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Blues & ROots Work of the Year

Black Dog Blues

ARTIST
Russell Morris

WRITERS
James Keays
Russell Morris

The Devil’s Sake

ARTIST
Lanie Lane

WRITER
Lanie Lane

PUBLISHER
Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Like Me Meaner

ARTIST
Lanie Lane

WRITER
Lanie Lane

PUBLISHER
Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Longtime

ARTIST
Ash Grunwald

WRITERS
Ash Grunwald
Colin O’Reilly

PUBLISHER
Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Russell Morris
Title: Black Dog Blues
Artist: Russell Morris
Writers: James Keays / Russell Morris

Russell Morris

After 45 years in the music business, ARIA Hall of Fame Inductee and Australian music icon Russell Morris has scored his first ever Top 10 album with Sharkmouth.

One of Australia's most enduring singers, Morris was a major pop star in the late 60s with hits like 'The Real Thing', 'Part Three into Paper Walls' and 'Wings of an Eagle'. He enjoyed success both in Australia and overseas, primarily in the US and UK and during his solo career he played with the Russell Morris Band and Russell Morris & the Rubes.  In the nineties he recorded solo album A Thousand Suns and toured extensively with fellow 60s heroes Ronnie Burns and Daryl Cotton performing old and new songs. In 2000 his early hits 'The Real Thing' and 'Wings of an Eagle' rediscovered popular appeal when they were featured on Australian movie The Dish.

Morris' Sharkmouth is a blues album telling the stories of Australia's notorious and colourful characters of the 1920s and 30s. Characters like Melbourne gangster Squizzy Taylor and Sydney's Shark Jaws, legends like Phar Lap, Les Darcy and Sydney's famous graffiti artist Mr. Eternity. As of April 2013, Sharkmouth sat at Number 6 on the ARIA Album Chart, sharing the Top 10 with Michael Buble, Bruno Marks, Pink and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, all artists at least 30-years younger than the Australian rock star.

As producer (and bass player), Mitch Cairns, explains: “To our knowledge, most 'Australiana' characters have been portrayed in a traditional colonial folk sense, so we wanted to find a way to deliver the stories in a more mainstream vein whilst still placing them in a 'vintage era' - A blues style seemed to be the perfect fit!!' We tried to keep the vibe of the album raw and honest with lots of textural instruments and sounds.  But above all, it had to be simple and spacious. We are also very honoured to have some very special guests on the album, including Troy Cassar-Daley, Mark Lizotte, Chris Wilson and Renee Geyer.”

www.sharkmouthmusic.com

James Keays

James Keays (Jim Keays)

Former Masters Apprentices' frontman Jim Keays has been labelled a 'national treasure'. Having endured some significant trials and tribulations of late, no-one expected a comeback album, let alone one that has already seen fans and critics alike salivating over the vitality and panache of its contents. Initially conceived as a 'garage-punk' album, Dirty Dirty ended up as, simply, a great rock album that harks back to the early day of the Masters Apprentices and beyond...

Keays joined instrumental band The Mustangs in the mid sixties. The band soon morphed into the Masters Apprentices when they started playing the blues, growing their hair long and writing their own material; they became a raw, energetic rhythm & blues band that captured fans within months.

Jim was out front as vocalist and singing their first single 'Undecided/Wars or Hands of Time', an exciting young and fresh piece of power pop, unlike anything ever heard in Australia before. This was followed by a long string of hits right throughout the 60s and into the early 70s.

The Masters Apprentices were an original band in every sense - sounding Australian rather than English or American - and have gone down in Australian music as 'Legends', (ARIA Award 1998). The band was voted 'Most Popular Band' three years in a row; caused riots and drew crowds that outdid even the Beatles; created styles in music and fashion alike that many groups copied; and ended up in England recording two classic albums at the legendary Abbey Road studios. Their records sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and the band is still held in high regard in countries such as Germany, France and England where bootleg CD versions still command big dollars on the collectors market.   

Jim's solo career commenced almost immediately when the Masters Apprentices disbanded. He penned a concept album entitled The Boy From the Stars which was accepted well by both critics and the public. He has since crossed over into production, management, journalism and even TV hosting, but always writing and recording songs and recording. He released Red On The Meter in the early 80s and Pressure Makes Diamonds in the 90s.

Now at an age where many of his contemporaries are content to rest on 'best of' albums and acoustic/lounge tribute shows, Jim Keays has just launched a new solo album of garage-punk psychedelic foot stompers entitled Dirty Dirty that has astonished the music press, garnering glowing reviews and re-introduced one of Australian rock'n'roll's bad boys of the 1960s to new generations of rock fans.

www.jimkeays.com

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Title: The Devil’s Sake
Artist: Lanie Lane
Writer: Lanie Lane
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd
Lanie Lane
Title: Like Me Meaner
Artist: Lanie Lane
Writer: Lanie Lane
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Lanie Lane

Lanie Lane's debut album To The Horses firmly established her one of the most distinctive voices and charming characters in Australian music. Lane's collection of 11 songs, which debuted at Number 12 on the ARIA chart, renders a heady mix of early rock'n'roll, blues, and rockabilly, and is the culmination of many years of writing and touring.  A favourite in the hearts of radio listeners, the album took the gong for 2011 for Record of the Year at the FBi Radio SMAC Awards.

Upon release of To The Horses, Lane set out on her first Australian headline tour, selling out every venue, and at the beginning of 2011, won a slot on the Sydney Big Day Out line-up thanks to triple J's Unearthed competition. Lane has performed sold-out shows at the Sydney Festival and Adelaide Fringe, to a packed Splendour in the Grass stage and toured with the likes of Justin Townes Earle, Clare Bowditch and Fitz and the Tantrums.

As well as garnering attention as the voice accompanying Tim Rogers on You Am I's single 'Trigger Finger', Lane accepted an invitation from the one-and only Jack White to record a couple of tracks in his Nashville studio. The songs were subsequently released on White's own Third Man Records on 7' vinyl as part of the acclaimed Blue Series.

In November 2011 Lane took part in Triple J's Nick Cave tribute tour, 'Straight to You' and hit the road again in May 2012 in support of her single 'Bang Bang'. She also performed at Splendour in the Grass, and took to the stage alongside Jack White at his Australian solo shows in 2012. 

To top off 2012, Lane won The Age EG Award for Best Female Artist and the album To The Horses won the AIR Award for Best Independent Blues and Roots Album. In May 2013, the album achieved gold sales in Australia.

Of her process of recording and song writing she says: “I feel it's so important to capture the song at THAT moment. I owe it to the song. And if that's when it has chosen to come out, then come out it must. I get inspired by the most unexpected things… you can never know when inspiration will hit, and it's an interesting and distinctive feeling when it does. You just know. And all that you can do at that moment is to get out the guitar, pen and paper and start singing.”

She describes her track 'The Devil's Sake' as basically about going to a dive bar to drink and dance.

'Like Me Meaner' picks up where her debut single 'What Do I Do' left off, and offers up a tale of barely suppressed desire set against a soundtrack of swinging drums and Australian swamp guitar, with a tip of a hat to the original Hoochie Coochie Man, Mr. Muddy Waters in the chorus. Recorded in one take on a sweltering night in the middle of the city of Sydney, it captures the feeling of the hottest night of the year in a bottle.

lanielane.net

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Ash Grunwald
Winner
Title: Longtime
Artist: Ash Grunwald
Writers: Ash Grunwald /
Colin O’Reilly
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Ash Grunwald

Ash Grunwald's first album Introducing Ash Grunwald, leans heavily on traditional blues but it was his second album I Don't Believe released in 2004, that would change his state of play. It was his first album – of many to come – to graft technology onto the deeply rooted foliage of the Delta swamp.​

On the back of his increasingly explosive and unique shows, he released a searing live album Live At The Corner. His next studio album in 2007, Give Signs, was even more adventurous, and he took his energetic live show to venues such as London's renowned The Borderline and Shepherds Bush Empire, and opened for acts as diverse a James Brown, Bo Diddley, Keith Urban, Jack Johnson, Missy Higgins & Pete Murray.

In 2008, after collaborating at a song writing workshop with producer Countbounce (Urthboy, TZU), he and Grunwald teamed up to deliver Fish Out Of Water an album of thumping beats and grooves mixed in with blues jams.

Blistering live sets on the festival circuit throughout Australia, Japan, Canada, America, Europe and the UK, have had critics and fans raving about his unique blend of roots, blues, beats and a whole lotta groove for more than a decade. Nominated five times for Australia's ARIA Awards, and a swag of award wins including MBAS Blues Performer of the Year 2003 and the AIR Best Independent Blues and Roots Album, and in 2010 taking out a prestigious APRA songwriting award for Blues & Roots Song of the Year.​

His album of 2010, Hot Mama Vibes, was nominated for Best Blues & Roots album by both ARIA and AIR, and after a sold out national Australian tour, he capped off 2010 supporting Jack Johnson's Australian tour.  In the two years since Hot Mama Vibes, Ash has made an exodus from the cold waters of Victoria to the sunnier shores of Northern NSW, he's taken on NZ for the first time playing at Kaikoura Roots & WOMAD NZ, made his return to WOMADelaide, been on sold out tours in Canada (soon to return) and played a myriad of homeland festivals for good measure.​

His greatest achievement though has been the creation of Trouble's Door, an album that found life in the fiery breath of injustice; the frustration of severe political and environmental mismanagement “It's some of my most personal songwriting,' Ash confesses. 'I had just done a benefit gig to stop coal seam gas mining.  There were other issues going on at the time, you can take your pick really, and it occurred to me that our system just doesn't work.  We are experiencing the result of rampant unchecked capitalism.”

The music traverses many a tale as well; the blues propelled by driving dancefloor rhythms, buoyed by hip hop beats and slammed by the dubstep crunch. Ten years since the release of that first blues record and hundreds of thousands of arses shaken later, Ash continues to rise above.

Previous APRA Music Award

  • 2010 Blues & Roots Work of the Year Breakout - Ash Grunwald/Pip Norman

www.ashgrunwald.com

Colin O'Reilly

Colin O’Reilly (aka Fingers Malone aka Vinnie laduce)

From the bass heavy clubs of East London to afternoon martinis on a Byron Bay beach, inter-continental producer, multi-instrumentalist, film maker and unique performer, fingers malone, burns a double ended candle, and creates music that simultaneously oozes the feeling of late heady nights and lazy long afternoons.

Dividing his time between London and the quiet village of Fingal Head, Australia, recent live shows have been flooring audiences across the globe as he switches between casio keyboards, live mpc playing and booty shaking bass lines, all with his rap singing over the top. The sound of the ensemble could best be described as a cinematic mix of hip-hop, jazz, dub and dance. His debut album Push is a mixture of distorted drum machines, swirling synthesizers and old school keyboards that never loses sight of the elements of good songwriting.

As a producer, his work with Ash Grunwald for his album Trouble's Door is rocking the airwaves of Triple J in Australia on high rotation in the form of the first single 'Longtime'. Fingers Malone also plays drums/mpc for Ash's live show, as well as for Gold Coast band Laneway.

thefingersmaloneensemble.wordpress.com/tigervzshark

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Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes
Title: Love Letter
Artist: Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes
Writers: Clairy Browne* / Darcy McNulty* / Steven Schram
Publisher: Native Tongue Music Publishing*

Clairy Browne & Darcy McNulty

Over the past three years the arresting head chanteuse in charge of nine-piece Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes has transcended humble origins from playing a residency at a local club in Melbourne, to joining an international tour with Oz stadium rockers the Cat Empire, to recently signing with Vanguard Records and headlining their own US tour.

The Clairy Browne experience is like a vivid flashback to the sixties, one that transports you straight onto the set of Shindig but with a darker undercurrent, with shades of David Lynch or Federico Fellini piercing through.

Their debut album Baby Caught the Bus produced by the award winning Steve Schram (Public Enemy, Cat Empire) drips with heart-wrenching doo-wop, noir theatrics, party attitude and tough-as-nails soul, the songs on the album have drawn favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as Sharon Jones, Tina Turner and Bettye LaVette.

That commitment to raw emotion pays off, whether on the luridly seductive 'Yellow Bird', the torchy, angst-fueled 'Vicious Cycle' a homage to the fallen icons of classic soul, the drunken party clap-a-long 'Frankie', the vengefully dramatic 'She Plays Up To You', the title track 'Baby Caught The Bus', with its fetching ah-OOH vocals and rapid-fire choreography, or 'Love Letter' inspired by the film The Piano Teacher, with its mix of sensuality and menace.

McNulty's baritone saxophone serves as the perfect musical counterpart to Browne's purring and wailing with his alternately smoky and pyrotechnic sound, he brings chops that have been honed from doing time in Melbourne's underground jazz scene over many years.

2013 has already been a mammoth year for the band, following their prodigious success in the States last year – their debut album Baby Caught the Bus reached 66 on US iTunes charts and the single 'Love Letter' featured in a hugely popular Heineken ad. The band also signed to the prestigious US label, Vanguard in February and set off on a twenty-six stop North American tour, with appearances on the Carson Daly Show, AXS TV and Balcony TV.   

clairybrowne.com

Steven Schram

Steven Schram

'Inimitable' has been used to describe Steven Schram's bold style of music production. An ardent believer in performance and imperfection, avoiding the sterile end result of over refinement, Steven prefers to place his faith in the artists' abilities and his own engineering skill and forethought rather than heavily rely on manipulation by modern recording technologies.

A fearless approach to production and mixing and an unmistakable sonic character has yielded multiple ARIA nominations, top 10 albums, triple j hottest 100 entries and collaborations with artists such as Little Red, Little Birdy, Cat Empire, Eagle and the Worm, Ground Components, Clairy Brown & The Bangin' Rackettes amongst many others.

His experience as a radio producer and live broadcast engineer was honed over several years working at ABC radio and for triple j's Live At The Wireless series. In 2002, The Waifs LP Up All Night, for which Steven was an engineer, notched up a total of 4 ARIA wins, and nominated for 7 awards. His reputation and far ranging experience as a live broadcast engineer saw him mix and engineer live to air and DVD productions for Wolfmother, The Casanovas, John Butler Trio, Silverchair and many more.

Steven made it into triple j's Hottest 100 for 2008 at Number 47 with Little Red's 'Coca Cola' but it was Little Birdy's album Confetti which was an ARIA top 10 album and certified Gold, that brought in 2 further ARIA Award nominations for Engineer of the Year and best Adult Contemporary Album in 2009.

As Steven moved further towards the role of a producer, his work with The Cat Empire on their album Cinema scored yet another ARIA nomination and hit Number 3 on the ARIA charts. Since then Steven has consistently worked with on a number of highly acclaimed artists including Custom Kings, Eagle and The Worm (Good Times), Bonjah (Go Go Chaos), The Vasco Era (The Vasco Era), Clairy Brown & The Bangin' Rackettes (Baby Caught The Bus) and most recently, produced, recorded, mixed and co-wrote San Cisco's debut LP which scored a Number 1 single on the AIR charts, Number 7 in triple j's Hottest 100 for 2011 and achieved certified Gold status.

www.stevenschram.com

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