Australian singer/songwriter Jeff Lang became interested in music at age eight, when he started playing the clarinet. As a teen, he switched to guitar and began performing as a blues guitarist at 17, supporting artists like Albert Collins, Rory Gallagher, and Trudy Lynn. His musical vocabulary expanded to include traditional Celtic and folk elements as he began recording his own material in 1990. Along with gigs in local blues bands, Lang formed the Jeff Lang Band as a showcase for his songwriting skills. Though the band broke up in 1993, by the following year he released his debut album, Ravenswood. In in 1995, Disturbed Folk captured Lang in a live setting, and 1996’s Native Dog Creek was named Best Australian Blues Album in a Rhythms Magazine readers poll. 1998 saw the release of Cedar Grove, which came out in the U.S. the following year. In 2005 Lang issued You Have to Dig Deep to Bury Daddy, followed the next year by Prepare Me Well. ~ Heather Phares
Born in London, Alison began her musical career in Melbourne playing acoustic guitar and fiddle with country duo The Wayward Fancies. They released their independent album ‘Meanwhile In The Parlour’ in 2005 and played their final show at The Forum as part of The Melbourne International Film Festival.
Alison’s second studio album (released June 2015) features Ali on acoustic and electric guitars, Cat Canteri (The Stillsons) on drums/ vocals, Justin Bernasconi (The Stillsons) on guitar/ vocals, and Ben Franz (The Waifs/ The Stillsons) on double bass plus other special guests including Suzannah Espie and Jeff Lang.
‘Sugar Baby’ was produced by roots guru Jeff Lang in 2012, and was described by the Unpaved website as: “think Lucinda Williams, or Emmylou Harris, in terms of unadorned and tender folk-edged vocals which benefit from a tasteful, no-fuss arrangement.”
Born & raised on the windswept prairies of north-west coast Tasmania, between lashings of hallucinogenic cheese & Magic Johnson, weened on William Blake & Ribald magazine, Van first heard the music of Bob Dylan around adolescence & began picking guitar & writing songs. Some hundreds of songs later and a hell-bent pick, he moved to Melbourne to form the rocknroll outfit The Swedish Magazines, and sing his unique hillbilly stuff on the side.
The first collection of these beguilingly simple songs came out in 2008 entitled The Celestial Railroad, & in 2009 three separate sessions were released, The Last Record Store (Jan) Greetings from Penguin Tasmania (Aug) & Love Fate (Oct). Drawing on the grand storytelling tradition of artists such as Ray Davies, Townes Van Zandt, Leon Payne & John Prine, & the acoustic finger-styles of John Fahey & Mississippi John Hurt, Van created a sound both old & new, with a laconic familiarity that speaks to the heart with an intimacy more effortless than contrived.
“Van Walker writes songs with the ease the rest of us breath.” JB HiFi MAG, Aug, 2010.
As an artist caught between two continents – her Canadian homeland and her now permanent Australian residency – Tracy McNeil’s latest album Nobody Ever Leaves is a fresh new sound that infuses North American roots with the heart and grit of Melbourne’s thriving alt.country scene. Add to this the pop-soaked splendor of 1970’s West-Coast California, and you’ll be coasting the musical landscape that McNeil calls home with her band The GoodLife: Dan Parsons, Bree Hartley, Luke Sinclair, Trent McKenzie.
McNeil made her introduction to the Melbourne music scene in 2008 when she teamed up with nationally acclaimed singer songwriter Jordie Lane to form the highly successful alt.country/folk duo Fireside Bellows. Their first and only LP release, No Time To Die received rave reviews across the country and remains one of Australia’s most sought after independent releases.
After going their separate ways to pursue solo careers, Tracy followed up No Time To Die with successful sophomore album Fire From Burning in 2011. This cemented her reputation as a respected and formidable force on the alt.country circuit, and saw her go on to support international artists such as Dawes, Old Crow Medicine Show, Eilen Jewell, Mary Gauthier, Tony Joe White, Great Big Sea and local sweethearts The Audreys, among others.
As a part of Raised by Eagles, Luke Sinclair delivered a blinding run of festival shows throughout 2014/15 and released their widely acclaimed follow-up LP Diamonds In the Bloodstream in May 2015. Launching to sold-out rooms across Melbourne and the East Coast, Raised By Eagles is a band that clearly hit the ground running and shows no signs of slowing down.
They have gone on to win ‘Best Emerging Artist’ and ‘Best Country Album‘ at The Age Music Victoria Awards 2015, scored a nomination at the Australian Independent Music Awards 2015 for ‘Best Independent Country Album’, and were invited to perform at the prestigious Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mandy is bare souled & luminous on stage. With acclaim Throughout the Folk Sene Mandy is admired for her songwriting & delivery. Taking the Declan Affley Award (National Folk Festival) in 2005 and the Maldon Minstrel Award (Maldon Festival) in 2006, Mandy placed at the Port Fairy’s ‘Songs of Peace & Tolerance’. She has toured the UK, formed Trad 5 piece ‘Stray Hens’, & continues to write original music.
Winning the Declan Affley Award (National Folk Festival) in 2005 and the the Maldon Minstrel Award (Maldon Festival) in 2006, Mandey came second at the Port Fairy Songs of Peace and Tolerance Competition in 06 for her song ‘Riots in Redfern’.
Melbourne folk musician, Ayleen O’Hanlon, is a rousing live performer with an ability to turn simple, poignant stories into song. Named as one of the top songwriters in the 2014 Darebin Songwriting Award, Ayleen writes from an honest place, telling of small town histories, downtrodden hearts, and back-of-the-verandah observations. Carried by her distinctive voice and skilled picking on the guitar and banjo, Ayleen’s sonic palette is a blend of folk, alt-country and Americana traditions, inspired by classic and contemporary artists like Emmylou Harris, Karen Dalton, and Martha Wainwright.
17-year-old Melbourne based Gretta Ray is one to watch in 2016, as she independently releases her debut EP ‘Elsewhere’ and first single ‘Unexpected Feeling’ – both due for release on 10 February 2016.
Immersed in music from early childhood, Gretta grew up in the company of successful Melbourne musicians Rebecca Barnard, Shane O’Mara, Lisa Miller and Dave Hosking. This, together with 12 years of training and touring with the renowned Young voices of Melbourne – had a significant influence on Gretta’s passion for songwriting, her ear for harmony and a fascination with form and melody. Without having released any music before, Gretta has already supported several accomplished Australian artists including Darren Hanlon and Liz Stringer.