Yesterday on the walk home from the office, my office, which bears an uncanny resemblance to The Office, I had the iPod blaring and not a care in the world. So carefree was I that at some point on the homeward trail I lost all sense of time and place and found myself belting Bruce Springsteen’s Prove It All Night as I powered up the hill toward Erskineville Road, proving nothing really except that I can walk and sing simultaneously. In an ever-so-slight embarrassment, some guy at the lights made some comment I couldn’t quite catch and I quickly realised that I’d been putting on an impromptu neighbourhood concert. Prove It All Night? Really? I should have known that one would get out of hand. Went home pretty red-faced and forgot about it. Until the lights guy revealed himself today at work.
Co-worker: “You know Emma, that was some pretty good singing on the street yesterday…”
Me: “Oh dear…” (Note to self: when you think you might be singing in public without realising and in the presence of co-workers, try to choose something less primal)
Baby, tie your hair back in a long white bow /Meet me in the fields out behind the dynamo
I have theory about singing and fucking but I’m not going to write it here. It’s something I only share with other singers. Email me if you really want to know. I might tell you. But I probably won’t. And that ends this week’s confession. Now, to this week’s radio program.
In The Pines tonight was a much more wholesome affair than my opening paragraphs might suggest. I was joined in the studio by Adam Gibson from Sydney band, The Aerial Maps. The band blends indie folk instrumentation with spoken word poetry. It’s a unique sound that recalls themes of classic Australian bands like The Triffids and Weddings Parties Anything, except that the extended use of poetry lends the songs a more narrative impulse. If you caught the interview and you liked it, be sure to catch The Aerial Maps this Saturday night at The Basement in Circular Quay for the Popboomerang Records label night. They will be playing alongside The Bon Scotts, Russell Crawford and more.
ALSO ON TONIGHT’S PINES
I resisted the urge to play two tracks from the new Emmylou Harris album and instead opted to go with the title track ‘Hard Bargain’, which was penned by the criminally under-rated Ron Sexsmith and originally released on his 2004 album Retriever. Once again, Harris has proved herself to be a masterful interpreter of song, bringing her trademark ache and subtle genius to every phrase. If you are wondering what I’m getting at here, get the album and listen closely for the variations on the way ‘hard bargain’ is sung and you’re more than half way there. Because it’s so new, the song isn’t on youtube for me to share, so I guess the blog is going to for the two-song option tonight.
Here is Hard Bargain performed at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last week:
And here is ‘Darling Kate’, the beautiful tribute Emmylou penned in honour of her friend and collaborator Kate McGarrigle, which also features on the album:
After seeing Emmylou Harris in Sydney earlier this year at the State Theatre and reviewing the show for FBi, I feel like I might have used up all the adjectives I could possibly adorn her with so I will restrain myself from writing anymore here. At least for this week. If you caught those January shows and you want to relive it, or if you’re the self-punishing ‘what have I missed?!’ kind, the review is on The Flog.
Other highlights from tonight’s show included new music from Grey Reverend (Brooklyn), Anabelle Kay (Oklahoma via the Central Coast!) and Alela Diane & Wild Divine (Portland).
And as promised last week, we heard more from two of this year’s stand-out releases, Steve Earle’s I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive and Bill Callahan’s Apocalypse.
Last but not least, since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I managed to sneak in the Paul Kelly classic ‘When I First Met Your Ma’ to close the show:
It worked on two equally pleasing levels for me: perfectly timed cheesy gesture and also, PK happens to be my Ma’s favourite singer. But more on that later. I hope you’re getting your parental music this Hallmark holiday.