DIARY - 29 JULY 2012 - SUSAN LILY CD REVIEW
REVIEW - 2012
LILY ESCAPES HAY WITHOUT A BANJO
out to a stormy sky/ beneath my feet it's wet and dry/ pray it's gonna
rain today/ all my troubles washed away/ here in my hometown/ lifts you
up and turns you around/ when the rain comes down." - My Hometown
- Susan Lily Hutchinson-Paul McNaughton.
region of NSW has produced more AFL stars than country singers and songwriters.
when Susan Lily Hutchinson fled her hometown of Hay as a teenager
to pursue an academic career in more populous Wagga-Wagga she was
in good company.
Wagga-Wagga was also home to veteran Danglin Brothers drummer-producer
Roger Ansell, singer-stage star Darren Coggan and latter day refugee
But Susan's saltbush plains home had a more high profile admirer -
Banjo Paterson depicted it graphically in his 1896 poem Hay And
Hell And Booligal.
When Banjo hit Hay it was an oasis on the banks of the Murrumbidgee
- a vast contrast to nearby Booligal, long beset by rabbit-grasshopper-snake
plagues and other vermin.
well before the climate change industry mushroomed and Hay became one
of the prisons of choice for World War 11 servicemen from across the ocean.
Banjo followed in the slipstream of Charles Sturt who may have broken
bread with the local Nari Nari tribe when he passed through in 1829.
It's not clear if Cobb & Co dumped lawyer Banjo at the Hay gaol, built
in 1856, for client visits.
Lake Bolac reared singer-songwriter Neil Murray recorded his eulogy of
sorts - Lights Of Hay on his 2007 CD Overnighter.
But it was up to Hutchison to pick up the baton and weave more modern
memories of the town that now houses five museums in Hometown on
her debut CD Butterfly.
The singer extols virtues of rural adolescence - freedom to enjoy simple
joys and friendships - in the idyllic bliss of a riverbank town.
Lily exploits more precipitous weather metaphors than Banjo and also bemoans
closing of the western rail line from Wilbriggie to Hay in 1985 - just
103 years after it opened.
A little like Victorian government shutting another western railway line
from Warrnambool to Port Fairy - just before the towns became meccas for
tourists and nice little earners for oil companies.
So don't mistake this song for a mere trip down memory lane.
The singer highlights excessive petrol prices for rural travellers returning
home in these troubled times.
It's not clear if Lily or co-writer McNaughton subliminally borrowed the
reflection mirror of home lyric from singing actor Mac Davis's 1980 hit
Texas In My Rear View Mirror.
Maybe Davis's childhood digs at Lubbock in the Texas panhandle were more
parched than Lily's.
Anyway back to the music.
- HEARTS AND DREAMS
"Don't fall in love with me/ or I'll only run and hide/ don't break
a heart that's true/ maybe I'll fly away tonight/ in all my dreams and
every waking moment/ I'm the best that I can be/ now that I'm broken."
- Broken - Susan Lily Hutchinson.
all 14 songs on her album - she collaborated with her producer McNaughton
on My Hometown and Not Today.
name Hutchinson, followed in the footsteps of her producer who recorded
most of his radio friendly tunes in a bygone era as Paul Norton.
was bassist for Mushroom Records band The Runners who cut two solo
albums before splitting in 1985.
He returned to Mushroom as a solo artist and recorded albums and a
#2 single Stuck On You that had a distinct country feel.
It may have been a catalyst for his label boss Michael Gudinski to
chance his arm on country on his Liberation label with Kasey Chambers,
Shane Nicholson, Michael Thomas and Troy Cassar-Daley.
Listeners and viewers of Nu Country FM-TV enjoyed Norton's recording
renaissance with expat Oregonian Cletis Carr and the late Rose Tattoo
refugee Peter Wells in 1994 in country trio Hillbilly Moon.
So it's no surprise Norton's expertise was perfect potion for sonic
waves needed for the late blooming Lily album.
off her disc with apt entrée Got The Monkey Off My Back
that was a direct result of tutelage from vocal coach Nikki Nicholls in
It segues into her ruptured romance requiem Broken with Norton
spouse Wendy Stapleton on backing vocals, and featured in her first video
clip on Nu Country TV.
"I dabbled in poetry and songwriting when I was younger and then
began again in earnest four years ago when I first met Paul Norton,"
the singer revealed in 2007.
"Paul has become my songwriting mentor and co-wrote Not Today
- the first song I ever took to him."
Both songs embroidered her 2006 debut EP and were reprised here on this
The singer's salient song sequencing finds Hometown, replete with
Gerry Hale on fiddle and mandolin, preceding melancholic positive love
paean Miss You Much and the joyous Naughty Girl.
only kiss me when you are drunk/ you only hold me when you are sad/ only
do it when you are lonely/ say that I'm your one and only." -
You Only Kiss Me When You Are Drunk - Susan Lily Hutchinson.
also lured Michael Christiano, aka Christian of Fisk & Christian,
to play guitar and dobro on Not Today.
The younger Gary Young, not the Daddy Cool, Falcons and Leslie Avril
drummer but the Scarecrow singer, enlivens four songs including the
title track as guest guitarist.
But this is more a joint venture between producer and protégé
- weather metaphors are tossed into the blender in A Little Rain
and metamorphosis in Butterfly.
That may be better use of our alphabet middle letters than melancholia
of You're Not Here (Sunrise) and lachrymose lava of Feels
as the listener reaches for the levity button there's movement at the
station on the uplifting recovery of Mountaintop and the Christiano
dobro daubed Not Today.
finishes on a high note with the riveting So Right So Wrong and
the hedonistic and assertive You Only Kiss Me When You Are Drunk.
Lily's longevity will depend on community radio and TV - and equally importantly
Unlike many peers she has a post graduate degree in Radiography from Sydney
University after earning her stripes at Charles Sturt University in Wagga-Wagga.
She follows a daytime career as a medical imaging technologist but is
unlikely to revert to a previous role as stand-up comedienne.
That is unless she feels the need to make pithy presentations to medical
conferences or maybe record company boardrooms.
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