2015 CD REVIEW
ADAM ECKERSLEY BAND
THE SECOND ALBUM (LOST HIGHWAY-UNIVERSAL).
LIFE IMITATES ART FOR ADAM – AND MAYBE EVE
“The poison's in the people/ runs like water over sand/ you'll stand beside your brother/ but you'll kill your fellow man/ yeah, we celebrate our freedom/ with a bottle in the hand/ shoot a pistol or a needle/ cause we're from the lucky land.” - Live On - Adam Eckersley-Benjamin Elliott- Scott Greenaway-Duncan Toombs- Daniel Biederman.
Grafton born Adam Eckersley may have enjoyed as slice of serendipity with the timing of the release of The Second Album.
His social comment entrée Live On - replete with scathing social comment updating Orwellian predictions - resonated even more the morning after the Liberal party leadership coup.
Eckersley's depiction of a nation dissected in Donald Horne's Lucky Country peaks in a modern lemming like desperation to struggle to survive in the modern cyber jungle.
We might come from the lucky country but Adam adapts Orwell when he sings “we're all wing clipped and tagged/ watched by eyes in the clouds.”
But it's not just the data dictators trying to analyse our every move from above and beyond and exploit it.
It's also the fools' gold of materialism in this new age of entitlement - “yes and everybody wants a mansion/ oh, but no-one keeps a home.”
Hang on - everyone can be loved and hated in their social media fiefdoms.
Or can they?
“Got a thousand friends on Facebook/ but I'm sittin here alone.”
So where are the characters heading in Live On ?
Well, Eckersley and his four co-writers unite and create their own escape route at the end of the tunnel.
“But we're in this together/ for good or for bad/ so do what you do/ it's the best life you'll have/ sometimes you'll stumble/ sometimes you'll fall/ just keep on the move/ ‘til you break through that wall/ hell's got a place for us all/ here on earth.”
On the eve of my latest hearing test I misheard the finale - I thought it was God who had a place for us all.
But after requesting and receiving the lyric sheet I discovered we are stuck with hell on earth.
So, like Eckersley, we can all survive when love overcomes religion fuelled wars, hate and greed.
And, hopefully, the Canberra changes will reduce the politics of fear and enrich us with clever use of technology and freedom of trade with all.
TALK ABOUT LOVE
“Don't wanna talk about debt/ don't wanna talk about money/ don't wanna talk about any little thing/ that's getting you down now honey/ don't wanna talk about work or how we're breakin' our backs/ don't wanna talk about any of the things that are doing/ their best just to knock us off our tracks/ I wanna talk about you/ I wanna talk about us/ I wanna talk about love.” - Talk About Love - Adam Eckersley-Benjamin Elliott- Scott Greenaway-DuncanToombs-Daniel Biederman.
Love has worked for Eckersley - father of two with fellow Grafton born singing spouse Brooke McClymont.
It inspired at least four songs here that soften the heavier duty material.
Talk About Love punctuates Live On and Devil's Lullaby where the singer suggests an occasional waltz with the feared demon can be good for the soul and character building.
But it was not the devil - instead Adam's partner in rhyme who fuelled their co-write on Wheels.
“One night before having my shower, I chucked my clothes on the floor but then had a second thought and picked up my clothes and threw them in the basket to save the wife Brooke going crook on me,” Eckersley revealed.
“There's a system I try my best to live within even though part of me always wants to go against it. I jumped in the shower and started singing, "I'll live in the system the best that I can, try to fit in the mould but still be a man". I then got out of the shower and had to make the decision, to either finish the song while it was flowing, or go to bed. Brooke then went up to the back shed and got the guitar and wrote the other verses and a chorus.”
Although Adam toured as back-up guitarist with The McClymonts - both here and in the U.S. and fronting his own band - it wasn't always smooth sailing.
“We were at Country Music College in Tamworth , she was in it that year she didn¹t like me very much then,” he confessed in an historic interview.
But now with two children including Tiggy - source of Hey Little Daughter - there's harmony on all levels including For You that follows their cover of Neil Young classic Comes a Time, featuring harmonies from Brooke.
MOCHA MUGS AND METAPHORS
“Well I'm just a little concerned/ about whose got a hold of this land/ I'd rather see it steered by a pair of dirty hands/ well hands that have bled and hands that have fought/ hands that have learnt and hands that have taught/ hands that'll never let go when the chips are down.” - Mocha - Adam Eckersley-Brooke McClymont-Benjamin Elliott-Scott Greenaway-Duncan Toombs-Daniel Biederman.
Eckersley is well qualified to write Mocha - a blue collar anthem with a subtle satirical streak for suburban slaves of fashion and fads.
You get the message.
It's reprised in Good Night .
“I've got my liquor in a brown bag/ tired boots and tattered jeans/ yeah I might not be a king, no but mama you're still my queen/ well I don't have the look, and I don't have money/ but I've got you for company/ yeah I guess some luck must have hit me at some time.”
But that's not all - the tyranny of distance for a road warrior is amplified in Lost Time .
“But the best I can do/ is talk to you on the phone/ when I'm 16 hours and 12 songs from home/ but when I make my way back to you/ I'll make up for lost time.”
And, of course, the rambling man is rescued from the devil by a femme fatale in his hard rocking finale Took That Woman .
Expat American Nick Didia who took over the reins for Kasey Chambers' seventh solo album Bittersweet produced this disc at Studios 301 in Byron Bay .
Adam co-wrote with some Nashville tunesmiths on his previous disc but this time shares credits with Brooke and his band - bassist Scotty Greenaway, drummer Benny Elliot, keyboard player Dan Biederman and guitarist-vocalist Duncan Toombs.
Didia and Bernard Fanning also contributed to Wheels.
The band, who supported Floridian super group The Mavericks on their 2014 tour and play major local music festivals, are on the road again to support this disc for Americana roots label Lost Highway - also home for Novocastrian Catherine Britt, Shane Nicholson and Melbourne bluegrass band Mustered Courage .
It's a far cry from TV talent shows that also launched Mandurah minstrel Jonny Taylor and Jason Owen who hails from Albert in far west NSW.
Adam's band toured the U.S. with The McClymonts in 2011 and shared stages with them here on their Here's To You & I album tour.
That was after he recuperated from a spinal operation - his six week hiatus was his longest period between shows since he started touring at 17.
For trivia buffs Edinburgh soccer star Adam Eckersley was also out of action at about the same time after knee surgery.