Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Down Under Roots: The Joelenes and The Bayou Brothers

There are many differences between the United States and Australia.  Our continental land masses are pretty much the same size but down here the 5000 kilometers of space is peppered with the population of New York State.  Venture too far off the dusty red track out in the middle and you’ll be pretty much on your own until you get to the Pearly Gates (or the other place, which, considering where you’ve just come from, might be an actual improvement).

We have kangaroos. Americans have skunks. Both are pests. We both share poisonous snakes that hide out in rocky mountains, though our mountains are pretty wimpy compared to the Rockies.  Both countries have indigenous people they have abused, neglected and then tried to ‘assimilate’ for their supposed greater good.  Australian Aborigines, however, have been living here since 38,000 BCE. 

We both play football with oblong balls of leather, but Aussie men snicker at all those padded up gladiators in the NFL. Our ‘footy’ players wear shorts and knee high socks and that’s about it.   You’ve got baseball. We’ve got cricket. But we get the idea of hitting a fastly-tossed hard ball with a wood bat.

We have similar breakfast cereals. You say Rice Krispies. We say Rice Bubbles. Our Cheerios have sugar on them. Your’s don’t.  And we don’t even know what Grapenuts are.

In the realm of music we both love roots or alt-country music.  We are slightly embarrassed by Keith Urban (though are sort of proud of him, too) and bristle when it assumes he’s all there is to Aussie country music.

Tonight the Washerman’s Dog shares a couple of small local bands who ply their trade in bars and pubs around the country, drubbing up enough to pay rent and get to the next gig. 

From the badlands of Brunswick (a suburb of Melbourne) and the seaside skulduggery of St Kilda (another burb), alt-country five-piece The Joelenes bring you their full-length album: Cool Hand Lucille. This 10-track collection of original songs is a celebration of love, loss, public transport (trams in particular), and the ability to keep on truckin’ even when life seems hell-bent on bringing you down.

The Joelenes unique and powerful sound is shaped by four-part harmonies, acoustic guitars, harmonica licks, keys, mandolin, stripped-back drums and dirty bass – it’s a little bit rootsy, a little bit bar-room stomper, a little bit bluesy and a whole lotta alt-country.

The female-fronted line-up features: Rosina ‘slingshot’ Gannon (guitar/vocals), Nina ‘howlin’ Rousseau (harmonica/vocals/guitar), Joanna ‘Rainman’ Flemming(keys/vocals/guitar/mandolin), Hadley ‘big daddy’ Agrez (bass) and Chris ‘boom chicka’ den Brave (drums/washboard).

Thus, does the band, The Joelenes (not to be confused with the English female bluegrass band,The Jolenes) describe itself.
Hailing from the other side of the continent come The Bayou Brothers. Combining their traditional blues influences with rockabilly, manic hillbilly, gospel, country and folk, in a style that the Brothers fondly refer to as Deliverance meets the Delta, the group is comprised of founding members Andrew Morgan & Richard Woollett and multi-instrumentalist Dave Clarke and Victorian double bass player Ben "Bendigo" Gibbon.

Happy listening!

Track Listing (Joelenes)
01 Pass The Wine
02 Mary & Pat
03 Stuart Highway
04 Song For Patrick
05 Some Consolation
06 Stay On Board
07 The River
08 Begun
09 The Tram Song
10 Dead Man's Cigarette
11 Bonus Party Track

Track Listing: (Bayou Brothers)
01 Green River
02 Drop Down Mama
03 The Exercise Yard
04 Wayfaring Stranger
05 Everything Tastes Better When It’s Fried
06 Lord, I'm Coming to Heaven
07 Ramblin' Man
08 Takes A Lot to Laugh, Takes a Train to Cry
09 Like a Bird

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