For a band that redefined a quintessentially Australian sound on their 2014 classic ‘Any Old Love’, Queensland’s Halfway travelled halfway around the world to record their follow up ‘The Golden Halfway Record’ in Nashville, Tennessee, only to create another step in their Australian sonic journey.
Working with lauded producer Mark Nevers (Calexico, Bonnie Prince Billy, George Jones) and releasing for the first time through ABC Music, the band left to find a global sound and returned with an ode to adolescence in Halfway’s core duo John Busby and Chris Dale’s hometown of Rockhampton. The album’s first cut “Bret Canham’s Leather Jacket” tells the story of a kid they knew who, with his penchant for ‘weird’ clothes, hairstyles and music, stood out and suffered for it.
Canham refused to submit and flaunted it with a defiant smile before torching Rocky and headed to a relatively more tolerant Brisbane. Halfway’s story is drawn with a similar narrative arc. From Brisbane, it’s a long way to go to Nashville to make a record that’s not very country but very Rockhampton – just as Grant McLennan, also a Rocky boy, had to go to London to write “Cattle & Cane.” It’s often, as they say, only the road out of town that leads you back to yourself. This golden album is another milestone on that road.
Forming in 2000, Halfway boasts members including Rocky trio John Busby, Chris Dale and Elwin Hawtin, singer/songwriter Luke Peacock, Ben Johnson, Dublin-born brothers Noel and Liam Fitzpatrick and ex-Go Between John Willsteed. With a trilogy of critically acclaimed albums and a bunch of Queensland Music Awards already under their belt, Halfway drew a line in the sand with their fourth, 2014’s concept album ‘Any Old Love’ which catapulted the band onto the national stage with five star reviews, national airplay and the AIR Award for Best Country Album. The album explored the life of a washed-up jockey living in outback Queensland, exploring the psyche of small-town rural Australia through songs delving into self-identity, depression, disconnection, hope and anxiety.
The followup, ‘The Golden Halfway Record’ has reclaimed the band’s love of rock while retaining the country feel of a group of troubadours ready to not just tell their story, but continuing to tell the story of Australia. The band will launch the album at a special hometown show at Brisbane’s Triffid on April 29, presenting the album live for the first time before heading out on the road for further shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
As Halfway says: “The band is like a face, showing all the stuff that the years have piled on. One day you’re just a kid, screaming around in the summer dark, and then you do what you do, roads less travelled or waking up in the ditch, but keeping on. Then every now and then, in the midst of it all, you look in the mirror and it’s all there. These albums are like those mirror moments.”
“The Golden Halfway Record” is out on April 8 through ABC Music. Catch Halfway on tour, tickets on sale now.
After 25 years as the honey-voiced singer of the Blackeyed Susans, Rob Snarski released his debut solo album, “Wounded Bird” in 2014.
Think Ricky Nelson meets Mazzy Star or the Everly Brothers if they’d been raised on a diet of Big Star’s Third.
In 2015, Rob will release an album of 18 songs requested by his fans – all were recorded at home – in the kitchen, office and bedroom on his iPhone. ‘I didn’t really set about recording the songs meticulously and it wasn’t until late into the project it dawned on me I was gathering quite an interesting collection of song requests and perhaps other likeminded lo-fi music loving folk may enjoy them as well. Everything from Pulp to Glen Campbell, Nina Simone to Spiritualized, Chad’s Tree to Lou Reed.’
The recordings were played to producer and guitarist Shane O’Mara who embraced the project wholeheartedly – tweaking things here and there and adding to the atmosphere of it all … a touch of extra reverb, adding an electric guitar or sitar or just a simple EQ of Rob’s original recording.