2018 CD FEATURE
BENNETT BOWTELL AND URQUHART
WEEDS (CHECKED LABEL SERVICES)
BIRTH DRAMA ON COUNTRY HOSPITAL STEPS
“I heard a new born baby cry/ from my room just down the hall/ angry voices, running footsteps/ and I heard a mother's keening call/ a doctor demanding answers/ tell me again what was done/ how could this woman have been left/ at the door giving birth to her son.” - Just Down The Hall - Lola Brinton-Kevin Bennett.
When septuagenarian songwriter Lola Brinton was a patient in a country hospital she was awoken by a new born baby's cries outside on the steps.
The baby and his indigenous mother were sent to the back door by a nurse but never completed the journey.
The NSW Central Coast writer was so moved by the injustice of the mother giving birth on the steps she turned her shock into a song with prolific peer Kevin Bennett.
Their song Just Down The Hall was first recorded by Gulf Of Carpenteria chanteuse Kalesti Butler on her second album Airborne.
Now it has been reborn on the second Bennett-Bowtell-Urquhart album Weeds with three part harmonies in their inspired delivery.
The trio's self-titled debut album earned them two Golden Guitars and this 11 track sequel is likely to repeat that success.
Bennett, now 66, had wide success with his embryonic roots band The Flood before diverse solo and duo projects.
Tamworth born Felicity, now 42 and host of ABC radio show Saturday Night Country since 2010, began busking at 11 in her home town.
She released her first solo album at 16 and earned one of her Golden Guitars with western swing band Feral Swing Katz in 2002.
The singer, who now lives at Avoca Beach on the NSW Central coast with guitarist producer husband Glenn Hannah, has also released six solo albums, an EP, DVD compilation and was a presenter on Seven Network TV show Sydney Weekender.
Lyn Bowtell is a musical farmer's daughter from Kleinton on the Darling Downs in Queensland and released her first album with her band Southern Steel in 1996.
She won the 1997 Tamworth Starmaker contest and six Golden Guitars after releasing three solo albums and two with Karen O'Shea and Kate Ballantyne in their trio Bella .
Lyn also underwent treatment for endometriosis - a condition which left her with crippling pain before her latest EP and this album.
TRIO TRUMP A TYRANT
“Wearing rose coloured glasses/ making water into wine/ turning all their heads/ but you won't turn wine/ fake sophistication, gold plated living/ you don't know grace/ cause you don't know giving.” - Mountain Of Pain - Lyn Bowtell-Kevin Bennett-Felicity Urquhart.
The Bowtell-Bennett-Urquhart song preceded Willie's anthem onto the air waves where Felicity hosts ABC Saturday Night Country radio show.
“We had no idea what we would write about, but as it turned out, the first track on the record, Mountain of Pain , that's pretty much us looking at the world and Donald Trump, and being quite frightened by it, and how alarming it is to see power struggling against the little guy,” Bowtell revealed in a recent interview.
“And it's one of those things, it's forever been there but just the small mindedness and the large amounts of money and the power that is ruling the world at the moment is quite frightening, and I think that it's the small people, it's the people that are being affected, the real people. For me, I brought that song to the table and it was seeing a grandmother being ripped from her home and she'd lived in the United States since she was about 16, and had worked there her entire life. There were three generations under her roof and her husband had died, and they were sending her back to Mexico on her own and her entire life was there. Every other person in that home she had raised, she had paid her way, she'd never lived off the government, and then of course, the children. What I saw just tore me apart, and I took that to everyone.”
The trio expanded on that theme in first single Love Or Money, replete with video that used a Samson and Delilah sacrifice of love for cash metaphor.
“And then from, I think, from that song on, we kind of had a vibe that it was definitely going to be about that two-sided coin, love or money,” Bowtell explained.
“And the new single that we've got out from the record, Love or Money , we're having a bit of fun and a bit of a laugh about it, but it's, if I could have love or money, I'd take you any day. I would not change a thing. And I think, ultimately, that has more power. What we do in our own homes and what we do for one another, has more power than all the pollies.”
SOFTER EYES AND HEARTS
“Torment and trouble on the face of the earth/ one man's move brings a world of hate/ hope is a word we're throwing around/ like it's gonna save us when we're going down.” - Softer Eyes - Urquhart-Bennett-Bowtell.
The trio balance their angst with compassion for peers in Softer Eyes.
“ Softer Eyes is an idea Felicity brought to the table about how we need, well, something KB said in passing, ‘We need to look at each other with softer eyes, we need to be nicer to one another. Look upon each other with more love'. She took that and ran with it and brought that idea to the table and that's kind of what that's about, it's about talking about love and kindness, and I guess in a way we're a bit hippy like that.”
The trio nail passion in joyous Mystery and Any Bells that personalises homelessness.
The vocal and lyrical clout of Lyn and Felicity propels vinyl metaphors in Fading Out .
Felicity equates bird and human family frailty in Lonely Wonga and She's Sunshine is a survival triumph.
Ironically the album title track Weeds has already been interpreted in diverse ways so here is Lyn's take from inside.
“Some people thought the title of the album, Weeds was something else, because one follower on Instagram is into another kind of weed and I don't think he understood,” Bowtell quipped.
“But that's okay, we got a new follower when the album came out. It was hilarious.
“But the title track is very much about making choices, making the right choices, and how sometimes the seeds you sow will come back to haunt you. I think we called the album that because, I don't know, there's something really interesting about that title, and it says a lot because there's two sides to weeds: there's the ones that take over and kill everything and then there's the weeds that are beautiful.”
The trio is unlikely to seek sponsorship from Monsanto or Bayer after its weed killing product Round-Up was ruled a cancer cause.
A jury in California awarded $US289 million to Californian Dewayne Lee Johnson, who claims Monsanto's weed killer was a substantial factor in causing his terminal cancer, and that the company failed to warn of the potential risk.
KARL BROADIE TRIBUTE FINALE
“I found you down where the willow was weeping/ you know I nearly walked on by/ every hello eventually leads to goodbye.” - Every Hello - Kevin Bennett-Karl Broadie.
The fitting finale is Karl Broadie tribute Every Hello that began as a demo with the late expat Scottish singer songwriter who died at 44 on April 19, 2016.
“I just loved making this record, and I think my favourite - I don't know, they change from day-to-day, but the most special song, I guess, is track 11, last on the record,” Bowtell added.
“It's with the late singer-songwriter Karl Broadie and it was pretty phenomenal to be able to do that. We were in the tour van going around Melbourne, at the end of last year, and KB said ‘girls, girls, I found this, it's something I was working on with Karl, and I thought that might work for the band, nice ballad, and then I found him singing it and it's an amazing recording.' And, of course, there were tears. It sounds like he's right there.
“I got a shock when I heard his voice. I had read that you'd done a song with him and I didn't realise he would be on the recording. So as soon as his voice started, I just thought, where is that, why is he here?
And seriously, how immediate does his voice sound? It's incredible? That came about because KB has no idea how to use technology. He and Karl wrote this beautiful tune and Karl said, ‘We should demo it, and KB says on the phone and Karl's saying, ‘No, mate, no, I'll show you how to use Garage Band.'
“So they recorded that at KB's house, with a beautiful mic and that's Karl playing guitar and singing in the purest way, and he always joked about being a fourth member of the band, and calling it BUBB. It was just such a treasure to find that. KB was astonished. I still have Karl's text messages, but I won't look at them, and KB had done the same thing. He had all these things that he hadn't listened to. I've got all these albums that I couldn't stand to listen to for a long time, and some days I put them on, but most of the time you stay away from it. And KB didn't even know he had this gem just sitting there. So producer Glen Hannah and his magic in the studio has worked it around. We've got Karl's track there, and he pops in and out with us, it's as if he's singing it with us, and I mean, man, the song itself, ‘every hello eventually leads to goodbye', is pretty poignant. And there's that one part where he says, ‘It's all right,' in answer to KB, and it just breaks my heart every time. But it's really beautiful, it's really cathartic and special.”