Saturday, October 15, 2005

UPDATE: Sydney date is 8th November, not 7th.

Via Steve Reid of Yesterday and Today Records in Parramatta (aka "My Favourite Place in the World") comes news of a tour (Syd/Melb/Brissie) by two hot young honky tonkers, Justin Trevino and Amber Digby. I'll reproduce Steve's email below the fold but I think his final point is well made and worth repeating: if we don't get out and support these kind of shows, the smaller labels and promoters aren't going to do it. Steve Earle is always going to pack out a place but but traditional country fans really need to get out for these acts. Use it or lose it, people.

Justin Trevino is coming to Australia to play! He is bringing with him Amber Digby, the same lady who overwhelmingly was awarded our “2004 Album of the Year”. This is seemingly too good to be true! But it is true! Justin, is a young man, now in his early 30’s, who has authentically revived the classic honky tonk sound of the likes of Ray Price and Johnny Bush. He has proved himself to be the consummate singer, musician and writer. He is one of the biggest stars of the Austin music scene, acclaimed as the best in the whole USA.

Named after Ernest Tubb’s son, Justin Tubb he began singing in the clubs of Austin when hardly a teenager. He has recently issued an expanded version of his classic “Loud Music & Strong Wine” (subtlely retitled “More Music & Strong Wine”). This is now a massive 22 tracker and features appearances by Leona Williams, Johnny Bush, Curtis Potter and Jake Hooker. It is a mixture of originals and extremely well chosen covers, all which blend together perfectly for a great country album. This is a pure honky tonk album with all the elements of cheating and drinking and other excesses that represent the truly great things about country music. Nashville has reverted to plastic tales; these are real; escapist maybe but they preserve what the traditions of country are all about.

“One More Drink and then I’ll Go” is sung to the bottle itself. “Teardrops Don’t Lie” tells of a gal who drinks at the bar. “I know she has a broken heart, ‘cause teardrops don’t lie”. “You’d Be Home by Now”, is a fine conversation between husband & wife (superbly played by Leona Williams). Leona also wrote “Somebody’s Old Memory is Mine” a great cry in your beer number. “To Save My Wife” is one of 3 excellent songs by Jim Owen, who I am led to believe is the same Jim Owen who put out a tribute album to Hank Williams many years ago (called “The Show He never Gave”). “I’d Know You Anywhere” proves that Justin Tubb may be the most underrated songwriter in the history of country music. One of the new songs is the excellent “Tribute to Kitty Wells”, with a terrific jaunty steel line courtesy of the great Dicky Overbey. There are shuffles and there are ballads. It is as good as country music gets.

Amber Digby is only in her mid 20s but has just about knocked the socks off all who have encountered her and her music. Her voice is strong and reminiscent of Loretta Lynn at her best. This is not some idle comparison. She is that good!! The songs are well chosen. The interplay between Dicky Overbey on Bobby Flores on steel and fiddle is as good as on any album in the history of country music. The covers avoid the overly familiar and it is tribute to the lady that she has the sense to record songs by the excellent, but largely ignored, Linda Hargrove and Lola Jean Dillon.

We are generally only visited by the likes of Daniel O’Donnell or Isla Grant who seem to be promoted by a bunch of the lesser community radio stations for reasons I cannot or will not attempt to ponder. Justin Trevino and Amber Digby are all class. They live and breathe the music.

The promoter is taking a chance in presenting Amber and Justin and he deserves success. I can vouch for the music of both artists and can assure you that you will see a show which will stay with you for many years to come. PLEASE, consider going. I am afraid if it isn’t a success we will not be privileged to any more acts of a similar ilk. Success will guarantee more small label acts will honour us with their presence. It is in your hands. I have no connection with the promotion of these shows except that I know we must get off our bums and make them happen. It is indeed a rare opportunity we have been given. Make the most of it.


5th November Melbourne Slovenian Club, Bangholm

6th November Melbourne Saloon, Braybrook

8th November Sydney Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL.

10th November Brisbane Pioneer Village Country Music Club, Petrie.

Ticketing via Ticketmaster 7 (or at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL in Sydney).

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