Tag Archives: Kev Carmody

If You Ever Get Famous (and other Saturday sounds)

Well in my neck of the woods, the sun is smiling down, the birds are still are singing and there is not a breath of the dreaded August westerley. have been having a ball at The Ekka the last two days… Last night I rode the chairlift for what may be one of the last times in my life, as I hear that it will not feature as part of the new revamped Ekka in 2010. And as my legs dangled over the wild lights of Sideshow Alley, the years stripped off me. The boy (which is never too far from the surface), wide eyed and aching to shove ping-pong balls down the mouth of a clown and ride the ferris wheel. Am already looking forward to heading back for our next poetry show on Sunday… yesterday’s crowd really got into it.

But back to the Saturday sounds I promised… here’s a few songs that are sure to help those weekend eyes open.

 

thedukeandtheking

The Duke and the KingIf You Ever Get Famous

Simone Felice, may be the best songwriter you’ve never heard of. This is the first song from his latest project The Duke and the King (Mark Twain would be proud), who have just released their debut, ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’. He has also written several books, including the revolutionary prose/poetry of Goodbye Amelia, which is well worth checking out.

 

hawk-and-a-hacksaw

A Hawk and a HacksawHousle

A Hawk and a Hacksaw take us on a journey through the cobbled streets of Prague. With an orchestra of instruments including oud, accordion, Turkish cumbus and jaw harp, they harness the gypsy melodies and transform them into their own musical story.

 

tex_perkins

Tex Perkins/Kev CarmodyDarkside

These lyrics kick hard and Tex delivers them with force. This was a highlight for me from last weekends ‘Cannot Buy My Soul concert. As Paul Kelly says in this clip… this is a hymn that needs to be heard.

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Some images may offend, others may mend – A Night With Kev Carmody

Last night, sitting on the grass, one among the thousands who had gathered, the winter sky revealing its stars, my eyes and heart welled up. We gathered, as people have done on this land for millenia, to celebrate the power of the word. In the not too distant (and very bleak) past, this would have been considered an illegal gathering, but last night, we sat in harmony, celebrating the songs and stories of one of our finest singer/songwriter/poets, Kev Carmody.

 

Kev Carmody

 

The list of artists who took to the stage to breathe new life into these songs, was a veritable who’s who of Australian rock. There were many highlights…

Tex Perkins stripping back, the bluntly beautiful Darkside (from the album Bloodlines), performing it as a menacing spoken word piece.

Glenn Richards (Augie March), Missy Higgins & Paul Kelly’s version of Droving Woman (from the album Eulogy). With Kelly delivering lines like, some dogs grow too old for change, it seemed the song was written for him.

The visceral rock of The Drones took River of Tears (from the album Eulogy) to a whole new place; Gareth Liddiard wailing, two hundred years in the river of fear / they gunned him down. You could see on Kev’s face when he walked out on stage after it, that he was blown away by the power they mustered.

Steve Kilbey’s version of Images of London (from the album Images and Illusions) was exquisite. Kev recorded this song in Steve’s old Rozelle studio in 1995, so it was great to hear Steve put his stamp on it. Here’s a great link to Steve talking about and perfoming the song

And if there was one defining moment, it was Kev himself taking centre stage to perform Cannot Buy My Soul.

As the last notes of From Little Things, Big Things Grow drifted off into the night sky, we stood as one, brought together by stories. Stories that will remain with me for as long as I draw breath.

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Sonics for Saturday

Looks like another day of exquisite winter sunshine. I am heading off to the Kev Carmody tribute – Cannot Buy My Soul this afternoon. Am sure this is going to be a very special gig. My head has been buzzing with alot of great music lately… here’s a few songs that have been rotating in the cavity of my skull.

 

Steve Kilbey & Martin KennedyMaybe Soon

This is from their debut album, Unseen Music Unheard Words. Lush and dripping with Kilbey’s trademark vocals. Can’t wait to see Steve perform Images of London at the Kev tribute this afternoon.

 

Decoder RingBeat the Twilight

Opening track from their latest instrumental double CD – They Blind The Stars And The Wild Team… a sonic journey that has been blowing my mind.

 

Muddy WatersMannish Boy

If there is a sexier song than this, I need to know about it. Muddy’s son, Mud Morganfield was in town last weekend as part of the Fortitude Valley Blues Festival.  Listen to this band wail …

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Cannot Buy My Soul

KevCarmody

 

I was thrilled when I heard earlier in the year that the Cannot Buy My Soul tribute to Kev Carmody was coming to QLD as part of QMF. The concert features performances from a diverse range of Australian singer/songwriter/musicians, including Paul Kelly, The Herd, Tex Perkins, The Drones, Steve Kilbey, Claire Bowditch, Archie Roach and many others. Since the release of his debut album Pillars of Society in 1989, Carmody has been one of our leading indigenous voices, embracing a range of styles from gospel to reggae and drawing comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan along the way for his from-the-gut protest songs.

Carmody is a unique Australian talent, so if you have the chance to see this show… do it.

If not check out QMF’s Cannot Buy My Soul page and click on the artist bios to watch some live video from previous concerts.

And while you are at it, check out this live version of Thou Shalt Not Steal with John Butler at the Make Poverty History Concert.

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Poetry and the Song Lyric

My recent post about The Wrestler featuring Springsteen’s lyrics, the interview with Max Ryan – Chains of Flashing Images and my ticket to tomorrow night’s Neil Young Concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre have got me thinking about song lyrics as poetry.

I like many others feel that songs are the first exposure we get to the use of poetic language, but take the lyric from many of the songs that you love and slap them on a page sans the music and they are often found wanting. Some even develop a contrivedness and lose the tone with which they are delivered by the author. In short, without the music, most lyrics lose their explosive nature.

That said, there are exceptions to the rule. Bob Dylan is the obvious example. Take the opening lyrics to Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands:

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Oh, who among them do they think could bury you?
With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who among them do they think could carry you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Here, the imagery and power of the words remain true to the authors vision. None of the magic is lost.

Other songwriters who have been called poets include Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young & Tom Petty. All rightlfully so. I would certainly love to lay claim to any of these lines:

Even before my fathers fathers
They called us all rebels
Burned our cornfields
And left our cities leveled
I can still see the eyes
Of those blue bellied devils
When Im walking round tonight
Through the concrete and metal

(Tom Petty, Rebels)

The ragamuffin gunner is returnin’ home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
He must be from the fort he hears the high school girls say
His countryside’s burnin’ with wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide
The hit and run, plead sanctuary, `neath a holy stone they hide
They’re breakin’ beams and crosses with a spastic’s reelin’ perfection
nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin’ immaculate conception
And everybody’s wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said “Hey, gunner man, that’s quicksand, that’s quicksand that ain’t mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?”

(Bruce Springsteen, Lost in the Flood)

And then there are the many Australian artists including Archie Roach, Kev Carmody, Nick Cave, Steve Kilbey and David McComb to whom the label poet has been assigned.

The lyrics to Wide Open Road lose none of the fire and yearning with which McComb delivers them:

I lost track of my friends, I lost my kin
I cut them off as limbs
I drove out over the flatlands
hunting down you and him

The sky was big and empty
My chest filled to explode
I yelled my insides out at the sun
At the wide open road

(The Triffids, Wide Open Road)

And Kilbey’s opening lines from Aura continue to damn and probe:

We all came back from the war
I wish somebody would tell me the score

(The Church, Aura)

So just what is it that elevates a lyric to poetry?

For me a lyric establishes itself as a poem when the words on the page create their own music. When they have the intensity and distance that Wordsworth so beautifully described as ’emotion recollected in tranquility’. When they make my head spin and my body sigh.

So what are some of your favourite lyrics? What makes a lyric really sing?
Love to hear from you…

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