Harts rocks


I’ve heard a song I really liked on triple j in the last couple of weeks. It’s bluesy, cool, and with some rockin’ guitar. The group is called Harts, and this is the song:

Turns out it’s not a group at all. It’s a guy, and he plays, records, and mixes his songs all by himself in his bedroom in Melbourne. I think he rocks. He incorporates a lot of the things I like most about music: blues, funk, falsetto singing, bass, and guitar riffery. Check this out:

And he likes a Hendrix cover. Amazing.

I’m off to buy his album.

Bob Dylan at the State Theatre of New South Wales


Tonight was my seventh time seeing Bob Dylan play live. I continued my lucky streak of never seeing Bob on a really bad night.

The man is a legend. He’s 73 years old, still writing great albums, and is reinventing old songs all the time.

Anyone hoping for greatest hits would be disappointed. He played for over 2 hours but until the encore produced only 3 songs written before 1997 (“She Belongs To Me”, “Tangled Up In Blue”, and “Simple Twist of Fate”). That’s OK, I’ve seen plenty of the classics before.

Songs like “Things Have Changed”, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”, and “Love Sick” pack a lot of punch with me. I was amazed that even recent songs like “Duquesne Whistle” have already been reworked into nearly unrecognizable versions.

The band is perfect. There are, as always, no frills. It’s an otherworldly combination of loose and laser-sharp, of legendary music and classics that are only a year old. It’s every bit of blues, jazz, rock, country, and folk Americana music on one stage.

Highlights? Bob playing at a grand piano instead of the little keyboard he’s used in the past, and “High Water (For Charley Patton)”. The full setlist is here.

Thanks Bob.

First Aid Kit cover Jack White

Triple j‘s Like a Version is always a must-listen on my way into work on a Friday morning. Today’s was an excellent amalgam of two of my favourite acts: First Aid Kit covering Jack White’s “Love Interruption”.

If you’re a Tenacious D fan, watch from the start (a bit of a Jack Black/Jack White contrast). Otherwise, the serious stuff starts from about 1:00.

You can see their harmonious original song, “My Silver Lining”, here.

Dave Hole at the Bridge Hotel

I spent Halloween evening at the Bridge Hotel in Rozelle, Sydney, listening to the blues. This should come as a surprise to no one.

The Bridge is a no-frills place. It’s not sawdust-on-the-floors, but it’s not too far beyond that either. It’s a simple pub on one side and a small room with tables and a stage for music events on the other. The crowd the other night was, in the words of one of the performer, “small but select”. I and the two friends I went with would agree.

The first act was Canadian Charlie A’Court. I didn’t know until I looked him up, just before going into the room, that he’s actually a Nova Scotian like me. From Truro, in fact, so not far at all from where I grew up. Charlie’s got a powerful voice and plays a good acoustic guitar. He sounded great, and performed a good mix of blues, soft folk, and soul tunes.


The main event was Dave Hole, an Australian slide guitarist I’ve been keen to see since I heard him on an Alligator blues collection I picked up in the early ’90s. He hasn’t toured much in recent years, and this mini-tour around Oz is an acoustic one. He came on stage with a Dobro steel guitar; he was later joined by a drummer on snare and high hat, and a bass player, so not the stack of Marshalls he admitted he usually uses.

But no matter what sort of guitar he has in his hands, Dave Hole can play a slide guitar. He coaxes all those emotive slide sounds from his instrument, the wails and shouts, the glissandos of mourning.

And Dave plays from his guts. There’s no artifice about his performance. His singing isn’t polished. He makes an effort, and grimaces and gestures and shouts, but not in a put-on way. He just has the air of someone who’s self-taught, who loves the old roadhouse blues tunes, and who loves playing them.

By the end of the night it was perhaps getting to be a bit too much of the same sliding trills, over and over, for me. But then he ended with his version of “Purple Haze” and left me with a smile. Thanks Dave.

Remembering Lou Reed


Lou Reed, member of The Velvet Underground, solo musician, and New Yorker, died earlier today. It’s been very big news – and rightly so – so if you want to review the man’s huge contribution to the rock music scene since the late ’60s you can easily find those sort of articles on the ‘net, written by bigger fans than me. You could do worse than this one.

My personal reminisces of Lou always come down to two memories:

1. His performance of Bob Dylan’s “Foot of Pride” at the Dylan 30th anniversary concert in 1992. The song sounds like it was written for Lou, which is maybe why Bob didn’t include it on Infidels.

2. His hilarious views on his life in New York, from ad-libbed film Blue In The Face.


Amongst all the other things I was doing yesterday – calling solicitors and feeding the homeless – I managed to snag a fan club presales ticket to the Sydney show of the massive Nine Inch Nails/Queens of the Stone Age tour next year. It sounds like I was pretty lucky to do so, though there’s at least one other promoter presale, and then the regular sale.

Get in, rock fans.