High quality, country tinged, Australian Americana.
There is a lot of great Americana emanating from Australia and sadly much of it flies under the radar internationally. Take Lynn Hazelton for example, ‘Chasing Dragonflies’ is her 4th album but she will likely be a new name to many readers (full disclosure – it was to this writer as well).
Originating from Boulder, Western Australia, which for those with a thirst for geographical knowledge, is about 370 miles inland from Perth near the Western Australia Goldfields, Hazelton was raised as the daughter of a station cook, which maybe gives us a hint as to why her last album from 2017 was entitled ‘The Cooks Daughter’.
‘Chasing Dragonflies’ was co-produced by Mark Donohoe and ARIA winner, Bill Chambers, and features a star-studded line-up such as National banjo champion, Ian Simpson, and Grammy award winner, Lucky Oceans. So why has her 4th album taken 5 years to see the light of day?
“All I was really chasing was to bring you in on a jam with me and my mates, or a trusty little road buddy for the big open sky, a dusty ribbon road and the sweet return of home,” said Hazelton. ‘Chasing Dragonflies’, she continued “started as a few songs with Bill many years ago in New South, flowed on back to the wild west on a roll, went up the Top End …., took a road-trip Far North to Thursday Island, until finally, 2 years later, back across the border, home again to the grassy, green flats of the Gribble Creek, in Boulder, WA. If you keep on chasing that sparkle, glimmer of light, or shimmer from a fluttering, we might not always get exactly what we want, at least not first up, but we’re gonna get a whole lot closer than if we never tried at all. And anyway, the journey can be a lot of fun, and is sure worth having anyway….”
So what does all this time and reinvention get us? It brings a wonderfully melodic album, underpinned by the theme of love and the journey find it and keep it. The album edges towards the country end of Americana but never crosses the threshold into full-on mainstream country. The jaunty opener ‘Hay Plain’ sets the tone with its wonderful description of the yearning for long cross-country journey as Hazelton sings about open blue skies and the sights, smells and experiences that are part an parcel of long overland trips. There’s a number of tracks such as ‘I’m Going Home’ and ‘Always By My Side’ which illustrate the theme love (or love and loss in the case of the latter). The rest of the album is best described as music that will make you feel good, all wrapped up with very high quality musicianship from the supporting cast.
This isn’t an album that tries to change the world with deep or impenetrable lyrics but it is a high quality piece of work that is very enjoyable to listen to and it’s also worth some time to check out Lynn Hazelton’s previous output while you’re at it. Hopefully it’s not another 5 years before her next album sees the light of day.