Stan Woodhouse is currently out on the road playing a comprehensive series of solo acoustic dates (see below) around Australia to celebrate and promote the release of his new solo live album Live At Some Velvet Morning. The nine track album showcases Stan’s brilliant lyricism, dry humour and ability to hang a well crafted story on perfect set of picked and strummed guitar notes. Catch a show if you can and pick up a copy of the new album at the same time. Keep reading to stream the album in full.
Stan was kind enough to answer the PTW Six Strings Q&A where he talks about Johnny Cash, his dad’s guitar playing and some of the albums he’s been digging lately.
What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of Americana music?
When I was about eight my cousin and I found a handful of cassette tapes down the back of our Grandfather’s work bench. There was a rock ‘n’ roll compilation, a Buddy Holly album, a best of Sam Cooke and Live at San Quentin by Johnny Cash. We played them over and over. Johnny Cash made a real impression on our young minds. My cousin is still the most steady musical presence in my life. I think we were mutually doomed the moment we hit play on Folsom Prison Blues.
Describe your latest release in 100 words.
This album is a live recording of myself and an acoustic guitar. I performed two nights in a row at a small venue in Melbourne; Some Velvet Morning. I had been on the road by myself for a while after the band had to take some time off. I was playing alone so much that my songwriting moved away from band appropriate pieces and I found myself with a bag full of songs that were geared towards solo performance. I had the itch to do something I between tours so I called up my favourite engineer Richard Stolz and along with his assistant Luke Mullan we set the wheels in motion. I wanted the record to sound like the listener is in the room. Like they’re part of the audience.
What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve played?
The launch of my debut album at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne last March is going to be pretty hard to beat. Since then probably the Riverboats Music Festival in Echuca has been a major highlight.
How did you learn to play your instrument?
My Dad taught me how to fingerpick a couple of ditties early on. I learned a lot from watching him play. He loved strumming through Loudon Wainwright III songs and had a pretty groovy rolling thumb, old school picking style. Still does although he doesn’t pick it. Up as much as he used to I don’t think. I thought he was pretty cool and day dreamed about being able to play this one particular song he liked to pick; Life is Like a River by Doc Watson. I learned it eventually. After the first couple of songs I taught myself. I fell into the guitar hole and I’ve not climbed out. Doubt I ever will.
What do you consider the finest song you’ve written?
There is a song on this solo record called A Man Misunderstood that I’m quite proud of, lyrically at least. Some people have told me it’s my best effort yet but I’m not sure. It’s certainly not making Triple J’s hottest 100 any time soon.
If you could sit-in with one other musician (living or dead) who would it be?
If I can only choose one I’d probably have to say a good long sing song with Emmylou Harris would be a dream come true. She is the queen of harmony.
Do you feel there is a strong folk/country music community in Australia and if so, what does it need to keep growing?
I think the folk/country scene is pretty solid here in Australia. We have so many songwriters and players churning out original material. I think the community’s longevity rests upon writers keeping the music evolving. I’ve enjoyed Ryan Adams’ music but I don’t feel we need too much more of it. There are more places to go with Americana than introspective love songs. Just my opinion.
What’s been your favourite Americana release over the last year?
An album called Mad Man by a guy called Sean Rowe has been on high rotation for the last while. As for local releases, William Crighton’s debut album released this year is a bit of a classic.
What are your musical plans over the next 12 months?
I’m currently on a solo, acoustic tour that will wrap up in June. Every day I spend playing is a day I don’t have to work manual labour. I’m not big on day jobs so I have to keep touring or I starve. In a few months time the band will do another run through Australia and New Zealand. I’m going to keep writing and hopefully get another album written by the end of the year. Gotta keep moving I guess.