DIARY - 18 AUGUST 2008 - BEC WILLIS CD REVIEW
WILLIS LOBSTERS BUT NEVER FLOUNDERS
BEC WILLIS (SHOCK)
"Fare thee well Toohey Road/ as I gather my last load/ you were old
but you were strong/ you'd been neglected for way too long." -
Willis was born before the Big Lobster surfaced in the serenity of
her hometown Kingston on the South Australian coast.
She debuted as a rock band bassist in the far more remote outpost
And she sold her electric jaffle maker for a bus fare from her Brisbane
fish and chip job to the NSW Central Coast to cut demos for her debut
Unlike the other Johland fish fryer Pauline she had fertile country
song fodder - a Port Lincoln TAFE course, uni stint, bank career and
a brace of ruptured romances.
It's no surprise she whipped up 12 original songs suitable for producer
mentors Bill and Kasey Chambers before the three-year incubation of
this belated album.
So how literally
do you take the grist in the Willis mill - entree Shiver & Shake
has a hint of child abuse and a lustful Lothario permeates the childhood
memories of Live And Let It Be?
"Once there was a fire deep down in your soul/ but a toxic lover's
just like fuel, and now it burns with no control."
LEAVES PICKET FENCES BEHIND
a picket fence but I love the road/ I'm full of quick defence and a heavy
load." - Picket Fences.
blends contrasting dreams of wanderlust against security in Picket
Fences and Toohey Road on a disc dominated by melancholic melanges
of the heart.
Cry, Scared and Sound Of Heartbreak may be rooted in personal
pain but the singer develops optimism in the tale of a peer in Rumi.
The singer, now happily married, rises above depression, with a patient
partner, in Handfuls Of Nothing.
And then we have a double shot of drinking songs - a staple of the genre.
The singer's character exudes altruism in trying to save an alcoholic
parent of four in Resolution but delivers a drinker in denial in
Alcohol & Loneliness on which she adds harmonica.
Willis may or may not have shared the substance abuse of her song sources
but she has soaked up the solace of survival.
IN THE WEATHER
here I've got you for a mirror/ and you see all my crazy dreams/ we just
need a change in the weather." - Change In The Weather.
songs are salient signposts to the emotions of the combatants and
she has turned her collateral damage into credible extensions of her
This might sound heavy-duty but there's fluoresence at the tunnel
with uplifting finale Change In The Weather.
Like many peers she used a stint at the CMAA Australian College Of
Country Music in Tamworth in 2004 as an industry tool.
Willis also learned the rhythm of the road when she toured as a back-up
vocalist with fellow South Australian born singer-songwriter Beccy
It made it
easier for her ascent to TV and radio and access to the best musicians.
So there's tasteful instrumentation of the McCormack brothers - Rod and
Jeff - and Dave Steele on guitar, mandolin, mandocello, organ-piano and
Drummers Pete Luscombe and Glen Wilson pick up the tempo as Mark Punch
guests on guitar, Clayton Dolley on Hammond organ and Mick Albeck on violin.
The Chambers clan provide minimal vocals but tasteful production.
But Willis succeeds because she has plentiful vibrance, absent from some
of those dreary damsels from Canada and beyond.
Yo - fry me another.
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