SHANE NICHOLSON – HELENA

Today, 3 x time ARIA Award and 11 x Golden Guitar winning Shane Nicholson announces extra live shows and releases his new radio single ‘Helena’ the follow up to his Top 15 Country Radio single ‘And You Will Have Your Way.’ In line with the release, Shane will also release a live video of ‘Helena.’

Shane describes ‘Helena’ as a dream song. “I’ve never had a dream song before. I was a little bit jealous of people who had. I woke up one morning and had the title and sort of a little melody in my head. ‘It only hurts for a while’ is the tagline. In the dream it was ‘Helena it only hurts ’till you die’ – that was a little bit sadder [he laughs], maybe not as hopeful. That was the original version I wrote. I backtracked a bit and thought no I’m gonna make this a little more hopeful and open-ended.

“It was fun to record. I was having a great time, playing and playing, then I started adding backing vocals and I got carried away with it one night. You know, a couple of whiskeys and a microphone. It ballooned into something bigger and shinier than I thought it would.”

Living In Colour was released in August, hit Top 5 on the ARIA Country Chart and is nominated for ARIA Best Country Album. It was written and recorded in Shane’s Central Coast studio pretty much on his own due to Covid restrictions. I just found it fun to be doing it myself. It was sort of a return to the old days, my teenage years, when I had my first Pro-Tools set up on old computer and I was making demos and putting songs together, learning about the mechanics of production in a bedroom in Brisbane in my parents’ house,” he says excitedly. “I haven’t really done that since then, being able to sit there by myself and pick up instrument after instrument. It was mostly me and a bottle of whiskey into the night, that was it.

ABOUT SHANE NICHOLSON

Nicolson’s storied career started in the late 1990s with his first Brisbane based band Pretty Violet Stain. With a solo career launch in 2002 with the release of ‘It’s a Movie’, he’s since followed up with nine albums, including 2015 ARIA Award winning ‘Hell Breaks Loose’ and 2 x ARIA Award winning albums with Kasey Chambers – the platinum selling, ARIA No.1 album ‘Rattlin’ Bones’ and ‘Wreck and Ruin’. With 11 x CMAA Golden Guitar awards under his belt including 2021 APRA Song of the Year for ‘The High Price of Surviving’, Nicolson has also been recognised internationally with 2 nominations for USA Americana Music Association awards. As a seasoned producer, Nicholson has been busy working with Alex Lloyd, Tori Forsyth, Beccy Cole, Michael Waugh and Camille Trail.

Nicholson is a rare talent who has bridged the gap between Alt-country and the mainstream. He crafts his songs seamlessly and can wrap up difficult subject matters with music of uplifting beauty and charm. He has released 4 songs from Living In Colour – The High Price Of Surviving, Harvest on Vinyl, Life Ain’t Fine and his latest single, And You Will Have Your Way’ which captures Nicholson’s charismatic talent for writing striking songs that pay tribute to the unpredictability of human experience.

BRIGGS – SHADOWS FT. TROY CASSAR-DALEY

Pioneer of the Australian Hip Hop scene and Yorta-Yorta man Briggs is releasing his newest single ‘Shadows’ ft Troy Cassar-Daley today through Island Records Australia.

An adaptation of the Troy Cassar-Daley original ‘Shadows On The Hill’, this unique collaboration produced by Jaytee Hazard, brings together two iconic artists to acknowledge an important part of Australia’s history.

”Shadows On The Hill’ started its song line around a fire on Gumbaynggirr country at our men’s camp. There was one powerful moment for all of us when a massacre was mentioned that happened up the river from where we camped with our families for many generations, the wind died down, the air around us was still and not one bird sang. My old uncle stood up and said, ‘Don’t be scared the old people know we are here; they are just letting us know’. The trees on the mountains across the river from us stood long and lonely. I believe the old people gave me this song to acknowledge the pain and to share one of the many brutal stories of this land and more importantly to share the truth. Because song lines never end and make their way through thousands of generations, I shared the song with Briggs so the next generation can hear the story of the ‘Shadows On The Hill’ Troy Cassar-Daley.

Briggs says on the song ‘Shadows was brought to me by Troy; I was honoured he’d share this part of his story with me. There was so much depth and this haunting truth that is woven through his words.’

‘As a kid I’d often remember rumours about what parts of Melbourne were old ‘graveyards.’ Which I guess is a way to explain a massacre site or to reconcile it for young ears. Where the bodies dropped they built a fuckin parking lot.’

‘Australia has a hard time acknowledging its truth. There’s a partial map of massacre sites in the artwork. It’s documented; it’s factual. The first war began in 1788. It had all the symptoms of a war. There were opposing nations, a clear objective of taking land, everything in it and the expansion of the Crown. Australia enjoys its cherry-picked history.’

‘Genocide isn’t just rifles. It’s in introducing dependency and then removing the care. It’s exclusion from the health care system, it’s exclusion from the economy and society.’

‘Governor Macquarie said, ‘Hang the natives from the tree to deter others.’ They named a Bank, University and many other streets and landmarks after him. People get cancelled for tweets in 2021, this guy still has a statue.’

‘Blackfullas personify survival. We embody the values of our culture; that’s what we carry.’

The song features as part of the forthcoming ABC two-part series ‘Going Country’. Hosted by Justine Clarke, the series premieres on Tuesday November 2 at 8:30pm and travels to locations that have played an integral part in the creation and inspiration of iconic county music songs as well as the lives of the artists who have helped shape Australian Country.

Blake Dantier – Layover

Award-winning songwriter Blake Dantier returns with his new single and video ‘Layover’ , following on from the success of his previous single ‘Last Call’, which spent 14 weeks on the CountryTown Hot 50 airplay charts, peaking at #8. It caps off a successful year for Dantier and one that doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.

Layover’ comes with a sunny disposition perfect for the onset of the hot Australian summer. “It’s got a real laid-back groove that we tried to make reminiscent of a tropical paradise”, Dantier says. A keen amateur brewer, he has made a name for himself of late with songs inspired by whiskey, beer and good times, but this time its tinged with a side order of melancholy and heartbreak. “My previous few songs have been about drinking but this one’s something different,” he says. “With only some really slight references to drinking. It tells the story of a guy who proposes to his girlfriend on a vacation, only to have her say no. Awkward as hell. He finds out in a pretty rough way that he was just a layover, while she was waiting for the next guy to come along.”

With the single produced by Simon Johnson at Hillbilly Huts studios, the lyric video for ‘Layover’ was produced by Dantier during a spark of pandemic-induced creativity. “As you can imagine, being a couple of months deep in a COVID lockdown gave me a lot of time to experiment with things. The video went through a couple of different versions, but I eventually settled on something really simple. The track is chill and uncomplicated, so I wanted the video to reflect that”, Dantier says.

2021 has been a successful year for Dantier, picking up two gongs at the Tamworth Songwriters Salute Awards, for New Songwriter of The Year and Country Ballad of The Year. He’s been active on the road, both with his own shows and as a sideman to his fiancé Cass Hopetoun, who recently toured with Hurricane Fall. He will be featured as a guitar-slinger in Cass Hopetoun’s band supporting The Wolfe Brothers later in the year. You can next catch Dantier performing his hit singles at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2022.

Blake Dantier has proven himself as a versatile and prodigious songwriter, able to create music that captures the mood of the moment. The Music Network has described him as “One of the most exciting prospects on the local country scene” and with ‘Layover’, he’s about to continue to fly high to bigger and better triumphs.

Interstate Cowboy – Christmas Cafe

Tim Champlin is a Captain/Firefighter with Poudre Fire Authority in Ft Collins Colorado and he is also the voice and songwriter behind the Interstate Cowboy Band.

Colorado’s Tri-102.5 says, “To hear that one of our local heroes has put out a Christmas song, you have to stop everything to check it out!”

“The man in the song reflects back on how a year earlier, he pulled off the interstate during a snowstorm and stopped at this little cafe where he fell for the waitress…on Christmas Day.”

“Christmas Café” is a holiday single and has been described as a “Hallmark Movie Love Song!”

Hayley Marsten – Drowning Myself

If HAIM & Shania Twain got together to make music, it’s sonic sister would be Hayley Marsten’s new single, “Drowning Myself” released today (October 8th). No stranger to the ‘sad banger’, Hayley has bared her heartbreak to her audience many times before but no song in her back catalogue compares in vulnerability.

About the realisation that sometimes the only person who can pull you out of the deep end is the one who threw you in, you. ‘Drowning Myself is the sadness I thought I would never explore, my own mental health’. Hayley spent her early years as a songwriter as a Taylor Swift fan, being schooled in how to write a hook from the heart and genre bend with the best of them. And it shows on “Drowning Myself”, taking the best parts of her alt-country roots and sparkling power-pop all over them.

“In some ways this song feels like a huge departure for me. But in reality this is the most me that has ever been in a song”. It might feel like a different approach but the stellar songwriting is unchanged in this song, the heartbreak kid now delves deeper into herself to try to quell the pain. This release marks Marsten’s first as a co-producer with the powerhouse production team of Dan Sugars and ARIA Award Winner Magoo (Reguritator, Kate Miller-Heidke, Powderfinger).

This single marks a step into a new era for her as an artist but also her emerging from her darkest place with her grief spun into gold.

Jade Holland – Fight For It

Australian Country Star, Jade Holland, has been consistently sharing her story with audiences across the globe over the past three years with singles like, the Multimillion streaming “Drive Thru”, International Award winning “That’s The Wine”, the 2019 Charting Townsville Flood appeal charity song “Lives on the Lawn” and 2020’s breakout hit, “Do It Right”.

Now her follow up single, “Fight For It”, due for International release on 8 October, is poised to become an anthem for a world struggling to recover from covid fatigue.

As Ambassador for Mental Awareness Foundation, Jade will make history on Sunday 10 October as she debuts “Fight For It” at the annual Walk for Awareness event in Brisbane in front of tens of thousands of Queenslanders. The official video will be filmed that day with a cast of thousands.

“Fight For It is for every single person who has lost someone to suicide. It’s a song that we all can relate to. We’ve all been there. This is our time to stand together and sing for those who are no longer here.” Holland shared. “This is our anthem now.”

Being one of the first music artists to go on the road post lockdown, Jade took her Resilience Tour throughout regional Queensland in late 2020 in partnership with the Mental Awareness Foundation, and witnessed, firsthand, the power that music had to reconnect and heal a local community. It was these places and faces that inspired her to sit down late one night after a show in Mount Isa, where she wrote the first three words, Fight For It.

“Fight For It” was recorded and produced across time zones in a unique fashion thanks to border restrictions and lockdowns. Co-written by Jade with Sinead Burgess and Bryce Sainty, it was produced by David “Messy” Mescon at Messy Room Studios in Nashville with Aria Award winning artist, Tyrone Noonan, appearing on the backing vocals with the chorus vocals recorded in the Pushworth office with the whole team jumping in to help out.

“Fight For It” will be released through The Manick Label/In Grooves/Universal Music Group on Friday 8 October 2021.

Tony Kennelly – Sailing

I would like to tell you how my new single ‘Sailing’ came to find its way onto paper. This story goes back to when I was a young teenager. My family lived in a suburb in Sydney very close to the Parramatta River. It was there that the river was my backyard and boats became a way to enjoy this wonderful harbor.

Buying a boat at thirteen was going to be a challenge. So I worked every moment I could, saving my money. One day I was doing work for a nice old man in his garden, washing cars, chopping wood, any job that I could to help finally buy a boat. This lovely man and his wife often noticed how hard I worked. They offered to give me an old 12 foot tinny with a small outboard motor, knowing that I would pay them back for this boat in time, for which I did.

This opened up a whole lot of new adventures up and down the river, but my favourite time of the year was December when the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was about to start. The colors of the sails, the excitement of the spectator’s boats large and small, all trying to navigate to have the best position to watch the big maxi yachts fight for position. And there was me and a mate in a little tinny, but we loved every second of it.

On our journey back up river we would say “we will be one of those crewmen one day and sail all the way down to Hobart”. There was only two things that stopped me. One was I would get terribly sea sick and still do. The other was I lacked the confidence to sail so far out to sea. But that never stopped me dreaming about the romance of it all. Funny being a river rat kid, to being a farmer and nowhere near the salt water.

Now, since my wife and I decided to sell the farm and enjoy our benefits of years of hard work, we can once again smell the salt air. My utmost respect goes to the men and women that battle the oceans. – Tony Kennelly.

Tony Kennelly possesses something of an eagle eye view on the Australian music scene. For more than 45 years he has observed and played a part in its ever-changing landscape. With 30 years gone by between his youthful role as a guitarist and singer around Sydney in the 70’s and 80’s at a pivotal time in the birth of Australian Rock Music, Tony returns to his role as a songwriter in the country/folk scene.

Tony possesses a sense of musicianship and songwriting that are a testimony to his years of experience. He’s been there, done that and seen the whole story unfold. His ethos behind the music is based in a pure love for the songs and with an appreciation for the old folk tradition, there’s a real story and message behind his work.

Key Loch – Come Home To Me

Coming fresh off their recent hit Where Is The Love, Key Loch are bringing us another passionate single! Come Home To Me is a worthy successor to their emotional last single, and the beautiful tones of Avery May Parker’s voice combined with the smooth drums and gentle guitar will make you feel right at home.

Key Loch are Damien Reilly and Justin Gross. They are the founders of the 90’s power Aussie Rock Band Southpaw, which you can learn more about at www.southpawmuzik.com . They bring together a production history between them of 50 years of song writing and playing live music in Australia. And this time, the duo are featuring a third member to their killer ensemble, that being Avery May Parker! A sweet and soulful performance in every lyric, Avery’s voice and Key Loch’s expert playing guarantee that every time you listen to Come Home To Me, it’ll hit you right where it counts.

This track is an emotional story about a husband that has been sent off to war, with his wife pining for his return. “Come home to me”, come back alive, come back safe. It’s a heartfelt scenario that cuts deep and pulls no punches. Avery once again knocked it out of the park with her vocals, and alongside Damien and Justin’s incredible production, we think this one is bound to be a massive hit!

The cozy chord progressions and delicate lyrics will transport you homely times, to nostalgic times you once fondly lived through, and to happy times that are yet to come, or perhaps never will come and are bound to your imagination. The future is a mystery, however the passion presented in this song is a constant, one that cannot be altered, merely moulded to suit your idyllic preference. Key Loch are making a name for themselves in the music world with hits like this, and it’s only a matter of time before that name becomes a household one!

Axle Whitehead – One Gun

Axle Whitehead Returns to His Country Roots with ‘One Gun’

Axle Whitehead is one of Australia’s most versatile musicians, with studies in jazz improvisation through to a gold-selling pop single ‘I Don’t Do Surprises’, but it’s country music where Axle’s heart lies. First jumping into the country world in 2011 with ‘Sister Sunshine’ Axle has toured around Australia and beyond, juggling a successful acting career with his first love of music.

Whitehead has spent much of the last decade throwing himself into a successful acting career traveling between Los Angeles and Sydney with roles on the international hit TV series Shameless and Marvel Agents of SHIELD. Already known across Australia as the host of iconic music show Video Hits and game show The Wall as well as a four-year stint on Home and Away, it’s music that always brings him home.

His new single ‘One Gun’ is his most accomplished track to date, collaborating with writer /producer/ musician Carl Dimataga (Khalid, James Fauntleroy, Thundamentals, Baker Boy) creating a roots-based sound harking back to his regional Victorian upbringing, melting rock, blues and jazz influences into a unique and contemporary country sound. With his soulful vocal winding through a shuffling, minimalist guitar lick, ‘One Gun’ explores the relatable story of a man trying to find his identity. A parallel to Whitehead’s own fulsome career coming full circle to his country roots, the song is Axle Whitehead at his confident and accomplished best.

“I am incredibly proud of ‘One Gun’, said Whitehead. “Through writing many songs, Carl and I have stumbled across this Soul/Country sound. By taking the drums out it allows the listener to sit and breathe
with the song whilst the guitars do the heavy lifting.”

“Before I went to music college to study Jazz all I wanted was to be Garth Brooks or Steve Earle. Now after exploring a few different genres over the years, I’ve finally found my own sound.”