“Heartache Blues” is one of my favourite songs from Reece Mastin’s Change Colours album. So I’m thrilled to see it’s not just the new single, but that’s got an amazing new video to match.

“Heartache Blues is a song about being away from the people, places, and spaces you miss so much when you couldn’t be further away from them,” Reece explained. “It’s a gut-wrenching feeling at the start, but on your way home there’s nothing better than the feeling of getting closer to being back there.”

This song has a great 80s pop-rock vibe, so it’s only fitting that the clip takes us back to the decade with some of the maddest hula hooping action I can recall seeing in some time. What do you think of it?

When Lizotte’s Kincumber closed its doors last year, I worried that it may spell the end of great live music on the Central Coast. Thankfully a couple of other venues have taken up the mantle. One of them is Ettalong Diggers, an RSL club conveniently located just down the road from me. Sure, the deep-friend lamb cutlets and chips weren’t a patch on anything Lizotte’s ever served, and the raffle for Dyson fans that accompanied it didn’t great quite the same ambience as the chilled-sounds piped through the Lizotte’s PA. But any venue that can attract big name acts like Reece Mastin has my vote.

I’ve been keen to see Reece live since he released Change Colours, one of my favourite albums of 2015. The allure of his acoustic Down to Earth shows proved difficult to resist, especially when located so close to home.

Reece was ably supported by Alys Ffion, a gorgeous young thing my husband described as a cross between Taylor Swift and Lisa Loeb. I can definitely see where he’s coming from. Her songwriting has that diary-confessional feel of early T-Swift material, but her voice has a little more earthiness and quirk, just like Lisa Loeb. It takes a lot for a solo support act to command a room with just an acoustic guitar by her side, but the crowd seemed to be hanging on her every word. I know we were. She treated us to a generous set of original songs, yet it was so good that it felt over far too soon. Thankfully she was back after the break, providing backup vocals and guitar parts during Reece’s set.

While I couldn’t take my eyes off Alys during her earlier performance, the charismatic Mr Mastin stole focus during his set. He has such a strong voice that reminds me a little of Jimmy Barnes; clearly the time they spent recording this album has been a good influence. There’s also something special about watching an artist who believes so strongly in the music they’re making. He gave it his all, and that passion he has shone through. He was so giving both in his performance and the moments between songs, when he shared tales of time in the studio and the stories behind the songs.

It was telling that despite releasing four top 20 singles from his first two albums, Reece played just two songs from these early days, “Shut Up and Kiss Me” and “Rock Star.” Instead he focused on the new album Change Colours, which suited me just fine. His performances of “For You,” “Stand Up Be Proud,” “Heartache Blues, and the raucous closer “You Gotta Go” were especially strong. Reece also hinted at what’s to come. I wish I recalled the name of a new song he played; it was stunning. He also covered “Muddy Water,” telling us that the music of the original artist Paul Rodgers and his band Free reflects the kind of music he wants to make. As a fan of Free (the only one in the audience apparently!), I was so excited to hear the cover and what an influence this sort of music is for him.

Reece Mastin might have started his career as a fairly lightweight pop act, but his music today has so much more weight. This Ettalong Beach show might have been my first Reece Mastin show, but given what I saw on Sunday night it certainly won’t be my last.

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

I’ve watched the career of Reece Mastin with some interest since he burst onto the music scene through The X Factor in 2011. I always regarded him as one of our more interesting winners, a kid who seemed more at home taking on the classic rock of Aerosmith or subverting modern pop gems like “I Kissed a Girl” than making music for the masses. Yet when he took out the title he started to release the musical equivalent of McDonalds. It sold well – you can’t deny the appeal of his number one singles – but it was ultimately unsatisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder whether Reece was making the music he wanted to make or what the record company wanted him to do to appeal to tweens and teens.

2015 seems to be the dawn of a new age for Reece Mastin. He split with Sony and signed a deal with independent label Social Family Records. He enlisted soulful singer Mahalia Barnes as his manager and began hanging out with her dad and Aussie music royalty Jimmy Barnes. And he recorded Change Colours, which is the album I always knew he had in him.

The opening track “Lockdown” announces the new direction beautifully. The music hits hard; it’s an epic, emotional rock number with an old-school soul twist. Jimmy’s influence is obvious in songs like this, “Right Out of Me,” and “You Gotta Go,” which features Mr Barnes doing “backup vocals” as only Barnesy can. Songs like “You Could Be Wild” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore” show Reece still has a snack for creating a hit, but his heartfelt delivery gives them more emotional punch than his other commercial hits. You can tell he really believes in these songs. The sexy blues influenced “Caged Paradise” is another highlight. “Even Angels Cry” shows Reece at his most stripped back, and it’s wonderful. It’s already become a fan favourite, after being voted the next single by Reece’s Twitter fans. The final number and title track “Change Colours” is one of the album’s darkest songs and one of its quietest, but perhaps its most powerful.

Change Colours isn’t like the other Reece Mastin albums, and that’s exactly why it’s so special. It showcases the work of a young artist that is releasing music he believes in, perhaps for the first time. If you’ve dismissed him as just another reality show winner, it’s probably time to rethink your stance.

Change Colours hits stores on October 9. Reece will support its release with the following instores all around the country.

9 October 2015 – World Square, Sydney (5 pm)
10 October 2015 – Stockland Wetherill Park, Sydney (11 am)
11 October 2015 – The Pines, Doncaster East, Melbourne (10:30 am)
11 October 2015 – Stockland Wendouree, Ballarat (2 pm)
13 October 2015 – Brookfield Place, Perth (4 pm)
14 October 2015 – St Mary’s Sound, St Mary’s (4 pm)
15 October 2015 – Stockland Shellharbour, Wollongong (6 pm)
17 October 2015 – Stockland Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast (10:30 am)
17 October 2015 – Brookside Centre, Brisbane (2 pm)
18 October 2015 – Sanity Hinkler Central, Bundaberg (2:30 pm)

When I heard that Reece Mastin had signed a deal with independent Social Family Records, I was pretty excited. I really enjoyed his musical instincts on The X Factor, but I felt like his individuality kind of got beaten out of him by people who wanted him to become the next pinup boy.

Judging by this snippet of his new single “Rebel and the Reason,” the title track from his new EP (released May 1), he’s now on the right track. This is by far the most substantial song he’s released. It’s got that rock edge that I always enjoyed about him, and a real honesty in the vocals.

Reece is going to bring his new music to the masses with a string of shows in capital cities and key regional centres this June.

“I know it seems like it’s been a long time coming but hopefully the fans will agree it was worth the wait,” he said in a press release. “I can definitely say that this is completely 100 percent me and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out. I’m in a really good place and can’t wait to share the new songs with everyone.”

Reece promises fans will hear his new songs as well as their old favourites at the following gigs. All shows are all ages, although parents or guardians must accompany under 18s at the Wollongong gig.

12 June 2015 – Factory Theatre, Marrickville
13 June 2015 – Waves, Wollongong
14 June 2015 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
20 June 2015 – Prince Bandroom, St Kilda
21 June 2015 – Esso BHP Wellington Entertainment Centre, Sale
26 June 2015 – Old Museum Concert Hall, Brisbane
27 June 2015 – Sunshine Coast Function Centre, Caloundra
28 June 2015 – Church Theatre, Toowoomba

It’s not likely to silence critics, but local reality TV show graduates have taken the top spots on Australia’s major ARIA charts. Karise Eden’s My Journey album has maintained its number one possie, while reigning X Factor winner Reece Mastin’s nabbed the top single spot with his newie “Shout It Out.”

Again proving their musical might, the singers from the Hillsong Church have zoomed into the albums charts with their latest release Cornerstone. It sits at number two. Keith Urban’s greatest hits also continues to sell truckloads. The Story So Far holds steady at number three.

Click below for the rest of this week’s ARIA charts.

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I’ve only just returned from some well earned time away from the office, so this week’s chart report is coming to you a bit late. I was happy to arrive home to see Reece Mastin’s still hanging on to his spot on the top of the ARIA singles charts with “Good Night.” While the album’s dropped slightly to number three, it’s still an amazing effort over this competitive Christmas period.

Guy Sebastian is also continuing to hold his own. His summery single “Don’t Worry Be Happy” remains steady at number six.

Cold Chisel’s best of is the only other Aussie release sitting in the top 10 albums chart. It’s slipped slightly to the number 10 position, which is probably to be expected since their tour is done and dusted.

Click below for this week’s top ARIA 10 charts.

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After last week’s stumble Reece Mastin is back on top of the ARIA singles charts with “Good Night.” Only Michael Buble could keep Reece out of the top spot on the album charts, but I’m sure he’s more than happy with a number two debut. It’s tough to compete with a Christmas album at this time of year!

Guy Sebastian’s also holding steady on the singles charts with “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” It’s at number six this week.

Cold Chisel’s tour has seen their latest best of album reenter the charts at number eight. Triple J’s Like a Version 7 has also reentered the top 10 this week. How exciting to see more local releases occupying those top spots!

Click below for this week’s ARIA top ten.

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Reece Mastin has made it two from two, taking out the top spot on the ARIA singles chart with “Good Night” for the second week running. All too often we see songs bursting from reality TV shows starting strong, but I think this result in the second week is more telling. Suddenly this isn’t just about the die-hard X Factor fans rushing out to grab the single; Reece is grabbing the attention of new fans through the subsequent airplay.

Guy Sebastian’s bettered last week’s chart position, nudging up one spot to claim number six with “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” And it seems the ARIAs have reminded everyone how awesome Gotye and Kimbra’s collaborative effort was, because “Somebody That I Used to Know” has zoomed back into the charts to hold the seventh spot.

Sadly the ARIAs haven’t been so kind to the albums charts, as for the first time in a long time there isn’t a local release in the top 10. Perhaps we should start supporting our local industry while we’re doing our Christmas shopping!

Click below for this week’s top tens.

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Reece Mastin has shaken off The X Factor Australia curse and zoomed into the Australian singles charts with a number 1 debut. “Good Night” outsold all the other songs this week, and is hopefully the first of many milestones for the talented teen.

Rewind one year and the best Altiyan Childs could muster was a number 8 position for “Somewhere in the World.” I’d argue that Altiyan’s song was much stronger, but clearly Sony knows what the single buying population wants.
Reece’s X Factor mentor Guy Sebastian isn’t doing too badly either. His single “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is sitting pretty at number 7. It’s not a cover of the Bobby McFerrin smash, but it’s every bit as catchy.

Aussies aren’t exactly taking the singles charts by storm, but it’s been some time since I’ve seen two local acts in the top 10. Hopefully with the ARIAs reminding us of all the great Australian talent around, we’ll see more songs cracking the top 10 in the coming weeks.

The same goes for the albums chart, which is also dominated by international acts. The best we could muster is Triple J’s Like a Version 7 sitting at number eight. Cold Chisel’s tour has also inspired fans to invest in the new best of disc. It’s sitting at number 10 on the charts.

Click below for this week’s ARIA top 10.
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