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Howzat! Archive - November 7th 2012

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On the second day of recording his second album, Nigel Wearne was struck by a "minor catastrophe". The hard drive crashed, just before everything was backed up. The day's recording was lost - about one-quarter of the album. "It was far from ideal and pretty stressful," Nigel recalls. But there was a happy ending. "We recorded the songs again the next day and they sounded even better, which was a huge relief." The results can now be heard on Black Crow, which Nigel is launching at the Thornbury Theatre on Sunday. The album puts Nigel at the forefront of Australia's roots scene. "Les Thomas from the Unpaved music website did a feature about me earlier this year with the title, 'Keeping the Craft Alive', which is pretty much what I'm about," says Nigel, who grew up on a farm in Ellerslie in Western Victoria. His songwriting heroes are Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits, while vocally, a few songs remind of Neil Murray. "I appreciate the compliment. I've been aware of Neil's work, but I haven't had the chance to become closely acquainted with his songs. As a fan of Paul Kelly, Shane Howard and Eric Bogle, I'm sure I would gain a lot from his music. Thanks for the tip!"

"I'm just a gleaner," Nigel sings, which he says "is a fairly apt description of me, I guess - I find myself paying attention to detail when travelling and interacting with people." The album features a song called Cast Iron Promises, which is also the name of Nigel's band. He wrote the song in Canada. "My wife and I had been travelling for about five months and we were both very tired and drained from our nomadic lifestyle. Cast Iron Promises speaks of soul searching and acceptance of one's faults I'd been thinking of getting a band together, and The Cast Iron Promises sounded like a good name."

Black Crow is split into two sides. "The tendency with a CD is to start from track one all the time and neglect the end of the album. I arranged the album in sides to encourage people to occasionally start from track seven. Side one is country and side two is more of a folk narrative. I'm really hoping to press the album to vinyl, but it's pretty costly, so I hope to sell a few CDs and downloads first."

Ross Wilson turns 65 on November 18, but he's not retiring. And why would he when he's writing some of the best songs of his career? Joe Cocker has done a cover of the title-track of Ross' 2010 album, I Come In Peace, which Ross wrote with Rick Brewster. It's on Cocker's new album, Fire It Up, out next week.

Popboomerang Records is turning 10, and Sydney Morning Herald critic Bernard Zuel has joined the party, calling the label "a brand you can trust" in his four-star review of the double-disc retrospective, Aches and Shakes, which is being launched at the Tote on Sunday, 18 November. Howzat! asked label head honcho, Scotty "Pop" Thurling, to rank his three favourite Popboomerang albums. For part two, he lists the label's 64th release. "Howzat! has heard me utter the words, 'I'm not signing anyone at the moment' many times," Scotty laughs. "Perhaps a bit like the boy who cried wolf, as it turns out. But I was sticking to my guns that year [2010] until the promo pack arrived containing the third Underminers' album, Heart Part Of Your Mind. What can you do when you hear an album that feels like it was written just for you, at times about you? As beautiful, brooding, moody and gloomy as anything The Smiths ever released (check out the Smiths homage on the cover)." And Scotty's second biggest mistake in the past decade? Call it Murphy's law. "If you're an ambitious fella, like myself, and you're tired of working a dreaded day job, you dream of bigger things. After four or five years of Popboomerang, I felt that maybe it might be wise to step outside the critically acclaimed pop/rock/twee and jangle tunes I had been releasing and work with an act a little more commercial. So the artist in question was signed and the discs were pressed, and then I heard the fatal words, 'I wanna go on Australian Idol.' To cut a long saga short, our contract had to be torn up to make this happen. The 'famous last words' the act uttered before entering the Idol house were, 'Trust me, I'll look after you.'"

Guy Sebastian's Battle Scars has spent three months in the Top 5.

Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (number five)
Wish You Were Here DELTA GOODREM (16)
Rock Star REECE MASTIN (24)
Boom Boom JUSTICE CREW (30)

Delta's run of number one albums is broken, with her fourth album landing at two.

Child Of The Universe DELTA GOODREM (number two, debut)
Atlas PARKWAY DRIVE (three, debut)
The Abbey Road Sessions KYLIE MINOGUE (seven, debut)
I Awake SARAH BLASKO (nine, debut)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (10)
Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (12)
Spring & Fall PAUL KELLY (14)
Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (15)
The Sapphires soundtrack (25)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (34)
The Rubens THE RUBENS (35)
Bless This Mess LISA MITCHELL (40)

Something To Talk About LAUREN BRUCE
Cast Iron Promises NIGEL WEARNE

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