At the fall of the leaf…

Although I hoped it would never end, Sydney has bid adieu to another blessed summer. Fare-thee-well sand between my mangled toes, exposed bra straps and ever faithful denim cut-off short shorts, I’ll see you towards the end of 2010.

Autumn is here and although my heart breaks to say goodbye to bright blue skies and cotton candy clouds, I’m reluctantly welcoming the golden crunch of fallen leaves beneath my cowboy boots, the opportunity to show off my ever expanding collection of vintage scarves and the resurrection of black opaque tights to go with every single ensemble. I guess you could say I’m not a fan of cooler weather. But there is a certain poetry to the harvest season, and an undeniable melancholic shift that makes me think there’s no better time to indulge in the more pensive side of alt-country music.

With seasonal change in mind, here’s a list of up-and-coming artists whose songs of wilted desire and wistful yearning make me think it’s not so bad that the weather has started to shift.

Johnny Took

Armed with a handful of bedroom demos, Johnny Took wandered into FBi radio in January and quietly stole the space in my heart usually reserved small puppies and porcelain trinkets. The 20-year-old Sydneysider writes pretty folk melodies with a soft melancholy beyond his years. His demo ‘Honey I Get Bored’ echoes the influences of writers like Ryan Adams and Jeff Tweedy, which is an instant win in my book. You can check out his bedroom recordings here.


Golden-haired, freckle faced Lissie has a voice that stops time. It’s sweet and sad and thoughtful all at once but also disarmingly strong. It’s a welcome relief from the baby-voiced folk that seems to be saturating the Australian scene at the moment. I first heard the LA based songstress while blog-trawling in January as part of my research for In The Pines. I later found out she’s a mate of an old friend, Andy Clockwise (see below) who has been making music in the City of Angels since relocating from Sydney about two years ago. It’s a small world and I’m glad Lissie is a little closer than I thought.

Lissie – Everywhere I Go

Andy Clockwise

It’s hard to pin this Aussie ex-pat living the dream in LA to any particular genre, especially anything remotely related to alt-country music. The multi-instrumentalist is probably best defined as an eclectic eccentric who flirts with a range of genres in search of the perfect pop song. But he does wear the pensive folk troubadour hat comfortably for his latest single ‘Remember Love’. References to whiskey and gin? Check. Forlorn harmonica instrumental? Check. Token beard for the video? Check. Nice one, Andy.

Sarah Jaffe

This lovely Austin native has just wrapped a highly successful tour of the U.S. with Midlake, who have been on the road spruiking their critically acclaimed third album The Courage of Others. Her support slot has received rave reviews all over the web and looking at this video it’s easy to see why. So pretty, so melancholy, so in-the-moment. Watch this space.

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