Making music can sometimes feel like you’re drifting on the ocean, waiting for inspiration to appear like shore on the horizon. For Australian singer-songwriter Andrew Swift, the sea was the Melbourne music scene. Following the release of his acclaimed 2015 debut, Sound the Alarm, he was adrift in the sprawling waves. But coastline appeared in th e form of country and Americana music. These timeless genres reinvigorated his songwriting and new music flowed around him.
First impressions aren’t always right. If you’ve been foolish enough to nail down the sound of acclaimed songwriter Gretta Ziller, then prepare to have the rug pulled out from under you. Queen of Boomtown, her stunning debut record, defies categorisation and demands repeated listens. Ziller’s sound may bear the hallmarks of classic Americana music but its essence is far more diverse. The Melbourne songstress’ roots span jazz, blues, rock, pop and classical, and that eclectic musical upbringing is reflected in the varied tracks on this new collection.
Those familiar with Swift’s impressive first record will notice the left turn taken on follow-up Call Out For the Cavalry. The classic sound of American roots country fits him like a glove. One would think from listening to assured tracks like ‘Reckless Desires’ and ‘Ball & Chain’ that Swift has been plying his trade in the Australian alt-country scene since he picked up a guitar. But this is new territory for Swift and he’s quickly acclimatised.
“I didn’t want to make an album that sounded like anything in the Americana scene right now,” says Ziller. “I wanted my album to reflect the soundtrack of my childhood, yet sonically and lyrically sound like who I am now. I really wanted to push the boundaries of what country music, or Americana, alt-country – whatever you want to call it – can sound like. I didn’t want to fit neat and tidy into the country music box.”