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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - August 22nd 2012

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PENNY'S NEVER-ENDING DESIRE
It's been a sweet homecoming for Penny Hewson. After a decade in the US, the former Sea Stories guitarist and singer has returned to glowing reviews for her first solo album in 14 years, It's An Endless Desire (out now on Popboomerang Records). "The record's template could be Carole King's Tapestry," Craig Mathieson wrote in The Age EG. Jeff Apter called the album "very human, very real" in The Sydney Morning Herald. "Hewson's voice won't shatter the crystal," he wrote, "but who cares when she can articulate desire so well?" And in Rolling Stone, Barnaby Smith said the record was "startling in its innocence and sincerity". "I have to admit I did like the comparison to Tapestry," Penny says. "I see myself more naturally as a songwriter/musician than a singer. And I would've loved to have had a gig at the Brill Building in the '60s and '70s, rubbing shoulders with Laura Nyro and Burt Bacharach. What a great time to be a songwriter - when the craft was so respected."

Penny launches the album at the Empress on Friday, 31 August, with the Dead Salesmen duo and former Hellvelln frontman Jeremy Gronow. "I don't think we played any shows with The Dead Salesmen back in the day, but I really like the last Underminers album and I'm looking forward to sharing a stage with Hap. Helvelln and Sea Stories certainly did some shows together, and Jeremy and I reconnected recently via Facebook - as you do!" Will Penny drop any Sea Stories songs into her set? "Oh," she says, surprised, "I hadn't thought about it."

It's An Endless Desire is a deeply personal record, right down to the artwork. "When I got back to Melbourne, I took some life drawing classes," Penny explains. "The one on the cover was literally one of my first drawings. It came from a 20-second warm-up exercise, so I had no time to think about it. I like it because it's so simple. It was a spontaneous response and I thought it matched the feel of my album." As Penny says, "There's a lot to be said for approaching things with a beginner's mind." So is it hard to keep music-making fresh? "Honestly, I don't feel like I've been doing it for a long time. I guess it's always been in fits and starts, when the creative part of me gets fed up with my lack of industriousness and demands I pay attention! It certainly felt fresh recording this album, partly because I did take those years out, but also because I really waited to be 'in the right place at the right time'."

In the liner notes, Penny writes, "This is the album I've always wanted to make." What next? "Now that I've finally gotten to here, I think I can go one better," Penny smiles. It is, indeed, an endless desire.


MELBOURNE MUSIC WEAK
Melbourne Music Week is a City of Melbourne initiative "dedicated to celebrating and supporting the city's world-famous music scene". This year's event, running from November 16 to 24, will feature more than 200 acts spread over 90 events. No doubt most of them will be local. But MMW's first announcement, of nine acts, included five overseas artists - three from the US, one from France and one from Italy. As a mate of Howzat!'s said: "It's a disgrace - I don't want my parking ticket fines funding French synth house and Italian prog rock crap!"


PICTURES OF YOU
A guy who does a lot to support the local scene is Tim Chmielewski (also known as Tim Chuma). Along with Carbie Warbie, Tim is the hardest-working photographer in town. Don't miss Tim's photo exhibition, "Over The River And Back", at the Caravan Music Club in Oakleigh until 1 September.


BLUES FOR YOU
Local bluesman Black Smith Hopkins is putting the finishing touches to a new double album. Meanwhile, he's playing at The Prague, 911 High Street, Thornbury on Saturday.


DO YA THINK I'M SIXTY
Deborah Conway dubbed him "God-inski". He started Mushroom Records 40 years ago. He's never been afraid to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to supporting local artists. Happy Birthday to Michael Gudinski - he's 60 today (Wednesday).


IT'S THAT TIME OF YEARRR
Don't forget to subscRRRibe - www.rrr.org.au.


CHART WATCH
Guy Sebastian scores his sixth number one single. Only two Aussie acts - Kylie and Delta - have more chart-toppers.

Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (number one, debut)
Boom Boom JUSTICE CREW (two)
Dancing With A Broken Heart DELTA GOODREM (15, debut)
When The Lights Go Out HAVANA BROWN (16)
Everyone's Waiting MISSY HIGGINS (24)
Lolita THE VERONICAS (27)
Run Alone 360 (30)
On Top JOHNNY RUFFO (35)

The Sapphires soundtrack becomes the sixth Aussie album to top the charts this year.

The Sapphires soundtrack (number one)
There Will Be Love ADAM BRAND (four, debut)
The Ol' Razzle Dazzle MISSY HIGGINS (six)
My Journey KARISE EDEN (seven)
A Is For Alpine ALPINE (11, debut)
Broken Brights ANGUS STONE (19)
Happy Home DARREN PERCIVAL (20)
Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (21)
The Story So Far KEITH URBAN (24)
Falling & Flying 360 (27)
Shooting Star RACHAEL LEAHCAR (32)
The Temper Trap THE TEMPER TRAP (35)
Cornerstone HILLSONG LIVE (38)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
No Regrets PENNY HEWSON
Your Love SASKWATCH
Pistol MIA DYSON
Maiden Name SPLIT SECONDS
Tennis Clothes MINIBIKES

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