DIARY - 25 NOVEMBER 2010 - LUKE AUSTEN CD REVIEW
LIGHT OF DAY (COMPASS BROTHERS)
LUKE - AN AUSTEN ON OUTBACK CRUISE CONTROL
to throw rocks at the mining site when I was a kid/ wasn't gonna bend
my back and work like my daddy did/ I was always dreaming of the next
big town/ but here I am stuck in this mining camp slowly going down."
- Two Miles Down - Troy Cassar-Daley-D Green.
singer-songwriter Luke Austen didn't have to re-invent himself before
cutting his debut album after winning the 31st Tamworth Star Maker
contest in January.
The bassist served time in the outback beer and wine mines for four
years with veteran rodeo troubadour Brian Young after leaving high
school in Mackay.
Another six years on bush and coast roads again with Troy Cassar-Daley
was his finishing school.
So it's no
surprise the young veteran strip-mined the bucolic motherlode of his travels
to fuel his nine originals here.
At 29 Austen sounds like neither of his employers as he sorts wheat from
chaff in his travels and travails.
Entrée tune Look What Love's Got Me Into and his paternal
pride paean She's So You are punctuated by graphic Cassar-Daley
mining tune Two Miles Down.
The latter is a vitriolic vignette - more about mining magnets than mining
magnates dominating governments' dash for subterranean cash.
It's smart sequencing when Austen honours embryonic employer Young with
an insightful reading of his Harcourt hombre Pete Denahy's tribute Every
Time He Travels Through Cloncurry.
Austen proves a worthy roads scholar.
He gives the song by Denahy, who shares his hometown with Victorian premier
John Brumby's bush retreat, a collage of detail driven narrative nuances
from time in the subject's shadows.
Checking trailer tyres and pumping diesel at dawn before riding into town
in red dirt sunsets for gigs is foreign to DNA of city chameleons hitching
wagons to the genre.
before sunrise out Nymboida way/ two young men discovered a cave/ out
chasing dingoes where the cold weather blows/ they stumbled across some
old sacred bones." - Sacred Bones - Luke Austen-Troy Cassar-Daley.
more salient sequencing as he segues into a parody of hedonistic hi-tech
tight rope credit card walkers on the wry word play of Livin' On
Borrowed Dime - one of eight collaborations with pianist Vaughan
You've seen the victims on our mean streets - acres of urban ears
glued to mindless mobile phones and eyes to puerile plasmas for self-immolation
on the crass cross of consumerism.
Vance Packard prophetically previewed this disease in his 1957
Hidden Persuaders book.
Austen injects the mood swing in delicious western swing of faded
love in Walkin' Out The Door before his riveting living for
the weekend rocker That's How I Roll.
have generic melodies but check out the similarities with the Kim Williams-Ken
Spooner penned 1991 Joe Diffie hit If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets.
How I Roll is broken up by a George Jones name check and radio metaphor
with faux gospel harmony by Chris Thomas.
Austen, pardon the pun, is no one truck pony.
Especially when he exhumes his truckie-coalminer sire's dingo hunting
discovery in Sacred Bones - fittingly and tastefully written with Cassar-Daley.
AMONGST THE ROSES
born Michael Thorne, on a summer night in 64/ a troubled boy no good at
school/ it took a day to get your name/ l knew my heart wouldn't be the
same/ every time I made the most of every moment with Emily Rose."
- Thorne Amongst The Roses - Luke Austen-Vaughan Jones
paternally inspired and penned with Troy and Jones is Lonely Highway -
these inter-generational characters are road warriors as truckies and
cruises through his barroom romp with Jones and Adam Harvey on the
wry There's No Such Thing As a Sure Thing about a girl.
Then there's the chalice choice where the jinxed girl loses out to
a mere car in HQ 454 Monroe - penned by Grafton born duo Cassar-Daley
and Cold Chisel refugee and country hit writer Don Walker.
And if you think that's cute check out the album finale - the male
lead wins love at 23 and belated paternal approval in Thorne Amongst
just the prickly floral arrangement but the age old tale of the archetype
rough diamond winning over sceptical and protective parents of the bride.
That's very clever - unlike many peers Austen nails messages without sonic
Producer Graham Thompson ensures songs drive this train as pedal &
lap steel guitarist Mike Daly, fiddler Mick Albeck and Rod McCormack's
banjo, mandolin and dobro whip country cream onto this gateau.
For trivia buffs this Mike Daly is from Whiskeytown - not the equally
prolific Texan or Nashville steel players.
Other A team session serfs are drummer Mitch Farmer, bassist Ian Lees,
pianist Jones, guitarists Brendan Radford, Mark Punch, Glen Hannah and
Stuie French with Cassar-Daley guesting on mandolin and background vocal
on Sacred Bones.
Austen enjoys subdued lighting as he parks his posse way beyond the shadows
of his mentors.
/ back to diary