Unpredictable, at times playfully mischievous and varying from the standard, the “rogue” in Sadie and Jay has inspired some wonderfully creative and entertaining wayward 'folk' songs!
Brisbane based acoustic duo “Sadie & Jay” release their second independent album “ROGUE FOLK” this month! The duo's collaborative work of original songs hint of origins in the Anglo-Celtic tradition traveling through modern Australian folk and roots. The album features a host of prominent guest musicians and is produced by acclaimed guitar virtuoso, Michael Fix.
The songs are rich in musical depth and meaning, the distinctive vocals and crafted lyrics are focal to the tales of history and endeavour, love & light-hearted comedy. Jay's finger picked guitar and bouzouki along with Sadie's double bass are the foundation to the songs, the accompaniments creating evocative and dramatic soundscapes.
Guest artists include Suzanne Hibbs (percussion), Rebecca Wright (cello), Carmel Newman (fiddle), Matthew Moline (harmonica), Ian Dixon (squeeze box), Donald MacKay (bodhran), Uthal Plantener (washboard) and Michael Fix (guitars and magic!) The instruments read like a good pub session yet the “Rogue” players wander into imaginative territories on this project. The poignant “Rogue Folk” album artwork is an exquisite portrait by Brisbane artist Chris Hall.
Sadie and Jay have been collaborating and performing in and beyond the Brisbane folk and festival scene for the past four years. They released their first independent original album “CURIOUS” in 2015. Several of the songs have been award winners, two were shortlisted for the 2015 Australian Songwriters Awards and another two came first in the open category of APRA/AMCOS competitions in 2015 and 2017.
Review by Tony Smith
Chris Hall’s paintings provide a colourful cover for this album.
His use of light emphasises shadows, and the tints create a dream-like atmosphere.
This first visual impression sets ‘Rogue Folk’ into a mythical realm, a time of legends and magic, which might be why Michael Fix is said to play guitars, mandolin and magic (?).
Other contributors to the eleven tracks on the CD include the frontline pair, arrangers and writers, Sadie Gwynne Jones (double bass and piano) and David ‘Jay’ Penman (guitars, banjo and bouzouki).
Excellent support is provided by Suzanne Hibbs (percussion), Rebecca Wright (cello), Donald McKay (bodhran), Uthal Plantener (washboard) and Ian Dixon (squeezebox).
Carmel Newman’s fiddle and Matthew Moline’s harmonica work are particularly impressive.
They add immeasurably to the earthiness of several of these numbers.
Newman’s fiddle weaves around the lyrics beautifully, and Moline’s work on ‘Red Red Dirt’ and ‘Take Me Seriously’ is outstanding.
This is an enjoyable album with plenty of variety.
The vocal harmonies are well arranged and executed.
The opening track, ‘Hero of Waterloo’, is not directly concerned with Wellington, but with a pub of that name in inner city Sydney.
Sadie’s high voice is mesmerising on this track.
The more traditional folk-sounding tracks are perhaps the easiest listening.
The title track, ‘Rogue Folk’, and, ‘Publicly Transported’, fit especially neatly into this genre.
The former is paean to rascals and vagabonds and the common folk –“watch your backs you idle rich”.
The latter is a tease on the idea of convict transportation, where the punishment is having to use buses and trains with commuters “who hide behind their iPhones”.
In ‘Song Already Written’, the voices echo against a faint background drone.
Sadie and Jay sing of notes, harmony and discord.
‘Leaving the Nest’ is a wistful song about separation.
‘Red Red Dirt’ has a didjeridoo type flourish at the beginning.
‘Bounce’ shows Sadie’s voice pitched lower, and it is much richer in this range, and her lyrics are clearer.
‘Long Way From Lost’ is a song of the open road, which is very evocative.
This is among the best you will hear in the road-song sub-genre, and possibly the track which has greatest potential.
Sadie sings to her piano in ‘Window’, a slow bluesy feeling number.
Jay’s banjo brings something special to ‘I Want To Play’, and Ian Dixon’s squeezebox and Carmel Newman’s fiddle complement the voices beautifully.
Again, Sadie’s lower register is very true.
‘Take Me Seriously’ is a good upbeat track to finish on.
Blues fans will love this dialogue, especially with Moline’s harmonica and Sadie and Jay’s voices blending perfectly.
When the performers are so clearly enjoying themselves, their mood becomes infectious.
“Rogue Folk” contains excellent original songwriting and arrangements.
The tracks are varied in style and the performers are all accomplished musicians.
The more you listen to these songs, the more you find to like in them.
Sadie and Jay should keep this ensemble together, and keep writing songs.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 27 September, 2017.