There is something of a real renaissance of folk and country music going on in Sydney at the moment. Or maybe it has always been there and social media and general trends in fashion, food and music have allowed the artists to get a better foothold in the media and more exposure for live shows. Certainly things like Folk Club which is held regularly at Oxford Art Factory have been a great stepping stone for local acts, as well as the great work of broadcasters like Emma Swift and Vinny Ramone (The Outpost) who consistently champion the best local musicians alongside their international counterparts and local labels like Laughing Outlaw Records who definitely know talent when they hear it.
Since I’ve been editing and publishing Post To Wire there has been a noticeable increase in the number of artists sending in submissions for review, gig mentions and publicity and the level of quality is for the most part extremely high. Acts like The Falls, James Thomson, Fanny Lumsden, Mark Moldre, Charlie Horse, The Snowdroppers, Oh, Willy Dear and many, many others are creating varied and frequently brilliant music within the broad scope of americana.
A great recent example is Liam Gale & the Ponytails who have two excellent tracks up on their Soundcloud page. Gale harnesses that same intense preacher quality that bands like 16 Horsepower and Wovenhand conjure up. This certainly isn’t fragile folk strumming yet Gale knows his way around the dynamics of song, bottling tension and then letting it cascade from the speakers. In Of Letters Lost there is a wonderful section in the middle of the song where it diverts into a 70s West Coast feel before he roughens the mood and returns to kicking up the dust. One minute you are hearing a Cajun footstomp and the next there are strains of UK folk blues from the 60s that reveal themselves in Gale’s guitar playing. Broadside Ballad is similar in its galloping rhythms yet it possesses an additional tribal psych feel that casts an ear back to The Doors, The Tea Party and the like.