Blues and Roots Work of the Year - 2012

Title: Biding My Time
Artist: Busby Marou
Writers: Thomas Busby / Jeremy Marou
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd

From humble beginnings on the banks of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, folk-inspired pop outfit Busby Marou are making a serious impact on the Australian music scene. Jeremy Marou, a proud Torres Strait Islander, is a rare and unique musical talent. He is skilled with almost instrument he touches, including guitar, ukulele, bass, drums and piano. Jeremy's natural talent, combined with Thomas Busby's distinctly Australian storytelling techniques, has created a special songwriting partnership.

The duo have come a long way since recording their debut EP, The Blue Road, with Australian singer-songwriter Pete Murray and producer Anthony Lycenko in late 2007. In 2010 Busby Marou won the Deadly Award for 'Most Promising New Talent in Music' and a Q Song Award for their work "Paint My Cup." Then, in late 2010 the boys were invited to feature alongside Australia and New Zealand's most successful male artists on He Will Have His Way – Finn Brothers Tribute Album. The album went Gold within a month of release and Busby Marou's version of the Crowded House classic "Better Be Home Soon" was played on high rotation on radio playlists across Australia and New Zealand.

Busby Marou was the very first act signed to Warner Music Australia's indie imprint, Footstomp Records. Their 2011 debut self-titled album reached number 24 on the ARIA album chart and produced the emotive single "Biding My Time".

The debut is currently being played on radio and television playlists across Australia, including rotation on triple j, ABC, 98.9FM, Video Hits and the Country Music Channel.

Title: Compass
Artist: Saltwater Band
Writers: Charlie Yunupingu / David Yunupingu
Publishers: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd obo SFM Publishing

Saltwater Band consists of eight musicians from remote Elcho Island (found off the coast of North-East Arnhem Land). The group’s previous two albums, Gapu Damurrun and Djarridjarri/Blue Flag, showcase two styles of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music. The unique combination of Manuel Nulupani Dhurrkay’s catchy pop arrangements and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s traditional style has built a strong following in Northern Australia, where the band has sold more than 30,000 copies of their first two albums. Thanks to an ARIA Award nomination for Best World Music (2004), multiple Indigenous Music Awards, two Deadly Awards for Best Album (2004) and Best Band (2009), along with a knockout performance at the 2009 Byron Bay Blues Festival, Saltwater Band has begun to attract the attention of the mainstream market.

Malk is the Saltwater Band’s third album in 15 years. Recorded prior to Gurrumul’s solo success, Malk is a collection of songs with a unique sound which combines the band’s first two recordings. It also includes a number of songs found on Gurrumul’s debut album, produced in a different way with a more upbeat mood. Co-produced by Michael Hohnen and Craig Pilkington and recorded in Melbourne during the 2006 Commonwealth Games, this is essentially an islander reggae album, with a collection of songs that showcase a strong fusion of modern music with the spirit of the Gumatj people, language and culture.

Title: Falling
Artist: The Waifs
Writers: Josh Cunningham / Donna Simpson / Vikki Thorn
Publisher: Native Tongue Music Publishing Pty Ltd

With six studio albums, two live albums, multiple ARIA Awards, countless festival appearances and over half a million albums sold locally, The Waifs is one of Australia’s most successful groups.

The Waifs forged their way on the Australian live circuit for most the 1990s, releasing albums such as their self-titled debut in 1996 and Shelter Me in 1998, with their work mostly being available at their shows. The third album, Sink or Swim in 2000, raised their profile again and allowed the band to perform in Canada and the United States, attracting rave reviews in the process.

The biggest turning point came with the EP London Still (2002), which gave the band its first Australian hit. The Lighthouse EP followed in 2003, as did the album Up All Night, which earned The Waifs four ARIA awards. That same year he group toured Australia with Bob Dylan, who subsequently invited them to join him on his North American tour. Further hits, such as “Bridal Train” and “Stay” have followed, along with live albums, more awards and ecstatic reviews for their live performances.

The latest album Temptation is the follow up to 2006’s Sun Dirt Water, which reached number two on the ARIA album charts. In recent years, a touring career has played second fiddle to motherhood, marriage and studies for the band members. As a result Temptation presents a rich tapestry of melancholy parental laments, gospel pleas, “sweet as summer” love ditties and odes to addiction and marriage. The album is glazed with the unmistakable harmonies of Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn, driven by Josh Cunningham on all things stringed, along with long-time rhythm section, musical partners Dave Macdonald (drums) and Ben Franz (bass). “Falling” was the first single from the album.

Title: (Oh Well) That's What You Get (Falling In Love With A Cowboy)
Artist: Lanie Lane
Writer: Lanie Lane
Publishers: Ivy League Music administered by Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Lanie Lane’s debut album To The Horses firmly establishes her as one of the most distinctive voices and charming characters in Australian music.  Lanie’s album, 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 with radio listeners, the album took the gong for the 2011 Record of the Year at the FBi Radio SMAC Awards.

Upon the release of To The Horses, Lanie began her first Australian headline tour, selling out every venue. In  2011 she won a slot on the Sydney Big Day Out line-up thanks to triple j’s Unearthed competition.  Lanie has also performed sold-out shows at the Sydney Festival and Adelaide Fringe, packed out Splendour in the Grass 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”, Lanie record a couple of tracks with the one and only Jack White 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, Lanie took part in triple j’s Nick Cave tribute tour, ‘Straight to You, and will hit the road again in May 2012 in support of her latest single, “Bang Bang”.

Of her process of writing songs and recording, Lanie said: “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.

The other day I wrote “(Oh Well) That’s What You Get (Falling In Love With A Cowboy)” because apparently I said that in my sleep. Of course I had to write a song about that. There is so much to write about – it’s never ending.”

Title: What Do I Do
Artist: Lanie Lane
Writer: Lanie Lane
Publishers: Ivy League Music administered by Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Lane’s debut single “What Do I Do” is an ode to the frustrations of the daily grind, and the necessary evils of dead end jobs supporting loftier ambitions. It arrives on the back of a sack of coins used as percussion and a double bass line that supports herspellbinding voice. It’s a track that is part chant, part stomp, part stripped-back anthem.