News & Updates
August 27, 2015
Dana Hassall | Spinning Wheels
Spinning Wheels – The title track from Dana’s forthcoming album….!
She may be on the youthful side of the spectrum but Dana Hassall is far from new to the music scene.
**2015 Toyota Star Maker Top 3 Grand Finalist**
I spent some time with Dana and her parents on her mum & dads alpaca farm in the Eastern Downs country in Queensland, we headed out for some laughs amidst the country traffic, alpaca’s and horse’s to play a while.
So, I’ve also worked with Dana and yes it is a small world. We worked together at the beautiful Bed & Breakfast Vacy Hall for a term and as you know It’s hard work following your dreams.
Dana who has been performing since she was 8 years old has a nature that reflects the knowing of an old soul and the humility of a star that could make a difference to people’s lives. I’ve spoken with Dana on many occasion and wanted to tell her how she makes my heart sing to see her reaching for dreams.
So we think this girl is special not because she demands attention but because she really has something beautiful to say………Sometimes we think it would just be nice for people to arrive at their destination rather than having to wear the armour of having fought and won, and fought and fought on, to the place where people can see the freedom in your breath and your smile……….
So here’s to you Dana. All the way kiddo……… Touching lives and inspiring hearts…..
Some background on Dana..
Growing up on an alpaca farm in country Queensland gave Dana the perfect level of isolation to lock herself away and create. From the very early age of eight, she was already gracing audiences with her songs and, albeit shy, performances.
Her first songs certainly reflected life as she knew it back then, including compositions about horse riding, alpaca shearing and a heart-warming ditty about looking out for her younger sister. Suffice it to say she won’t be winning any ARIAs with those tunes, but they gave her the taste of storytelling and a thirst for more. p.s ….we didn’t write that part and we just love Dana Hassall and believe she has so much to give a younger generation and experience helps right.. – Ed
Fast forward fifteen years and Dana is still sharing stories with audiences. Although she’s not so shy on stage these days, she readily admits that she’s no extrovert either.
“I used to hide behind my mum’s legs every time someone started talking to me. I’m a little past that stage but I’ll still take singing over speaking any day. I secretly think that’s why I’m attracted to music – I can tell my story, but it’s pre-written so I don’t need to worry about saying something silly in the spur of the moment!”
“Spinning Wheels” | New single & title track
Dana is launching a new single and we are stoked…We know the feeling of soldiering on, and it’s real and we’re glad to be sharing Dana’s experiences with her …! – Ed
Dana’s passion for music is obvious in her single “Spinning Wheels”, the title track from her forthcoming debut album, due for release in January 2016.
“The single, “Spinning Wheels”, comes from that twenty-something feeling of wondering whether all your effort is going to amount to anything, but soldiering on when it feels like you’re getting nowhere. The rest of the tracks cover everything from talking to strangers, to figuring out where you belong and of course, the occasional love-gone-wrong story.
I think the new album has a bit of a theme of self-discovery that comes from growing up along with my songs. I’ve been songwriting since I was eight so I’m sure listening to those songs from start to finish would tell a pretty revealing story about my life!”
Spinning Wheels is Dana’s first full length record and sees her return to multiple Golden Guitar Award winner Matt Fell, who also produced her EP ‘See It Now’. Dana says she’s spent the years since the release of her EP writing and co-writing at every opportunity.
“When it came time to narrow down songs for the album we had a bit of a task, but I’m really happy with the songs we chose. I love a lot of different types of music and that definitely comes through in my songwriting, but somehow they all fit together into one album.”
Dana lists the sounds of Ryan Adams, Amos Lee, John Mayer, Shane Nicholson and Harry Hookey as just a few of her favourites in recent years.
Dana Hassall is a 2015 Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist and a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music 2012. With her rich, earthy vocals, powerful songwriting and fierce determination, she’s a force to be reckoned with. If Americana is your cup of tea, it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing about Dana Hassall in days to come.
Achievements – Dana Hassall
- 2015 Southern Stars Independent Country Music Awards Finalist in APRA/AMCOS Single of the Year and CRS Female Rising Star
- 2015 “Gotta Take a Minute” makes it to #30 on Country Tracks Top 40 and #16 on Kix Country Top 20
- 2015 ICMA Awards Most Popular New Talent Nomination (Announced 2016)
- 2015 Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist (Top 3)
- 2015 TSA Awards Best Contemporary Song (27 Degrees – Megan Cooper/Dana Hassall)
- 2013 APRA Professional Development Award Finalist
- 2012 Channel C Blue Shoe Awards – Sapphire Shoe Award
- 2012 Channel C Blue Shoe Awards – Best Song Finalist
- 2012 The Song Comp Country/Australiana Song of the Year
- 2012 The Song Comp Blues/Roots/Indie Song of the Year
- 2012 The Song Comp Country/Australiana Second Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Folk/Singer-Songwriter Second Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Pop/Rock Section Fifth Place
- 2012 The Song Comp Spiritual Songs Finalist
- 2012 Best EP – National Canberra Country Music Award
- 2012 Catapult Song Contest Top 30
- 2012 Musicoz Awards Finalist
- 2012 CMAA Academy of Country Music “Spirit of the Country” Scholarship Recipient and SeniorAcademy Graduate
- 2012 “See It Now” makes it to #15 on the Kix Country Countdown
- 2011 International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist (“Long Way”)
- 2011 Mud Bulls & Music Country Talent Search Runner-Up
- 2011 Apra Professional Development Awards Finalist
- 2011 Queensland Music Awards Highly Commended
- (“Long Way” & “Two Steps”)
- 2009/2010 Vibetones Songwriting Competition State Finalist
- 2009 Amateur Section of TSA Awards Semi Finalist
- 2009 Miles Country Music Spectacular Overall Female
- 2009 Mud Bulls & Music Country Talent Search Runner-Up
- 2009 Australian Theme Section of AMCF National Songwriting Competition Third Place
- 2009 Qld Songwriting Champion
- 2008 TSA Awards Amateur Section Semi Finalist
- (“Good-bye” & “Waiting Out the Storm”)
- 2008 TSA Awards Junior Section Finalist
- (“Small Town”)
- 2008 Jazzer Smith Quest Runner-Up
- 2008 Cane Country CMF Overall Junior
- 2008 Pioneer Village CMF Overall Junior
- 2008 Voice of Urban Talent Quest Junior Runner-Up
- 2008 Qsong Courier Mail People’s Choice Awards Finalist
- 2008 Homestead Youth Talent Expo Overall Champion
- 2008 Redlands Modern Country Music Festival Overall Act
- 2008 Gympie Muster Maton Talent Search Grand Finalist
- 2008 Qld Junior Songwriting Champion
- 2008 ACMF Environmental Secondary School Songwriting Section Winner
- 2007/2008 Two time Graduate of the Camerata Country Music Youth School
- 2007 Qld Junior Songwriting Champion
August 13, 2015
Quirky, catchy and a little bit out there.
Ayden Roberts is an emerging artist who spends a lot of time playing music, whenever he can he is inside studios and hanging out with makers and creatives.
His original music can be described as quirky, catchy and a little bit out there.
He takes inspiration from great songwriters, the likes of Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis, Anais Mitchell, George Harrison and John Lennon, and many more wonderful artists live on his playlists.
His influences coupled with a naive belief that his guitar can be anything it wants to be, means that his live shows are a lot of fun. It is a zingy journey into falling in love where he invites you to roll around and enjoy it, you can’t help but leave with cupids little arrows in your backside.
Ayden’s debut EP titled Ciao Bella tracks the honey moon phase of a relationship through songs such as the plant inspired Mint, through to Right Questions, a toe tapping Americana piece, the first line sums it all up “Her answer is right, but my questions could be better” and takes you home with a love ballad to his van titled Seeds.
Between playing lead guitar in the indie rock quintet Average Art Club and trying his hand at being a producer, Ayden really loves connecting with people. His solo project does just that.
Currently he has called out to friends, fans and family to help back his Kickstarter project, the printing of the EP, if funding is successful, the EP should be out in the world at the end of October.
Tumbling through my “choose your own adventure” degree, I decided it would be a great time to pump out an EP, a climax for my travels over the last 4 years.
At uni I spent a year studying voice, then one year on guitar, then another year studying songwriting, and all of that has rolled into this (Honours) year which has been wonderful. I get to sit in the producers chair, for my own songs, that I am performing with a bunch of super duper musicians. The recording sessions were a blast and I am so privileged to work with such talented people :)
I have been working on this ep to share with everyone, trouble is… well, sharing it with everyone. Sure I could share it on Facebook/Soundcloud/Youtube and all the rest and I will in the future, but it would be the highest of honours to hand it to you on a CD in a case.
So for that I ask your help.
I truly hope you like the tracks :)
Keep in contact, would love to hear your thoughts and share the journey!
Big thank you to Graeme Groves for the cover photo! Ayden
To celebrate, a launch party will be held on the 30th of October at The Grid Hybrid Arts Collective in Toowoomba.
August 12, 2015
Suburban Roots Music
Cameron Milford is a singer-songwriter from Brisbane Australia. His style combines the lyricism of Folk Rock with the sounds of American Roots Music. He has been compared to artists such as Jakob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne and John Prine.
Cameron Milford’s early years were spent in Brisbane’s alt-country scene as a member of “Inntown” and “The Golden Spurs”. When these bands broke up he decided to hit the road.
For nearly two years Cameron traveled the USA, UK and Europe as a wandering troubadour. While on this journey he made a stop in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time he refined his craft as a writer and performer.
By night he absorbed the sounds of Traditional Country and Americana. By day he wrote songs inspired by his time on the road. While in the town they call “Music City”, Cameron refined his craft as a writer and performer.
These songs became the foundation for his debut album, “Highway Wind”.
The recording of “Highway Wind” was an international effort that spanned Brisbane, Nashville, Sydney and Memphis.
The album was recorded with a group of acclaimed musicians including; Rob Ickes (Blue Highway, IBMA Dobro Player of the Year 2013), David Henry (Steve Earle, Missy Higgins), and Doug Gallacher.
It was mixed by Ted Howard (Kasey Chambers, Paul Kelly) at Rancom St Studios in Sydney. Since it’s release it has gained airplay across Australia and the USA.
The lead single “Fast As You Can” has been played on radio across the country. It entered the Australian Top 20 Country Charts for 98.9 FM in March 2013.
Suburban Roots Music
Can we ask about your family were they musical at all and did you know when you were growing up that you wanted to be a musician recording and playing to an audience? – Ed
My mother was the musical one in the family… she used to play the piano all the time. One of my first memories was hearing her play The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag. I started playing the piano at age three so I could join in the fun!
I wanted to be a lot of things growing up. But mostly I wanted to be just like the Beatles and Elvis.
Did you get up to any antics when you were growing up and what kind of advice would you give to aspiring musicians about their career choice? – Ed
I was quite responsible and serious in my youth. I think that comes with being the eldest child. How times have changed!
In many ways the music business is the communications business. I think it’s important to understand how to transmit some of what you are feeling into the heart of someone else. That’s when the magic happens.
How many bands were you in when you were a kid and can you tell us about your first gig? – Ed
My first gig was at the Greenbank RSL. My band was called Apples and we were playing in the Mackie Youth Music Competition. We scored second place and won a sweet mixer from Mackie. The mixer doesn’t work anymore, but I keep it in the cupboard as a reminder of my glory days!
Do you like Sheryl Crow’s music and how much would we like to hear you team up with her to write? – Ed
I’d work with Sheryl Crow anyday. Tuesday Night Music Club is one heck of an album.
Seriously though after we’ve bullied you into liking Sheryl Crow who would you like to tour with or collaborate with? – Ed
Britney Spears seems like a lot of fun.
Single, in love or married to your guitar? – Ed
Lets go with the guitar option for now.
When you went over to the States how many guitar picks did you pack? What kind of guitar did you take? – Ed
I actually don’t use a guitar pick! It’s all fingerpicking for me… James Taylor style. I feel more connected to my instrument when I play this way. Also, picks are kinda expensive!
I travel with this old cedar top Takamine that cost me 200 bucks. It’s one of my favourite sounding guitars.
How many bars/venues did you play at in Nashville? Which one/s bring back memories about the people you meet? – Ed
There were many…. I’ve really lost track on the number. The highlight was playing the Bluebird Cafe while Paul Kelly was hanging out in the crowd. I’m not sure I will ever forget that gig.
I would say that my favourite venue in Nashville is Roberts Western World. They call it the “home of traditional country music”. I have spent many nights at the bar, listening to old Hank Williams and Marty Robbins songs. The staff still remember me when I go back…. that feels pretty nice. It’s a wonderful place.
Can you tell us what you like/not so much about being on the road as a musician? – Ed
The best thing about being a musician on the road is being able to make friends wherever you go. I try not to think about the hard stuff.
Any plans to go back to the States soon and can we hitch a ride? – Ed
No immediate plans to tell you the truth.
Why Roots, what does it mean to you, and what do you want your audience to feel when they hear your songs? – Ed
For me, roots music means going back to where it all started. When I first went to Tennessee, I began to discover the roots of the music that I make. Traditional Country, Blues, 50’s Rock, Gospel and Folk were all around me. It was amazing… this was the music that I grew up with! I guess it all became real for me in the USA.
The kind of music I make is based around what someone can create with a guitar and a voice. Those are my roots. I think that musicians of the future will consider laptops to be folk instruments. For this reason, the definition of roots for me is a highly fluid, and likely to change depending on the person and time.
I can’t really control what the audience will feel… that really depends on the experiences of the listener. Two people can listen to the same song and hear two different things. I guess I just hope that people feel something, even if it’s not what I originally intended when I wrote the song.
Do you like Cat Stevens and are you religious? – Ed
I’m a massive Cat Stevens fan. In many ways I consider him to be the ultimate singer songwriter. He has the perfect combination of great lyrics, musicality and the ability to be both entertaining and artistically compelling.
I grew up in a Catholic family, went to a Catholic school and played piano in a Catholic church. I wouldn’t call myself religious anymore, but I believe that my upbringing has influenced the way I write. Christianity can give people a really interesting way of thinking about the world. As a songwriter, I’m always looking for small stories to talk about the big issues in life. When you think about it, parables do the same thing. Maybe all those mornings in Sunday school paid off after all!
What do you like to write about, what inspires your songwriting? – Ed
My writing is mostly a commentary on what is going on around me. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes these thoughts or words hit my brain and I just know they will work in a song. Like one day I was walking down the road and I saw a hand-drawn sign that said “10 Dollar Haircuts”. There was something about the scene that really appealed to me. The song eventually became “7 Dollar Haircut”, and it’s not really about haircuts, but you get the idea!
How many instruments do you play? How many instruments do you own? – Ed
I’m pretty good on piano, but I don’t play it so much these days. I play guitar, a little bit of banjo and ukulele too. I’m not so good on the wind instruments!
When is your next album/single coming out and what style will be hearing? – Ed
I’m working on a new record at the moment. It’s turning out great but won’t be ready for a while. In the meantime I’ve set myself the goal of releasing a demo every few weeks. Demos are cool because you get to hear the song before all the fancy production goes over the top. If you follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud you’ll see them pop up every so often!
Follow Cameron Milford
Get your fix…Suburban Roots Music
July 29, 2015
Trysette A classically trained pianist turned singer-songwriter, Trysette grew up on the northern rivers of Australia
Her musical tales of love gained, love lost, and the heartbreak that follows, are delivered with an ethereal voice and mesmerizing piano style, leaving audiences transfixed in pin-drop silence.
Signed straight out of college by Warner Chappell Music, Trysette began a journey that has led her to become a consummate entertainer and international touring artist.
Trysette’s 2012 release, Le Cafe Ancien, made the CMJ charts, and her new album, Feel So Pretty – featuring an all-star band including Mike Baird (Joe Cocker, Journey), Randy Ray Mitchell (Donna Summer), and Bob Malone (John Fogerty) – is now officially released.
While on tour in the US, Trysette has appeared on various morning television shows including Fox 10 News (Phoenix, AZ), KKCO 11 and News Channel 5 (Grand Junction, CO), and Bronxnet Television (NYC).
Our phone interview with Trysette
Calling a star on the phone was a bit of a trip we have to say………….
Trysette we learn is pronounced Tr-zette like a set of musical notes.
We learn from the onset of our conversation that Trysette who has been a vocal instructor to teenagers is someone we can lean on to better understand our phrasing which strikes a chord with our love of sound.
We started our conversation with a question we thought our readers would like to know.
How long have you been playing the piano & who were your inspirations growing up?
Since I was 7. I come from a family of 9 children; my parents had all the kids play piano where we learnt from the nun’s at the catholic school in our town.
The kids all learnt classical piano and, every year we played in the Eisteddfod. But it was riding home on the school bus listening to the radio that I gained my song writing inspiration because at home with 9 kids rotating around the piano the radio was pretty well non existent.
Music was very much apart of my family, classical was our training, ragtime was an expression outside of the discipline that allowed me the freedom to express my own individual sound. Outside of the classical genre I found that I could develop my ear to play the songs I was hearing, inspired by signer songwriters such as Carole King and James Taylor Elton John & Lionel Richie.
Which is your favourite instrument and why?
Piano, I’m at home on the piano….! We wander around other instruments for a brief interlude and then Trysette paints a picture of a concert hall or certain room she has played in, think the Brisbane Jazz Club, Verbrugghen Hall (Sydney Conservatorium).
The piano has always been an instrument I relate to, it’s a very sensual and sexy instrument (wink wink) ..I love how the notes fill the air and become apart of the fullness of the living sound and communicate emotion to an audience.
The piano creates an ambience that resonates within a room, it gives me strength and the strength comes back to me in the power of its ability to touch an audience. The sound, the melody & the lyrics, the percussion of the intimate rooms that I like to play, the sensitivities within the interpretation of my music is what feeds me. I want people to feel at home, I want people to draw strength from my music and I want them to be thoroughly entertained at the same time.
You’re currently promoting your new album ‘Feel so Pretty’, can you tell us what is your favourite track off the album?
‘Like Water’….The beauty about music is that it is a healing place not just for the writer but for a participant of your music. This song came from yes, a relationship breakup a very deep and personal one, and yes songwriters are human too, they bleed, this stuff actually happens just like it happens to the rest of us, we don’t just write about it, we live in a world where we hurt over our lost loves, we cry about it and for me I sit in front of the piano and write about it, deep tearful, profound irrepressible emotions.
I first played this song for my touring buddy Fiona Joy and she loved it, she said ‘omg you have to perform this, why aren’t you playing this to your audience, ‘I said, no way, it’s too personal’ but on her insistence I began to practise playing the song and not getting emotional with it. I’m really glad she made me do it cos I get a lot of positive feedback from my listeners.
What is rewarding about song writing is that the lyrics are often interpreted differently as relative to a listener’s own story. I’m always so grateful after a show when someone tells me that my songs have told their own story completely and “how did I know these things about their life”? Well, I guess we all have similar experiences and I try to be as honest as possible with my lyrics. I remember listening to Pink after her marriage break up and I was in awe of her honesty. This inspired me to open up more and put it all out there.
Trysette opens up to us about her experience as a vocal tutor for 6 years to a batch of teenagers. Lucky ducks -Ed
Part of my journey as a musician was as a vocal tutor in a high school, it was an experience that is etched deeply on my mind. The kids all so different, different backgrounds, different family dynamics, I learnt that I had an incredible amount of power to influence these kids not only in their abilities to be great musically but in their personal lives. It was within these circumstances I could see that if you make a child feel good about themselves then the technical part is secondary, the kids are looking to you as their teacher in all things, if you point out the good things in people you see it at work in their lives.
It’s so easy to effect a child’s life when your in a position to project positivity and encouragement, encouraging someone to have good self esteem means you know, you can tell, their going to go on and do great things with their life.
Trysette has been travelling to the States in recent months but I learn’t that dots had begun to be joined when living in England.
When I was living in England I met a singer from LA. Karen was over in England singing at a festival. I came back after 2 years living in England and we kept in touch. So Karen was the wife of Bob Malone keyboard player for John Fogerty. Bob came to Australia and after Bob’s visit I decided to go to the States to do some shows. I contacted Bob Malone and asked if it would be ok if I opened some shows for him. Trysette has just told me that Bob has his own solo act with his own band. – Ed interjecting
So Bob took me under his wing and became like a mentor, yeah he’s a mentor. And so I did that, I went to the States and sang in Bob’s band, his style is Rock/Blues. I also opened a few shows for him and recorded my Feel So Pretty album in Los Angeles after he introduced me to his own recording team there.
Bob and I are now doing double bill shows together when I tour in the States. I’m working on a 2016 tour now on the back of this new album.
Sitting down to write do you have a strong concept?
No. Trysette tells me that’s a great question Lea…..-Ed
I have to say I get quite agitated if I haven’t written a new song in a while. Rob Hirst drummer from Midnight Oil came to the university where I studied, he said to me he wrote his lyrics first because it sets a rhythm. I do the same and right now it’s time to write a new song so I’ll make my surroundings my inspiration zone. I think about what I’m going to write, I might listen to a favourite artist, sometimes only getting just a few bars in and then I’ll play with the concept. I make time to write because a) I want to and b) because I always need new stuff to play to my audience.
Trysette and I talked about a song that I loved, other than ‘Like Water’ from her recently released Album
My producer came to me and said Trysette have you thought about doing a cover?… I said….’whatcha got n, not really,…..
But then, ……wait, this is why I chirp up a rant, I just love this cover and happened to make mention of this to Trysette in our interview…..You just gotta hear her do Chasing Cars…… I was like, I love this version, it moves me to tears …..and I love the harmonies (the harmonies are by a singer in the States by the name John Pratt) –Ed….
But then, I mentioned Chasing Cars. I was nervous about doing it cos it was such a huge hit and I didn’t want to be just another artist doing just another cover of this song. Thankfully, people are really enjoying it so I can breath easy now.
What’s happening in your world at the minute.
Well I just got back from America a month ago so now it’s about promoting my Feel So Pretty album, we’re doing radio and media promo’s right now. I’ve done three american tours with a close friend Fiona Joy, we’ve played amazing venues with gorgeous pianos including theatres, Performing Arts Centres and Jazz clubs. I like to work but I’m happy at the minute to find my Australian feet and see what happens next…
as I sat down to transpose my scribbles from paper, because this time….. my lack of a podcast mic was replaced with a phone app which wasn’t configured at the time….I felt a sense of privilege to be able to put together an interview with a singer songwriter and pianist whom I hold with the esteem of a positive vibe giver and ‘real’ sister of the [insisteryoubeinspiredclub] really just think she’s great and I’m sure so will you …….be inspired by the sound of positive givings ringing a tune of passion, triumph & teaching us all to be good to one another. Thanks Trysette…..I am a fan and so totally thrilled to be ranting about you……………..P.S Thanks for the copy of your album, your voice is keeping me company in my office where I work.-Ed….
“She is the real thing, and being classically trained doesn’t hurt either.”
Denny Seiwell (Paul McCartney and Wings)