Dan Sultan has been a singular musical presence in Australia since the release of his first album, 2006’s Homemade Biscuits, straddling genres and celebrating the diversity of his audiences. All the while, he’s also become one of the country’s most revered songwriters.
For a songwriter who quickly became a household name and has played every Australian festival under the sun, touring the Blackbird album for a mammoth two months to sold-out venues defined ‘living the dream.’ Taking its name from Nashville’s Blackbird Studios, the album resonated with audiences and industry alike, winning three NIMAs, the 2014 ARIA for Best Rock Album and was certified gold.
Just months after it debuted in the top five of the ARIA Albums Chart, Sultan’s fourth album Killer was nominated for Best Rock Album and Best Independent Release at the 2017 ARIA Awards. Sultan was nominated for Best Male Artist, not for the first time.
Sultan’s 2018 release, Killer Under A Blood Moon, recorded at Red Moon Studios with producer Jan Skubiszewski, is testament to the respect Sultan garners in his peers. Four songs, four days in a timber-clad studio set in the sweeping Macedon Ranges, northwest of Melbourne. Dan Sultan arrived with his guitar each morning not knowing how the selected tracks from his album, Killer, would be reinterpreted by the brightest names in Australian music: A.B. Original, Camp Cope, Meg Mac, and Gang of Youths frontman Dave Le’aupepe. The first project to see the light of day in 2019 was the aptly titled Aviary Takes, a collection of older, existing back catalogue songs and a smattering of new tracks including a couple of out-of-the-blue covers and fresh tunes stripped back and all recorded in ‘one vocal take’ at The Aviary Studio’s in inner city Melbourne.
Dan has also released his debut kids album, 'Nali & Friends', and will be performing special shows in Melbourne and Sydney on the back of its release.
Micki Free is a "mixed-blood Cherokee/Comanche" Native American, adopted by LaNora Parker, the great granddaughter, and Comanche direct decendant of the last great Comanche Chief; Quanah Parker of the most POWERFUL INDIAN Tribe in American History...the Comanche! Micki is a "Three Time Grammy Award Nominee, Grammy Award Winner & Five Time Native American Music Award Winner". Discovered initially by KISS Super Star and frontman Gene Simmons and managed by Diana Ross. Micki has gone on to an "unprecedented" career in the entertainment business. Micki was also chosen to perform in full Native American Comanche regalia as the opening act for Jay Leno in Flagstaff Arizona at NAU early in his career.
Micki Free has three award winning Native American Flute CD's: "The Sun Chaser"; Micki's first love song flute CD written about his trails, hopes and loves through his travels on his Native American Flutes. "Sedona Free"; Written about the "sacred spiritual red earth" and Native American ancestors/people of Sedona Arizona. A magical recording of Sedona's heartfelt aura and vortex...the big skies, and its monsoon winds...the animals and hauntingly beautiful sounds! "Comanche"; Micki's Native American flute CD dedicated to his family and The Comanche people.
Sara Storer always did feel good when it rained. Still does. That’s natural: she grew up on a wheat farm in Victoria and has been close to the land in one way or another ever since. She lives on a small rural property outside of Albury in New South Wales with husband Dave and their four young sons.
“I just have a thing for the rain, I love it,’’ she says. “When it’s raining I feel motivated, I have this energy. I think it’s even stronger in me than anyone else in the family.’’ Which is saying something when her three brothers are farmers. So it’s no surprise that the rain, searching for it, longing for it, the renewal it brings, features so prominently in the songs on Storer’s sixth studio album, Silos.
Storer is one of Australia’s most-loved singer-songwriters, a multiple Golden Guitar winner whose crisp observations of the Australian landscape and its people provide the solid foundation stone for her music. She has seen all the beauty, joy and heartbreak this land can bring, living for a time in western Queensland, where she wrote her first song, and working as a schoolteacher in Katherine in the Northern Territory.
“Of course I love to sing about the rain because it draws so much emotion out of me. I have a soft spot for people who work on the land. I grew up with that, my family still do it, I see all the struggles and the triumphs. I know how hard they work. I love writing about those people because they are such colourful characters. But how lucky are they to get to live out in the bush?’’
Sara Storer was born to sing about real people, honest emotions, and the land she loves. She has never said it better than she does on Silos.
With six highly-regarded albums and music featured in documentaries such as John Pilger’s Utopia, Nhunggabarra, Kooma, Muruwari man and international touring
singer-songwriter Glenn Skuthorpe is a masterful lyricist and compelling performer who gives voice to those whose stories must be heard. Glenn’s self-produced fifth independent album ‘See My World’ (Feb 2017) is evocative of the wide-open road with its folk-rock sound infused with country and blues and undertones of mid-sixties and early seventies dirty melodic rock. It demands the listener lean in closer, get on their feet and come along for the ride.
Following best album nominations for ‘See My World’ and a string of highly successful tours (Byron Bay Blues Fest, Woodford, Cygnet, Illawarra, Calgary and Edmonton Folk Festivals to include appearing in the line up alongside Buffy Sainte-Marie), Glenn will pen his seventh album in 2019 while out on the road touring nationally and internationally.
‘Glenn Skuthorpe’s music sings this country. When I hear his words and hear what hehas to say, it’s this country singing back to us.’ Alec Doomadgee, Proud Waanyi, Garawa and Gangalidda man (QLD), Festival CEO & Artistic Director, Gulf Country Frontier Days Festival
Multi international award winning, mezzo-soprano and Cree language singer Rhonda Head from Opaskawayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, will share her unique voice and stories of adventures, challenges and triumphs with the Gulf Country Days Festival audiences in 2019. Rhonda has received thirteen nominations in total and won six international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. To date Rhonda has released three albums and numerous singles, and is currently working on her fourth album. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the five Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called ‘Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl.’
Rhonda says, “Follow your heart, before your mind changes it.”
Tjupi (Honey Ant) come from the Papunya, 250k NW of Alice Springs. Tjupi Band play energetic and emotive desert reggae. Singing in Luritja (as well as in English), they are the foremost musical inspiration for people across Central Australia. From growing up learning from the members of Warumpi Band, They form part of the new wave of uniquely Indigenous Australian reggae; alongside other musical innovators such as Saltwater Band and Letterstick Band. In September 2009 they were chosen as one of three acts to perform in Darwin at the Telstra NT Indigenous Music Awards; sharing the stage with Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and Jessica Mauboy.
The Sandridge Band was formed in 1995 playing at the first Lidjakarda Festival at Wandangnula Outstation near Borroloola. The band members studied several units of the Charles Darwin Contemporary Music Course in 2004 and performed at Katherine “Music Without Humbug” supporting Neil Murray, Borroloola Rodeo Battle of the Bands.
In 2005, they performed at Tenant Creek Battle of the Bands Youth Week, Katherine Flying Fox Festival supporting Nabarlek Band, Youth Week in Borroloola, supported Nomadics Band at gig at Youth Centre, Borroloola Rodeo Battle of the Bands and numerous gigs at Borroloola Hotel and Sandridge Outstation.
In 2006 the band performed at Merripen Arts, Darwin, Katherine, Garma and Tennant Creek Festivals. They were the winners of the Barungu Festival Road Safety songwriting competition, and performed at Solid Territory gigs Sydney and Newcastle in 2008.
Their songs are a mixture of reggae, rock and metal sounds, about land, culture, people and contemporary life in communities.