Where Many Rivers Meet is the 8th self-produced album by this tireless singer-songwriter. It’s also the most personal. He has wanted to do a solo album for a long time. Steve expresses himself accompanied by his Gibson SG guitar and 12 string Guild acoustic or a cappella field hollers. 16 of the 25 tracks are original creations that alternate with songs he has arranged, the whole giving way to a voice full of conviction. Words that speak of the spirit, earthy, unadorned music that comes from somewhere under the skin, this is as real as it gets.
A deeply personal album also thanks to the accompanying booklet with the lyrics of certain songs and a selection of portraits, milestones in the career of a musician who has travelled the world for more than 40 years.
He wanted a mono recording and co-produced it with internationally acclaimed engineer and producer Rob Grant of Poons Head Studio to get a very raw sound: it’s about getting to the point!
The result is a particularly rich and dense 79mm disc conceived as always by this singular artist with generosity and sincerity. His music goes straight to the heart because it is the expression of his soul and it fully exercises its healing power in a kind of communion for those who know how to let themselves be carried by its tribal rhythms.
The album cover, with this shell like a fossil, undoubtedly refers to the origins of his music which has its roots in the Blues to which Steve brings his personal touch, the fruit of the legacy of his influences from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan.
It also symbolizes fertility, rebirth and love. Don’t we say that the Greek goddess Aphrodite materializes in the ocean carried to the shore in a seashell?
Steve Tallis is a passionate, driven and proudly independent musician who in his own way evokes the universal values of life, death, love, sex, transmission, filiation, sharing, energy, faith, beliefs, revolt.
Uncompromising in his artistic integrity, he is one of the few artists brave enough to stand naked and imperfect in an industry that encourages compliance.
All songs composed by Steve Tallis
© Zombi Music 2020
except 12,15,18 – Arranged by Steve Tallis
Songs 4,8,16,21,22,24 – Traditional arranged by Steve Tallis
Recorded – 15/10/2019
Mixed – 23/10/2019
Mastered – 24/3/+ 29/3/2020
Poons Head Studio – www.poonshead.com
Engineer – Rob Grant
Produced by Steve Tallis and Rob Grant
Steve Tallis – Vocals, Electric and 12 string guitars
This album is in mono
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01 Call Me 3:59
02 She Makes Me Shiver 4:11
03 Yum Yum Man 3:28
04 Early In The Morning 1:24
05 When I Wake Up 4:22
06 Someone Is Missing 2:32
07 No Rest For The Wicked 2:52
08 Stewball 2:41
09 Wade In The Water 3:17
10 Where Many Rivers Meet 3:49
11 Let The Silence Suck Out The Truth 4:29
12 Bring Me Little Water Sylvy 1:17
13 Ain't Nothing Like A Woman 2:16
14 Hold Your Nerve 4:22
15 Can I Do It For You 3:59
16 Black Betty 1:42
17 A Method To My Madness 2:57
18 See That My Grave Is Clean 4:17
19 Whatever Touches You 3:30
20 Broken Spirit 3:40
21 John The Revelator 1:47
22 House Of The Rising Sun 3:47
23 Put The Acid On 3:21
24 Another Man Done Gone 1:02
25 Spiral 3:36
Michael Vdelli (Australian Blues Guitarist – Singer / Musician)
Michael Vdelli (Australian Blues Guitarist - Singer / Musician - February 18, 2022
“Thank you for sending me your new album, it’s fantastic!
Risky, grinding, soothing, scary, hopeful and lyrics that resonate.
Love and respect”
Michael Vdelli (Australian Blues Guitarist – Singer / Musician
Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog: Steve Tallis, Where Many Rivers Meet
Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Steve Tallis has been around the block more than a few times. His life-chops no doubt help reflect, underscore and burnish his music these days. The most recent has been on my playlist and I am glad to talk a little about it today. It is a pared down Steve, just his voice, a Gibson SC and an acoustic guitar (a Guild 12 String), plus some foot stomping for the hollers, and a getting to the core throughout. The title evokes getting to a good place, Where Many Rivers Meet (ZOMBIE). It is his 8th self-produced album (see index for some others) and undoubtedly one of his best.
Steve takes on a transformed sort of Blues-Folk-Rock solo attitude. There are some classic roots songs performed as acapella hollers mostly, so “Black Betty,” “Early in the Morning,” and so forth. All get their rooted dueness of direct feelingful delivery.. Then there are Steve’s originals, filled with a bluesiness and a kind of solo advancement of his style into a place more and more rooted, yet original too with a kind of directness that owes something to early Dylan and middle Captain Beefheart, yet Steve is consistently a new thing unmistakably as one hears him, as I have over a good number of years.
This one places him comfortably and happily as rooted in a hard Blues tradition and yet it is not as much a matter of Blues changes as a strong riffing and stomping presence, Hooker and early Waters more than the turnaround centric Jimmy Reed, for example. This is not a matter of virtuoso wowing as it is of hitting a power accompaniment that is just right for the stylistic complex involved.
It is with the 25 originals and classics combined a considerable jolt of music energy. If you give this a few listens I suspect you are going to grow into it all as I did. Happily recommended for roots fans.
Mark Demetrius – Steve Tallis – Where Many Rivers Meet
Mark Demetrius - February 18, 2022
“It hits the ground running with the brooding and droning “Call Me” … “Let
The Silence Suck Out The Truth” is a striking j’accuse to the wicked and powerful, in the grand and furious tradition of “Gimme Some Truth” and
“Masters Of War” … Lyrically, he hits that elusive happy medium where the
words are often simple without ever being banal … The guitar sound — and
the sound in general — manages to be simultaneously multi-layered and
primal … You can hear how fifty years of playing and technical facility leads to a whole swag of ‘less-is-more’ paring down…
One of the highlights is “Put The Acid On”, a wild St. Vitus dance a la The
Stooges’ “Shake Appeal” … There are twenty-five tracks here, about a third of them blues covers. They’re all good, but the cream of that crop to me are
“Can I Do It For You ?” — which cracks like a whip and owes more to The
Groundhogs than Memphis Minnie — and a gorgeously chiming take on
“House Of The Rising Sun” .”
Real Roots Café – Leo Groeneveld: Steve Tallis, Where Many Rivers Meet (Dutch)
De naald op de plaat laat zich eerst enkele seconden horen. Ze waarschuwt je voor wat komen gaat.
Twee zware gitaren nemen het vervolgens over en domineren van begin tot het einde dit album. Met korte a capella songs als ingelaste pauzes. Samen vormen ze met de stem van Steve Tallis een krachtig album for the happy few. Een rauwe plaat zonder compromis, direct en rechtop het doel af. Gemaakt op de kale aarde en knarsend als grind. De plaat bracht me van de wijs. Ik weet nog steeds niet of ik het bewonder of niet.
Steve Tallis is een Australische selfmade muzikant, wars van wat hoort gaat hij zijn eigen weg. Hij maakt al meer dan 60 jaar muziek en heeft in de loop der jaren de nodige erkenning in Australië en erbuiten gekregen voor zijn bijzondere carrière. Op zijn vorige albums combineert Steve Tallis een mix van blues/ folk/ rock met diverse tribale invloeden en geluiden van verschillende windstreken, die zijn muziek zo kenmerken. Deze albums zijn de moeite waard en te vinden in volledige vorm op YouTube.
Op het album “Where Many Rivers Meet” laat Steve Tallis dit alles echter achterwege en vervangt hij zijn instrumentarium voor slechts twee gitaren; de Gibson SG en de 12 snarige Guild. Zij spelen prominent de hoofdrol. De gitaren vormen een machinerie die continu doorgaat en waar elke song in wordt ondergedompeld. Steve had de wens om dit album mono op te nemen en wilde een zo rauw mogelijk geluid produceren. Dat is ‘m ruimschoots gelukt.
Steve Tallis stem bekrachtigt dit rauwe geluid, door de meeste songs zonder opsmuk, rommelig en met weinig nuance naar je toe te slingeren. De stem van Steve kent een grote overtuigingskracht. Hier is een authentieke man aan het woord, door schade en schande wijs geworden. In zijn liedjes windt hij er geen doekjes om en wordt man en paard genoemd. Als het om seks en liefde gaat, verwoordt hij dit op rake wijze (Yum Yum Man).
Als het om de autoriteiten gaat dan laat hij merken, dat hij weinig met hen opheeft (Let the Silence suck out the Truth). Een sterk nummer, waar in de United Snakes of America en de United States of Amnesia leuke vondsten zijn. Het realisme dat het leven ook zijn keerzijde heeft en niets gratis is in het leven horen we door het hele album heen klinken.
Het album bestaat uit 25 (!) nummers, waarvan Steve Tallis er 16 zelf heeft geschreven. Negen songs van anderen heeft hij bewerkt en daardoor naar zich toegetrokken. Een bijzonder detail is het boekje dat bij de cd zit. Steve Tallis voert hier tientallen special guests op voor het album. Onder het kopje Internationaal noemt hij o.a. Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Mick Jagger en nog 40 andere bekende namen. Dit naast nog een lijst van Australische gasten. Hoe deze vork in de steel zit, wordt mij niet duidelijk.
Wekenlang heb ik de plaat meerdere malen in de hoek gesmeten en toch weer opgezet. Het rauwe geluid met de allesoverheersende gitaren hebben me slechts een paar keer kunnen bekoren. In de juiste stemming werd het een mantra en kreeg het iets prettig verdovends. De meeste keren hield ik het echter na enkele nummers voor gezien en moest ik opgeven.
Nogmaals dit is een sterk album for the happy few en niet bedoeld voor tere zieltjes. Dus wie durft?
Fanzine CAFZIC (France) – #81 April 2021: STEVE TALLIS “Where many rivers meet”
Awesome, really awesome! A man, a guitar and that’s it, for a universe of rare depth and emotion. Steve Tallis is a bluesman but a bluesman navigating between folk and divine incantations. These songs take you on a trip, they often seem repetitive, but at no time did the 25 tracks tire me. We are caught in a constant flow of terribly human sensations, trips, meetings, a stage, a chair and feet that beat the rhythm on the ground. I had already
reviewed in 2007 (yes!) An album called ” Loko “, I was seized, but today it goes well beyond, his song pierces me. I’m light years away from what I listen to, though, unless I discover one of the basics. The music comes from mixtures, from each person’s experience, often from the harshness of life and from regions of the world where we are little to go, blocked by our fences, our walls and our limited thirst for discovery. What strikes me as the most impressive beyond the spirit, the ghosts and the rites that we encounter here is that the 25 titles permanently grab us. Usually there are always strong moments, weak moments, there we move slowly, the music accompanies us, makes us discover landscapes, people who work in the city, people who turn the earth around, stares lost, others tense. It will be difficult for me to make a selection of songs to tell you what I liked best about it, it’s a whole, a world, terribly human and visceral with a tone of voice between Johnny Cash and Calvin Russel , perfect! A long, busy career, doing some research is important. Small precision this disc is recorded in mono to have a more raw sound and 16 of the 25 songs are personal compositions and you will also find some very exciting covers.
Real Roots Café – Leo Groeneveld: Steve Tallis, Where Many Rivers Meet (English)
The needle on the plate will first be heard for a few
seconds. She warns you about what comes.
Two heavy guitars then take over and dominate this
album from start to finish. With short a capella songs as
break-in breaks. Together they form a powerful album
for the happy few with Steve Tallis’s voice. A raw plate
without compromise, straight and upright the goal.
Made on the bare earth and grinding as gravel. The plate
brought me off the wise. I still don’t know if I admire it
Steve Tallis is an Australian self-made musician, who
hears what he goes his own way. He has been making
music for more than 60 years and has received the
necessary recognition in Australia and beyond for his
special career. On his previous albums Steve Tallis
combines a mix of blues/ folk/ rock with various tribal
influences and sounds from different regions of the
world, which characterize his music. These albums are
worth the effort and can be found in full form on
On the album “Where Many Rivers Meet” Steve Tallis
doesn’t do all this and replaces his instruments for just
two guitars; the Gibson SG and the 12 string Guild. They
play a prominent role. The guitars are a machine that
continues continuously and immerses every song in it.
Steve wanted to record this album in mono and wanted
to produce the most raw sound possible. That’s been
Steve Tallis voice energizes this raw sound, by swinging
most songs to you with little shade, clutter and nuance.
Steve’s voice has a great persuasion. Here an authentic
man has been made wise by damage and shame. In his
songs, he is given no wipes and is called a man and a
horse. When it comes to sex and love, he articulates this
in a very wise manner (Yum Yum Man). When it comes to
the authorities, he says that he has little to do with them (Let
the Silence luck out the Truth). A strong song, where the
United Snakes of America and the United States of Amnesia
are nice finds. The realism that life also has its back side and
nothing is free in life we hear throughout the album.
The album consists of 25 (!) Songs, of which Steve Tallis
wrote 16 himself. He has edited nine songs by others and
thus attracted to him. A special detail is the booklet that
comes with the CD. Steve Tallis has dozens of special guests
for the album. Under the heading International, he mentions
Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Mick Jagger and 40 other well-
known names. In addition to a list of Australian guests. I do
not see how this fork is in the stem.
For weeks I have been measuring the plate several times in
the corner and still put it back in place. The raw sound with
the all-over-ruling guitars has only been able to charm me a
few times. In the right mood it became a mantra and it got
something pleasant stunned. However, most of the times I
had seen it after a few numbers and had to give up.
Again this is a strong album for the happy few and not
meant for delicate little ones. So who dares?
Philippe Manœuvre (Famous French Music Critic) – “Merci Steve Tallis – franchement formidable..”
Philippe Manœuvre (Famous French Music Critic) - January 6, 2022
Avec Philippe Manœuvre et Gérard Lemarié en conférence à Bezannes, jeudi 6 janvier 2022 à l’occasion de la sortie de Flashback Acide (livre)
Impressionnant, vraiment impressionnant ! Un homme, une guitare et c’est tout, pour un univers d’une profondeur et d’une émotion rare. Steve Tallis est un bluesman mais un bluesman naviguant entre folk et incantations divines. Ces chansons vous prennent au trip, elles apparaissent souvent répétitives, mais à aucun moment les 25 titres ne m’ont lassé. On est pris dans un flux permanent de sensations terriblement humaines, des voyages, des rencontres, une scène, une chaise et des pieds qui battent le rythme sur le sol. J’avais déjà chroniqué en 2007 (eh oui !) un album nommé « Loko », j’avais été saisi, mais aujourd’hui cela va bien au-delà, son chant me transperce. Je suis à des années lumières de ce que j’écoute, quoique, à moins que j’en découvre l’une des bases. La musique vient des mélanges, du vécu de chacun, souvent de la dureté de la vie et de régions du monde où nous sommes peu à aller, bloquer par nos clôtures, nos murs et notre soif limitée de découverte. Ce qui me parait le plus impressionnant au-delà de l’esprit, des fantômes et des rites que nous rencontrons ici c’est que les 25 titres nous happent en permanence. Habituellement il y a toujours des moments forts, des moments faibles, là on avance lentement, la musique nous accompagne, nous fait découvrir des paysages, des gens qui bossent en ville, des gens qui retournent la terre, des regards perdus, d’autres tendus. Il me sera difficile de faire une sélection de morceaux pour vous dire ce que j’y ai préféré, c’est un tout, un monde, terriblement humain et viscéral avec un timbre de voix entre Johnny Cash et Calvin Russel, parfait ! Une longue carrière bien remplie, faîtes quelques recherches c’est important. Petite précision ce disque est enregistré en mono pour avoir un son plus brut et 16 des 25 morceaux sont des compos perso et vous retrouverez aussi quelques covers bien emballants.
Awesome, really awesome! A man, a guitar and that’s it, for a universe of rare depth and emotion. Steve Tallis is a bluesman but a bluesman navigating between folk and divine incantations. These songs take you on a trip, they often seem repetitive, but at no time did the 25 tracks tire me. We are caught in a constant flow of terribly human sensations, trips, meetings, a stage, a chair and feet that beat the rhythm on the ground. I had already reviewed in 2007 (yes!) An album called ” Loko “, I was seized, but today it goes well beyond, its song pierces me. I’m light years away from what I listen to, though, unless I discover one of the basics. The music comes from mixtures, from each person’s experience, often from the harshness of life and from regions of the world where we are little to go, blocked by our fences, our walls and our limited thirst for discovery. What strikes me as the most impressive beyond the spirit, the ghosts and the rites that we encounter here is that the 25 titles permanently grab us. Usually there are always strong moments, weak moments, there we move slowly, the music accompanies us, makes us discover landscapes, people who work in the city, people who turn the earth around, stares lost, others tense. It will be difficult for me to make a selection of songs to tell you what I liked best about it, it’s a whole, a world, terribly human and visceral with a tone of voice between Johnny Cash and Calvin Russel , perfect! A long, busy career, doing some research is important. Small precision this disc is recorded in mono to have a more raw sound and 16 of the 25 songs are personal compositions and you will also find some very exciting covers.
Rhythms – Steve Tallis On Where Many Rivers Meet
The latest album from Steve Tallis is appropriately titled Where Many Rivers Meet. It sums up the diverse musical influences of the 69-year-old musician: Leadbelly, John Coltrane, Tim Buckley, Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Howling Wolf, Tom Waits, Jack Bruce, JB Lenoir and Bob Dylan.
According to his biography African, Indian, Haitian and Islamic music have all had a spiritual and rhythmic influence on Tallis’s work and his love of blues, gospel and a cappella field hollers shows both in his live shows and recordings.
Tallis started playing music in 1962 but from birth he had been surrounded by the music of his Macedonian ancestors and music from the Balkans. He started listening to the radio – Rolling Stones, Them, Animals, Manfred Mann, Jimi Hendrix, Yardbirds, Kinks – and then searched back further to the roots of the music he loved and then back even further to the source – Africa.
Tallis has lived and performed in the USA, Europe, Mexico and Asia – supporting some of the biggest names in music – Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, BB King, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon. He toured India in 1997 and Pakistan in 2003 and he appears in the books Who’s Who of Australian Rock and Blues, Working Musicians, Way Out West and Further Down the Road.
Tallis’s awards include Songwriter of The Year, Most Original Work (The West), and Album of The Year (Rhythms Magazine Readers Poll – Zozo – 1999) and was one of the original inductees into Western Australia Music Industry’s Hall of Fame. His 8 CD Box Set – Anthology Volume One: The Sacred Path of The Fried Egg: Maylands To The Gates of Hell (1962-2001) marked the first time in Australian music history that an independent solo artist released a box set.
Steve Tallis was in Paris when Max Crawdaddy recently caught up with him by phone.
Very nice to talk to you again, Steve. I think the last time we chatted would have been, I think, you were on a bill with Chris Wilson playing at the Caravan Club a few years back.
Yeah, coming back from Wangaratta.
Usually I probably would have been talking to you on the phone, over in Western Australia, your home base, but you kind of get around the world a bit don’t you?
Well, I’ve been touring internationally for a long time, so many years, basically, since ’74 really. I’ve been coming back. I came to Paris in ’74, that’s the first international city that I ever visited after Australia and I’ve been coming back since really. I just like the city and I like the people, I like France.
Of course, you mentioned that you’ve toured around the world, America and India, Pakistan, Mexico.
Actually, I want to ask you about that. I think the first time you toured India in 1997 was for a festival. Was that right?
Yeah. That was for the 50th anniversary of independence, in Bangalore. I took my band with me.
That would have been quite an experience.
Oh, yeah, it was an experience all right. It was incredible. Pakistan was really good too. And Africa was incredible too. Obviously, it’s not a good time to say you like traveling, but, look, you know, I love traveling.
You’ve had riots and demonstrations in Paris about, I think it’s called, the French Card or something that they’re using.
Basically, it’s a pass which means you’ve been vaccinated. At the moment, they’re just in transit time but you won’t be able to go to a cafe, restaurant, cinema, travel by train, long-term that is not metro, play in a bar, go to a bar, go to a concert, go to a festival. You have to be vaccinated.
Well, that kind of makes sense I think, doesn’t it?
Well, because, I mean, they’re getting a lot of cases, but I think there’s a lot of negative thing about it and I don’t like being told to have to do that, but the reality is that if you want to work and you want to go anywhere, you got to have this pass. I mean, it’s pretty full on.
But I think it’s probably the only way they’re going to get on top of it really. I think Italy’s doing the same and I think Germany is moving that way and a few other European countries. You can travel within the EU easily with the pass, but obviously Australia’s very problematic for me. I mean, I’d love to come back and see my kids and my granddaughter and do some shows and stuff but at the moment it’s very difficult.
Well, you recorded the album we’re talking about tonight, Where Many Rivers Meet, that was recorded in Western Australia, Poons Head [Studios], back in 2019.
Yeah, 2019. In-between tours of France because I was touring back and forth all the time, so I cut the album then I went on tour and I came back and mixed the album. Then went on another tour and then came back and mastered it. So, there was a lot of delays and then the virus hit so sort of threw everything quite up in the air but we cut 39 songs and I put it back to 25 in just 10 hours.
In the old language, it’s really a double album or maybe even a triple album at 25 tracks.
Well, I was going to release a double CD. Normally I release everything I record no matter what, warts and all, but I decided to cut it back, but would make it long. So, I basically made it the longest you could do it technically-wise, technologically-wise, because I like to give a lot of songs. On reflection, there’s a couple of songs I didn’t put on there that I probably would have now, I think. More original ones actually that I didn’t think my vocals were quite good enough, but, on reflection, they probably were
Most of my work is solo. My thing is to work so I like to play solo that’s why I put some of the hollers on there that I’ve put on other albums previously. It’s really to present like a business card, I guess, but to present the show because it’s live and it’s solo and it’s live, one take, and I know I’ve played better. I can play better than that live and the show’s good and it’s strong. It was really just to sort of reflect my live show.
Well, it’s interesting that you say it’s like a calling card or your business card because if someone was to say, ‘I’ve heard about this bloke, Steve Tallis, what’s his story?’ I would put this album, the new album, in their hand and say, ‘Well, this is pretty well much what he does’ because the bulk of it’s your own material but the covers and the traditional songs you’ve picked pretty well match your biggest influences as well, like Blind Lemon and Leadbelly, et cetera.
Yeah, well that’s another reason why I put them on there because they are part of my live show. If I’m doing a concert like where it’s probably an hour or something like that, I’d probably do all originals. But if I’m doing a few hours or my own show three or four hours, sometimes I did longer that year in Paris, I always play a lot of interpretations of those blues because that’s my influences. I always do a lot of acapella field hollers and gospel because it’s all part of me. I think Rob [Grant, producer/engineer] did a really great job. I think he really captured me, live, one take, basically, and he was really great to work with.
Well, you must be very happy with the album. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite recording of yours. Previously you’ve done some beauties, but this one, like I said, kind of encapsulates all of your [influences].
I think because it’s so raw, I mean, it really is. That’s what I was after. I was after a really raw, solo album. Some of the tracks were only written either just before or a couple, actually, I only just did in the studio. I just basically tried them and they worked. I was really after a raw sound but I was after a really contemporary, world-class sound. The original idea was that I was going to do it just in my lounge room and have it really rough but I thought that’s not really what I wanted. I wanted something raw and that’s another reason why I did it in mono because I like mono. So, I always listen to my music in mono. So, I just wanted it to be really reflective of, like I said, basically, my live show really.
It’s got a huge sound as well.
Well, there’s no overdubs or anything, it’s just me. I mean, with the electric. I think he probably had three mics on the Vox 15. My Vox 15 was in another hallway so I had everything on full and about three mics from that and he had a microphone just picking up ambience and all this, and the same with the 12-string, he had about five microphones on that as well. I really love the sound he got on the 12-string, really good. I took my 6-string, my Martin, intending to use it, but we just got into a groove.
I mean, most of the things I didn’t even listen to really, if I thought I was happy with it I just went on to the next song, that’s how I work anyway. Then we did the 12-string and then we did the acapella stuff at the end. Yeah, it was a great session and I really liked the mastering, you know, the mixing and the mastering. I really enjoy that. I find that very interesting.
We thought about putting tambourine [on]. A lot of the stuff would have been good with tambourine or some backing vocals, female backing vocals, because I’ve got friends and that who would have been perfect for that, people that I’ve played with live but I decided to keep it exactly solo, it’s truly solo. So there’s no overdubs, there’s a few mistakes here and there but I don’t care about that.
I was going to say the album’s been very well received, you must be extremely happy about that.
Yeah, I’m pretty happy. Well, obviously it’s pretty hard out there at the moment so it’s hard to get… I’d like to get more reviews……but it’s always difficult, especially being in another country, but even from Perth it was difficult. I get more airplay on the east coast and in Europe than I do in my hometown, easily. I think I’ve got more fans over east and people that appreciate my music, and here as well. It’s been built up over a long time.
First Degree, [released back in 2014] was produced by Skip McDonald. Is there a chance that you might work with Skip again?
Oh, I’d love to work with him again, yeah. That was an incredible session. I mean, Skip hadn’t met Evan the drummer before, nobody had heard the songs, which is the way I usually work anyway with my other albums, most of them. Usually, I just play it through once and then they pick out what they’re going to do roughly, and then we just cut it.
So yeah, he’s a pretty interesting guy and he’d never played bass before. He’s very difficult to get but his manager or someone played some of my music to him and he really liked it. We met and we had dinner, and this was a few years before the recording, and we kept in touch. When we finally got down to the thing of doing it, he’s a very interesting guy, the way he works. And the engineer on that album was incredible, just a young guy. We just cut it in a really dirty, old rehearsal studio, it was incredible.
We’re talking about the most recent album and you’ve always got something on the go and working on something, Steve.
Well, I’ve written about 23 new songs since recording the album. So, I mean, I’m going through a real creative phase, I’m writing a lot of new songs and very mixed stuff, which I’m really happy with. Very, very different, not necessarily different, but a real mix of songs. And another thing: I’ve been talking to a friend of mine in New York, well, I think he lives in Virginia, it’s Kip Hanrahan, I’m sure you know him, you like this music.
We’ve been discussing doing an album together for about 10 years so he’s in the back of my mind as well. I mean, I’m not sure what would happen with him because… but he’s a really big fan so I think he would do something really very unusual with me.
Getting back to First Degree I could have used Skip’s band – Doug Wimbish and all those Living Color guys who he uses – but I said, ‘No, I want my own drummer.’ I wanted Evan because he’s my favourite drummer. I’m just sort of moving along. My plan is for next year, because it will be 60 years I’ve been playing in music, next year, that’ll be 60 years. So, I’m planning to do another album next year and maybe something like limited edition vinyl and stuff like that. That’s my plan and I’ve also been working on a sort of documentary for quite a long time, really, just putting something together rather than a book. Everybody’s always hassling me to write a book but I prefer to write songs and I’ve got this idea maybe for a documentary, really. I’ve got so much stuff.
I don’t rehearse, I never rehearse so everything is always spontaneous. I never rehearse so I just play. I bring new songs in onstage with the band and solo too. I just bring new songs in all the time because that’s the way I am. I could never stick to an arrangement at a rehearsal, I get too bored. I like to change the keys and the words, the guitar. I mean, if I use the 12-string on a guitar where I recorded with the SG it completely changes the feeling of the song, which I like and it challenges me, keeps me fresh.
I got a lot of respect for Dylan and anyone, Tom Waits, those people. I don’t see the point of going to a concert and seeing someone replicate their recordings note for note. But I have people coming up to me saying, ‘Oh, you sang the wrong words’ and I go, ‘Yeah, but it’s my song and I can do what I like with them.’ And when I write a song I don’t really think it’s finished. I don’t have that philosophy. I just think, well, sometimes I might even forget the words and some other words come out and I think, ‘Oh, well.’ I think back later, ‘Oh, that’s better than what I put on the album or what I wrote so I think I’ll use that.’
So, I like to be free of that sort of thing. To people that work with me, I never say, ‘I want you to play like Skip McDonald and Evan, or Dave Clarke and Gary, I just want you to interpret my music the way you interpret as a human being’. And it’s my philosophy, it’s been working for a long time now so it’s quite clear. I’ve got good musicians in Paris, too. I’ve got very good musicians in Paris. I’m very lucky, I found some really good ones here.
Lee Underwood (ex guitarist Tim Buckley, poet, writer)
Lee Underwood (ex guitarist Tim Buckley, poet, writer) - February 18, 2022
Hey, Steve, am really enjoying your new album, Where Many Rivers Meet. I think it has every chance of entering mainstream radio in a big way. Your voice, guitar playing, compositions and musical approach is consistently urgent, intensive and strong. I very much like the vocal mergence of Dr. John and Tony Joe White, with, of course, your own highly original and sometimes fierce focus on your impassioned lyrics. Want to thank you so much for sending Many Rivers to me, and wish you all the very best of success in the marketplace. Very best, your friend,
Peter Holland (ex ABC Radio)
Peter Holland (ex ABC Radio) - February 18, 2022
“Oh, Steve! I can honestly declare that I have just experienced, for the first time, regret that I no longer have a radio program that would allow me to share this recording. I found myself totally captivated by your music, by your voice, and by the passion and power of your expression. I listen to a lot of music across a wide range of genres from around the world, and I have rarely heard anything like the intensely personal commitment you offer to this music. The hollers echo centuries of deep feeling. Thanks, mate.”
Kip Hanrahan - February 18, 2022
“The package arrived the beginning of last week, just in time for my wife and I to be getting our second vaccinations, so the week was kinda’, um, bumpy, but, man, THANKS!!!! Wow! The energy, the fucking beautiful energy, spirit (!), starts from the jump and just doesn’t let up!!!! It breathes, but, fucking wow, pal, the sonics, the intensity…. um, fucking wow, as I mentioned, it hits and it just stays, no – RIDES intense and beautiful! I think it’s your fucking best rekid’ yet, man. I mentioned the intense, relentless, georgous, breathless ride, and those fucking hip, deep sonics (fuck terms like “soundstage” when you’ve got that presense in mono!), well, buddy…..really congratulations.”
Kerri Simpson - February 18, 2022
“It’s a killer!”
Max Crawdaddy @ RRR’s “SON of CRAWDADDY Blues Show”
RRR's “SON of CRAWDADDY Blues Show” - Max Crawdaddy - February 18, 2022
“Thanx to Steve Tallis for sending me his latest and possibly his greatest album so far. …congrats, it’s excellent.”
Ian McFarlane @ Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop - Ian McFarlane - February 18, 2022
“Giving the new album from Steve Tallis, Where Many Rivers Meet, a blast! A whopping 25 tracks and 78 minutes of music. Steve takes his voodoo blues to new heights, just him, his voice and 12 string and electric guitars.
Plenty of his own songs, plus covers of ‘Early In The Morning’, ‘Wade In The Water’, ‘Black Betty’, ‘Bring A Little Water Sylvy’, ‘John The Revelator’, ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ etc. It’s loud, it’s raucous, with plenty of over-driven fuzz and all in glorious mono.”
FolkWorld – Tom Keller
Es geht die Geschichte, dass der junge Steve Mitte der Sechziger zu einem Konzert von Louis Armstrong und Trini Lopez im heimatlichen Perth in West-Australien mitgenommen wurde. Anschließend sagte er zu seiner Mutti: Ich weiß, was ich mit meinem Leben anfangen werde! Fünfzig Jahre später, davon gut vierzig als professioneller Musiker, hat sich Steve Tallis fest als australischer Bluesman etabliert. Ich habe lange nichts mehr von ihm gehört, und da offeriert er gleich ein Freudenfest für die Ohren: 25 Stücke, davon 16 aus eigener Feder und 9 Cover (Stewball, Black Betty, See That My Grave Is Clean, John The Revelator, House Of The Rising Sun), solo nur mit elektrischer bzw. zwölfsaitiger akustischer Gitarre bewaffnet. Als weiteren persönlichen Touch wartet Steve mit einer Mono-Aufnahme auf; die jeweiligen Titel und ihr Wall of Sound gelingen oder scheitern in ihrer Totalität. Es erinnert in Teilen an den frühen Billy Bragg, obwohl das grungige Gitarrenspiel eher bei Neil Young abgeschaut ist. Im Blues verwurzelt ist das Endergebnis ursprünglich, ungeschmückt und im Adamskostüm. So beispiellos persönlich, dass es kein anderer so hätte machen können. Er skandiert wie ein Baumwollpflücker auf dem Feld, wiegt sich wie ein Schamane in Trance, erzählt Geschichten wie ein afrikanischer Griot. Bereits der Albumtitel “Where Many Rivers Meet” verweist auf die vielen und vielfältigen Stränge, die hier zusammengeflossen sind und etwas Wiedererkennbares, aber doch Frisches und Unverbrauchtes geschaffen haben.
“The story goes that young Steve was taken to a concert by
Louis Armstrong and Trini Lopez in his native Perth in
Western Australia in the mid-sixties. Afterwards he said to his
mom: I know what I’ll do with my life! Fifty years later, forty of
them as a professional musician, Steve Tallis has firmly
established himself as Australian bluesman. I haven’t heard
from him for a long time, and in a jiffy he offers a feast for the
ears: 25 tracks, 16 of which are his own and 9 covers
(Stewball, Black Betty, See That My Grave Is Clean, John The
Revelator, House Of The Rising Sun), solo armed only with an
electric and twelve-string acoustic guitar, respectively. As a
further personal touch, Steve comes up with a mono
recording; the respective titles and their Wall of Sound are
supposed to succeed or fail in their totality. The album is
partly reminiscent of the early Billy Bragg, although the
grungy guitar playing is rather copied from Neil Young.
Rooted in the Blues, the end result is pristine, unadorned and,
so to speak, naked. It is so matchless and individual that no
one else could have done it that way. He chants like a cotton
picker in the field, rocks like a shaman in a trance, tells
stories like an African griot. The album title “Where Many
Rivers Meet” already refers to the many and varied strands
that were merging here and have created something
recognizable but still fresh and crisp.”
Rootstime (Belgium) – Eric Schuurmans
Als er een vorm van blues is die specifiek is voor Australië, moet het de blues van Steve Tallis zijn, aangezien zijn blues geen kopie of variant is van de bekende vormen, die decennia geleden in de Verenigde Staten ontstonden.
De charismatische en kleurrijke Steve Tallis kan al terugblikken op een carrière van bijna zestig jaar. Deze singer/songwriter van Down Under begon al te musiceren in 1962. Vanaf zijn jeugd is hij ondergedompeld geweest in de muziek van zijn Macedonische voorouders en etnische muziek uit Griekenland, Joegoslavië, Bulgarije en Turkije. Afrikaanse, Indiaanse en Islamitische muziek zijn altijd zijn inspiratiebronnen geweest. In zijn zoektocht naar de roots van de muziek die hij zelf graag hoort, belandde hij in Afrika. Tallis verbleef en trad op in de States, Europa, Mexico en Azië.
Steve Tallis verwezenlijkte ondertussen al twee van zijn doelstellingen: touren in Indië (1997) en in Pakistan2003. Zijn speurtocht in de leer van de vodou (Tallis verkiest de Engels/Amerikaanse naam als naam voor de Haïtiaanse religie), Tantra, Boeddhisme, Soefisme, Bijbel, Hindoeïsme, Taoïsme en de Amerikaanse Indianen hebben hem diep getroffen.
Tallis ontving al meerdere erkenningen, waaronder “Songwriter of the Year”, “Most Original Work” en “Album of the Year”. Hij is ook ingewijd in de Western Australia Music Hall of Fame. WAM erkent sinds 2004 die leden van de industrie, die gedurende hun carrière een uitstekende bijdrage hebben geleverd aan hedendaagse muziek in WA. Tallis ontving in 1994 de ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll of Renown”.
Voor dat Tallis solo ging maakte hij eerst deel uit van verschillende projecten als o.a. de JellyRoll Bakers, The Opposition, Hangover Triangle, The Guano Club en Apache Dropout, met wie hij in de studio stond.
Met tussen 1968 en 2020, meer dan 52 album releases, kan niemand beweren dat Tallis zijn muziek niet uitdrukt door middel van opnames. Uit Steve Tallis’ solo oeuvre belichten we in dit portret vier van zijn albums. Zijn 1999-album ‘Zozo’, wat niet zijn debuutalbum was want in 1993 verscheen ‘Zombi Party’ en in 1997 ‘Monkey Skulls and Thunderstones’. Verder Loko’, dat hij in 2004 opnam met The Holy Ghosts, ‘The First Degree’ (2014) en zijn laatste album, ‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ (2020).[..]
‘Where Many Rivers Meet’
Zes jaar later is er de opvolger. Steve Tallis’ achtste album ‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ werd -om een heel rauw geluid te krijgen- een mono album. Het werd in 2019 opgenomen met engineer/producer Rob Grant (Lenny Kravitz, Tame Impala, Jeff Martin, Death Cab for Cutie) in de Poons Head Studio. Het is een soloalbum waarop Tallis zingt en zichzelf op een 12-snarige akoestische Guild en elektrische Gibson SG-gitaar begeleidt. Van de 25 nummers zijn er 16 originele composities, die worden afgewisseld met door hem gearrangeerde nummers.
‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ is een zeer persoonlijk album, met mijlpalen in de carrière van een muzikant die al meer dan 40 jaar de wereld rondreist. Op de hoes staat een foto van schelp, een fossiel, die verwijst naar de oorsprong van zijn muziek die zijn wortels heeft in de blues. De schelp symboliseert ook vruchtbaarheid, wedergeboorte en liefde. Was het niet dat de Griekse godin Aphrodite zich materialiseert in de oceaan, die in een zeeschelp naar de kust wordt gedragen?
Zijn laatste album, de titel voorspelt het al even, is met zijn 25 tracks een glimp van muziekstijlen uit zijn verscheidenheid aan periodes. Het is een uitgekiend album met eigen werk en bekende en minder bekende composities die Steve opnieuw heeft gearrangeerd, zoals van Huddie Leadbetter, Memphis Minnie en Blind Lemon Jefferson.
De volgende nummers zijn mijn persoonlijke “selectie”. “She Makes Me Shiver” is na de krachtige opener “Call Me” een folky nummer waarin Steve de sterkte van de liefde van een vrouw bezingt. “Early in the Morning” is de eerste van de traditionals die Steve bewerkte. Het is een traditioneel blues nummer, waarvan bij sommigen misschien de versie van Ginger Baker uit 1970 gekend is. Het vertelt het verhaal van de pijn van een zwarte man, die helemaal alleen is. “When I Wake Up” (zie video) is een eenvoudig liefdesliedje en “Stewball” al de tweede bewerking. Het is een nummer over een paard genaamd Stewball. Het verhaal achter de song? Het werklied werd in 1940 opgenomen door Lead Belly en het Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet voor het Victor-label. Skewball (met een “k” en niet “t” was een renpaard, gefokt door Francis, de tweede graaf van Goldolphin. Het paard, een ruin, was naar verluidt het best verdienende in Ierland in 1752, toen hij 11 was. De ballade ontstond over een race met hoge inzetten die plaatsvond in de Curragh in Kildare, Ierland, in maart 1752, die Skewball won. Volgens John en Alan Lomax in American Ballads and Folk Songs werd de ballade door slaven omgezet in een werklied. “Skewball” werd blijkbaar “Stewball” nadat het nummer naar de VS was gemigreerd. De titelsong “Where Many Rivers Meet” is hier toevallig de eerste song met begeleiding op elektrische gitaar. Luister ernaar als naar een gedicht: “Mijn ziel heeft geproefd mijn lippen je ziel gekust…”. Een nummer met ballen, waarin Steve zowat iedereen in de kijker zet, is “Let the Silence Suck Out the Truth”. Steve bewerkte ook “Bring Me Little Water Sylvy”. Het nummer werd in 1936 publiek gemaakt door Lead Belly. Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoynamen in 1930 al “Can I Do It for You?” op en opzich mocht Huddie Ledbetter’s “Black Betty” dan hier ook niet ontbreken?… “A Method to My Madness” is een song die je op vele manieren kan bereiken. Dixit Steve moet je in deze wereld je vasthouden aan dingen die je kan vertrouwen om te overleven. In 1927 nam Blind Lemon Jefferson twee verschillende versies op van “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”. Bij welke die van Steve aanleunt laat ik hier in het midden. Ik skip via het mooie “Whatever Touches You” en “Broken Spirit” door naar de volgende traditional “John the Revelator”die en dat kan je ook van “House of the Rising Sun” zeggen, een opmerkelijke update kreeg. “Put the Acid On” is een Steve Tallis op zijn best, “Another Man Done Gone” een kort gesproken intermezzo en de afsluiter, “Spiral” de folksong die de Tallis-cirkel van muzikale diversiteit sluit.
Steve Tallis is als songwriter een gepassioneerde, gedreven en eigenzinnig muzikant, die compromisloos in zijn artistieke integriteit en op zijn eigen manier de universele waarden van leven, dood, liefde, seks, overdracht, afstoting, delen, energie, geloof, overtuigingen, opstand oproept.
‘Where Many Rivers Meet’
Après six ans, il y a une suite. Where Many Rivers Meet, le huitième album de Steve Tallis est un album monographique. Il a été enregistré en 2019 avec l’ingénieur du son et producteur Rob Grant (Lenny Kravitz, Tame Impala, Jeff Martin, Death Cab for Cutie) au studio Poons Head. Il s’agit d’un album solo où Steve pose sa voix accompagné d’une guitare acoustique et électrique. L’album est composé de 25 titres dont 16 compositions originales, ponctué de chansons arrangées par Steve.
Where Many Rivers Meet est un album personnel pour ce musicien qui parcourt le monde depuis plus de 40 ans. La photo d’un coquillage sur la couverture de l’album fait référence à l’origine de sa musique qui trouve ses racines dans le blues. C’est également le symbole de la fertilité, de la renaissance et de l’amour, comme la déesse Aphrodite portée sur le rivage dans un coquillage.
Ce dernier album avec ses 25 compositions donne un aperçu de la variété de ses différents styles musicaux à différentes périodes. C’est un album sophistiqué offrant aussi bien des créations originales que des compositions plus ou moins connues arrangées par l’artiste comme Huddie Leadbetter, Memphis Minnie et Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Voici ma sélection personnelle. Après la puissante ouverture avec le morceau “Call Me”, “She Makes Me Shiver” est un un titre plutôt folk où Steve évoque l’amour d’une femme. “Early in the Morning” est l’un des premiers morceaux arrangés par Steve, du blues, dont certains connaissent peut-être la version de 1970 par Ginger Baker. Il évoque la douleur d’un homme noir face à la solitude. “When I Wake Up” (voir vidéo) est une chanson d’amour et “Stewball” une deuxième adaptation évoquant un cheval. L’histoire derrière cette chanson ? Enregistrée en 1940, pour le label Victor, par Lead Belly et le Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, Skewball (avec un “k” à la place du “t”) était un cheval de course appartenant à Francis, le deuxième comte de Goldolphin. Ce cheval de race hongre aurait été l’un des meilleurs, alors qu’il avait onze ans. La ballade trouve son origine dans une course remportée par Skewball au Curragh de Kildare, en mars 1752 en Irlande. Selon John et Alan Lomax dans American Ballads and Folk Songs, l’air est ensuite repris par les esclaves et transformée en chanson de travail. “Skewball” est devenu “Stewball” après que la chanson ait migré aux États-Unis. Le morceau accompagné à la guitare électrique est “Where Many Rivers Meet”. Il s’écoute comme un poème : “mon âme a goûté tes lèvres que ton âme a embrassées…”. “Let the Silence Suck Out the Truth » est une chanson tout en puissance, Bring Me Little Water Sylvy est un autre morceau arrangé, rendue publique en 1936 par Lead Belly. A Method to My Madness, vous touchera de plusieurs façons, Selon Steve dans ce monde pour survivre, il faut s’accrocher aux choses qui nous inspirent confiance. En 1927, Blind Lemon Jefferson a enregistré deux versions différentes de “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”. Je ne vous direz pas vers quelle version Steve se tend (rapproche ?). A découvrir les sublimes “Whatever Touches You” et “Broken Spirit” pour arriver à “John the Revelator” qui, comme le morceau “House of the Rising Sun”, a fait l’objet d’un remarquable arragement. “Put the Acid On” est un morceau où Steve Tallis révèle le meilleur, sans oublier un cour interlude avec “Another Man Done Gone” . Spiral clôture l’album et parachève le cercle de la diversité musicale de Tallis.
Musicien passionné, Steve Tallis est un auteur-compositeur engagé avec une intégrité artistique, évoquant à sa manière les valeurs universelles, la vie, la mort, l’amour, le partage, le désir, la foi, les croyances, la rébellion…
‘Where Many Rivers Meet’
Six years later there is the successor. Steve Tallis’ eighth album ‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ became to get a very raw sound- a mono album. It was recorded in 2019 with engineer/producer Rob Grant (Lenny Kravitz, Tame Impala, Jeff Martin, Death Cab for Cutie) at the Poons Head Studio. It is a solo album on which Tallis sings and accompanies himself on a 12-string acoustic Guild and electric Gibson SG guitar. Of the 25 songs, 16 are original compositions, which are interspersed with songs arranged by him. ‘Where Many Rivers Meet’ is a very personal album, marking milestones in the career of a musician who has been traveling the world for over 40 years. On the cover is a photo of a shell, a fossil, which refers to the origin of his music which has its roots in the blues. The shell also symbolizes fertility, rebirth and love. Wasn’t the Greek goddess Aphrodite materializing in the ocean, carried to the shore in a seashell? His latest album, the title already predicts it, with its 25 tracks is a glimpse of music styles from his variety of periods. It is a sophisticated album with his own work and well-known and lesser-known compositions that Steve has rearranged, such as by Huddie Leadbetter, Memphis Minnie and Blind Lemon Jefferson. The following numbers are my personal “selection”. After the powerful opener “Call Me”, “She Makes Me Shiver” is a folky song in which Steve sings about the strength of a woman’s love. “Early in the Morning” is the first of the traditionals Steve edited. It’s a traditional blues song, some of which may be familiar with Ginger Baker’s 1970 version. It tells the story of the pain of a black man, who is all alone. “When I Wake Up” (see video) is a simple love song and “Stewball” is the second edit. It’s a song about a horse named Stewball. The story behind the song? The work song was recorded in 1940 by Lead Belly and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet for the Victor label. Skewball (with a “k” and not “t” was a racehorse bred by Francis, second Earl of Goldolphin. The horse, a gelding, was said to have earned the highest income in Ireland in 1752, when he was 11. The ballad arose about a high stakes race that took place at the Curragh in Kildare, Ireland, in March 1752, that Skewball won. According to John and Alan Lomax in American Ballads and Folk Songs, the ballad was turned into a work song by slaves. apparently “Stewball” after the song migrated to the U.S. The title track “Where Many Rivers Meet” happens to be the first song here with electric guitar accompaniment. Listen to it like a poem: “My soul has tasted my lips kissed your soul …” A song with balls, in which Steve puts just about everyone in the spotlight, is “Let the Silence Suck Out the Truth.” Steve also arranged “Bring Me Little Water Sylvy.” The song was made public in 1936 by Lead Belly. Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy Names in 1930 al “Can I Do It for You?” on and in itself Huddie Ledbetter’s “Black Betty” should not be missing here?… “A Method to My Madness” is a song that can be reached in many ways. Accoriding to Steve, in this world, you have to hold on to things you can trust to survive. In 1927 Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded two different versions of “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”. I’ll leave it up to you here to which one Steve’s leans towards. I skip via the beautiful “Whatever Touches You” and “Broken Spirit” to the next traditional “John the Revelator” which and you can say the same from “House of the Rising Sun”, got a remarkable update. “Put the Acid On” is Steve Tallis at his best, “Another Man Done Gone” a short spoken interlude and the closing track, “Spiral” the folk song that closes the Tallis circle of musical diversity. As a songwriter, Steve Tallis is a passionate, driven and idiosyncratic musician, uncompromising in his artistic integrity and in his own way evoking the universal values of life, death, love, sex, transference, repulsion, sharing, energy, faith, beliefs, rebellion .
Phil Bennett - April 8, 2021
Il était une fois, l’enregistrement n’était que cela. Un enregistrement d’un événement tel qu’il s’est passé. Une photographie sonore.
Sa magie était sa capacité à permettre à l’auditeur de revenir à ce moment spécial encore et encore.
Et cette magie a été très clairement capturée dans les enregistrements de terrain de blues – le hochet de la diapositive sur la frette, le boom naturel des planchers en bois, le timing qui ne suivait aucune règle stricte.
Where Many Rivers Meet est l’un de ces rares enregistrements qui suivent cette même philosophie. Ce qui est parfaitement logique, car Steve Tallis a toujours été fermement enraciné dans le blues folk et les chants creux qui résonnaient des plantations de coton aux rues de Maylands.
C’est un exercice tout à fait extraordinaire – 25 chansons en une seule séance.
Rob Grant et son Poon’s Head Studio ont été le choix parfait pour compléter cette aventure épique, car ils viennent tous deux de mentalités qui valorisent l’honnêteté et l’intégrité dans la performance, chacun d’eux se délectant de la liberté donnée à l’autre pour permettre une documentation naturelle d’avoir lieu.
La voix de Steve peut être un goût acquis (un peu comme Dylan, Cave, et Waits) avec son yowl guttural, et la longueur de l’album met l’auditeur un défi, mais le voyage est vraiment une expérience inoubliable et envoûtante, puisant profondément dans l’esprit du blues.
Les chansons elles-mêmes sont remplies de cimetières, de rivières sauvages, de mauvaises actions et de tentatives de rédemption, tandis que l’instrumentation est aussi clairsemée qu’un champ non entretenu avec soit seulement une guitare électrique ou acoustique, ou simplement ni l’un ni l’autre, comme accompagnement.
Ce disque ne dérangera pas les charts ou ne sera pas diffusé sur les ondes commerciales, mais c’est une bête singulière qui met en lumière précisément qui est l’artiste en ce moment. Ce qui en fait, par définition, un bon enregistrement.
Qu’est-ce qu’un artiste peut offrir de plus ?
Once upon a time, recording was just that. A record of an event as it happened. An aural photograph.
Its magic was its ability to allow the listener to return to that special moment again and again.
And that magic was most clearly captured in blues field recordings – the rattle of the slide on the fret, the natural boom of the wooden floorboards, the timing that followed no strict rules.
Where Many Rivers Meet is one of those rare recordings that follow that same philosophy. Which makes perfect sense, as Steve Tallis has always been rooted firmly in the folk blues and hollered chants that echoed from the cotton plantations to the streets of Maylands.
As an exercise, it’s quite extraordinary – 25 songs in one sitting.
Rob Grant and his Poon’s Head Studio was the perfect choice to complete this epic adventure, as they both come from mindsets that value honesty and integrity in the performance, each of them revelling in the freedom given the other to allow a natural documentation to take place.
Steve’s voice can be an acquired taste (much like Dylan, Cave, and Waits) with its guttural yowl, and the length of the album sets the listener a challenge, but the journey really is an unforgettable and spellbinding experience, tapping deeply into the spirit of the blues.
The songs themselves are filled with graveyards, wild rivers, wicked deeds and attempts at redemption, while the instrumentation is as sparse as an unploughed field with either just an electric or an acoustic guitar, or simply neither, as accompaniment.
This record won’t bother the charts or garner any commercial airplay, but it is a singular beast that spotlights precisely who the artist is at this given moment. Which makes it, by definition, a proper recording.
What more can an artist offer?
LA HORA DEL BLUES (Spain) – Vincente Zumel
Desde Australia nos llega el octavo álbum del cantante, guitarrista y compositor Steve Tallis. Como sus anteriores trabajos el disco ha sido producido por el propio Steve y sigue el patrón musical y creativo que le identifica como uno de los músicos más originales y personales de las tierras australianas. Este trabajo incluye veinticinco canciones de las que dieciséis son composiciones propias. Acompañado por su guitarra Gibson SG o por su Guild de doce cuerdas, Steve se presenta como un artista íntegro y honesto a quien no le preocupa la perfección, sino más bien mostrar su potencial creativo y su sinceridad a la hora de abordar su repertorio. Aunque en un principio el disco pueda parecer denso o sobrecargado, sus letras nos hablan de valores universales como son la fe, el amor, la energía vital o incluso la revolución o la muerte, en canciones en las que en algún momento u otro pueden apreciarse sus influencias que van desde Leadbelly a Bob Dylan o al rock industrial. Por todos estos motivos la música y las canciones de Steve Tallis transcienden mucho más allá de la música pop, el rock o el blues para mostrar el especial talento de un músico singular. MUY BUENO.
From Australia comes the eighth album by singer, guitar player and song writer Steve Tallis. Like his previous releases, he has self-produced it, so it follows the musical and creative pattern that identifies him as one of the most original and personal Australian musicians. The recording includes twenty-five songs, sixteen of them own compositions. Backed by his guitar Gibson SG and the twelve-string Guild guitar, Steve introduces himself as a full honest artist, who feels not concerned about perfection but he prefers to show in his repertoire all his creative potential with a naked sincere attitude. Although at first sight the album may seem dense or overloaded, the song lyrics tell us about universal values such as faith, love, vital energy or even revolution or death, in songs that at some point let us see his influences coming from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan or even industrial rock. For all these reasons Steve Tallis’ music and songs exceed styles like pop, rock or blues to show the special talent of a very singular musician. VERY GOOD.
Jazz Mania (Belgium) – Robert Sacre
Tallis est Australien, chanteur / guitariste, auteur compositeur prolifique et globe trotter infatigable depuis plus de 40 ans. De temps en temps, il dépose son bagage en France. Il nous propose ici son 8è album, auto-produit, avec 16 créations originales et 9 covers réarrangées, ce qui correspond bien au titre de l’album. Il souhaitait depuis longtemps faire un disque solo, armé de ses guitares (Gibson SG électrique et Guild 12 cordes acoustique) avec, ci et là, quelques faces a cappella… C’est désormais chose faite et, cerise sur le gâteau, les paroles de 9 de ses compositions sont reprises dans le livret accompagnant le disque. A l’écoute, on comprend pourquoi il a été surnommé « l’Australian Blues Griot » : c’est un raconteur d’histoires, passionné et incisif. Son inspiration va du blues au gospel et au folk, de Huddie Leadbelly Ledbetter à Bob Dylan. Il aborde avec éclectisme ce qui touche à la vie et à la mort, à l’amour (« She Makes Me Shiver », « Call me ») et au sexe (« Yum Yum Man », « When I Wake up » ), aux croyances et à la foi, à la révolte (« Let the Silence Suck out the Truth », « No Rest for the Wicked »). Parmi ses compositions, une mention spéciale pour « Put the Acid on » au rythme trépidant. Les covers sont soigneusement choisies et habilement remises en forme, que ce soit les faces gospel comme « Wade in the Water », « John the Revelator », « Another Man Done Gone » ou traditionnelles, comme « Stewball », « Bring Me Little Water Sylvy » (Leadbelly), « Can I Do It for You ? » (Memphis Minnie-Joe McCoy), « See that My Grave Is Kept Clean » (B.L.Jefferson) et « House of the Rising Sun ». Un album intéressant qui dépasse les 79 minutes d’écoute.
Tallis is Australian, singer/ guitarist, prolific songwriter and globe trotter tireless for over 40 years. From time to time, he leaves his luggage in France. He proposes here his 8th album, self-produced, with 16 original creations and 9 covers rearranged, which corresponds well to the title of the album. He had long wanted to make a solo record, armed with his guitars (Gibson SG electric and Guild 12 acoustic strings) with, here and there, some a cappella faces… It is now done and, icing on the cake, the lyrics of 9 of his compositions are included in the booklet accompanying the record. When we listen, we understand why he was nicknamed «the Australian Blues Griot»: he is a passionate and incisive storyteller. His inspiration ranges from blues to gospel and folk, from Huddie Leadbelly Ledbetter to Bob Dylan. He approaches life and death, love (“She Makes Me Shiver”, “Call me”) and sex (“Yum Yum Man”, “When I Wake up”), beliefs and faith, revolt (“Let the Silence Suck out the Truth”, “No Rest for the Wicked”). Among his compositions, a special mention for «Put the Acid on» with a hectic rhythm. Covers are carefully chosen and skillfully shaped, whether gospel faces such as “Wade in the Water”, “John the Revelator”, “Another Man Done Gone” or traditional, such as “Stewball”, “Bring Me Little Water Sylvy” (Leadbelly), “Can I Do It for You?” (Memphis Minnie-Joe McCoy) , “See that My Grave Is Kept Clean” (B.L.Jefferson) and “House of the Rising Sun”. An interesting album that goes beyond 79 minutes.
CORRESPONDANCE MAGAZINE (Brazil)
Heráclito de Éfeso, no século VI a.C., usou o rio como imagem da história em seu sentido mais amplo: o próprio fluxo da existência. A renovação permanente das águas do rio, que ao mesmo tempo persiste como uma unidade definida pelas suas margens, indica o jogo complexo entre mudança e continuidade que pode ser observado em tudo o que o acontece no mundo, tanto interior quanto exterior. A trajetória do músico Steve Tallis e seu mais recente album musical reflete essa metáfora do filósofo grego. De suas brincadeiras na escola com amigos ao espetáculo que o convenceu que ser artista era o sonho da sua vida, o currículo musical desse artista multifacetado é extenso, Steve começou a tocar em 1962 e a escrever canções em 1969 e desde então nunca mais parou.
Com uma rica produção de músicas, samples e espetáculos solo e em grupo, Steve Tallis conversou com exclusividade com Correspondance Magazine® para nos falar do lançamento de seu novo CD “Where many rivers meet”, em tradução livre, “Onde muitos rios se encontram” e nos contar suas peripécias musicais como compositor e cantor solo. “Minha vida artística nunca parou realmente, exceto nesses últimos meses com o vírus Covid19, mas continuo compondo músicas até hoje.” O álbum que nasceu durante uma pausa na carreira devido a pandemia é muito pessoal, de acordo com o artista, é “apenas mais um capítulo da minha vida” que rima com persistência, dedicação e amor à música. “Meus pais me levaram para ver Louis Armstrong e Trini Lopez no Capitol Theatre, o principal teatro para músicos em turnê em minha cidade natal Perth, Austrália Ocidental, em fevereiro de 1963. Saí daquele show e disse à minha mãe que seria músico pelo resto da vida,” confessa.
Quanto tempo você levou para planejar seu álbum “Where many rivers meet”?
– Fazia cerca de 5 anos desde meu álbum anterior “The First Degree”. Basicamente, queria gravar um álbum solo, já que a maior parte do meu trabalho ao vivo é solo. Sempre gravo a primeira tomada ao vivo. Essa é minha filosofia. Sem overdubs. Se as músicas funcionam, mantenho a gravação. Gravei 39 músicas em 10 horas.
Qual o conceito dessa coletânia?
– Tenho um repertório enorme – cerca de 400 originais e milhares de outras canções. A ideia original era lançar um conjunto de 2 CDs, já que geralmente lanço tudo que gravo mas mudei de ideia e escolhi 25 das melhores e mais interessantes performances. O objetivo era reunir uma mistura de originais com um total de 16 faixas, algumas canções gospel e outras interpretações de canções Blues que gosto. Também queria que o álbum refletisse como seria um show ao vivo. Esse projeto foi criado basicamente para conseguir trabalho, já que tocar ao vivo para mim é o real sentido da música.
Quais foram as etapas para a preparação deste álbum? Conte-nos um pouco sobre a pesquisa que você fez para esse projeto.
– Nunca entro em estúdio de gravação a menos que esteja 100% pronto mental, espiritual e fisicamente. Algumas músicas não foram finalizadas porque gosto de fazer músicas espontaneamente. Algumas canções foram escritas alguns dias, semanas antes da gravação. Estou sempre compondo canções – escrevi quase 18 canções novas desde a gravação do álbum e trabalho de uma maneira antiquada, escrevendo tudo à mão, tenho muitos cadernos com minha canções registradas manualmente. Nunca uso o computador para compor canções, para ouvrir sim, para compor não. Registro novas ideias no meu celular atualmente porque é conveniente e, em seguida, carrego no meu computador para ouvrir, editar e excluir o que não considero interessante. Estou sempre mudando minhas músicas e penso que uma melodia nunca está necessariamente concluída apenas porque foi gravada. Se penso em letras mais interessantes quando estou no palco, também as modifico.
Qual foi o seu maior desafio em organizar este álbum durante este ano pandêmico?
– O mais difícil foi não poder realizar shows ao vivo, porque a maioria das minhas vendas acontecem durante esses eventos. Também sinto a necessidade de me apresentar para o público ao vivo, espiritualmente falando. Quanto mais toco, mais me sinto saudável em todos os sentidos – espiritualmente, fisicamente, mentalmente.
Como você encontrou ideias para incluir nesta coleção de música?
– Não tenho problemas com inspiração meu único desejo é continuar compondo novas músicas e tocando ao vivo – e lançando álbuns sempre que possível.
Qual é o seu fato favorito sobre “Where many rivers meet” e por quê?
– O fato de ser tão cru, emocionalmente e apaixonadamente sincero, que compila uma escolha com misturas interessantes de músicas. Sou uma pessoa muito reservada, mas musicalmente me abro e me expresso sem reservas. Tocar em solo também me dá total liberdade – e gosto do fato de que você não pode se esconder atrás de nenhum outro músico. Você fica nu musicalmente falando. Acredito em total liberdade, tanto para mim como para todos os meus músicos.
Quando aconteceu e como foi a sua primeira experiência como músico profissional?
– Minha primeira gravação foi em 1968 e sempre tive em mente certas filosofias sobre o que e como queria tocar música. Por exemplo, não fazíamos nenhum ensaio, tudo era gerado com muita improvisação e muitos músicos diferentes, aliás, vários deles se encontrando pela primeira vez no palco. Ainda mantenho essa filosofia. Conheço músicos ao redor do mundo e estou aberto a tocar com músicos que conheço em festivais. Já fiz isso muitas vezes, inclusive na Índia, Paquistão, África, México, Nova York. Basicamente, fiz parte de bandas por muitos anos até 1975, quando comecei a trabalhar solo, porque tinha o desejo de interagir com músicos de outros horizontes e tocar minha própria música.
Quais os seus próximos projetos?
– Tenho feito muitos samples em todo o mundo, graças às extensas redes que construí ao longo de muitos anos em muitos países. Estou esperando por novas oportunidades de turnês futuras, particularmente na Europa.
Por que é importante para você compartilhar sua música com o público?
– Para mim, música é para ser compartilhada com outros seres humanos. Acredito que a música é uma força de cura poderosa e certamente me curou e me manteve vivo ao longo de todos esses anos. Nada se compara a tocar música juntamente com um público, especialmente em ambientes mais intimistas. Já fiz apresentações para 30.000 pessoas na Índia mas prefiro concertos menores, mais íntimos, incluindo shows privados em apartamentos para ocasiões especiais, etc.
Qual é a parte mais gratificante da música para você?
– A música é minha paixão, minha vocação, minha vida. Vou tocar música até o dia ou a noite em que morrer. É essencial para mim, é como oxigênio.
Existe uma explicação para justificar seu amor pela música?
– Música é vida, ela me comove, me toca, me cura e é isso que desejo fazer aos outros seres humanos com a minha música. Escuto música desde que nasci. Meus pais me levavam para piqueniques, bailes quando eu era criança e me colocavam perto dos músicos e eu ficava feliz e tranquilo.
Olhando para o quadro geral, que valor a música oferece à sociedade no mundo moderno em sua opinião?
– Para mim, a música é uma parte essencial da vida. Infelizmente, nos dias de hoje, a música como aurte e como profissão foram desvalorizadas – principalmente devido ao streaming na Internet (os royalties pagos aos músicos são um insulto, na minha opinião). Muitas pessoas querem música de graça – ao vivo e gravada o que, para mim, é ridículo. Valorizo o que faço e valorizo a música em geral e não poderia viver sem música.
Já que você trabalha compulsivamente com música , você está desenvolvendo novos temas musicais para outro projeto?
– Já escrevi 18 músicas novas desde a gravação desse álbum, mas prefiro continuar compondo e ver o que acontece. Posso fazer um álbum com uma banda ou posso fazer outro projeto solo. O que é importante para mim é voltar para a estrada e fazer shows, turnês, espetáculos ao vivo. Tocaria todas as noites se pudesse. Esse exercício musical me deixa mais feliz, mais forte mentalmente, fisicamente e espiritualmente.
Por que é importante para você compartilhar essa paixão pela música com o público?
– Para mim, música é para ser compartilhada com outros seres humanos. Acredito que ela é uma força de cura poderosa e certamente me curou e me manteve vivo até hoje. Nada se compara a tocar música com o público, especialmente em ambientes íntimos. Já me apresentei para 30.000 pessoas na Índia e mais de uma centena muitas vezes na minha vida – o que gosto – mas prefiro shows menores, incluindo apresentações personalizadas e privadas.
Qual é a parte mais gratificante de ser e viver de música para você?
– A música é minha paixão, minha vocação, minha vida. Vou tocar música até o dia em que viver. A música é essencial como oxigênio para mim.
O que você conhece sobre a música brasileira?
– Escuto música brasileira desde os anos 1960. Meu percussionista em alguns de meus discos, Gary Ridge, mora no Rio com sua esposa brasileira. Sempre quis fazer uma turnê por lá. Um dia espero que esse projeto se realize. Amo ritmo, então gosto de músicos como Olodum, Jorges Jen, Gilberto Gil, Bahia Black, Carlinhos Brown, Timbalada, João Gilberto, Milton Nascimento, Marisa Monte, Lenine, Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal, Maria Bethania, Elis Regina, Arnaldo Antunes, Arto Lindsay, Luiz Gonzaga e muitos mais. É um país que sempre me fascinou – culturalmente, musicalmente. Tenho certeza que seria uma experiência muito gratificante para mim tocar lá.
English Translation by Gary Ridge (from Portuguese):
In the 6th century BC, Heraclitus of Ephesus evoked the river as an image of history in its broadest sense, being the very flow of existence. The permanent renewal of the river’s waters, which at the same time persists as a single unit defined by its banks, indicates the complex game between change and continuity that can be observed in everything that occurs inside and outside of in the world. The trajectory of musician Steve Tallis and his most recent musical album reflects this metaphor from the Greek philosopher. From his games at school with friends to the show that convinced him that being an artist was his life’s dream, the musical curriculum of this multi-faceted artist is extensive, Steve commenced playing music in 1962 and writing songs in 1969 and he has never stopped since.
Possessing a rich catalogue of songs, samples, plus solo and group shows, Steve Tallis spoke exclusively with Correspondance Magazine® to talk to about the release of his new CD “Where Many Rivers Meet”, and tell us about his musical adventures as a composer and solo performer. “My artistic life has never really stopped, except in the last few months with the Covid19 virus, but I still write songs today.” The album, borne out of a career-break due to a pandemic is very personal, according to the artist, it is “just another chapter in my life” that rhymes with persistence, dedication and love of music. “My parents took me to see Louis Armstrong and Trini Lopez at the Capitol Theater, the main theater for touring musicians in my hometown Perth, Western Australia, in February 1963. I left that show and told my mom that I would be a musician for the rest of my life,” he confesses.
How long did it take you to plan your album “Where Many Rivers Meet”?
It’s been about 5 years since my previous album “The First Degree”. Basically, I wanted to record a solo album, since most of my live work is solo. I always record and go for the first live take. That is my philosophy. No overdubs. If the song works, I’ll keep that recording. I recorded 39 songs in 10 hours.
What is the concept of this collection of songs?
I have a huge repertoire – about 400 originals and thousands of other songs. The original idea was to release a CD double-set, since I usually release everything I record but I changed my mind and chose 25 of the best and most interesting performances. My aim was to bring together a mix of originals with a total of 16 tracks, some gospel songs and other interpretations of Blues songs that I like. I also wanted the album to reflect what a live show would be like. This project was created basically as a calling card to generate gigs, since playing live for me is the real meaning of music.
What were the steps in preparing this album? Tell us a little about the research you did for this project.
I never enter the recording studio unless I am 100% mentally, spiritually and physically ready. Some songs were not finished because I like to spontaneously create songs. Some songs were written just a few days, weeks before recording. I am always composing songs – I have written almost 18 new songs since recording this album and I go about it in an old-fashioned way, writing everything by hand, I have many notebooks with my songs manually noted. I never use the computer to compose songs, to listen yes, to compose no. These days, I register new ideas on my cell phone because it’s convenient, and then I upload it to my computer to listen, edit and or delete what I don’t find interesting. I am always changing my songs and I think that a melody is never necessarily finished just because it was recorded. If I think of more interesting lyrics when I’m on stage, I’ll change them too.
What was your biggest challenge in organizing this album during this pandemic year?
Not being able to perform live shows was the most difficult thing, because most of my sales happen during these events. I also feel the need to present myself to the public live, spiritually speaking. The more I play, the more I feel healthy in every way – spiritually, physically, mentally.
How did you find ideas to include in this music collection?
Finding inspiration is not my problem. My only desire is to continue composing new songs and playing live – and thus releasing albums whenever possible.
What is your favorite fact about “Where Many Rivers Meet” and why?
The fact that it is so raw, emotionally and passionately sincere, that it comprises a choice with interesting mixes of music. I am a very reserved person, but musically I open-up and express myself without reservation. Playing solo also gives me complete freedom – and I like the fact that you can’t hide behind any other musician. You are naked, musically speaking. I believe in total freedom, both for me and for all my musicians.
How was your first experience as a professional musician, and when did that occur?
In 1968, that was my first recording and I always had certain philosophies in mind about what and how I wanted to play music. For example, we didn’t do any rehearsing, everything was generated with a lot of improvisation and many different musicians, in fact, several of them met for the first time on stage. I still maintain that philosophy. I know musicians around the world and I am open to playing with musicians I know at festivals. I’ve done this many times, including in India, Pakistan, Africa, Mexico, New York. Basically, I was part of bands for a number years until 1975, when I started working solo, because I had the desire to interact with musicians from other horizons and play my own music.
What are your next projects?
I have done many samples around the world, this thanks to the extensive networks I’ve built over many years within many countries. I am now looking forward to new opportunities for future tours, particularly in Europe.
Why is it important for you to share your music with the public?
For me, music is to be shared with other human beings. I believe that music is a powerful healing force, and it has certainly healed and kept me alive over the years. Nothing compares to playing music to an audience, especially in a more intimate setting. I’ve performed for 30,000 people in India but I prefer smaller, more intimate concerts, including private shows in apartments for special occasions, etc.
What is the most rewarding part of the music for you?
Music is my passion, my vocation, my life. I will continue to play music until the day or the night I die. It is essential for me, tantamount to oxygen.
Is there an explanation to justify your love for music?
Music is life, it moves me, touches me, it heals me and that’s what I want to give to other human beings via my music. I’ve been listening to music since I was born. My parents took me on picnics and dances when I was a kid and when they put me up close to the musicians, I was happy and relaxed.
In your opinion, when looking at the big picture, what value does music offer to society in the modern world?
For me, music is an essential part of life. Unfortunately, nowadays, music as a hobby and as a profession have been devalued – this is mainly due to streaming on the Internet (the royalties paid to musicians are in my opinion, an insult.) Many people want music for free – live and recorded, which is ridiculous to me. I value what I do and I value music in general and I couldn’t live without music.
As you continue to work compulsively with music, are you developing new musical themes for another project?
I have written 18 new songs since the recording of this album, but I prefer to continue composing and see what happens. I can record an album with a band or I can do another solo project. What is important for me is to get back on the road and do shows, tours, live shows. I’d play every night if I could. This musical exercise makes me happier, stronger mentally, physically and spiritually.
What do you know about Brazilian music?
I’ve listened to Brazilian music since the 1960s. My percussionist on some of my records, Gary Ridge, lives in Rio with his Brazilian wife. I always wanted to tour there. One day I hope that this project will come to fruition. I love rhythm, so I like music of Olodum, Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil, Bahia Black, Carlinhos Brown, Timbalada, João Gilberto, Milton Nascimento, Marisa Monte, Lenine, Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal, Maria Bethania, Elis Regina, Arnaldo Antunes, Arto Lindsay, Luiz Gonzaga and the list goes on. It is a country that has always fascinated me – culturally and musically. I’m sure it would be a very rewarding experience for me to play there.
BLUES AGAIN (France)
Peu, voire pas banal du tout, cet album est enregistré en son mono, technique abandonnée depuis les années 50 au profit du stéréo. Le moins que l’on puisse dire, c’est que notre homme ne manque pas d’inspiration, puisant dans les abysses du blues, folk, gospel… Musicien du monde, qu’il parcourt frénétiquement, il picore les sons, les chants, les voix, pour en distiller un breuvage musical roots et émouvant. Né à Perth dans le sud de Maylands, il sera plongé très jeune dans cet univers par ses parents, et ne voit sa vie qu’à travers la musique. 8ème opus sous son nom et premier album solo, ce n’est pas moins de 52 galettes qu’il réalise entre 1968 et 2020. Six années seront nécessaires pour l’accouchement de Where Many Rivers Meet avec 25 titres hors du temps.Seul face au micro et muni uniquement de sa guitare, Steve Tallis enchaîne les morceaux sans artifice. Retour à la source, notre homme fier et nu est dans une démarche éthique et profonde. Mais quelle réussite ! Mélange de genres et de chants a cappella, de guitares tantôt électriques tantôt acoustiques, avec une voix au fort accent, cabossée, proche de Calvin Russel. On y verra du Bob Dylan dans ‘She Makes Me Shiver’, n’hésitant pas à taper sur la caisse de sa 12 cordes, approchant le son d’une cythare dans ‘See That My Grave Is Clean’. Maintes fois reprises, ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, ‘Black Betty’ ainsi qu’’Another Man Done Gone’, titres aux origines profondes, ne lui échappent pas dans un format libre et épuré. Peu connu du grand public, son blues est considéré trop déconcertant pour les puristes, et trop blues pour les aficionados de la world. Reconnu et apprécié par ses pairs, il assurera les premières parties de Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan entre autres. Steve Tallis, australian blues griot, véritable shaman du blues, produit une musique teintée d’une dimension spirituelle et traditionnelle. Elle est d’ailleurs qualifiée de Folk tribal, voire shamanique. Enregistré aux studios Poons Head à Fremantle sur la West Coast australienne, autoproduit en collaboration avec Rob Grant comme ingénieur du son, ce disque sent le bush, la terre rouge, héritage des pionniers venus d’ailleurs à la recherche de leurs origines. L’homme est rare, lui est australien : ainsi parle la poussière.
Little, if not banal at all, this album is recorded in mono sound, a technique abandoned since the 1950s in favor of stereo. The least we can say is that our man is not lacking in inspiration, drawing from the abyss of blues, folk, gospel… Musician of the world, which he roams frantically, he pecks at the sounds, the songs , the voices, to distill a roots and moving musical beverage. Born in Perth in the south of Maylands, he was immersed in this universe at an early age by his parents, and saw his life only through music. 8th opus under his name and first solo album, it is not less than 52 cakes that he realizes between 1968 and 2020. Six years will be necessary for the birth of Where Many Rivers Meet with 25 titles out of time. at the microphone and equipped only with his guitar, Steve Tallis connects the songs without artifice. Back to the source, our proud and naked man is in an ethical and deep process. But what a success! Mix of genres and a cappella songs, sometimes electric and sometimes acoustic guitars, with a voice with a strong accent, dented, close to Calvin Russel. We will see Bob Dylan in ‘She Makes Me Shiver’, not hesitating to hit the body of his 12 strings, approaching the sound of a cythare in ‘See That My Grave Is Clean’. Many times, “House Of The Rising Sun”, “Black Betty” as well as Other Man Done Gone, titles with deep origins, do not escape her in a free and uncluttered format. Little known to the general public, his blues is considered too disconcerting for purists, and too blues for aficionados of the world. Recognized and appreciated by his peers, he will open for Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan among others. Steve Tallis, australian blues griot, true blues shaman, produces music tinged with a spiritual and traditional dimension. It is also qualified as tribal folk, even shamanic. Recorded at Poons Head Studios in Fremantle on the Australian West Coast, self-produced in collaboration with Rob Grant as sound engineer, this record smells of bush, red earth, the heritage of pioneers who came from elsewhere in search of their origins. The man is rare, he is Australian: so speaks the dust.
Chart #131 November 2020
Place This Month / Place Last Month / No. of months in the charts (as of start of November) / Artist / Album / Label / Year / Website
1 /new / new / BACKSLIDERS / Bonecrunch / Independent / 2020 / www.backsliders.com.au
2 / 5 / 1 / THE LACHY DOLEY GROUP / Double Figures / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2020 / www.lachydoley.com
3 / 1 / 2 / FIONA BOYES / Blues in My Heart – 20th year anniversary reissue / Blue Empress – Only Blues Music / 2020 / www.fionaboyes.com
4 / 21 / 1 / JOSH TESKEY & ASH GRUNWALD / Push the Blues Away / Ivy League Records – Mushroom / 2020 / www.ashgrunwald.com
5 / 2 / 2 / CHRIS FINNEN BAND / To My Southern Town / Independent / 2020 / www.facebook.com/ChrisFinnenMusic
6 / 14 / 1 / JIMI HOCKING & BLUES ROULETTE / Jimi Hocking & Blues Roulette / Independent / 2020 / www.facebook.com/Bluesroulette
7 / 4 / 2 / CHRIS TURNER / Rock n’ Roll Man / Big Rock Records / 2020 / www.bigrockrecords.com.au
8 / 19 / 1 / STEVE TALLIS / Where Many Rivers Meet / Independent / 2020 / www.stevetallis.com
9 / 9 / 1 / SUZANNE PETERSEN / Our Street / Independent / 2020 / www.suzannepetersen.com
10 / 10 / 8 / JOEY VINCENT’S BAKELITE RADIO / Rosary of Tears / Independent – Head Records / 2020 / www.theblacksorrows.com
11 / 25 / 12 / CHRISTINA CROFTS / Just How Love Feels / Independent / 2019 / www.christinacrofts.com
12 / 6 / 2 / PAUL BUCHANAN’S VOODOO PREACHERS / Testimony / Independent / 2020 / www.voodoopreachers.com
13 / 3 / 3 / MIKE ELRINGTON / Aftershock / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2020 / www.mikeelrington.com
14 / 7 / 6 / SIMON KINNY-LEWIS / Another Day in San Jose / Independent – SKL Music / 2020 / www.sklblues.com
15 / 24 / 1 / CHRIS HARLAND BLUES BAND / Live at The Grand / Independent / 2020 / www.chbb.org
16 / new / new / DAN DINNEN & SHORTY / Dan Dinnen & Shorty / Shed Jam – Independent / 2020 / http://dandinnen.com/dan-dinnen-shorty
17 / new / new / BLUES ARCADIA / Live at The Royal Mail / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2020 / www.bluesarcadia.com
18 / 44 / 9 / ASH GRUNWALD / Mojo / Bloodlines – Mushroom Group / 2019 / www.ashgrunwald.com
19 / 18 / 21 / BLUES ARCADIA / Carnival of Fools / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2019 / www.bluesarcadia.com
20 / 12 / 14 / LAZY EYE / Whiskey & Gin / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2019 / www.lazyeyeband.com
21 / 8 / 7 / JOEL SUTTON / Rhythm & Blues Revue Vol. 1 / Independent – Only Blues Music / 2020 / www.lonesomebellemusic.com/album-epk.html
22 / 27 / 11 / 8 BALL AITKEN / Swamp Blues 2 / indieExtreme – Red Rocker Records / 2019 / www.8ballaitken.com
23 / 28 / 6 / AARON WEST / Blues Night – Live in Brisbane / Independent / 2020 / www.aaronwest.com.au
24 / 15 / 4 / FRANK SULTANA & BLUES ROULETTE / Live – EP / Independent / 2020 / www.facebook.com/Bluesroulette
25 / 28 / 3 / BRENDAN GALLAGHER / Restless Creature / Independent / 2020 / https://brendangallaghermusic.com/home
Compiled by Anthony Moulay – BayFM Byron Bay 99.9
ZICAZIC MAGAZINE (FRANCE)
Il y a plus de quarante ans que ce griot australien parcourt le monde avec une musique qui s’écarte de tous les codes imposés par l’industrie du disque, celle-là même qui lui a été inspirée par des artistes comme Leadbelly ou encore Bob Dylan, on a connu pire comme influences. Pour son huitième album personnel, Steve Tallis a finalement cédé à une tentation qui lui tendait les bras depuis longtemps, celle de faire un album solo dans lequel il pourrait pleinement se lâcher en s’accompagnant de ses fameuses Gibson SG, de sa Guild 12 cordes, ou même en s’offrant quelques titres a capella. Enregistré en mono pour conserver l’essence même des morceaux, coproduit avec le Poons Head Studio et Rob Grant, « Where Many Rivers Meet » regroupe une quinzaine de compositions mais aussi une dizaine de reprises parmi lesquelles quelques grands traditionnels réarrangés par les soins de l’artiste. Abordant des sujets capables de toucher chacun de ses auditeurs, Steve Tallis y parle indifféremment de la vie et de la mort, de la révolte ou de la résignation, de la résilience aussi, et puis de choses comme l’amour, le sexe ou encore la foi. Il en ressort des enregistrements très bruts, souvent empreints de bruits parasites et de craquements en tous genres, mais aussi et surtout de véritables tranches de vie qui se traduisent par des morceaux exceptionnels comme « She Makes Me Shiver », « When I Wake Up », « Let The Silence Suck Out The Truth », « Hold Your Nerve » ou encore « Put The Acid On », mais aussi par des adaptations de titres comme « Wade In The Water », « Can I Do It For You ? », « Black Betty », « See That My Grave Is Kept Clean » ou encore « John The Revelator » et cette version intéressante de « House Of The Rising Sun ». On appréciera le côté dépouillé de l’ouvrage, cette attitude faussement désinvolte qui consiste à envoyer les morceaux les uns à la suite des autres, un peu à la va comme j’te pousse, mais remarquera aussi le côté abouti de la chose avec un très beau digipack et avec un livret plutôt bien fourni. Et si d’aventure quelqu’un était tenté de taxer cet effort solo d’opportuniste, il serait vite démenti en remarquant que son enregistrement remonte à l’automne 2019, bien longtemps avant la pandémie et ses vagues de confinements. L’essayer, c’est l’adopter !
THE TOORAK TIMES – ROB GREAVES
“The music of Steve Tallis has developed and evolved over the last 40 years and still keeps evolving – [Walin’ T – FairWorld] … .. .. “If there is a form of blues particular to Australia, it might be the blues of Steve Tallis” – [Ritchie Unterberger – AllMusic Review] .. .. ..
“Steve Tallis understands perfectly the art to keep it interesting.” -[Philip Verhaege – Keysandchords] .. .. .. “He is a man who is gifted musically, and his music supports this contention” – [Rob Greaves Senior Editor Toorak Times] .. .. .. “Nothing tastes so sweet as the flavour of integrity” – [Where Many Rivers Meet – Steve Tallis]
It was just on six years ago when I reviewed Steve Tallis‘ then latest release – The First Degree.
In fact it has taken Steve these six years to release his latest album – Where Many Rivers Meet. So, does this mean he has been resting on his laurels over this time? Absolutely not !
Steve is a man who is always seeking to express himself through his music. For him, music is more than a love, – although it is that; it is more than having a talent – although he has that; it is an imperative!
Over these six years he has journeyed many times between his home town of Perth in West Australia and Paris, which is a city he loves, playing constantly.
With some fifty-two plus album releases between 1968 and 2020, there is no way anyone could argue that he doesn’t express his music through recording.
This latest album – Where Many Rivers Meet, is possibly in some ways, his most unusual release.
It is just Steve Tallis – no backing musicians, no backing singers. With 25 tracks, there is a lot to listen to and for those who have some idea of Steve’s vast repertoire – and I suspect very few know it all, I certainly don’t, there are glimpses of music styles from a variety of periods.
This is in fact Steve’s eighth selfproduced album. When speaking with Steve he said that he had wanted to do a solo album for a longtime.
Well, he has delivered!
The title Where Many Rivers Meet, is a title that could represent a period in Steve’s long career, where he has bought together the origins of his music, origins rooted in the blues over which, and in fact through, Steve has impressed his own style, his own touch, his own mojo!
As you listen through this album he entertains, he challenges, sometimes he gets right in your face, and, he seduces you. Using his Gibson SG and 12 string Guild acoustic along with Capella field hollers and a touch of technology, he shares this album that symbolises fertility, rebirth and love.
This is a carefully crafted album but, it also is a very raw sound expressly conceived and carried out by Steve in conjunction with acclaimed engineer and producer – Rob Grant of Poons Head Studio.
Rob and his studio in Fremantle is well known and highly respected for its final product with such artists as Lenny Kravitz, Tame Impala, Jeff Martin, Death Cab For Cutie and many others, all of whom have availed themselves of his skills and his facilities.
The album is presented in mono!
This is most unusual in today’s world of not just stereo productions by multichannel productions.
We don’t need to go back to the 1950’s to find when mono was last used in a profoundly effective way. Brilliant producer Phil Spector did not like stereo, and his recording style was thus not geared to making stereo masters. He wanted to blend everything together, to rise and fall together without the prominence of one sound or instrument and he used mono recordings during the 1960’s to achieve this.
Now, by 1968 mono was all but dead although some 25 years later mono made a sort of comeback. In 1991 Phil Spector had issued a collection of unreleased songs with “Back to Mono” on the cover and he has even printed “Back to Mono” buttons.
There are some in the industry that still challenge the aesthetics of stereo. However, this is not the place for such a discussion. Needless to say as I listened to the albumI failed to even realise it wasn’t in stereo, in fact, the mix results in quite a powerful “wall of sound”.
The Cd is presented in a “gatefold” cardboard cover with a booklet enclosed. It is printed on high quality matt paper finish and contains lyrics to some of the tracks, photo’s and a selection of quotes from various reviews on Steve’s work.
So, to the music on this CD.
Of the 25 tracks, 16 are original creations and the remainder are known and lesser known compositions that Steve rearranged, such as by Huddie Leadbetter, Memphis Minnie and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Trying to chose a selection of tracks to share with you is really, really hard. There is such a diverse selection of styles – and I am starting with Track 2.
Track 1 is a high powered electric blues track, so it is quite a jolt when Track 2 – She Makes Me Shiver comes on. From the moment Steve’s 12 string kicks in, it is hard not to become immediately engrossed.
Steve is not Bob Dylan – nor would he want to be. However, it is not difficult to see how Dylan has had such an impactful effect upon Steve.
Track 4 – Early In The Morning. I have always loved this track and I have to say of the versions I have listened to, this is the most unusual in its overall production. It is a traditional blues number whose origins are lost in time.
Two versions come to mind in more recent years, one by Australia’s Purple Hearts in 1966, and a slightly less challenging version by Ginger Bakers Airforce in 1970.
At only 1min 24 seconds, it is a short track that tells the story of the pain of a black man – who IS all by himself.
Heavily processed – it works and works well, bringing a track possibly conceived over 100 years ago, into the here and now.
Early In The Morning
Moving to Track 8 and we have an example of Steve’s love and ability to do Capella.
Stewball, is a ‘song’ about a horse called Stewball and it’s a very infectious track with a great vocal hook.
I was curious about the story behind the track, and Steve told me that – “I picked up on the version of the song recorded in 1940 by Lead Belly and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet for the Victor label. Pretty much a work song, that was the second of several iterations of the folk song that arose in England in the late Eighteenth Century.”
So it appears that “Skewball” [note the use of the letter l and not t], born in 1741, was a racehorse bred by Francis, Second Earl of Goldolphin. The horse, a gelding, was purportedly the top earning racer in Ireland in 1752, when he was 11.
The song apparently originated as a ballad about a high stakes race occurring in the Curragh in Kildare, Ireland, in March 1752, which Skewball won.
It seems that according to John and Alan Lomax in American Ballads and Folk Songs, the ballad was converted into a work song by slaves – which is supported by the version of the lyrics published in their book. ‘Skewball’ apparently became ‘Stewball’ after the song migrated to the United States.
I just realised that I’m three tracks into the review and I haven’t shared an electric guitar based track, and what better one to feature than Track 10 –Where Many Rivers Meet.
Simply putting it, the words are sheer poetry. While Steve provides a powerful supporting guitar to this track, it is one I hope one day, that he revives with a full band.
This is an exceptional track
My soul has tasted my lips kissed your soul
I’ve swallowed all my pride nibbled at regret
I have craved a love so true
I was forced fed many lies bitten off more than I can chew I’ve read poems that melt in my mouth
Nothing tastes so sweet as the flavour of integrity Dark clouds on every side
The sea of freedom the sea of love
When all is dark I turn to you
In the shape of a dragonfly I will fly to you
Where many rivers meet where many rivers meet …..
Where Many Rivers Meet
The final track for your enjoyment and edification is Track 17 –
A Method To My Madness.
This track could be read in many ways and certainly for me it sums up some of Steve’s key philosophies on life. So not only do we have a musically entreating track, but one that is filled with meaning for the artist.
This is one of the key features of great writers and singers, whether it be John Lennon or even the little known guy down the road who records a track because he has something important to say, and says it with passion and talent.
Christmas is rapidly travelling toward us, so do yourself a favour and buy yourself a copy as a gift to yourself – and while you are at it, what a great gift for a friend.
Australia is, and always has been, rich in talent. At a period where less “true’ music is being heard, it is only right that we support all Australian artists who make the effort to provide us with class music that is rarely heard on radio.
When that talent is of the quality of Steve Tallis, then it is talent and effort that deserves recognition and reward.
Steve Tallis is a passionate, driven and proudly independent musician who in his own way evokes the universal values of life, death, love, sex, transmission, filiation, sharing, energy, faith, beliefs, revolt.
Uncompromising in his artistic integrity, he is one of the few artists brave enough to stand naked and imperfect in an industry that encourages compliance. In a world full of disposability – hanging into things that are true to us is not just important, it is critical for us to survive a humans.
When the devil tries to take me Some friends do forsake me I’m travelling through the world Trying to do the best I can
What more do you need to know to encourage you to buy his album – Where Many Rivers Meet
GREEK BLUES – MICHAEL LIMNIOS
“Music is my life, my calling, my essence, the way I express myself fully. I am a very private person – I value my privacy but I hold nothing back with my music. I live a very quiet life no matter where I live. Anything anyone wants to know about me is in my music, my songs – if you are prepared to listen deeply. I don’t believe in “targeted audiences” – I believe any human being no matter what age, gender, sex, culture can enjoy my music – both live and recorded.”
Steve Tallis: The Journey of Life & Music
Steve started playing music in 1962. Music is his calling. From birth he was surrounded by the music of his Macedonian ancestors and music from the Balkans. Listening to live music at picnics and dances as a small child opened his mind and spirit to trancelike rhythms, improvisation and chanting. He started listening to the radio – Rolling Stones, Them, Animals, Manfred Mann, Jimi Hendrix, Yardbirds, Kinks…. He searched back further to the roots of the music he loved – and then back to the source – Africa. Steve is an Australian Griot, a Blues Shaman. He has lived and performed in the USA, Europe, Mexico and Asia – supporting some of the biggest names in music – eg Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, BB King, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon. Influences include Leadbelly, John Coltrane, Tim Buckley, Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Howling Wolf, Tom Waits, Jack Bruce, JB Lenoir and Bob Dylan… African, Indian, Haitian and Islamic music have all had a spiritual and rhythmic influence on his work. His love of blues, gospel and a cappella field hollers shows both in his live shows and recordings. Two lifelong ambitions came true when he toured India in 1997 and Pakistan in 2003. Explorations into Vodou, Tantra, Buddhism, Sufism, The Bible, Hinduism, Taoism and Native American Indians have affected him deeply. Steve Tallis is unique, fiercely independent and is not a man to be compromised.
“Where Many Rivers Meet” (2020) is the 8th self-produced album by this tireless singer-songwriter. It’s also the most personal. He has wanted to do a solo album for a long time. Steve expresses himself accompanied by his Gibson SG guitar and 12 string Guild acoustic or a cappella field hollers. 16 of the 25 tracks are original creations that alternate with songs he has arranged, the whole giving way to a voice full of conviction. Words that speak of the spirit, earthy, unadorned music that comes from somewhere under the skin, this is as real as it gets. A deeply personal album also thanks to the accompanying booklet with the lyrics of certain songs and a selection of portraits, milestones in the career of a musician who has travelled the world for more than 40 years. The album cover, with this shell like a fossil, undoubtedly refers to the origins of his music which has its roots in the Blues to which Steve brings his personal touch, the fruit of the legacy of his influences from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan. It also symbolizes fertility, rebirth and love. Don’t we say that the Greek goddess Aphrodite materializes in the ocean carried to the shore in a seashell? Steve Tallis is a passionate, driven and proudly independent musician who in his own way evokes the universal values of life, death, love, sex, transmission, filiation, sharing, energy, faith, beliefs, revolt.
How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
I started performing in 1962 so have experienced 6 decades of music and change. I listened to music from a very early age – my home was always full of music – music from my ancestors in Macedonia and The Balkans – Greece, Turkey, Albania, Yugoslavia…Rock n Roll, Jazz, Blues etc. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel and an individualist…I have always been politically engaged (brought up in a left-wing old-style socialist household) and still am very much engaged today – and not just Australia. The 1960s were probably the biggest influence on me but, as I get older, I believe my earlier influences (ancestors – music from The Balkans) is stronger than may be apparent…not necessarily music but spiritually. I love touring and traveling…meeting new people, sharing my music with people, new audiences. I don’t believe in holidays…or breaks from music…playing music is what I do and what I need.
How do you describe Where Many Rivers Meet ‘philosophy’? What touched (emotionally) you from the Abalone shell on your album’s covers?
“Stay true to your / my personal beliefs / philosophies. Work hard. Stay healthy and focused (I was given 6 months to live in 1976 so I focus a great deal on my health). Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Don’t believe anything any critic says about your music – positive or negative. Be honest with yourself.”
How started the thought of solo album with a-cappella field hollers? What was the hardest part of recording this album?
Most of my live work is solo so my decision to record a solo album (and also in mono) was predominantly concerning future live work. It was recorded live – first take….I recorded 39 songs then chose what I considered the strongest, most interesting performances – vocally and guitar-wise. – 10 hours. It showcases what a live show would sound like – with the mix of originals, Blues, Gospel, a cappella field hollers. It’s not hard for me to record….even with a band….I never go into a studio unless I am 100% ready…mentally, spiritually, physically…and I always record live first take…I am after the feeling from a recording…not necessarily a perfect performance. I don’t believe in perfection or mistakes. Not all the songs are necessarily 100% finished before I record. I prefer to leave lots of space for spontaneous things to happen. Also I enjoyed the challenge of recording solo – nothing in the way of 100% freedom. The work really starts with the mixing and mastering. This recording (as are all my recordings) are a team effort with the engineer…Rob Grant (Poons Head Studio Fremantle) – who I consider the critical element in any recording. I only record with people who I trust and who accept my recording philosophies. Trust / faith is a very important element in my recordings whether with musicians or solo. Also, I trust the engineer to give him (or her) creative space to experiment with sounds. (I have also written 13 new songs since recording this album)
Are there any memories from your travels in Ghana, India, Pakistan, and Mexico which you’d like to share with us?
There are many interesting memories. In all these countries I created music with local musicians which were amazing experiences for me – no rehearsals (I never rehearse).
Ghana: I was invited to perform at “Panafest” (2005) – a festival celebrating the end of slavery – in Cape Coast where African slaves were held in forts before being transported to various countries in the world. After my soundcheck (I was performing solo originally), musicians from a 14-piece Nigerian drumming group asked me if they could perform with me at the festival (they were performing before me that night). I was humbled by their offer and they did perform with me plus various other African musicians and singers. I was the first white musician to ever perform at this festival. Also, I visited one of the forts where slaves were held before being transported – one of the most intense experiences in my life. Very sad and overwhelming feelings and connections to dead spirits. For me, it was a critical thing to experience in my life.
India:I was invited to perform at the 50th anniversary of India’s independence from England. “Freedom Jam Festival” (Bangalore – August 1997). The promoter had seen me (solo) at a Jazz club in Hong Kong. We did 3 shows – also with my musicians from Australia – Gary Ridge (percussion) and Dave Clarke (Violin, Harp, Vocals) – “The Holy Ghosts” (who were on my albums “Loko” and “Zozo”. An amazing experience… 30,000 people… going wild… humbling experience for me.
Pakistan: I was invited to perform at one of Asia’s largest World Music Festivals – “World Performing Arts / Music Festival 2003 – Lahore”. I was performing solo again but the festival organisers asked me if I would like various musicians to perform with me – I said yes of course. I had 12 Qawwali singers (some family members of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and also the Sabri Brothers, a world famous Sufi musician with a one stringed instrument twirling around while singing and playing, a violinist, an amazing Tabla player (who could not speak English and later I found out he was one of Pakistan’s most famous tabla players) and various percussionists. The feeling on stage was incredible – intense and powerful. The crowd went wild. (A review from the show is attached). The shows were apparently filmed but, unfortunately, I have never been able to get copies.
Mexico: I was invited there to do a tour with a Mexican Diva called “Jaramar”. Amazing country, great people, interesting culture, great musicians. It was a very interesting experience. I performed in some large theatres, cafes, clubs, bars with local musicians and solo.
Where does your creative drive come from? How does the universal values of life, death, love, and faith, affect your inspiration?
I have no problem with inspiration. I am inspired by life, love, my children, my granddaughter, love, sex, death, faith, belief, philosophy, travel, religion, politics, inequality, the environment, racism, bigotry, discrimination, the human condition.
Music is my life, my calling, my essence, the way I express myself fully. I am a very private person – I value my privacy but I hold nothing back with my music. I live a very quiet life no matter where I live. Anything anyone wants to know about me is in my music, my songs – if you are prepared to listen deeply. I don’t believe in “targeted audiences” – I believe any human being no matter what age, gender, sex, culture can enjoy my music – both live and recorded.
I am writing all the time…I have notebooks in all my jackets, guitar cases, next to my bed etc…I use the mobile phone to record ideas then transfer to my laptop and then delete what I don’t think is interesting. None of my lyrics are written on my laptop…Until I record.
“Unfortunately, the biggest revolution today is the exploitation of musicians by people like Spotify etc. I refuse to have my music available on this parasite’s platform. Pathetic insulting royalties and disrespect. Also, most people’s attention span today is very limited – possibly 20 minutes maximum.”
How do you want your music/songs to affect people? What do you think is key to a life well lived?
I want my music to touch people, move them spiritually, physically, mentally. I would prefer someone to dislike my music but respect me than like my music but disrespect me.
My mother and grandmother always said to me – “Choose a job or profession which makes you happy, live where you are the happiest, surround yourself with people who you love and who love you and make you happy, believe in yourself no matter what anyone says. Never compromise your beliefs even if you are in the minority. Question everything and everyone. Be true and honest to yourself. Respect women and all cultures and peoples. Travel. Don’t place your prime importance on money or material possessions. Learn to look after yourself in every way.” My parents took me to see Louis Armstrong and Trini Lopez at The Capitol Theatre in my hometown Perth in February,1963. I walked out of that concert and told my mother I was going to be a musician for the rest of my life…and I have. I wanted to do to people what Louis Armstrong (and many others since) have done to me.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
Stay true to your / my personal beliefs / philosophies. Work hard. Stay healthy and focused (I was given 6 months to live in 1976 so I focus a great deal on my health). Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Don’t believe anything any critic says about your music – positive or negative. Be honest with yourself. (I am my biggest critic). Never get sucked in by fame or celebrity status – it means nothing. Never compromise for anyone or any amount of money. Also, I have learned that I cannot create music with people who share right wing, fascist opinions and philosophies etc. I only create music with musicians who are my friends or are potential friends. I’m always looking for new musicians to create music with no matter where I live – age, gender, even musical tastes are not that important to me. I listen to an incredibly wide range of music so even if musicians are not necessarily “Blues” musicians, it’s not important. In fact, any purist mentality is a negative for me. I want musicians to challenge me, surprise me, take me on a different journey – the same way I challenge them. I’m 100% open to anything, anyone and anywhere.
“I have always been politically engaged (brought up in a left-wing old-style socialist household) and still am very much engaged today – and not just Australia. The 1960s were probably the biggest influence on me but, as I get older, I believe my earlier influences (ancestors – music from The Balkans) is stronger than may be apparent…not necessarily music but spiritually.”
What is the biggest revolution which can be realized today? What do you think the major changes will be in the world?
Unfortunately, the biggest revolution today is the exploitation of musicians by people like Spotify etc. I refuse to have my music available on this parasite’s platform. Pathetic insulting royalties and disrespect. Also, most people’s attention span today is very limited – possibly 20 minutes maximum. People in general want music for free – recorded and live. Music is not valued enough as a serious profession unfortunately. Most consider it a hobby. It is the toughest today I have ever seen in 58 years of performing as a musician. The Covid19 virus has made the situation even harder with the lack of venues to play. But I sincerely believe things will get back to some normality and live work will happen again. The Covid 19 virus will force many to give up playing music as it is even more difficult than before. Only the serious professional musicians will survive. Another major problem in my opinion is musicians playing for free – devaluing the profession.
From BRUNOS DOUBLE to UNCLE MEAT. Make an account of the case of Aussie blues/rock scene in the 1960s.
The Australian Blues / Rock scene has always been vibrant (and still is today). I believe Australia has some of the best musicians in the world – based on more than 40 years plus touring / traveling. Some Australian Rock / Blues bands in the 1960s were Chain, Loved Ones, Masters Apprentices, Dave Miller Set, Missing Links, Purple Hearts, Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, Ray Hoff and The Offbeats, Phil Jones and The Unknown Blues, Running Jumping Standing Still, Carson, Dutch Tilders, Wendy Saddington, Jellyroll Bakers, Kevin Borich Express, Foreday Riders, Margret Roadknight, Dave Hole, Molly Byron, Georgia Lee, Les Welch, The Throb, Jeff St John and The Id / Copperwine, Max Merritt and Meteors, Paul Marks, Morganfield Jubilee Blues Band, The Set, Current Bun, Down Home Group, Wild Cherries, The Creatures, Adderly Smith Blues Band, Mort and The Mobees, Russ Kennedy and The Little Wheels, The Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band. I would even include The Easybeats as I think of a lot of their music as having r’n’b feels. There are probably more but these are just from my memories.