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Brandon Stewart
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“Well they blew the horns, And the walls came down...” “The Walls Came Down” – The Call [1983] It’s been 4 amazing years, a couple of hundred shows – and a staggering array of new releases. But now, JR has been revoked and expeditiously retired. One of the many to be ignominiously sacrificed at the economic altar of efficiency dividends. We’d hoped it might be otherwise but the final decision was beyond our control. In this brave new world of digital technologies, finding new music may never have been easier - but finding a trusted filter to help make sense... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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When Macy Gray released her 1999 debut album, ‘On How Life Is’, she went from obscurity to international fame almost overnight. Macy’s latest long player, ‘The Way’ is her first collection of original songs in 4 years and next March she’ll be back in Australia for another tour. A name you may be less familiar with is Arthur Russell but the late American producer and avant-garde musician’s contribution to music continues to resonate with a new multi-star tribute album as the latest collection from the Red Hot Organisation supporting HIV and AIDS awareness since 1990. Among the album’s contributing musicians... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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“But you knew that we would meet again, If your mem’ry serves you well…” “This Wheel’s On Fire” – Bob Dylan [1967] After almost half a century it’s doubtful that even those who were there could remember each moment of the history they were conjuring in that famous basement. In 1967, that basement was the refuge for a 26 year-old Bob Dylan in the upstate New York house he dubbed ‘Big Pink’. The residence was occupied by members of his touring band - soon to become known more definitively as, The Band. This week on JR, we dig into the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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“Look at Mother Nature on the run, In the nineteen seventies…” “After The Gold Rush” – Neil Young [1970] Neil Young has always been passionate. It’s been all of 7 months since his last album, “A Letter Home’, recorded with Jack White on a 1947 Audio-O-Graph - the audio equivalent of a fairground photo booth. For his just released ’Storytone’ LP, Neil’s stepped out of the scratchy old audio booth to play with the backing of a full orchestra. His passion for the environment has been expressed in song and in affirmative action. On ‘Storytone’, Mother Nature is still on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Along with Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Buddy Holly - Jerry Lee Lewis laid the foundation stones of a cultural phenomenon. Fast forward to 2014 and nothing much has changed. At age 79, Jerry Lee Lewis has a new album. It’s a Rock ’n’ Roll record, made with some of his many admirers including, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Neil Young. On JR this week, as we light a candle at the altar of Rock ’n’ Roll, you’ll hear the latest from man they call “The Killer”. Among other notable returns this week is the Queen of Soul:... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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When it comes to music, Dave Grohl is one of its greatest advocates. His passion extends beyond his on-stage achievements to making films on the subject. Last year’s movie-length documentary, a tribute to the historic Sound City recording studio in Los Angeles will now be followed by an 8 episode series for HBO, dedicated to some of the most famous music cities in the USA. And to accompany the project, Grohl has a new Foo Fighters album featuring songs recorded in each of those cities. On JR this week, we preview the song they recorded in Chicago (“Something From Nothing”)... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Due out next month, David Bowie’s new album, ‘Nothing Has Changed’ is a compilation drawn from his 50-year career. Its arrival was trumpeted with great fanfare via this week’s preview of a new Bowie song, with the artist now stretching into Big Band Jazz. The Rock auteur may be fewer in number these days but with “Sue (or In A Season Of Crime”), Bowie is taking his vocal cues from the most inscrutable of them all, this time channeling his inner Scott Walker. On the Comeback Trail this week (if only for a short while) are Prog Rock pioneers, Pink... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Earlier this year, there were rumours that it was all over for AC/DC. But the scallywags who were spreading those rumours seriously underestimated the band’s resilience. Bouncing back from major adversity is nothing new to AC/DC. Likewise, they can still turn the mundane into majesty. Simple lyrics become anthems. Malcolm Young may have been forced to retire from the band through illness but AC/DC remains an unstoppable force. This week on JR we welcome them back - and give thanks to Malcolm for his decades in charge of the AC/DC engine room. Come to think of it, there’s been some... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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When Aretha sings, people listen. With “Respect” back in ’67, Aretha cemented her supremacy as the reigning Queen of Soul. Among the many highs in her career was the performance at the 2009 inauguration of President Obama. Another occurred just a few nights ago when she was given a standing ovation after performing Adele’s emotional tour-de-force, “Rolling In The Deep”. The song also previews Aretha’s new album, arriving later this month. On Just Released, we welcome back the Queen of Soul. We recently heard that Duran Duran was back in the studio but their New Romantic-era contemporaries, Spandau Ballet were... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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On JR this week you’ll hear voices of age and experience - of youth and exuberance - and a touch of genius and poetry for good measure. The Australian story of the week is the release of Megan Washington’s long-awaited 2nd album, ‘There There’. Recorded in London, ‘There There’ is Washington's first album in 4 years and the first to be issued under her full name. Described as a ‘break-up album’, its songs are candid confessionals, sung with great honesty. A lot has happened in Megan Washington’s life since she “arrived” in a whirlwind of ARIA Awards four years ago.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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The biggest news in Australian music this week is the return of Missy Higgins. And the boldness of that return is evident in the songs on her new album, ‘Oz’ - Missy’s own interpretations of some of her favourite Aussie songs. The titles themselves are not the most obvious of choices but in that intimate Missy Higgins style, even the more familiar ones sound almost totally new. Missy Higgins has just kicked off a comprehensive national tour, soon to be in a town near you - and there’s more from ‘Oz’ in this week’s JR. In celebrating the latest albums... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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The Ramones laid the foundation stones of American Punk. In the ‘70s the band (and in particular, lead singer, Joey Ramone), helped to fire the passion of a young Irish band named U2 and this week, U2 paid their homage to the late Punk legend in song. Always good for a quote, Joey Ramone once confessed, “When I was a kid growing up in the ‘60s, music was an outlet for enlightenment, frustration, rebellion. It was more about individualism. Today it’s just like a big business.” . Well, Joey, it could not have looked bigger than this. In a bold... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Vance Joy is not one to rush things. His breakout song, “Riptide” had been kicking around since 2008. Last year, it was a runaway success in many parts of Europe as well as back home in Australia. After what really is a long wait, his debut album, ‘Dream Your Life Away’ has finally been released - but Vance won’t be performing anywhere nearby until early next year. Before then, Vance will be road-testing the new songs on a lengthy tour of Europe. In the meantime, ‘Dream Your Life Away’ gets an airing on this week’s JR. Also not prone to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Nashville singer and songwriter Mary Gauthier literally inhabits her songs. The life experiences they reveal are Gauthier’s own, standing as stark reflections on a painful break-up, told in an honest, unvarnished voice. ’Trouble & Love’ is a cathartic album which Gauthier says was "made with a broken heart”. On the local scene, Kasey Chambers pours herself into the title song of her new solo album, (‘Bittersweet’) in duet with the instantly-recognisable Bernard Fanning. Both of these records share company with other landmark break-up albums like Adele’s ‘21’, John Martyn’s ‘Grace & Danger’ or Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ -... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Leonard Cohen has released more books of poetry than albums of music. He’s a Poet, with a lucrative sideline in also being revered as one of the world’s greatest living songwriters. After completing last year’s highly acclaimed world tour, the self-described “lazy bastard living in a suit” celebrates his 80th birthday next month with a new album (‘Popular Problems’). In curious synchronicity, Leonard’s son, Adam Cohen will also celebrate a birthday and release a new album (‘We Go Home’) next month. On JR this week, you’ll hear previews from the father - and the son. Download audio John Murry is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Like Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Steve Forbert (and more than a few others), Loudon Wainwright III was once hailed as being the new Bob Dylan. Flattering as it sounds, that tag can represent the kiss of death in a world that (still) holds the genuine article to be something of a Demigod. At least, Loudon saw the humour in it. In 1992 he wrote a song about it (’Talking New Bob Dylan”). This week, Australia welcomes back the real Bob Dylan on what’s commonly known as the never-ending tour. On Just Released this week, you’ll hear Loudon's latest, from his... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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Sinead O’Connor was making news again recently, giving advice to young singers about self respect and despite her best intentions, she copped some flak in return. With her assertively titled album, ‘I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss’ now imminent, the focus can again return to her music. The album is personal, confessional and in equal proportion, sprinkled with barbs and exposed nerve endings. But mostly, it’s about love. Welcome back, Sinead. Download audio Another singer heading back to church this week is American Gospel music veteran, Naomi Shelton. With her vocal group, The Gospel Queens, Naomi follows the tradition of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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For their 13th studio album, ‘Hypnotic Eye’, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers intentionally reached back to the attitude of their first recordings from the mid-70s. ‘Hypnotic Eye’ is a Rock record, crafted by the band over the past three years. The songs are full of grit, lurching forward with the swaggering confidence that a band with around 40 years of history behind it can execute with such playful efficiency. In this edition of JR we’ll look deeper into Petty's 'Hypnotic Eye’. Download audio Swedish Electro-Pop ambassadors, Little Dragon return with a new single this week and more Electronica with a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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When Mississippi Blues man, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup wrote “That’s All Right” in 1946, he’d have had no idea his words would help to spark a revolution. Eight years on, Elvis Presley released a version of the song as his debut single - and all that would subsequently be called ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ began to take shape. That happened 60 years ago this month and a freshly compiled box set of Presley’s seminal ‘50s recordings has just been released. On JR this week, we look back to where it all began. Download audio Two decades on from Presley’s historic debut,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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The warm honesty in the voice of Sturgill Simpson is the beating heart of Country music. On occasion, his lyrics may spiral into the metaphysical - and his music into the psychedelic. But mostly, his new album (‘Metamodern Sounds In Country Music’), is a reverent assessment of Country in the 21st century. But if things appear to get a little trippy in JR this week, it won’t all be due to Sturgill Simpson. Download audio Pushing the boundaries of Roots music this week is Kasey Chambers. Imagine, an Appalachian string band jamming with Hendrix, and you might be close. What... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at ABC Queensland
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