DIARY - 23 SEPTEMBER 2012 - ROO ARCUS CD REVIEW
THIS HERE COWBOY (CORE-SONY)
GIRL SAYS HOOROO TO ARCUS
city girl liked my country charm/ traded city ways for life down on the
farm/ didn't take too long, guess the novelty wore thin/ big city lights
called her back again/ and she left me cold." - Stretching Wire
- Roo Arcus.
Roo Arcus struck gold early when late bush balladeer Slim Dusty recorded
his tune Ringers, Rigs and Drivers for his trucking album Making
The song - written about a traffic jam when 13 road trains pulled into
the Arcus family farm - also landed the singer-songwriter a 12-month stint
as Slim's touring partner.
Touring tutelage with Dusty and bandleader - former New Zealand dairy
farmer Rod Coe - enabled Arcus to cut his 2000 debut album Station
It earned the singer two 2001 Golden Guitar nominations and predictions
of a creative career that began on his graduation from the inaugural 1997
Australian College of Country Music.
But that was more than a decade ago and a double disaster knocked the
Goulburn gaucho out of the saddle.
Arcus's mother was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004 and a protracted drought
decimated farms - including their Southern Tablelands family property.
The drought - throughout the west of NSW and Queensland and way beyond
- aggravated the Arcus family pain.
And, unlike city slickers who switch jobs at the drop of a hat, the Arcus
clan toughed it out.
That was then and now, after exiting the heartbreak highway, Arcus is
making a comeback with second album This Here Cowboy on Core.
Label boss Rod McCormack has produced an even dozen songs at his Music
Cellar studio with the local A-session team.
Arcus wrote five songs on the disc including one with McCormack.
Song sequencing ensures three of those tunes are saved for the album finale.
This seems to be a marketing strategy for Arcus and fellow bush boy Luke
Arcus exploits a winter wind wire metaphor for a ruptured romance in his
song Stretching Wire - a timeless tale of a country boy-city girl
It's a credible tale that resonates with the listener - especially community
radio and regional Pay TV audiences.
ON THE HILL
may not fit in your old wedding dress/ my hair, well there ain't much
of it left/ over the years it's been put to the test/ but my love's as
strong as the day that we met." - Church On The Hill - Roos Arcus.
in album finale Church On The Hill is a complete contrast to the
femme fatale who decamps back to the city in Stretching Wire.
there's a moral in the tail of the tale and album for those rural
marriages that survive the storms of life.
preceding Arcus original Out On The Farm is a homespun homily extolling
the virtues of bush camaraderie and family triumphing over fad driven
competitive cyber cities.
a bucolic bliss that often takes a lifetime to appreciate and shares
the value of deals honoured by the shake of a hand - a philosophy
praised in an Adam Harvey staple.
The first Arcus original to surface here is Bluecollarville
- another tune praising the stoic spouse who stands by her man far
from those mythical mansions on the hill.
It's a paean to the working family whose grunt work may not generate
the fame and fortune of the big city high fliers who often crash
But, like the pioneers, it has the virtue of longevity.
The title hints that perhaps this album is being pitched at a big
market far away from the narrow confines of the unlucky radio country.
Cowboy is trying to break into the wide-open spaces of the lucrative
gold - strip-mined by Texan George Strait and Georgian Alan Jackson.
The other original is collaboration with McCormack on Little By Little
where the sinner tries to rebuild trust by chipping away at the walls
and moats erected by the victim.
It's a subject with universal appeal and shares title but not theme with
the James House 1995 hit on his Days Gone By album.
So is the album's hedonistic entree title track where the character breaks
the mould of cowboys who ride off into the sunset leaving dusty trails
of broken hearts.
It's not surprising to learn one of the writers is Ben Hayslip of the
prolific Peach Pickers hit team.
Other writers earning royalties from Arcus include Boy Howdy refugee Jeffrey
Steele and chart magnets Tim Nichols, Tony Martin, Mark Nesler, Rick Bowles,
Larry Boone, Josh Leo and frequent Aussie tourist Jerry Salley.
It's a safety net of sorts to propel the album at Music Row gatekeepers
ever on the alert for Horses Of Troy they can't saddle up on their own
terms or turf.
are made with the shake of a hand/ man lives by the law of the land/ and
his words as strong as the sky is blue." - Out On The Farm - Roo
his song choice this way in a recent interview.
just made the whole thing about the strength of the song," Arcus
"When I first went to Rod I said, 'There's no secret formula
for success, so what is our best chance of success with this album?'
And, he said, 'It has to be about the strength of the song. Nobody
is going to care if you wrote it or somebody else did.'
"People are going to like a song or they aren't. There is nothing
worse than buying an album just to find out that the two songs that
made you buy it are the only good ones and rest are just fillers so
we just wanted to make an album of 12 great songs and we had so many
to choose from.
on the day before we went into the studio I was still sitting on 18 songs
going: how do I whittle this down to 12? So, it was a nice problem to
Arcus, who became a father in his hiatus, had plenty of time to plot his
"Things just compounded and made it very difficult to get back to
my music, almost to the point where I never thought I would get back to
it," Arcus revealed.
"It helped being able to sit on the other side of the fence for so
long and think about what I wanted to do. This album is just 100 % me.
It is the album I wanted to record, they are the songs I want to sing,
I haven't chosen them for any particular reason - because one group of
people would like this song and another would like that one - it is really
just 12 songs that I like."
Arcus proves a master of swing and maybe mood swings as he delivers his
highly accessible pure country music with the ease of Texans Strait and
old Shotgun Willie Nelson.
Hopefully this will leap the moat into the mainstream and give the singer
the confidence to fill his next album with his originals - and maybe a
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