Nashville, TN -- The Stetson Family brings Australia's best new Bluegrass to the States with the release of their newest disc, O Winding River. The 12 original story-driven songs, range from ballads to up-tempos. Infused with the lush harmonies that are in keeping with the roots of Bluegrass, the tracks feature fresh, progressive instrumentation and free-wheeling lyrics that resonate with subject matter both new and timeless. The CD, available now online, is a collection of the most-popular songs sourced from the band's two previous Australian releases distributed by Vitamin Records: Hey Sister Mary (2009) and The Devil in his Sunday Best (2011).
O Winding River, the CD, is a journey of discovery - an exploration of the brightest - and darkest corners of the heart; the weakness and triumph of man, and the celebration of joy in our lives and in music. From the opening notes of the banjo to the haunting vocal of Nadine Budge, the title track cues the listener that this is one metaphorical river best navigated with eyes wide open.
"O Winding River where do you lead me
Through mountains and hollers to I don't know where
I float on my back and pray that you'll hold me
Deliver me safely till the morning is here"
(N. Budge, B. Hartley, T. McNeil, L. Sinclair)
Highlights abound, but the poignant "Traces Of You" is a lullaby for the heart worn, recalling bridges burned and embers of a love that are nothing more than ashes now. "Brother Harlan" recounts a tale reminiscent of darkest "Gothic" Appalachia featuring snake-bit lovers, a runaway woman and scarring family jealousies. The dark theme continues with the mid-tempo "Hey Sister Mary, Where'd You Get That Gun" and "Dark Side Of Town," two more tunes that Budge handles with an easy vocal confidence. The group's strong male lead vocalist, John Bartholomeusz, takes over on "Every Dusty Road," a foot-stomping throw-down to all-nighters and good times "gone wrong." "Hell Hath No Fury" is a searing reminder of the power of a woman scorned - be it Mother Nature or someone a little closer to home.
The quintet, comprised of Nadine Budge (Vocals, Guitar, Dobro), John Bartholomeusz (Vocals, Guitar), Andrew Carswell (Mandolin, Backing Vocals), Colin Swan (Banjo, Backing Vocals) and Luke Richardson (Double Bass, Backing Vocals) has earned a stellar reputation and a sizeable following Down Under. In 2012 Budge was invited to Nashville for the IBMA World of Bluegrass songwriter showcase for her song (and the disc's title track), "O Winding River." For Budge, that appearance was just the "nudge" she needed to bring the group's music stateside. "We've played some big festivals and events in our country," notes the outgoing singer/songwriter. "But we'd never actively pursued a U.S. fan base. Silly when you think on it, especially since this style of music crosses so many boundaries."
The band performs regularly on the Australian national touring circuit, playing major festivals and cultural events including: Broadbeach Country Music Festival, Jamgrass, Mullumbimby Music Festival, Gympie Muster, Moomba Melbourne, Apollo Bay Music Festival, The Brisbane Festival, and many more.
If The Stetson Family's Australian success is any indicator, the group can look for instant acceptance in the U.S. and beyond. Their album Hey Sister Mary was voted #1 Best Roots/Alt-Country Album on Mystery Train (Bay FM), while The Devil in his Sunday Best was described as "A landmark Australian roots album" by the prestigious Rhythms Magazine. The group has been nominated for Best Song and Best Group by the Victorian & National Country Music Awards (2012) and "O Winding River" was included on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC Favorites of 2012 compilation disc. Two of the band's songs were chosen for inclusion in the national television documentary, Last Chance Saloon (Renegade Productions).
"O Winding River allows us to show a bit of stretch material-wise, I think," comments Budge, the group's spokesperson. "Like any artist, we develop over time and this project is a nice mix of where we've been and where we're going."
CD TRACK LISTING
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