The idea of Mark Fitzsummons becoming an Australian country music artist would not come as a surprise to those who know him. Born and raised in Tamworth, the home of Australian Country Music, laid the base of what would become a rich tapestry of Australian experiences.
From droving sheep from the hills of Tamworth, picking tobacco in the fields of Moore Creek, working the bars of country pubs, to joining the Australian armed forces or working with wayward teens, Mark had a depth of experiences to draw from as he developed the art of storytelling. Some would say that Mark always had the talent for a yarn; the only thing missing was the music.
While working within the confinement of the Juvenile Justice system, Mark developed the skills to interact and converse with the teenage boys held in the centre. One of ways to break down the barriers between staff and detainees was music. During his time in the centres, Mark began to learn the guitar and participate in sing-along’s with some of the many talented teenagers, while passing on these basic skills to other boys to provide them with an outlet for their frustrations.
A serious injury in 2006 became the catalyst to merge his worlds together and would see Mark create a portfolio of songs that would ultimately culminate in his debut album BITTER SWEET (released 2013).
After connecting with Caravan Records (Central Coast NSW) to release an EP (Still Hope) in 2009 and a single (Strong Hands) in 2011, Mark’s skills as a song writer began to gather attention both nationally and internationally, receiving awards and acknowledgement from his peers in the Country Music industry. Mark entered the studio at Little Red Wagon Studio (Springwood NSW) with material that show case both personal and life experiences that Mark observed over his seven years of song writing.
Mark Fitzsummons has developed a dedicated following of fans through intimate performances at a number of Australian Coast Country Music festival, as well as shows around the Central Coast (NSW). Mark’s songs have received strong air play through country music stations across Australia, where he hopes to build on this momentum and break in to the market that is now Australian Country Music.
As an artist, Mark Fitzsummons recognised that not all stories had a happy ending nor were all dark tales completely tragic. It was with this understanding that Mark developed the concept for the album BITTER SWEET. The album would attempt to create a life. One not content to survive in a safe haven of grey but filled with darkness and light, happiness and tears. With Production support from Brad Bergen and the talents of some of Australia’s most respected musicians, Mark Fitzsummons has developed a kaleidoscope of emotions that should touch the heart of any country music fan.
Mark explained that he sought the assistance of Ric Sugitha to visualise the concept that is BITTER SWEET. From the seeds of their discussion came the understanding of an album of *pleasure alloyed with pain/ pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret.
Ric Sugitha created the simple yet thought provoking art work for BITTER SWEET, that is of a flower representative of everything "sweet", beautiful/positive and good in life while the black running liquid represents the "bitter", negative, pain and its "marked" effect on the "elements" (the cracking of the petals). Both artists liked the fact that the negative is from within the flower as the image could also be looked as life as a whole and while most people have an overall positive life, if you delved into their lives you would find that even if small, most people are marked with past pain and suffering. The word sweet is upside down to reflect how opposite and unnatural it feels that sweet things can come out of bitter times.
Bitter life is the Title Track from BITTER SWEET. [video]http://youtu.be/AWVAQpjAfxA[/video]
- bitter life
- cardboard sign
- maybe tonight
- mr taliman’s bananas
- i knew love
- carry me home
- a man like that
- and they danced
- nation’s child
- sealed with a tear
- going to get by.
Hot Jerkey is the new album from 4 piece West Australian band, Stoney Joe. Roly Skender (lead vocals, guitar, ocarina, harmonica), Joe Scholz (slide guitar, synths, vocals, ukulele, percussion, ocarina), Chris Horan (mandolin, vocals, spoons, percussion), and Carl Jensen (bass, vocals) make a great foot-stomping, wobble boardin, spoon slappin' kind of country music sound!
Hot Jerky is set to generate a lot more Heat following on from their their debut album 'Brown Bread and Rice' which received rave reviews with Melbourne's National News paper The Age calling it "easy-rolling, beautifully melodic material, full of warmth and humour and great riffs".
As the boys say themselves - 'Like a good whiskey... this music goes down real easy', watch a couple of their clips and you will agree.
This is the opening track 'Dreamin' Tomorrow'
Long before two likely lads from the country came along and stole the hearts of Joy and Heather McKean, the sisters were superstars. Hosting their very own Melody Trail radio show on 2KY every Saturday night for over eleven years, the girls bravely followed the ‘stars in their eyes and the songs in their hearts’ blazing a trail, that went on to establish the very corner stones of the Australian Country Music Industry.
As was the time, with love and marriage, when Reg Lindsay and David Gordon Kirkpatrick locked into their passion and vision of the world – both women put themselves and their careers behind their men. As expressed in my song “The Drover’s Wife”, I’ve long been fascinated by the strength and resourcefulness of the Australian woman; pioneering women that had multi-functioning tasks as tough and as integral to that of the pioneering man.
Joy McKean is one such woman and after reading her book, I’ve Been There (& Back Again), I was incredibly inspired to ‘sing her up’. Using her words and utilising the titles of some of her original songs I’ve attempted to tell her story in a cryptic, poetic way that will hopefully take the listener a few times around to figure it all out.
As I do with all my songs, I played “Lady of the Land” to my wife in a very early and raw format, and she made me swear that if I ever had the opportunity to play the song to Joy live, I should. As the universe conspires, I ended up having the chance a few short weeks later, in the beautiful Tamworth Town Hall during the 2013 Roll of Renown concert. I was understandably nervous for a few reasons; I was about to sing a song that I felt was still evolving, I was also singing as Joy, using her words and her song titles telling her story, back at her. What if I got it wrong? What if she hated it?
Anyway, it was a sold out show, but as far as I was concerned, there was only one woman there. Afterwards, Max Ellis came up and asked me to wait around after the show, for Joy had asked to meet me. Thankfully, she enjoyed the song and was touched by the sentiment but also, as expected, asked for a copy of the lyrics. After explaining a few of the more cryptic lines and expressing my intentions with the song, Joy gave me her complete blessing and has also allowed rare archives of her personal and musical journey to be used in a powerful video to marry the song visually.
Joy McKean; writer of some of Slim Dusty’s biggest hits, winner of the very first Golden Guitar, manager, agent, promoter, multi-instrumentalist, author, co-driver, offsider, cook, mother, grandmother, matriarch and still to this day – a powerhouse in the establishment of the Slim Dusty Centre. Enough about the fella, I want Joy McKean’s story to be told, and I strongly urge all who wish to be astounded and inspired to purchase and read her book I’ve Been There (& Back Again) – And true to Joy's nature - it’s the one that features Slim on the front cover.- Luke O’Shea
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE TRACK [MP3]http://itscountry.com.au/music/Luke O'Shea - 01 - Lady Of The Land.mp3 [/MP3]
The Dalton Gang burst onto the Australian music scene in April 1995 and their polished sound and well crafted arrangements have been impressing audiences ever since.
Their first performance was at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall as support for American country star Don Williams. Not only did the audience want to hear more of this talented threesome, but Don and his band commented that ….”The Dalton Gang sounded more like a hot five piece band than a trio…”
The Dalton Gang have been the backing band for Beccy Cole, Deniese Morrison, Noel Watson and Johnny Chester. Late in 1995 the band formed the core of Johnny Chesters touring band and accompanied him at the Twin Towns Services Club N.S.W and early in 1996, toured Tasmania for ten days, including two nights at Wrest Point Casino. With “Chess” they were also part of the support for Merle Haggard at the Myer Music Bowl.
The Dalton Gang continue working around clubs, pubs, festivals and private functions in and around Melbourne and country Victoria. With 3 lead vocalists the repertoire is extensive, catch them live, you won’t be sorry.
The Dalton Gang
Leo Dalton : Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin.
Stuart Lees : Drums, Lead Vocals
Helen Stewart : Bass, Lead Locals
A farm gate near Grafton in Northern NSW will swing open on October 28 to allow an estimated 500 music fans to the first Clarence Valley Country Muster – a festival that’s capturing the imagination of people across the nation.
The open-air muster will run until November 3 on a property at Calliope (pronounced Kell-Eye-Oh-Pea) near the historic river port of Ulmarra – about 13 kilometres north of Grafton.
It won’t be just a feast of country music led by legendary headliners Ted Egan and Terry Gordon, an inductee into the coveted Entertainers’ Roll of Renown, the muster will also serve up country hospitality including a canteen packed with mouth-watering, home-grown produce.
Qualified chef Peter Watters, who runs a farm near Calliope, will be tempting hundreds of pallets with the best of locally-produced beef, vegetables and fruit.
Muster organiser Wendy Gordon owns the Calliope property that will host the ground-breaking muster.
“The response has been fantastic,” Wendy says. “I believe that guests from all over Australia will not only relish the work of the performers, but will enjoy the country fare and the hospitality that only the bush can deliver” .
“The area around here is rich in history and has opened its arms to a country music muster that will become an annual event. I have no doubt about that.”
And there can be no doubt that a raffle over the week-long festival will also attract plenty of interest. Internationally-acclaimed Queensland artist Peter Hill has donated an oil painting to the cause. The $3000 landscape painting called Green Valley will hang on someone’s wall after the event. Proceed from the raffle will go to the Ulmarra Public School.
The first Clarence Valley Country Muster begins with a meet and greet and walk-ups from October 28. The main event is on November 1, 2 and 3. It coincides with Grafton’s famous Jacaranda Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors to the Clarence Valley every year.
Details of the muster are available from Wendy Gordon on 0432 741947