We are pleased to announce that the beautiful new single ‘The Diamantina Drover’ from ‘The Queensland Tiger’ is now on the Daily A-List Playlist. Listen out for this melodic and touching folk gem on the playlist + it will also be played daily as a special AUSTRALIAN FOLK POWERPLAY at 4:30 PM SA time for the next month.
The Queensland Tiger is an artist who focuses on traditional Australian folk songs, which are known for their timeless essence and personal themes. Featured are his distinctive keyboard melodies and heartfelt vocal style, which fit seamlessly within this genre’s style and narrative.
“Drovers, Stockmen and Bullockies” is his fifth release. His previous albums have included a tribute to the Australian poet Henry Lawson, a national literary icon. This release is also deeply tied to the history and lore of Australia, and features an extensive track list of eighteen songs, which includes literary ballads by highly respected Australian poets such as Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, as well as many traditional songs. Despite the adversity of the times , there’s room for some lighter, more humorous songs too.
But why have these particular songs and poems been chosen ? Firstly, because the works of this period have a genuine directness and lyrical charm: many of the stories are down to earth and come from the heart. Secondly, because they best depict the hard lives of rural workers in the century when Australia was still considered a new frontier: a difficult land that offered many challenges to people, some from the other side of the world, who were looking to build new lives. What followed were new generations, born into this tough environment, which fostered distinctive Australian traditions. This album can feel like a musical time capsule that takes the audience back to the 19th century : one can easily imagine the lives of these stockmen, drovers and (often forgotten) bullockies.
This artist puts a lot of passion and resources into a project, creating an album that encapsulates the spirit of folk music while presenting a fresh approach. He sets the mood with clear vocals and immersive keyboards, using lengthy bridges. In these bridges, and throughout the songs, a diverse range of talented musicians provide engaging breaks and supporting lines, broadening the sound. These include : international cellist Natasha Jaffe ; the delightful, brilliant young fiddler, Jessie Morgan ; violinist John Joe Murray ; violist Mikhail Bugaev ; and the lyrical multi instrumentalist, Lillian Penner.
The album has many highlights : one is the opening track, “Travelling Down the Castlereagh” , a political poem by Banjo Paterson. This musical rendition offers a sparse yet interesting piano arrangement. The lead vocal is backed up on the chorus by Lillian Penner, who also plays some wonderful strings linking the verses. “Andy’s Gone with Cattle” is another notable moment. The track features words by Henry Lawson paired with a great tune by the late Hugh McDonald. John Joe Murray provides a stunning violin track, which brings the emotion of the song sharply into focus, enabling the audience to immerse themselves in the story and listen to the moving words of this famous poem, one of three of Lawson’s on the album. Transforming poems into music presents a unique set of challenges for musicians and songwriters.
One of the primary difficulties lies in maintaining the essence and emotional depth of the original poem, while fitting this into the constraints of melody, rhythm, and verse structure. The Queensland Tiger’s arrangements stay true to the spirit of the original work, and in most cases, he sings the entire poem. About half the melodies are traditional, while others were written by Australian folk artists like Mike (and Michelle) Jackson, Hugh McDonald, and Graham Jenkin. It was Graham Jenkin who wrote the tunes for the three “Breaker” Morant poems on the album.
This production isn’t just entertaining and relatable, it’s also educational and thought-provoking. It shines a light on Australia’s rich history, focusing on one of the country’s most colourful eras. The Queensland Tiger manages to go beyond mere historical facts, offering listeners a profound glimpse into the humanity of the period, delving into the depths of people’s experiences and capturing the struggles, triumphs, and nuances of colonial times, breathing new life into history.
“Drovers, Stockmen and Bullockies” belongs to a series of traditional folk albums from this artist which explore different aspects of Australia’s colonial history. It is the aim of The Queensland Tiger to keep these important musical and literary traditions alive.
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