Take Something Beautiful – The Songs of Jesse Younan

by Jenny O’Keefe

In July 2008 Jesse Younan died from acute myeloid leukemia. He was 35 years old and had just released the album ‘A Good Day for a Migraine’ to critical acclaim. Jesse’s voice was strong and his words brilliant, and his death came far too early in a young man’s life.

Now, some notable independent Australian artists have teamed up with Vitamin Records to create a tribute album.

Glenn Wright, director of Vitamin Records, had a chat with Jenny O’Keefe about this release.

Can you tell me a bit about how the idea came about for Take Something Beautiful?

After Jesse passed away, for a long time we struggled with keeping his last release relevant. I found it hard to listen to the album and I think everybody felt deflated.

I gave the album to many musicians and music presenters and one in particular really pushed the songs for placement. Norman Parkhill from Source Music found music placements for Jesse’s music on East of Everything (ABC series) and Packed to the Rafters. He became a fan and suggested we put out an album celebrating Jesse’s music. Now four years on it feels far more appropriate, as many of us who were close to Jesse are returning to his albums and enjoying.

We hope through this album that more people will discover Jesse’s music, and also that it will help those artists that are involved in some way.

How did you go about selecting who would appear on the album, and which songs they would cover? Did the artists decide this amongst themselves?

These artists are all indie acts that were about the same profile as Jesse was when he passed away. They are pretty much all more established now – but back then they would have been contemporaries to Jesse.

Norman wanted the album to have continuity so we had David Symes (Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Jackie Orszaczky) come on as the musical director, producer. The artists invited all had some direct association with Vitamin Records and or Source Music and some, like Lucie Thorne, knew Jesse and were fans. The songs were offered to the artists.

I was reading that you were a close friend of Jesse’s. When we lose someone in our lives the grieving process ebbs and flows over time, with different lessons emerging through the experience. What do you remember most about Jesse as a friend today?

I think we were friends – yes, but more I think we happened to be on the same path and were like-minded. I believed he could be a very accomplished artist and he had chosen my company to work with to get his music out. I really liked the guy and we had some good times – I guess that’s a friend?

What I remember most is that he had huge contradictions. He could look mean and hard yet my three-year-old and six-year-old (at the time) were totally in a spell around him. He didn’t really talk to them much – just smile and make the odd joke – but they just loved being near him. He would play his guitar and they would listen and be calm and be happy. He was staying with us so the children really did love him.

I couldn’t bring up the courage to tell my three-year-old he had died for about 12 months. Eventually she worked it out and it really was a big life lesson for her, losing somebody.

Vitamin as a record label is something quite special. All the CDs in my collection from you guys end up feeling like lovely friends. What is the ethos of the label?

That’s lovely, there is little if any ethos except one of us in the office has to love the music. Sometimes the music is really good but there is no love – so we pass. Music is very personal so I think we have passed on some very good music, but it just wasn’t for us.

Jenny also fired a few questions at some of the artists involved in Take Something Beautiful.

What does it mean to you to be involved in this album, covering the work of Jesse Younan?

“It is an honor and a fabulous privilege to be involved in this project, as I value Jesse’s songs very much, and this feels great that they are being given new life by some great unique Australian voices.” — Jordie Lane

“It’s intimidating to rework someone else’s work, especially when there’s no way for feedback from them, it’s also inspiring to place what you can of your own heart and soul onto someone’s work that has their heart and soul attached.” — M Jack Bee

“I was drawn to the album primarily because the song structure to Blowfly is so different to anything I have ever written, I found it a good challenge to interpret. It felt like a dramatic song that needed dramatic delivery. I liked the idea of keeping the tone fairly dark because it suits the themes. I didn’t know him but it seemed like a worthwhile project to be a part of because he was such a unique talent.” — Abbe May

“I felt very honoured to be asked to be involved with this project. Jesse was a great songwriter and musician and from all accounts an amazing person, so being asked to interpret one of his songs for the album was kind of nerve-wracking.” — Jai Pyne

Did you know Jesse? Can you tell me about your thoughts of him as a man and a musician?

“I did know Jesse, but not well. I remember the first time I met him many years back at The Retreat Hotel in Melbourne. We were on the bill together, and I just remember it really blowing me away. He was intimidating to see at first, but one of those people with a gentleness that overpowers that quickly. A damn good picker of the guitar, and a voice that has lived, that has suffered, that has loved.” — Jordie Lane

“I never met Jesse unfortunately. A former member of our band Tom Hespe was a friend of his and held him in very high esteem as a person, musician and songwriter so I heard a few stories about the man and was exposed to his music through Tom. We actually ended up playing at a tribute show to Jesse shortly after he passed away, we covered ‘Forever’. The songs lend themselves to different interpretations quite fluidly and they still stand up as great songs. I think good tunes will always do this: no matter how you play them – whether it be with layers of instruments or just stripping it back to guitar and vocals, they will still convey a story and Jesse’s songs certainly do this extraordinarily well.” — Jai Pyne

“I met Jesse only once at Peats Ridge Festival in 2006/07, it was brief but behind his dark exterior that day I saw a knowing humour in his eyes. Once I moved to the North Coast I started working with producer Christian Pyle who had spent the last months of Jesse’s life producing ‘A Good Day For A Migraine’. I got to know Jesse in a recorded sense, and got a lot of pretty insane stories from the process of those guys making that record.” — M Jack Bee

Can you tell me about the song you recorded for the album and its meaning?

“I find Road Long Been Travelled darkly uplifting, there’s a knowing that life is short and to forget the bullshit in a really honest way. It didn’t feel forced the way Jesse played it, so I picked up my guitar, learned it and then played it as if it were my own. That’s what the song was saying for me to do in life, so I treated it that way.” — M Jack Bee

“Dave Symes and I went back and forth on the track, the lyrics and how we were going to approach it. We tried to work it so it would suit my voice and my style and sit in with Jesse’s song. I had the track for a while and played around at home on acoustic guitar with it, just trying to get a feel for it.

“Then we just had one session for the bulk of the recording, putting down drums with Jared Underwood and Dave Symes playing bass. I played some atmospheric kinda guitars on it and tried to do the vocal as much justice as possible.

“The meaning of the song [C’est La Vie] is very heavy. My take is that it’s about coming to terms with mortality and resorting to addiction and escapism – drawing a parallel between these things and then also touching on some very intense family things. This was pretty confronting to try to encompass in my voice and our interpretation of the song, but it was really fun working on it with those guys. It was also quite touching to be able to contribute and celebrate Jesse’s song and his person. There was so much of his personality and soul in his work and it’s great to make this into a beautiful thing.” — Jai Pyne

“I was asked to cover Swing. They must have read my mind, ’cause if I had to choose my favorite song it would be that. I was very much pleased to take the direction of producer Dave Symes on the studio. We decided to keep the song fairly true to the original based around guitar and voice.

“I can’t really be the judge of its true meaning, but I do see it as a confessional about the struggle with addiction and life and love.” — Jordie Lane

Take Something Beautiful is out now through Vitamin Records, and will be performed live at Mullumbimby Music Festival 2012, Nov 22-25 

The album features covers by Abbe May, Jordie Lane, Jai Pyne (The Paper Scissors), Jen Cloher, Lucie Thorne, Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange), Greg J Walker (Machine Translations), Cameron Potts and Gabby Huber (Dead Letter Chorus) and M Jack Bee.

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Interview: Sweet Jean

You’re about to release your first single, Shiver and Shake. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process behind the tune?

We are having a lot of fun in the studio. The whole thing has been really natural, low-key and enjoyable. After running into producer John Castle (Bamboos, Washington) at the pub and deciding that we should work together, we went over to his studio and messed around for an afternoon with some songs and some sounds. The first song we recorded was Shiver & Shake. We thought we were making a demo, and as it happens it’s our first single! We really love how it’s turned out.

Any plans for a full-length album?

Yes! We will be releasing our debut album “Dear Departure” in March 2012.  

You are known for your haunting storytelling; from where do you draw your inspiration?

Shiver & Shake is based on a Grimm’s fairy tale about a boy who went out into the world to learn what fear is. Like a lot of Grimm’s fairy tales, there doesn’t seem to be any moral to the story; a whole lot of strange things happen, people die, the hero gets the girl…The End. We really love some of the language and imagery in this story. The main character is an archetypical fool, so we decided to set the song in the happy-go-lucky tropical key of ‘D6’. As songwriters, we often look to stories and themes with a dark undercurrent, and find new ways to tell them.

What else has been happening lately in the Sweet Jean camp?

Things have been pretty busy lately, and in-between making an album, playing a couple of festivals, and moving house, we’ve just finished a video clip for Shiver & Shake. We shot it at this amazingly strange place in Anachie, and the clip is “Svankmajer” meets “Funniest Home Videos”. We’re not sure if it’s “high-lowbrow”, or “low-highbrow”. Either way, it was a lot of fun to make and it’s coming together really well.

 When and where is the single launch?

Sunday December 4 at The Toff in Town, with the Heel Toe Express kicking things off, and DJ Lance Ferguson (Bamboos) closing the show with a 60’s exotica DJ set.

We strongly urge you to get down to the Toff on Sunday.
If you can’t make it, buy the single Shiver and Shake and join them on facebook!

Interview: Dan Lethbridge

Ace and Cat threw some questions at Dan Lethbridge, and Dan hurled back a heap of fascinating facts about his forthcoming second album, his upcoming live shows and his recent musical adventures.

It sounds like you’ve had some adventures since you released your debut, Dreamers of the World Unite, in 2008. What have been the highlights of the past few years? 

I’d have to say that releasing a debut album was a pretty big highlight in itself. It had been a long time coming and it seemed to take forever to finish like all of my recordings seem to! It got some great support from radio which was nice. The Australian tour that followed was a lot of fun and it was great to play some larger stages for the first time such as the East Brunswick Club, the Great Northern and the main stage at Federation Square. I also did a small US tour where I played a couple of great shows in New York which felt like a dream come true.

You’re working with Melbourne ‘master of the mix’ Shane O’Mara on your forthcoming album – how is it going, and how are the new tracks coming along?

Well I’m pretty excited to say that it is now officially finished and it went to mastering a few days ago. It sounds amazing but I probably shouldn’t be saying that! All the plans I had when I began recording the album have now come to fruition and it feels pretty good. Twelve months ago I came up with the idea of buying a 16-track recorder in order to make a more stripped-back sounding record. I did the whole thing without a computer which is rare these days. I wanted both the instrumentation and the songs to have more of a rawness to them than on ‘Dreamers…’ and I knew that if I could just capture a good sound and performance at home, a good mixer would be able to get some nice results. Thanks to Shane’s studio finesse and ideas, that is exactly what’s happened.

I had always admired Shane’s work with Tim Rogers and Charles Jenkins so it was a thrill when he agreed to the project. We seem to share the same musical tastes and sense of humour so the whole thing was relaxed and a lot of fun. It didn’t hurt that Shane wanted to lay down a couple of lovely guitar textures either! He has been a great supporter of the songs and the album as a whole so I couldn’t be happier.

What can we expect at a Dan Lethbridge & The Campaigners show?

A lot of new songs from the forthcoming album, performed as closely as we can get them to the actual album versions. The great thing about the current Campaigners line-up (Adam Coad, Dave Evans, Damon Smith and Danny Stain) is that they all played their parts on the album itself. It means we are actually a real band and that shows on stage I think. They are all great players and it is a dream band for me – they actually hold the whole thing together on stage while I’m just trying to remain mentally stable. Although a lot of the songs are quite melancholy with a certain dark side, we try to remember that we are there to entertain the audience and it is supposed to be fun after all.

What gigs do you have coming up?

We have our final show of a month-long residency at the Rainbow Hotel this Thursday night, 22 September. The Tiger and Me and Nick Batterham are also on the bill. The residency has been fantastic and this last show is shaping up to be the best yet. We play the Drunken Poet on Sunday 9 October and then we have a big show at the East Brunswick Club on 22 October supporting Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel’s album launch.

The album itself is due to be released early next year.

Catch Dan Lethbridge and the Campaigners tomorrow night (Thursday) at the Rainbow Hotel in Fitzroy, and keep an eye out for his sophomore album early in 2012!

Interview: Abbie Cardwell

Melbourne musical wonder and Mexican culture enthusiast Abbie Cardwell told the intrepid Jenny O’Keefe about her latest musical adventures and her show at the Penny Black this Sunday!

You’ve been keeping yourself pretty busy since releasing The Bare Bones Sessions last year. What has it been like riding the wave of a great album being offered up and loved?

Me and my Leading Men had a fun and eventful East coast tour launching the new album. I managed to miss the dreadful Toowoomba flood by less than 24 hours and then got marooned in Brisbane for an extra 2 weeks! We’ve been playing mainly festivals around Australia since the album release, so we are looking forward to our next local gigs in Melbourne town!

I have also kept pretty busy with my ever-growing obsession with all things Mexican. I’ve started a new 10-piece 1950s Mexican band, The Chicano Rockers,  a vintage DJ duo The Mexicali Mammas and a recording trip to Mexico City. And I’m learning Spanish!

Tell us a bit about Mexicali Mamas and how the whole thing came about?

Initially I thought an appropriate DJ would be great after each Chicano Rockers gig so we could party with the crowd after every show. I just found so much vintage Mexican treasure that I was inspired to start something myself with my great friend Annemarie Blades. It snowballed rapidly and before we knew it we were on stage  DJ’ing and dancing in matching Mexican costumes and having an absolute ball!

You’ve made a video clip for Candystore in the last few months that really celebrates the fun side of your music, and of course sugar. Firstly, what is your favourite form of confectionery, and secondly, can you tell us a bit about the team of people involved in putting the song to life in video clip form?

My favorite confectionery? Dark chocolate. But if you’re talking about candy, I would say milk bottles tied with Chico babies.

She’ll Be Right Productions are second-year film students who magically made my clip look like a complete pro job!  We had one of the most fun days of our lives filming that clip in Club 1806 amongst tons of flying candy and bare flesh!

What do the next few months hold for you musically?

Lots of Mexican inspired music with my new band and DJ duo and crazy adventures overseas. I’m recording with a band in Mexico city called Twin Tones who don’t speak a word of English!

Tell us what we can expect at the “Booking Stable Presents” gig on Sunday?

An excitable performance by my Leading Men and I as we haven’t played local venues in Melbourne town for a few months. We can’t wait!

Catch Abbie Cardwell and Her Leading Men, together with Tracy McNeil Band, The Stetson Family and Liz Stringer at the Penny Black (Sydney Rd Brunswick) this Sunday the 28th from 3pm. $10 on the door.

Check out the Candystore video clip here

Interview: Sal Kimber

Jenny O’Keefe kept up the great work with a quick catch-up with good friend of Upstream Whispers, Sal Kimber, to hear about Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel’s new single, out this Friday.

There’s a whisper around the streets that you and the Rollin’ Wheel will be launching your new single at the Workers Club this Saturday – what sort of musical flavour can we expect to get our chops into on the night?

It’s a little indie roots band cliche to say this but we tend to mesh a few genres together – our live shows are pretty playful and we love to share with our audience a bit of everything. It’s a bit of alt country, a bit of rock and roll, a bit of soul, a bit of folk, even a bit of groove. We love to watch the dance floor come alive and we love to tell a story. The other day someone said we are a mix between “The Carter Family and the B52’s”.  Maybe they were referring to our dress sense though!

It’s been a few years since the album Sounds Like Thunder took itself into the ears and hearts of the Melbourne music scene, and I imagine it would be pretty exciting to have something new to offer people. How do you feel about the evolution of your sound over that timeframe?

I started played with The Rollin’ Wheel after I finished recording my last album – three years of festivals and road trips with the same gorgeous line-up has allowed me as a songwriter and us as a band to evolve. It’s allowed us to become more edgy, take risks, find OUR sound essentially, and that adventure will be a constant evolution. I have felt really blessed to have such an ace band playing alongside me. They are all such talented, passionate musicians and close friends of mine. In fact I live with two of the band members (Jacob and my sister Buffy). Half of the album Jacob and I co-wrote in our kitchen over late night pots of tea.

You’ve been recording with an excellent producer who’s worked with some top notch acts and created some beautiful albums – tell us about working with Shane O’Mara.

To be completely honest – we all miss Shane now that the album is completed, we had such a fun adventure with him at Yikesville Studio. He is a very talented dude, he challenged us a lot as musicians and as arrangers and as songwriters to find our sound. I know that sounds a bit clichéd, but it is true – he mentored each of us throughout the recording process, a process which was priceless. Shane is like the daggy big brother in your family – a very fun, charming, warm soul, and all five of us kinda fell in love with him instantly.

When can we expect a full album?

Friday 14th October thru Vitamin records- yay!

Interview: Gleny Rae Virus

Jenny O’Keefe caught up with Gleny Rae Virus to chat about her upcoming Melbourne show and to ask the question that’s been on everyone’s lips: How exactly did Gleny end up on SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From? (Photo courtesy Gleny Rae and Miss Billie)

You’ve got a show coming up at the Thornbury Theatre on August 6 with a veritable cast of thousands – can you tell us a bit about all the folks you’ll be gracing the stage with?

Zoe K is an up and coming soul/blues singer from Newcastle with a very big future ahead of her. She has a set of pipes which sends ripples through any crowd, and dances like a 20’s flapper on uppers!

Opening the show will be my very good friends Liz Stringer and Van Walker, who are both extraordinary songwriters and unbelievable performers. The theme of the night is acoustic original music, played by people who truly believe in the power of song. Of course I will be joined on stage by my main playboys Dougie Bull (double bass) and Roy Payne (guitar/lapsteel) with guest appearances from my Melbourne mates Chris Tabone and Pete Fidler.

There’s something about the country scene in particular that seems to be conducive to collaborations and mixing it up. Do you think musos today are conjuring up the fireside storytelling traditions in this way?

There is definitely a strong network of mateship within the country scene, but I can’t say if it is greater or lesser than other genres. In fact, many of the people I work with (and myself) have side projects in different genres of music. We aren’t precious, it’s a matter of playing what you love! Having said that, country music does have a strong tradition of story telling and that is one of the elements which attracted me. I find myself writing songs about places I have visited in Australia, yarns I have heard on the road, or fictional tales which are largely inspired by the magnificent landscapes we are faced with as we tour around the country.

How did you get your start in music?

I was raised in western NSW on a sheep station, but my mother drove me 110kms to Nyngan once a week to have violin and piano lessons with a Catholic nun who incidentally liked water skiing on the Bogan River. She was a very progressive nun!

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I stepped away from classical music into Irish, country, bluegrass, western swing and gypsy jazz. And I haven’t looked back! I formed the Toe Sucking Cowgirls with Tracey Bunn in 1999, and we toured incessantly around Australian and the UK until we split in 2005. They were good times, two single gals in a Toyota Hiace painted up like a fresian cow driving from pub to mining camp to rodeo.

What’s your favourite way to perform?

My favourite gig is a Sunday arvo on the verandah of a country pub, all the locals are kicking back, knocking back a few ales and telling yarns. There is some golden material there for songwriting, and everyone is so relaxed and open to the music. Sometimes, as I gaze out across some exquisite bucolic scene playing some Bob Wills breakdown with my favourite boys Dougie and Roy kicking along, I feel like I have died and gone to hillbilly heaven! I also love playing at folk festivals, because the crowd is 100% music lovers with their full attention devoted to the music being created.

A lot of people would know you from Go Back To Where You Came From. How did you get involved in the first place? When I was watching the program on SBS I was very curious as to how the people involved were assembled together, what preparation you were involved in, how much you were told before it all kicked off.

A mention was made of my original song “Redneck Lovesong” in a Sydney Morning Herald article about a proposal to relocate Sudanese refugees to Tamworth around country music festival time in 2007. It was totally unconnected, and obvious the journalist had not checked the content of the song which is a Romeo and Juliet styled love-song of the outback. This article came to the attention of the talent sourcers, and after many interviews, screen tests and psychological assessments, I was chosen!

I always thought I was way too moderate to be selected, but now I can see that a country musician who is spouting left wing tolerances subverts many perceptions people hold. And the whole program was based around flipping perceptions and opening minds. As for the other participants, I did not meet them until the moment we were brought together for the first scene.

When watching GBTWYCF I felt you represented the humanitarian voice so gracefully and with such good humour, it seems a lot of people feel the same way – there’s even a facebook group called “We Love Gleny Rae From GBTWYCF”. Essentially this seems to speak to the point that there’s love for those who love humanity, there’s love for empathy and kindness, and there’s got to be a great power in that.

Can you tell me about some of the ways you’re involved in continuing to spread this message of love for your fellow man now?

I went into the show as a self professed armchair activist – I donate to various organisations and have my say online, but I rarely get out in the street to protest. The reaction to GBTWYCF has shown me that many Australians feel quite contented with our intake of refugees, or feel we could do more as individuals but don’t know how.

Unwittingly I have become the voice for these people who have until now not felt the need to “speak out”. These voices are not heard above the rattle of political rhetoric, the drone of shock jocks or the whine of a small group of dissatisfied stirrers who feel they aren’t getting a “fair go”. Generally, these people have no idea how “fair” Australia is in comparison to the horrors and loss of human rights in many other countries. So now I am speaking at a number of refugee rallies, public meetings, information sessions, fundraisers, universities and schools. People need to understand the reality of the situation before they can make the decision to become active.

GBTWYCF had people talking all over the country when it aired – I think the water coolers got quite a workout that week, not to mention the social networking situation on the information superhighway. What did you think about the general reaction to the program? Did anything stand out to you from all the discussion?

The discussion was the stand out event, people talking about refugees without all the political slogans which have been rammed down our throats mercilessly since the Howard years. Many people (who I’d never met) stopped me in the street or at the supermarket to tell me they had totally changed their point of view since watching the show. I was astounded and moved by the number of people who made the effort to contact me via email or facebook. So from where I stand, it seems to have had a very positive effect on viewers.

There was some fairly nasty stuff being posted on facebook and twitter about Racquel and Raye, which I felt was a reflection of our general “intolerance” towards attitudes different to our own, but by the end of the show the ladies had changed their views and were totally vindicated.

Are you in contact with any of your fellow GBTWYCF folks (both cast and crew) now filming is over?

We are all in contact via the internet, as we all live in different cities. I’m also in touch with a number of the crew as we formed really incredible bonds during the filming of the show.

Can you share one of the most significant personal lessons you walked away from this experience with?

Upon returning to my parent’s 100 acre farm to care for my aging dad, I sat on the verandah and gazed upon the beautiful peaceful scene. My thoughts were centered around how fortunate we are to live in a free country with no war, minimal corruption and wonderful fertile land. I also thought how we could fit at least 200 refugees on the property, and how happy they would be to work the land and support their families. The excess and opulence of our western lives became so much more tragic, as we battle lifestyle diseases, youth depression and suicide. Too much can really be too much it would seem.

In a truly serendipitous chain of events, I found a wonderful Kenyan woman to take over caring for my father. She is astounded by the lack of people living in the rural areas of Australia!

I’ve wondered how you’re going in the world after seeing so many stories unfolding before your very eyes. How was it adjusting back to life on your return?

Fortunately I have travelled overseas quite a few times, and I read a lot of left wing media which helps me be aware of the global geopolitical situations and the realities in war torn and third world countries. So I didn’t really suffer any aftershock from the show, but I am certainly a different person now!

I am planning my overseas volunteer work, and getting very involved with a variety of refugee networks. If readers want to know how to help, I suggest getting in contact with your local Refugee Action Collective or Refugee Council of Australia. Or just take the time to talk to someone who is obviously a new arrival in Australia, they might just be a refugee who would appreciate a word of welcome and some local knowledge.

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Catch Gleny Rae Virus & Her Tamworth Playboys with Zoe King & The Shadow Katz + Van Walker & Liz Stringer – Saturday 6th August at the Thornbury Theatre, Thornbury $20 ($25 reserved)

Interview: The McMenamins

Ace had a quick Q&A with Fleur McMenamin from Queensland duo The McMenamins about their new album, the upcoming Melbourne launch and what it’s like touring with your brother!

Can you tell us a bit about your new album?

Our new album ‘Long Time Gone’ is an exciting step in our evolution as artists and in our career. We were awarded a government grant to fund this album and it is our first release in 4 years, so it is very exciting to be presenting some new music that tells of our lives, love, family and what has inspired us in the last few years.

You’ve had a busy few years touring and playing festivals in Australia and overseas. What have been some of your highlights?
Seven performances at Woodford Folk Festival and also our first time at Tamworth Country Music festival this year – these shows were all highlights. We also played some great shows down the East Coast over Summer on this tour and I must say that we really enjoyed our time in WA at the Nannup Music Festival also. We are looking forward to our first tour of the US in October this year.

This might be a dangerous question, but what are the pros and cons of touring with your sibling?
Ahhh no, not dangerous at all in our case. We get on splendidly and Simon is a joy to travel with. Having your big brother with you while touring is great, we very rarely disagree over anything really, and if we do it is always forgotten by the next day. Siblings learn that from a young age – they also learn how to look after each other.

What can we expect at your Northcote Social Club launch next week?
You can expect a showcase of very acoustic sounds within our alt country folk roots genres, a lot of our stuff is fairly delicate and intimate, but there are some stories and songs with a bit of humour and some with a big energy and force about them, because every one of them really means something to us. Expect to be moved.

Check out The McMenamins online.

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Wednesday 29th June
The McMenamins Album Launch
with Amy Vee
Northcote Social Club
8pm, $15 (or $10+bf from Northcote Social Club)