Ballarat, Western Victorian songwriter Jeremy Beggs has just released his new spacious and graceful Americana single ‘Hurtful Ways‘, co-written and recorded with Matt Joe Gow, who PTW readers will be familiar with.
For Jeremy, the song was written after a period of both celebration and challenge as he searches for the never-ending balance between career and family. “My family always comes first but the reality is as a musician, sometimes we are taken away from the ones we love,” he says. “I’m constantly trying to find and keep that balance but unfortunately that sometimes tilts too far one way and requires recalibration.”
Of his songwriting collaboration with Matt, Jeremy says, “I feel so fortunate to have met Matt and am grateful for all the things I have learnt from him so far. Before being thrust up on stage with Matt & The Dead Leaves in Tamworth last year, my music was really just floating around like a dream. Sharing the stage and watching and meeting wonderful artists made me really understand what this journey is all about.”
‘Hurtful Ways’ is available now on Bandcamp and streaming services.
Jeremy was kind enough to answer our Six Strings Q&A, where he talks about favourite gigs, influential albums and the state of the current Australian Americana scene in his part of the country.
What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of Americana music?
Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
Describe your latest release…
The song was co-written with Matt Joe Gow through emails and voice memos, the way of the modern world. Recording with Matt and Andrew Pollock was a wonderful experience, they have such a wealth of knowledge that I was able to tap into. I love the contrasting guitar sounds Andrew created that bring wonderful tension to the song.
What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve played?
Two only because those venues are no longer open, Saints & Sailors in Port Arlington and Guildford Family Hotel. Both shows played with some special friends who I don’t often get to play with anymore and they were beautiful welcoming rooms.
How did you learn to play your instrument?
I learnt saxophone at secondary school which was incredibly valued in developing my ear and a love of improvisation but from there I have been self-taught. I spent a lot of time sitting around campfires sharing songs with friends carefully watching what they were doing.
Do you have a preference – recording in the studio or performing on stage?
I love them both but probably recording in the studio. There is a beautiful moment when a song just belongs to the room and its people.
What do you consider the finest song you’ve written?
‘Hurtful Ways’. I’m really proud of the way I was able to craft the song and allow the story to build throughout and to be able to share it with another talented songwriter makes it even more special.
If you could sit-in with one other musician (living or dead) who would it be?
I will never be able to play like him but Mark Knopfler. I think I would just sit and watch though.
Do you feel there is a strong folk/country music community in Australia?
The town I’m from, Ballarat in Western Victoria, has always had a rock, grunge, indie music culture. If you had asked me 20 years ago, could folk/country music have a place here, I probably would have laughed. But times have changed, taste and exposure to music has changed which is great. A lot of the time the struggle comes down to a lack of opportunity both for musicians and punters. It would be great for venues and particularly councils to be open to the opportunities the folk/country music community can provide. In the meantime, we’ll keep chipping away anywhere they’ll have us.
What’s been your favourite Americana release over the last year?
At the imperil of being called biased and sounding like a fanboy, Matt Joe Gow – Between Tonight and Tomorrow.
What are your musical plans over the next 12 months?
Back to the recording studio later in the year which will hopefully build towards a debut album in 2024.