She 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.

The album 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."


Well, Bradley tills the pure country roots of a rich genre with a plaintive vocal style akin to the embryonic sound of Kasey and protégée Catherine Britt.

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 Pop.

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 Me.

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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