripped back performance of “Rattlebag” should put your mind at ease.

24 October 2014 – The Odd Fellow, Fremantle
25 October 2014 – Four5Nine, Perth
26 October 2014 – Grace Emily, Adelaide
29 October 2014 – Newtown Social Club, Newtown
30 October 2014 – Brass Monkey, Cronulla
31 October 2014 – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
1 November 2014 – The Bunker, Coogee
2 November 2014 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli
3 November 2014 – Substation, Newport
5 November 2014 – Northcote Social Club, Northcote
6 November 2014 – Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick

It might seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas, but Unwritten Law’s Scott Russo and Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson want to make sure you know about their shows before your December calendar fills up. After performing two sold out gigs earlier this year, the lads are doing it all again with a more extensive nationwide Christmas tour.

I can’t imagine we’ll hear too many carols but there should be plenty of hits at these stripped back, acoustic concerts. Tickets are on sale through Oztix for all the following shows.

17 December 2014 – The Gov, Adelaide
18 December 2014 – Republic Bar, Hobart
19 December 2014 – The Corner, Melbourne
20 December 2014 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
21 December 2014 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
22 December 2014 – The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay
23 December 2014 – Waves, Wollongong

Image used with permission from Recon Music

After smashing targets with their crowdfunding campaign last November, Eskimo Joe are keen to say thank you to their generous fans. They’ll do just that when they showcase some of the new material they’ve been working on as well as treat punters to old favourites on their Winter Warmer Tour.

Kav, Stu, and Joel know it takes something special to bring music lovers out on winter nights, so they’re performing acoustic sets at intimate venues around the country. The sets will also see them reinterpreting highlights from their career so far. Rest assured Eskimo Joe fans, these shows will be worthwhile.

There are still tickets available for the following performances.

26 June 2013 – Paddington Uniting Church, Sydney

28 June 2013 – Old Museum, Brisbane
9 & 10 July 2013 – Moore and Moore, Fremantle
12 July 2013 – Ormond Hall, Melbourne
13 July 2013 – Published Arthouse, Adelaide

Image used with permission from Alpha Entertainment

I knew I’d be in for a special night when Ben Harper brought his acoustic show to the Sydney Opera House. The combination of stripped back music from one of my favourite performers in one of Australia’s most beloved venues was always going to impress. But I wasn’t prepared for just how much Ben would give us.

There was no support act, no backing band, no intermission: just Ben Harper and an enthralled Sydney crowd coming together for close to four hours. Never before have I witnessed an artist giving an audience so much of themselves and their time. He remarked a few times on the quality of the sound in the Opera House, the best he’d ever experienced he said, and it seemed he wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible.

The show wasn’t quite the acoustic evening we were promised. Ben didn’t mind plugging in his electric guitar for a blistering rendition of “Please Bleed” that morphed into “Something in the Way.” But no one cared if Ben played strictly by the rules. I was delighted to see him moving easily from instrument to instrument, delivering a number on his slide guitar, then taking up a ukulele, before sitting down at the piano. We even heard a bit of xylophone!

The set list was stellar, with many fan favourites and exciting reworkings of some of his biggest hits. I loved the bluegrass flavour he brought to “Steal My Kisses,” and the original lullaby stylings of “With My Own Two Hands.” I was particularly thrilled to hear my personal favourites “Walk Away” and “Waiting on an Angel” performed so beautifully.

The show was as much about connecting with words as much as music though. Ben seemed genuinely happy to interact with the crowd as they yelled out quips and requests between songs. He also shared so much of himself, stories about his family, his childhood, and the people he’s met. I was particularly moved to hear of the time he met Jeff Buckley at a French Music Festival, and when Heath Ledger gifted him his grand piano. These personal tales were made even more poignant when accompanied with “Hallelujah,” a Leonard Cohen song Jeff famously covered, and “Morning Yearning,” a song that saw Heath Ledger playing music video director.

After two generous encores, Ben closed the evening in true acoustic style. He sat at the front of the stage while he serenaded us with “Suzie Blue.” Without even a microphone to amplify his voice or ukulele, the crowd were hushed to hear. It was a stunning end to a spectacular night of music.

Image source: own photos