Last time on Chain Gang, Alasdair Fotheringham left us with “Forgotten Coast” by the excellent James McMurtry. “Forgotten Coast” was a standout track on 2015’s “Complicated Game”, which was succeeded last year by McMurtry’s most recent album release “The Horses and the Hounds”.
My mid teenage years were preoccupied with various activities; learning to play guitar, chasing girls and trying, along with my friends, to pass ourselves off as sophisticated young men, with the constant but achingly elusive goal of getting served in the pub. Zits and bum fluff frequently betrayed our tender years and thwarted our misguided attempts to attain a pint of Hofmeister, a packet of Salt ’n’ Shake, or chat up Melanie behind the bar. However there was one hostelry possessed of a landlord prepared to turn a blind eye to our adolescent endeavours, The Horse and Hounds. The pub no longer exists, and is now a pizza joint, but the smokey recollections of the stained pool table baize and the perpetually flooded Gents remain clear. Neither McMurtry’s album nor the title track is specifically concerned with a pub, but a song that is would be Lincoln le Fevre’s “Hope & Crown”.
Lincoln le Fevre is one of Australian music’s best kept secrets, a self confessed ‘emo country’ songwriter with a fine line in fiery performance and a sharp eye for descriptive observational lyrics. “Hope & Crown” vividly tells the stories of a cast of charismatic characters passing through the titular pub; Lefevre bumps into an old flame not seen since school, encounters a couple of sailors on shore leave, refugee bar staff from Singapore, and the drunken, angry girlfriend of one of said seamen.
“Hope & Crown” comes from the excellent album “Resonation”, which when released in 2012 promised much from the Hobart, Tasmania native but since then Lefevre has been largely inactive as a solo artist, resurfacing only in 2017 with the release of “Come Undone”, recorded with his band The Insiders. Considering though the concept of quality over quantity, “Resonation” is a strong and accomplished album with a straight talking storytelling style that is quintessentially Australian, over accessible, melodic songs are universally appealing, equally capable of instigating air punching singalongs or crowd silencing affinity.
Lincoln le Fevre surely has more stories to tell; perhaps there is a follow up to “Resonation” still to come, with a new clientele of drinkers to meet.