New Sam Phillips Cover – No Time Like Now

This is a gorgeous and thoughtful song by Sam Phillips. It’s one of the covers I recorded with Samuel when he was here earlier this year. He plays the synthesizer and bass and acoustic drums and cymbals which are really the spice in this version.

You can hear Sam Phillips’ original version on all the usual outlets, of course, and find out more about her at www.samphillips.com

Samuel Cardwell – bass, Behringer Neutron synthesizer, drums 
DC Cardwell – all guitars and vocals

My Latest Sam Phillips Cover Shaping Up Nicely

Most people who know my music know that I adore Sam Phillips. Not the rock and roll producer known for his work with Elvis Presley (although he was good too!) but the fabulous singer/songwriter.

I’ve recorded a handful of her songs before, but this is the latest, “No Time Like Now”. Here is my son Samuel overdubbing some Behringer Neutron analogue synthesizer. 

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Newish album by Pesky Bones AKA Peter Farnan, feat. Paul Kelly, Rebecca Barnard & loads of other brilliant artists!

Pesky Bones is Peter Farnan… Plus

Wow. With all the distractions of the last little while I missed the fact that my Melbourne friend Peter Farnan, brilliant singer-songwriter-musician, member of esteemed Aussie rock hitmakers Boom Crash Opera, and all-round nice guy, has released Pesky Bones Vol. 1, an album featuring other artists singing his songs.
And not just any artists, but the crème de la crème of hip Antipodean artistry. How about this four, for a start…
See below for the complete list but I want to get a song in without you having to scroll down.

Paul Kelly & Rebecca Barnard

To draw you in, here’s an empty-nest song that a lot of us can relate to, with Paul Kelly & Rebecca Barnard in a captivating duet, here harmonizing, there weaving carefully around each other:

Pete in his studio

Nice, eh?  But I also want you to see this – Peter doing his own  energetic, stripped-down version of “Intuition”. At one point he sings into his electric guitar. And his faithful vintage Casio keyboard gets a spin too.

And I like the fact that his studio doesn’t look like a studio, and it hasn’t got a big mixing desk or, really, any visible fancy studio gear. And there are loads of books. And he uses an all-in-one guitar effects unit, not a carefully curated selection of arcane, boutique devices strung together in a big wooden box.

In other words, it’s like mine.

Who else is on it?


Pesky Bones is Peter Farnan with:
  • Rebecca Barnard – vocals
  • Ali Barter – vocals
  • Shannon Birchall – double bass
  • Simon Burke – vocals
  • Paul Capsis – vocals
  • Deborah Conway – vocals
  • Tony Floyd– drums
  • Charles Jenkins – vocals
  • Paul Kelly – vocals
  • Sean Kelly – vocals
  • Emily Lubitz – vocals
  • Peter Maslen – drums
  • Richard Pleasance – double bass
  • Tim Rogers – vocals
  • Dan Tobias – vocals
  • Sarah Ward – vocals
  • All other instruments and singing by Peter Farnan
So check it out on Bandcamp, and buy yourself a copy, or get it on  iTunes.  And say hi to Pete on Facebook.

Multitasking And My New Studio

While I was playing the guitar and downloading some stuff I read this article about the problem of multitasking. And… yes, I already know I have a real problem with multitasking. Like most of us, I do it too much instead of concentrating on doing one thing at a time.

It may be something that’s been exacerbated everywhere by mobile phones and other modern distractions, but I spent most of my life having to multitask, because it was absolutely essential in my old career of pathology lab science. I had to spin plates* hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Even before the ever-increasing modern curse and horror of downsizing staff and upsizing workload, I had to be able to do lots of things at once – things that were literally a matter of life and death. And I still have nightmares about it… always about not having enough time to do everything.

So even today, after being out pathology for four years, I still feel like I have to be doing several things at once, and at the same time thinking about half a dozen other things that need done!
 
And I’ll bet it’s the same in most jobs. What about yours?
 
I love it when I do actually let go and focus on something. It happens when I’m recording or playing music… but not all the time. I might still be checking emails and Facebook every five minutes, on a bad day. However, on those days when I really get into it I can focus for hours on end and those are the days when I achieve something.
 
Or reading a book – something I don’t allow myself enough time for any more – but that can absorb me enough to stop thinking about other things. The problem is that I expect the book to absorb me, rather than me absorbing the book – you know what I mean? If the book isn’t riveting enough I’m likely to put it down rather than put the effort into it. It shouldn’t be like that because that reduces the act of reading to mere entertainment.
 

Anyway, it’s interesting that this article came up in my emails today because, on the very day that my new studio here in Tasmania is finally up and running (yeah!) I had already been thinking that I now need to actually get down to making music again. My fingers can hardly even work the guitar! I’d better get them back up to speed before my new Dean Boca electric 12-string guitar arrives from DW Music in Canberra! 🙂

* If you don’t know what plate spinning is, you’re too young to have watched old-fashioned variety shows on TV.  Check out this clip from The Ed Sullivan Show.

Live From DC’s, S02 Ep18: DC Cardwell live online with special guest Tony Sables

Our good friend Tony Sables​ joined us on lead guitar for our 19 Sep 2015 free online concert. It was very impromptu even by our standards! I’d been bugging him for ages to come and join in, but this day he happened to come over for a visit when he heard we were moving to Tasmania. And we decided to do the show right away, as you do!

Something by George Harrison

I knew Tony was pretty handy with Beatles guitar parts so here he is on our version of George Harrison’s Abbey Road standard,  “Something”

The Mighty Mondo Quinn

Our mutual friend Mondo Quinn was watching the show and both he and Tony had recently been to see “The Manfreds” (a modern reincarnation of Manfred Mann featuring several original members including Paul Jones & Mike D’Abo).

So, as a tribute to Mondo, we did this ramshackle version of one of their biggest hits, Bob Dylan’s “Basement Tapes”  classic “The Mighty Quinn”

So… thanks to all who watched and a special thanks to Tony! More videos to come as I get time to edit them, but things are pretty hectic with our big “overseas” move coming up!

<!– Go HERE to watch the show: NMBlive.com/dccardwell –>

 

DC’s “Pop Art” album tops Mark Daly’s half-year charts!

So yeah, I do know Mark – we met a few times when he used to live in Melbourne and we keep in touch occasionally. He’s a good guy! He makes it clear that I’m a friend in his review. But I was incredibly chuffed to read the nice things he’s said about my latest music. He writes beautifully and I feel like he “gets” my music in the way I would like it to be “got” (if you know what I mean!) He’s given me kind permission to quote him in full so here it is…


 

Marky Awards: Album no. 1

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to announce the number one album for 2015 (so far) in the ‘Marky Awards’. I don’t know if the suspense was killing you, but it was certainly killing me!.. Now, part of me thinks I need to justify my selection. That’s because the gong goes to an independent release by a friend from Melbourne. It’s not unheard of for me to fawn over minor releases, look at Ka and Josef Gordon as examples. Look at Shane Howard down at number 10 on this list following a crowd-funded release. Look at every other act you’ve never heard of but which has appeared on my lists since 2012. Now look at DC Cardwell as he knocks it out of the park with his fantastic sophomore album, “Pop Art”.

DC's new album, Pop Art

DC’s new album, Pop Art

I was lucky enough to get my copy of this album last November before it officially went on sale at the beginning of this year and, I kid you not, it has not been out of the CD player in my car since I got it, it also gets played on Spotify at home or when I’m out and about. DC Cardwell makes no secret of his love for The Beatles and their contemporaries, but rather than engaging in inane, jangly guitar homages like many fans tend to do, or effectively re-recording the actual releases with a few minor variations (as The Rutles did so well, though with tongue firmly planted in cheek), he has found the essence of what made The Beatles’ songs so special and distilled it into a completely original album. Even the cover (not a Beatle song) is recorded such that it’s immediately familiar, yet completely new. It’s a hard gig but DC Cardwell, with help from a few family members, has pulled it off with aplomb.

Something which isn’t immediately apparent until you get to know the songs intimately is the astounding ‘honesty’ in the recordings. Whereas the Brian Wilson album (which took the number 2 slot) is well polished, it feels a little cold. It’s all very precise and clean. You know there’s a plethora of computers and electronics standing between the artist’s performance and what’s coming out of your speakers. The thing that’s missing on many of the albums released in 2015 is a soul, something that reminds you that the instruments are being played by an actual person. In The Beatles recordings the reminder might have been a squeak from a shoe or piano stool (depending on which text you read) followed by a sharp shushing by Paul McCartney, it might have been Lennon coming in too early for his vocals or Harrison too early for his guitar solo… or Ringo at all – here, it’s the occasional clunk as, presumably, DC’s guitar connects with the microphone stand in his home studio in suburban Melbourne.

So what of the songs themselves? Well, you know what you’re in for when “In The Cloud” kicks off the album. You get the immediately familiar ‘oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumpah’ beat from the “Magical Mystery Tour period” which inspired Jeff Lynne’s production style and which all came together again on “Free As A Bird” exactly 20 years ago. No sooner has the song settled into a groove then it swirls away into a crescendo of Harrison-esque lead guitar and McCartney-style ivory-tinkling. The song, which has just reminded you that the physical things we used to hold dear are now nothing more than a collection of ones and zeros stored in a gigantic supercomputer on the other side of the world, then settles back into a comfortable ‘calm after the storm’ ending after just over four minutes – the average length of most tracks on “Pop Art”. Perhaps the next track “Don’t Know Why” is a tribute to the white album. Is it “Martha My Dear” or is it “I Will” that we’re supposed to be thinking of here? Or is it neither one and we’re just supposed to be thinking of the world as it was when that album was made (if you were around then of course)? Next we have what sounds to me more like DC’s own voice and own writing coming to the fore, “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is possibly the most original song on the album, it’s certainly one of my favourites and in analysing it I find myself wanting to talk about some kind of fusion between The Byrds and The Velvet Underground… even though I can’t say it sounds like either of them – perhaps it’s DC’s voice that sounds a bit like Roger McGuinn’s while the guitar does a very good job of sounding like a 12-string Rickenbacker. “Have I Got News For You” feels a bit like a throw away tune, one that DC’s put together because he knew he was a song short or, more likely, the creative muse to flesh it out found a home on other tracks. It feels a bit like “Dig A Pony” from “Let It Be” but, at the same time altogether different… though similarly, slightly unfinished. Next we have “Magic For Everybody”, a fantastic cover of the Sam Philips song, re-imagined as what ELO might have done had Jeff Lynne gotten his mitts on it back in the 70s when he was recording “Evil Woman”. That takes the listener to the half-way point of DC Cardwell’s stunningly good album – I suggest you experience the rest of it for yourself! – I’d also recommend his previous album “Some Hope” which itself has some fantastic material on it (even if I do like “Pop Art” better!)… I’ll add a comment with links about how to buy it or congratulate DC Cardwell on a job well done for the album, and being the winner of the ‘Marky’ award for best album of 2015 (so far!).

j.mp/markys-album-2015A


 

Marky Awards: Song no. 1

DC Cardwell “Magic For Everybody” – I covered the ‘why’ yesterday for why DC’s “Pop Art” nailed the top spot for albums released in 2015 so far. It’s usually pretty consistent on these lists that the top 1 or 2 albums spawn the top 1 or 2 songs. It’s not a fait accompli that the number 1 album holds the number 1 song, though, in fact this is the first time it’s happened. Now for the ‘what’…

Of the 10 tracks on the standard “Pop Art” album it was a difficult ask to work out which one really stood out as a cut above the rest. As with “The Avener” (album 6, which was admittedly all covers) the stand out track on “Pop Art” was a cover, this time of “Magic For Everybody” by Sam Phillips from her 2010 album of the same name. Like every great cover, though, DC’s treatment of the song works with the source material and makes it better – there’s no point doing it if not. He’s picked up what is, to my mind, a nice but ultimately uninspiring song and made it his own – made it his own by re-imagining it as a rediscovered Electric Light Orchestra track. I mentioned in my review of the full album that this song sparks comparisons to “Evil Woman”, however on reflection I’d say it would have fitted in nicely on 1977’s “Out Of The Blue” (maybe straight after “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and replacing “Across The Border” as track 4). I think “Magic For Everybody” just beats out “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” as the best track on “Pop Art”, I think it’s the familiarity we all have with the in your face jauntiness that so many ELO tracks start with that grabs your attention. If you’re not familiar with ELO then you might need to choose a favourite from the other 9 tracks (but I’d suggest “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars” is a good place to start…)

j.mp/markys-song-2015A

Sam Phillips doesn’t blog often, which is a pity because…

My musical drug Sam Phillips doesn’t blog often, which is a pity, because not many musicians possess her wisdom, or, if they do, they’re not letting on.

In this latest one, I like the way she contrasts her station in life to that of heiresses and scientists.

“A young heiress thinks I’m poor, a scientist thinks I am wealthy and have an interesting life”

Read it here!

Sam Phillips Blog - click to read