By Chris Mineral
Prolific Melbourne singer/songwriter Emma Russuck’s fifth album Winter Blues will be launched at The Jazzlab on Wednesday August 7.
Russack will bring to the stage her full band line-up. The title track of Winter Blues is a plainspoken moody song underpinned by some beautiful, subtle piano playing, which is reminiscent of John Lennon’s piano playing on Imagine. Russack singing about winter at the start of summer.
Russack has the knack of writing catchy pop tunes. Opening track Horses is a snappy tune to kickstart the album. The fourth track on the album that precedes the title track, I Could Say, is a very uplifting song. Be Real is a jaunty pop song that opens the second side of the record. This song has received airplay on RRR and PBS.
The show at The Jazzlab should be well worth catching. Winter Blues, engineered and produced in a crisp manner by John Lee at Phaedra Studios is the album that follows 2017’s dreamy pop album Permanent Vacation, with the highlight song from that album being the ethereal All My Dreaming, which has a brilliant looping coda. Russack has also delivered a couple of albums with Lachlan Denton from The Ocean Party. Denton has an album out with Studio Magic entitled A Brother, and it is a tribute to his brother Zac. Musicians who appear on this tribute to Zac are Lachlan Denton, Ambrin Hasnain, Anila Hasnain, Rose Kean, Dainis Lacey, and Liam Halliwell.
Touring UK and Europe at the moment is the very talented Didirri, who is playing songs from his catalogue. Didirri has the vocal delivery of someone like Tim Buckley; intelligent and heartfelt. His electric guitar playing has the taste of Ry Cooder and his crisp acoustic guitar playing has the folkloric vibe of Bert Jansch. You can hear this in Didirri’s amazing cover of The Monkees’ Randy Scouse Git. In this version Didirri has scaled back the Monkees’ large music hall vibe, slowed down the tempo and delivered a subtle, sublime version of this song. His vocal delivery is brilliant, investing in totality the spirit of the song.
Didirri has an old school element to his performance. This is evidenced in the film clip of Didirri performing Blind You on a punt on the lakes of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. This was Didirri’s debut single from 2017 and it also appears on the Measurements vinyl record. In the film clip there is Didirri all nonchalant sitting back playing his acoustic guitar as the punt he is on glides along the serene waters.
Formaldehyde has the vocals way up front in the mix with plaintive piano playing beneath the vocals at the start of the song. Then with subtle brass entering the mix, the song launches into the stratosphere at the chorus, with a great mix of trumpet acoustic guitars and rolling drumming lifting the feel. At the end, the song returns to Didirri’s vocal upfront with the piano further back. It’s a great production by Hayden Calnin. This song would be great towards the end of a set. Formaldehyde is from the Measurements vinyl record, which is available at all good record stores in the CBD. Didirri performed a great version of Formaldehyde at a TEDx Talks Sydney conference, sitting at the piano.
After performing in New Zealand, Didirri will be back in Melbourne on the Tea Stains Australian Tour performing at 170 Russell on August 30, with special guests Ro and Kat Edwards. Didirri and Ro have written a duet together called Tea Stains, and no doubt they will be performing this song together on the night.
Sensational flamenco heavy rock group Malcura have a great film clip for their track Palais filmed at the Palais Theatre and it is worth catching on Youtube. The trio is a busking legend of Bourke Street Mall and play gigs regularly around the city.
One of the best bands playing around Melbourne at the moment is the mercurial Heinous Hounds. They will be performing at the final Sunday Blues Sessions at ACDC Lane on July 28. This is the best chance to catch Heinous Hounds on the basement stage at Cherry Bar before The Cherry Bar is relocated.
Archie Roach will be performing at the National Indigenous Music Awards on August 11. Also appearing will be Mojo Juju, Dan Sultan, Thelma Plum, Briggs, Jessica Mauboy, Tasman Keith and Baker Boy.
Boy And Bear – Forum Theatre, Friday, August 16
Didirri – 170 Russell, Friday, August 30
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Her Majesty’s Theatre, August
Heinous Hounds – Cherry Bar Blues Sessions – Sunday, July 28
ACDShe – Cherry Bar, Sunday, July 28
Respect The Rock – Thursday 2pm, 3RRR 102.7