CD REVIEW 2016
UNLEASHED (FAIRFAX RURAL EVENTS)
PARTY PYES FIX THINGS
“The bike came from the dump on a back of a trailer/ flat tyres, one pedal and a missing derailleur/ imagine my surprise when my daddy said/ here you go son ‘you said you wanted a bike, I got you one.'” - Fix Things - Mickey Pye-Travis Collins.
He grew up in rural bliss on a farm in the foothills of the Blue Mountains near Oberon and rapidly became a fast fixer.
At first it was a broken down bike gift from his dad and soon it became swings, farm machinery and an adolescent duo with his young sister Clancy.
Mickey Pye and Clancy sang for their supper at campfires, local pubs and halls from when she was 13 as the Party Pyes.
They graduated to the band Stoked and collaborated on song-writing for his 12 track debut album Unleashed.
He wrote four songs - including two with 2004 Starmaker winner Travis Collins and one with Clancy who also harmonises and landed a solo tune on his album.
The Pyes mastered the art of DYI music and education.
Mickey moved to Sydney after finishing high school where he graduated with a Bachelor of Popular Music & Performance at the JMC Academy with the Elizabeth Cass Award that recognises the highest achieving student across all courses.
Mickey, now 27, cut his album in Balmain after winning the 2015 Tamworth Toyota Starmaker quest.
Clancy, 23, graduated from university with a physiotherapy degree long after being voted Aristocrat entertainer of the year in Tamworth and received $2000 and 10 hours of recording time.
Earlier Mickey won the 2009 Gympie Muster talent quest and headed to Tamworth in 2010 for his first Starmaker entry.
Clancy practises physiotherapy in Orange and Mickey runs his Bathurst Academy of Music when not on the road.
The singer also plays electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and percussion on the disc that features producer Sean Rudd on bass, Mick Green on banjo and piano, Smith Curry on lap and pedal steel and dobro and Jim Hoke's horn arrangements.
Pye had plenty of experience as road guitarist-entrée act for Beccy Cole, Tania Kernaghan, Collins and trucking troubadour Jayne Denham who also lives in the Hartley hamlet west of the Blue Mountains.
Pye followed in the slipstream of 35 previous Starmaker winners in the 2016 Golden Guitars in the 44th Country Music Awards of Australia.
First single When She's Drinking , is up for best new talent and his original title track Unleashed is in Instrumental of the Year.
WHERE THE ANGELS ARE
“Go on down the fiery road/ hold on to your heavy load/ when you get to the gates of hell/ you're gonna hear Heaven's Bells/ believe me, give it one more try/ be strong, keep your head up high.” - Where the Angels Are - Travis Collins-Mickey Pye-Scott Greenaway.
A fitting finale is angst anthem Monkey Around where veteran Texan writers Gary Nicholson and Delbert McClinton team with Benmont Tench for a humorous tale about a jezebel who turns her beau into a monkey of sorts.
It's a vast contrast to anything the Pyes cooked up in their genetic chemistry living on the family farm.
Not sure if the Blue Mountains denizens go ape often but these siblings found it easy to expand performing to also include song-writing.
RAINY WISHES NOT PYES IN THE SKY
“If I could make a wish, I'd wanna make it rain/ hear the heaven sings and when it starts to pour/ you'll slips your shoes off and dash for the cover/ I'd take off my jacket huddle up to each other/ rain a waterfall and keep it pouring/ wash this wall away/ If I could make a wish I'd wanna make it rain.” - If I Could Make A Wish - Mickey Pye-Clancy Pye.
“Clancy and I have been coming up here for years - since we were old enough to drive,” Mickey said of their journeys to Tamworth and way beyond.
“It has been so hard for us. We have both played for so many other musicians. Sometimes it feels like we have been helping other people's careers over our own. It is such a great feeling to flip that around. It's really nice that we got our chance in the end.”
He believes pub scene exposure made him and Clancy seasoned performers.
“We have played in pubs almost every Friday and Saturday night since we were 18 years old,” he said.
“Getting people to listen and then holding their attention has really toughened us up.”
The Starmaker win was the catalyst for his album deal.
Pye performed two original songs Back Road and Hillbilly Girl .
He said Hillbilly Girl had a two-minute guitar solo and he believed it was this that set him apart.
“It has real fast chicken picks in it,” he said.
“Its 11 years since the judges have heard that kind of playing.”
So it was natural he included a guitar fuelled instrumental as his album title track.
“I think not having an album has held me back over the years,” he said.
“All my friends had put something out, but it's very expensive and I've never had the money.
“I have 15 songs that I recorded in Nashville with some of the top musicians in the business, but I never released them. I couldn't afford to. I hope Starmaker will allow me to use them.”
Mickey also played CMA World Global Live! Concert and Nashville's CMA Festival - the world's biggest country festival - and Canada's Big Valley Jamboree .
He also performed Gympie Muster, Mildura Country Music Festival, Deni Ute Muster and Central Coast and Sydney Country Music Festivals.
CLANCY OF THE OVERVIEW
“Like when it's 2 am and I want one more song/ forget last call, the night's still young/ we can drive to the edge of town/ watch the moon go down, the sun come up.” - Can't Ever Get Enough - Clancy Pye.
The Pye musical journey is a true family odyssey.
Clancy sang for her supper to finance her physiotherapy course.
“Over the last five years I have done a lot of solo gigs on the weekend in Bathurst, Orange and Mudgee,” Clancy revealed.
“It was nice to do that and it paid my way through university.”
She also credits her duo work for helping her Aristocrat award.
“Performers are judged not only on their musical ability, but also their presentation, the way they engage the crowd and their dress,” Clancy confessed.
“I don't think I'd have won if it was only judged on vocal artistry. But I think playing pubs almost every weekend helped because you have to work hard to keep people happy.”
Clancy vividly recalls the siblings musical childhood.
“We've played together our whole lives,” Clancy recalled.
“When we were younger we played at a lot of community gigs - I was about six at the time. My brother was that little bit older, so he's passed a lot of his knowledge on to me. He's teaching professionally now, so I try to tap into that every now and then.”
While she has recorded with other musicians before, she has never had the chance to record her own songs.
“My goal this year will be to spend more time on my song-writing,” she said.