DIARY - 7 DECEMBER 2009 - PAUL COSTA CD REVIEW
REVIEW - 2009
IN THIS LIFE (COMPASS BROS-SHOCK)
BAND OF BROTHERS
got taught the schoolyard hard lessons/ but did our learning on the land/
bound forever by the code that makes an unbreakable bond." - Band
Of Brothers - Paul Costa-Rod McCormack
bigger than the Allman, Everly and Bellamy Brothers but not quite as famous
Yo, the four Costa brothers hail from Robinvale on the banks of the mighty
Murray River in the Victorian Sunraysia citrus belt.
Although the Costa quartet performed and recorded together before the
turn of this century they were a creative cottage industry of sorts.
They made six indie albums and toured way beyond their rural river roots
to promote them.
But unlike fellow Robinvale reared country band The T-Bones they didn't
flee to live and work in the big smoke of Melbourne to write and sing
about their Sunraysia days.
And they didn't head to the Northern Territory like multi-award winner
Sara Storer who was raised with her songwriting brothers on their family
farm at nearby Wemen.
Instead they used the citrus belt as their musical mecca and launch pad
before brother Paul branched out and embarked on his individual career.
Now, on Paul's third solo album, he harvested his fraternal crop in Band
Of Brothers - a reflection of family bonds that overcome geographical
Costa wrote 10 songs with long time award winning producer and renowned
multi-instrumentalist Rod McCormack.
They drew from an era of innocence in Murray riverbank orchards where
citrus often morphed into cash crops of a more lucrative kind for some
says we take it all for granted/ says we haven't got a clue/ you don't
know what life's about/ until you had to tough it out/ like we did in
1932." - Survivor 1932 - Paul Costa-Rod McCormack-Noel Costa.
the peak of the album is Survivor 1932 - a flashback
to a distant era when banks, businesses and industries crashed and
farmers were forced off their family land.
Paul, brother Noel and McCormack rejoice in embroidering their riveting
post Great Depression parable that extols triumph of racing icons
diverse as Phar Lap and Peter Pan and the Gundagai Dog on The Tuckerbox
And you can be sure that Our Don in the song was wielding a cricket
bat - not lethal weapons of choice of other Dons from Calabria.
seem flippant but the song, written pre-GFC, now takes on more relevance
because of the year in the title plucked from a book read by Noel.
The Costa family, like Geelong namesake Frank, is big on overcoming adversity
- not wallowing in it.
That's obvious from title track entrée where the phrase "no
turning back" is reprised in the name of the second tune.
And, just so you get the message, the character in Half The Man
exploits agricultural metaphors to find confidence in determining his
fate after hitting hurdles.
"I was a farmer without a seed to sow/ I was a lover with a heart
Costa mines the vocal motherlode of late Marty Robbins when he milks melancholia
of ruptured romance in two stepping How'd I Fall For That and romantic
resurrection in the trilogy Hello Smile, Growing On Me and Love
Like That, all penned with Matt Scullion.
But Costa re-floats a reality raft in the lost love of Man Overboard,
penned with Gina Jeffreys - singing spouse of producer McCormack - and
Ron Sinclair, and the lost lust of Real World.
TIME IN A SMALL TOWN
"Old Tommy's still rocking in his favourite chair/ he's seen every
sunset in 40 years/ he's watched them come and watched them go/ ain't
nothing about this town he don't know." - Big Time In A Small
Town - Paul Costa-Rod McCormack- Damien Portaro.
with fellow Sunraysia raised singer-songwriter Sara Storer, now 34, on
One Big Circle is a rhetorical return to their rural roots and
almost perfect segue into imperfect souls in sibling song finale Big
Time In A Small Town.
The circles drawn here are vastly different to those created by Storer
in her paternal paean Beautiful Circle - inspired by her father
Lindsay crashing his tractor into a tree - and Raining On The Plains.
That was the title track of Storer's multi-award winning second album
that also drew on her family's new farm near Gulargambone on the Castlereagh
River way out west in outback NSW for Tell These Hands.
Parallels between the Sunraysia raised Costa and Storer families are more
than kin deep - Sara has also written a brace of songs with her three
Costa may not stride country's cutting edge but his warm vocals ignite
credible songs about habitués of life way beyond the city limits
and narcotic neon.
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