Sunday, March 30, 2014

Riding the Wave-Courtney Barnett

If you haven’t heard of Courtney Barnett yet, you will soon. This Australian based singer-songwriter is ready to ride the wave out of her home country into our homes. She is mega-talented in a number of different ways. The first thing you notice are her lyrics which are deadpan, funny, and serious, sometimes in the same song. I love the way she puts together her words. Here is the opening of “Avant Gardener” (have to love the title): “I sleep in late, Another day, Oh what a wonder, Oh what a waste, It’s a Monday, It’s so mundane, what exciting things will happen today”.  Then she delivers her lyrics in an ironic style with amazing phrasing. She punctuates her music with a killer guitar that at times can be psychedelic and other times can be subtle.  

Courtney started her career as a solo act in Melbourne. She then played guitar in other people’s band before stepping out on her own to play her own music a couple of years ago. She became the front woman of her own band writing her own songs. In 2012 she started her own label Milk!Records and released an EP titled I Got a Friend Called Emily Harris. This garage pop EP got her a lot of acclaim in her native country. She quickly followed up with another EP titled How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose. The lead single “Avant Gardner” drew international attention. The song is a true story based on an anaphylactic panic attack she had during a heatwave in Australia. The song has earned a heavy rotation in a number of Triple A radio stations across the country. There has been so much buzz about Courtney that she has packaged her two EP’s into The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. It will be released this April. Here is the song that will turn you into a Courtney Barnett fan. “Avant Gardner”:

Courtney recently came to the US for a short tour in February. She stopped by the WTMD radio station for an interview with the morning DJ (and my good friend and rock and roll comrade) Erik Deatherage for his Saturday morning show Sunny Side Up. Erik is one of the best interviewers I have had the privilege of listening to. His thoughtful questions always make the interviewee feel comfortable and relaxed. Courtney admitted to him that she is very shy (but not on stage). At a party she isn’t telling the story, she is the one listening. She said she takes the observer role and then tell stories through her lyrics and music her own way. If her double EP is an example of her stories, I can’t wait for more. Please check out her music and ride her wave as she is getting ready to put out a full length in the near future. Be the first one on your block to tell people about Courtney. 

Update: One of my all time favorite bands, and my favorite live band ever, Marah, has released a new album featuring song lyrics from a folklorist who lived in the mountains of Pennsylvania over 100 years ago. David Bielanko and Christine Smith of Marah brought together local players to provide music to the lyrics, including an 8 year old fiddle prodigy, to record this album old school style. It is recorded in Monophonic. So Marah! The album Mountain Ministrelsy is amazing. It steps back 100 years and yet keeps that Marah pure rock and roll flavor and attitude throughout.

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