DIARY - 16 FEBRUARY 2010 - LOU BRADLEY CD REVIEW
LA-LA-LA NOT LISTENING (NULLA-EMI)
FROM MULLUMBIMBY TO AYERS ROCK
hails from Mullumbimby and hit as a songwriter before showcasing her
vibrant vocals on an EP financed by John Butler.
Now, two albums down the coast road, Lou Bradley is winning exposure
way beyond hideaway hills and verdant valleys of the NSW north coast.
Multi-instrumentalist Rod McCormack produced the first album Love
Someone by the young mother featuring One Shoe - penned
about her late sister Kim's legacy.
Here on this organic gem for the Slim Dusty family label Nulla, Bradley
has Kasey Chambers' singing spouse Shane Nicholson at the helm.
was recorded at The Sound Hole - a studio built at the back of
the Central Coast home Shane shares with wife Kasey Chambers.
And, as a
bonus, family patriarch Bill Chambers duets on their collaboration - One
Way In, One Way Out.
Slim's long time bassist producer Rod Coe, one time member of the Sydney
version of pioneer Melbourne outlaw band Hit & Run, discovered
Bradley at Mildura in 2008.
"He came back to me the next morning and said he'd played the album
all night, and that he wanted to move to Mullumbimby and be my bass player.
And you know what? He has!" Lou revealed.
Rod also took the album to Slim's singing spouse and widow Joy McKean
and Anne Kirkpatrick and they signed her to their family label Nulla.
Lou also attended the CMAA College of Country Music in Tamworth in 2006.
So there you have genetics and cross fertilisation.
What about the music?
Bradley grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, left home at 15 and joined
a rock band, married the guitarist and had all three of their children
by the time she was 24.
She was also an A philosophy student until she decided to run away with
her family and move to the hills of Mullumbimby.
"I remember someone told me when I was playing at a café in
Mullumbimby, that I sounded like a country singer and my songs were like
country songs," says Bradley whose husband Phil Chaffer plays guitar
in her band.
"It never really occurred to me what sort of singer I was. Some of
my songs are about the land, some are about people and some about life
and how it all seems to me."
AND ULURU TOO
Bradley tills the pure country roots of a rich genre with a plaintive
vocal style akin to the embryonic sound of Kasey and protégée
She sets the tone with her title track entrée extolling the
virtues of simple pleasures like a $3.50 beer and $20 op shop frock
ahead of a lying lover.
Bradley sings of pure love in I Will Remember but falls into
poverty at the hands of loose-lipped Lothario and cheater in It's
Raining It's Pouring.
But she's not a one trick love pony - she explores social comment
in her version of modern and ancient history in Uluru, replete with
another rain metaphor.
In 2005 she
was included among the inaugural recipients of the John Butler Seed -
a talent grant that enabled Lou and 25 of her family and friends to pile
into an old bus for a four week tour through the heart of Australia to
promote her debut release, a self-titled and self funded E.P Hillbilly
They were based with the Mutitjulu tribe, the traditional custodians of
Uluru, for three days.
That provided the inspiration for Uluru - the first single from
her second album.
She pours passion into her precipitation-drenched observation of wasted
water resources in Now Or Never and assertive loving and leaving
in Bad Manners and sibling song Curl Up And Die.
Bradley concedes an under achieving past in No Numbers but resurrection
of the heart ignites In Love With Love and rural romance in Cowboy.
The singer's character is happy to be sated by blind love in You And
Two of Lou and Phil's three children - Jackson and Lucy Chaffer - had
a vocal cameo the hidden track finale - her own composition Why Don't
They Love Our Land.
But the album's
peak is narrative finale One Way In, One Way Out - tale of two
sisters Mary and Betty and their mountain mama and logging sire.
These serene siblings enjoy pure bliss way up high in a wood cabin in
the peaks, far beyond the valley floor and its daily dramas.
Hey it could be the blissful childhood story of the Bradley sisters on
a mountain with only one in and out route.
It's the existential exit of a delicious disc fuelled by banjo, mandolin,
harmonica and accordion by producer Nicholson, fiddler Mick Albeck and
lap steel from Chambers.
Multi-instrumentalist Mark Collins and the rhythm section of John Watson
and Ian Lees flesh out the sound.
This is one of those organic oases rising above the avalanche of polished
but plentiful local releases.
A true gem.
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