I AM THE FOX … the songs
I Am The Fox is a journey quite different from Fox Tales; there is the same dark intensity, the same searching for answers, the same story teller’s need to tell a story succinctly and well but it is a bit harder, perhaps even more introspective. There is no collaboration with the boys from Rough Red, instead a new alliance with the brilliant Simon Gardner; new textures, sounds and places to explore. I believe the power of these new songs is still within the stories, the people, the places and the incidents that are burned into my soul. To me the album is a sort of awakening because all of a sudden I was more exposed that I’d ever been; I never had to do anything with Rough Red, I simply turned up, did as I was told and magic happened. Now I had to make it happen working with someone new who saw my stories differently, now I was expected to make the hard decisions on a product that I would have to defend in the toughest arena of all; the hearts and minds of the listener. During my periods of self doubt which were manifold I questioned the relevance of these songs and Simon would give me an uppercut, he’s as good a psychiatrist as he is guitarist and for that I’ll be forever in his debt.
I Am the Fox is I think a worthy number one, it relates to my American Indian Totem which is the fox, I have always been called The Fox and the similarities between myself and this mythical creature I found fascinating and a little disturbing. Add to this the gloriously dark relentless pulsing of Dave Lee’s violin and Briony Letterall’s cello and it is the ideal start to the journey.
The Ballad of David Hicks tells the story of a middle class kid from the suburbs of Adelaide who finds himself in the middle of one of America’s wars on the side of the Taliban and then on a free holiday in Guantanamo Bay. I really like this song it features several more musical legends in the guise of Ewan McKenzie on Gypsy guitar and Bill Anderson the enigmatic wee Scottish Muslim maestro on Ud and Turkish Ley.
Something Wicked This Way Comes tells of a time of trauma and the testing of personal endurance and spirit when Chris and I suffered the horror of seeing our house flooded to the ceilings in 2011. We saw the best and worst that human nature had to offer, survived and can now, looking over our shoulders, laugh about it… for the time being. Once again Dave Lee’s finger nails down the blackboard, shrieking violin grants this dark malevolence that came and went in the dead of night a life of its own.
My Dark Companion charts the labyrinthine corridors of the dark part of the soul that rests within all of us, in some of us it manifests itself; in others it lies forever dormant. The goblins in the dead of night have been an integral part of me ever since I can remember.
Kings Cross is a day in the life of one of the most sordid, exciting and dangerous places I have ever experienced. In Germany’s Reeperbahn and Amsterdam’s red light district there is a certain humour amongst the degredation; in the Cross the tiger hunts fallen angels, Patrick Gunderson’s soulful guitar provides a melancholy backdrop to hopelessness.
Post Cards tells the story of some remarkable people and events; Harry Gunther, German folk hero, Jahn Arvola’s wife who stared down Russian tanks, vast graveyards, words of wisdom in Belfast and more, indelible memories of my remarkable journey.
When the Time is Right - a song about how helpless we are as individuals in the face of the world and its machinations.
Do You Sleep Alright is a look inside, I seem to have summed up my life in a hand full of verses, when the aforementioned goblins stage one of their nocturnal assaults on me the questions are always the same ones.
Margie and Mardon’s House of Fun is a place where, as I write this, we are planning to visit again. Our long time Norwegian friends will put up with us when we play a festival just down the road from them. The festival is one of those amazing adventures Rough Red seems to regularly find itself in; quirky and full of surprises and amazing characters, it’s where I sang a song with Elvis…
Love is a Stranger - I just like the song, the words are so powerful and poetic and Simon saves one of his greatest ever performances for this one.
In My Life - once again I think I have summed up my journey in a handful of verses played out to a C blues progression, ironic because C# Demolished has always been my favourite chord, one that I am infamous for.
Shivers - another wonderful song. It was recorded in one take by my mate Kelvin Siggs in a radio station recording studio so I thought I’d throw it on for good measure.
I am very happy with this record; I am blest to be able to draw such players and to be surrounded by a network of creative people and wonderful musicians who are always available for advice and help. So far I have been given a three and a half star review in Noel Mengel’s music column and been Record of the Week on the ABC, I hope I get to play it to you live and that you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Glenn Baker - Drums
Chris Bosley - Bass
Simon Gardner - Guitars
Michael Hynes - Keys
Samantha Fegan - Backing vocals
Briony Letterall - Cello
David Lee - Violin
Patrick Gunderson - Guitar
Kiel Hames - Producer
Thank you all.
This is my first solo venture. Solo in as the song choices are all mine. It was produced by and played on by my good mates from Rough Red but I didn't have to argue with anyone, except David "Napolean" Parnell, "Mashy". The songs, all but one, are collaborations with some very talented people, some I've carried around for years, "Roadhouse Queen" is probably twenty years old. Some of them date back to the Rough Red years, "World Keeps Turning", appeared on Rough Red Uncorked, so did "Harry's Farm", I wanted to hear them slicked up and produced. All the songs are stories from "my road", the death of my father, my experiences on tour in Europe, stories that raised the hackles on the back of my neck, all the heart felt and to me, priceless. I guess I'm a poet first, the stories are very important to me. Some of them are very personal but most are just observances of interesting times. Accompanied by a cello made in 1780 and an achingly sad and dark violin and contributions from my multi-talented friends I believe they're all worth a listen, if only to enjoy the talents of some great musicians. This is the first of many I hope; part of the journey forward from the days with the Reds. All that stuff is still available too on albums that still suprise when you go back for a listen. To have these moments documented to keep forever is a privilege, I am indeed blessed. I hope there's something on this album that puts a smile on your face.
Buy Fox Tales | h e r e
ROUGH RED HITS THE ROAD AGAIN.
After a break of some years Rough Red is back with a vengeance. Several of us got to do solo ventures we'd always wanted to do and several of the boys formed a trio that toured Great Britain with Status Quo. There was no real parting of the ways, the boys all played on my album and now were back together the things we've been working on have somehow added a new dynamic edge to Rough Red. There is a new joy in doing that old stuff that stands the test of time played with a new energy and sense of fun. Maybe that's the secret every gig could be your last!
At the end of June we take off to headline a festival in Farsund in Norway, a beautiful little fjord town where we have a few friends living. The following weekend we travel with all our Viking friends across the straits to Denmark where we play a large festival at Skagen with the legendary Dubliners, Arlo Guthrie, The Oyster Band and many others.
Skagen was our first foreign gig and has a very special place in our hearts, it will be our fourth time there.
We are producing a 16 track best of album at the moment featuring the best of the best, the stuff we always do live, some recorded live at The Montreux Jazz Festival, some live at home and some recorded from earlier albums. This will be a precursor to a new collection of material currently being written.
We play the Snowy Mountains of Music festival on the June long weekend; four days of snow and music, it'll be a hoot.
And so the adventure continues.....
These photos were taken on Australia Day, it was a great concert on a particularly beautiful day.
This is the fruit of my years with Rough Red, four albums. Several compilations, one for Farm Aid, a one hour documentary played on the 7 Network and accross Great Britain on FOX Travel and four film clips all played in high rotation in CMT on FOXTEL. Our first, "Better Red Than Dead", was album of the week on Ireland's biggest rock station when we arrived in the Emerald Isle, we played live to air on the country's largest radio show, Maloney after Midnight which set us up for the rest of the tour. Live in Europe chronicles the big one, our triumph at The Bardentreffen in Neuremberg Square and the unforgettable gigs at the legendary Montreux in Switzerland.