SCALA (Songwriters, Composers and Lyricists Association) proudly showcase their 22nd album of original music and compositions by local songwriters. A double disc, this compilation features seasoned as well as newer musicians, performing all style of music ranging from blues, folk, country and ballad, as well as more modern and pop sounding material.
SCALA has over time welcomed, fostered, showcased and demonstrated some of the most amazing songwriting that the state has seen. Some of the artists have gone on to reach lofty heights indeed, and others simply enjoying the platform to celebrate their personal works, and reach those they might otherwise not with their words and their stories. Seasoned musicians, recording artists and novice one-off studio goers; this double disc CD holds something for everyone.
For me, the object of such a disc is to not only promote and support local live and original music, but it is an excellent way to discover exactly what is out there and go on to, perhaps, seek out musicians to witness and listen to further.
Standouts on the album are aplenty. Opening disc one, Holding Pattern has a sound, at least in this example, not dissimilar to that of The Beatles. Cheerful and joyous, the song is a great way to open up the lyrical floodgates. James Donnelly performs beautiful slide guitar and stunning vocals for his song I’ll Be Yours, with a great electric guitar instrumental in the middle. Courtney Robb, who has struck a personal favourite with so many at local festivals as well as interstate, treats us to Selfish Heart, with her soothing and lovely voice. Great strings by local whiz violinist/cellist Emma Woolcock make this a standout.
Peter Clayton has a lovely and old fashioned piece called Never Be Mine, that is suitable for those enjoying Emma-Lou style lyrics and harmonies. Danny Hooper’s Eternally is a great moving song with fabulous instrumental arrangements – it really is the whole package.
Tash Stolz, who features on Triple J’s unearthed as well, is a fantastic indie performer from Adelaide whose stark and thoughtful ditty with her acoustic is reminiscent of something a little bit Tracy Chapman-ish, in a poetic and raw manner. Tristan Newsome’s lovely song is slightly distracted by the fact that his guitar could have used a little more tuning, but aside from that it is thoughtful and uplifting.
Hugh Dubyna offers us a gorgeous instrumental on his acoustic guitar that makes me want to go and seek an album out of his.
The second disc has the beautiful finger picking of Ben Searcy and his mournful tale in Wangary; there is great rhythm and feel to his music. Upon hearing Dangerman’s I’m Still Waiting, I had the uncanny feeling I had heard their song earlier on the road that day – not necessarily because it was mimicking anything but because of the ageless, classic feel of their sound- this band wouldn’t be out of place in the ‘80s or now.
Jackie Dee has a beautiful Song called Doors And Windows, engineered in Nashville and featuring a very tight full band. Delightful finger picking opens Claire Gurry’s Winds Of Love, while Oh Mama by The Brouhaha is one of the more diverse songs on the album; a sexy bluesy number.
A personal favourite – and you need to take the time to read/listen to the thoughtful lyrics, is Mary Webb’s news Time For Being Brave. It is songs like these that make you grateful for the opportunity to have the words heard of so many out there we may not get the chance to normally encounter. There is something in the stream of thoughts she shares with us that surely most people would have a resounding understanding; if but a fleeting recognition that maybe she is singing about you too.
Adrian Miller’s Belly Too Full is a humorous penultimate ditty towards the end with fabulous spoken word, lamenting the greed of modern man and our unwholesome habits in society and within ourselves.
Overall the premise of the SCALA recordings is brilliant. It’s a celebration of a collective of talented, varied and all worthy performers and lyricists baring their souls to us all. We are grateful and we are richer for all of their music.