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Howzat! Archive - August 7th 2013

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It's Katie Brianna's birthday when Howzat! contacts her. She's doing a gig at The Pub in Tamworth with Karl Broadie. We mention that we hope she has a happier day than the subject of her song Birthday Girl, from her debut album, Dark Side Of The Morning. "Yeah," she smiles, "I guess that song is kind of true. It was 2.32am when I looked at my phone while I was writing it, the morning after my birthday. I'm a night owl and my husband usually likes to get to sleep at a reasonable time. I was drinking a bottle of wine on my own - he doesn't drink - and I was feeling quite lonely." But just like Katie's own story, there was a happy ending. "This year was a good birthday," she says. "I played a gig with a good friend and then stayed up till 6am, and I wasn't lonely."

Katie Brianna's life changed when her sister brought home a copy of The Captain, Kasey Chambers' solo debut. "I hadn't heard anything like it before," Katie recalls. "All I wanted to do was sit down with my new guitar and learn all of her songs." Katie would later play the first song she wrote, No Friend Of Mine, to Kasey's dad, Bill, who became a bit of a mentor. "It was so daggy. I think it was about an old high school boyfriend." Soon after, Katie was working with another songwriting hero, Paul Kelly, on the ARIA Award-winning Jindabyne soundtrack, singing his song Jindabyne Fair. That was released in 2006. Asked if she can put the making of her album into a few words, Katie says simply: "It took a long time." It's a cliché that you have a lifetime to write your debut album, but it's true with Dark Side Of The Morning. Katie started writing the single, Oh Night, when she was just 15, and in Siren Call she sings: "Good things come to those who wait." Indeed.

Katie was 19 when she wrote the heartbreakingly beautiful title-track. "I was coming through the worst part of a period of depression, hence the sad subject matter. I suppose a lot of the songs are very much at the 'sad' end of the songwriting spectrum. Dark Side Of The Morning was like a release for me, letting go of that part of my life." Bernard Zuel's Sydney Morning Herald album review stated: "It would be fair to say this album does tend to see the cloud in every silver lining, to feel sorry more than happy, to imagine the rain just behind that blue sky …" Is Katie a glass-half-empty person? "I think when I wrote a lot of these songs I really was. I'm happy now, though! That's not to say I won't write any more sad songs." She laughs. "Who wants to sit down and write a song when they're happy?"

To escape "seemingly incurable shyness", Katie started writing songs. "I was extremely shy around strangers as a child. If a teacher even just asked me a question, I would go beet red and want to cry. Singing and playing in front of people really has helped 'cure' me." Katie is the high school dropout done good. "I left after Year 10," she reveals. "I was really miserable at school. I didn't realise at the time but those feelings of depression and anxiety started early in high school. And I just couldn't handle it anymore." Katie got a job at McDonald's, "which lasted for about 3 days because I couldn't handle that either". Katie is now 25, with no regrets. "It wasn't right for me to be there [school] and it was doing nothing for me." She actually did a university bridging course and contemplated becoming a scientist. "That makes me laugh now. I'm so happy doing what I'm doing, even though it's definitely not an easy path." Katie Brianna journeys to Melbourne this weekend, to launch Dark Side Of The Morning at the Retreat on Saturday, with The Weeping Willows.

It's chilling and it's thrilling - and Mark Hartley's debut dramatic feature, Patrick, has a couple of music connections. Mark has made more than 150 music videos, including some chilling classics for Stephen Cummings (head to YouTube to check out the clip for Fell From A Great Height). And Patrick is a remake of the 1978 cult classic, directed by Richard Franklin - the drummer in Ross Wilson's high school band, The Pink Finks, who had a Top 20 hit in Melbourne in 1965 with their cover of Louie Louie. Patrick hits cinemas in October.

What About Tonight land at 30.

Riptide VANCE JOY (number eight)
Parachute TIMOMATIC (12)
Resolution MATT CORBY (15)
Fire Starter SAMANTHA JADE (19)
Sheppard EP SHEPPARD (20)
Time Of Our Lives WHAT ABOUT TONIGHT (30, debut)
Act Your Age BLISS N ESO (31)
To The End Of The Earth JESSICA MAUBOY (32)

Kate Ceberano debuts at 23.

Asymmetry KARNIVOOL (number three)
Circus In The Sky BLISS N ESO (four)
More Than A Dream HARRISON CRAIG (five)
A Time For Us LUKE KENNEDY (12)
The Great Country Songbook TROY CASSAR-DALEY & ADAM HARVEY (13)
Glorious Ruins HILLSONG LIVE (16)
Kensal Road KATE CEBERANO (23, debut)
Departures BERNARD FANNING (28)
A Hell Of A Career! JOHN WILLIAMSON (29)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (31)
This Music CELIA PAVEY (33)

Dark Side Of The Morning KATIE BRIANNA
Wish In My Dish SUSY BLUE
Everything Is Everything MAJOR CHORD

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