Restrictions of some shape or form have now been dictating the way we live our lives – in the UK at least – for a whole year now, and as we find ourselves in spring again my desire to be outdoors and on the open road is higher than ever. I’ve really missed being able to travel so frequently and freely, and while I haven’t been to Australia itself for over 17 years, I’ve come across a host of fantastic acoustic-based Australian artists over the last few weeks and their music has really personified that feeling of adventure and being outdoors. Below are six of my favourite Australian folk songs released in 2021:
6. Just How Good You Got It – Michael Dunstan
This is actually a last-minute addition as it was only released yesterday, but Western Australian artist Michael Dunstan’s new track Just How Good You Got It has some fantastic melodies and backing vocals, really nice guitar and a cool video too. My articles are always Top 5, but I’m going against the grain and turning this article into a Top 6 as I couldn’t leave this song out!
5. Drop In The Stitch – Josh Pyke
Of all the artists I’ll be talking about in this article, Josh Pyke is the one I’ve been listening to the longest – by far! I remember when I first properly started using Spotify about seven or eight years ago, I went on a ‘related-artists spree’ and one of the artists that I poached for my various playlists was Josh Pyke. The album I was listening to was The Beginning And The End Of Everything, and I remember giving the title track a good hammering. Fast forward seven or eight years and Pyke is still making great folk-pop music – his most recent release, Missing Memories, was released back in February. Drop In The Stitch, a simple, upbeat opener with a nice riff and strummed guitar throughout, is my favourite song from the EP.
4. Getting Low – Ziggy Alberts
Getting Low is taken from Searching For Freedom, the brand-new album from Queensland-born singer-songwriter Ziggy Alberts. I only found Ziggy Alberts about two weeks ago thanks to Hollow Coves, another Australian artist, and his chilled vibe is exactly what I needed at the time. I would recommend listening to the whole of Searching From Freedom, but Getting Low stands above the rest for me with its interesting percussion and dramatic change of tempo halfway through.
3. Komorebi – Kim Churchill
Kim Churchill is another singer-songwriter that’s only entered my peripheral in recent weeks, again thanks to Hollow Coves, and his new EP AGAIN is marvellous. It’s not too dissimilar to much of the other music being released by artists in this article, aside from it being less ‘stripped back’, but the double-tracked vocals on opening track Komorebi is stunning and the continuous finger-picked riff throughout the song is really nice. Churchill’s voice reminds me a bit of James Blunt, and it works really well with the instrumental parts of his music. All in all, a nice song and great artist.
2. All My Love – Riley Pearce
Of all the new Australian artists I’ve discovered in recent weeks, Riley Pearce, specifically his track All My Love, has been my favourite. All My Love reminds me of that turning point in a film where the protagonist has a profound sense of realisation about something and decides to start running (I can’t think of any specific examples of this…but I hope you get the gist). The riff is simple but beautiful, and when the thundering drums and backing vocals enter the song becomes really atmospheric. Very catchy song!
1. Lonely Nights – Hollow Coves (feat. Priscilla Ahn)
Hollow Coves, who could perhaps be considered the pioneers of modern Australian folk music, have been going from strength-to-strength over recent years and the recognition is absolutely deserved. The duo’s motto and purpose centres around travel, the outdoors and being on the open road, which seems quite fitting given what I said at the start of the article. Their latest release, Lonely Nights, which features some beautiful vocals from Priscilla Ahn, is pleasing to the ears. The warm acoustic guitar, the sounds of rain and the subtle piano gives me that sense of escape and makes this track my favourite new Australian folk track of 2021 (so far).
I would be lying if I said my knowledge and understanding of the Australian folk scene is deep, and I’m sure there are tonnes of other great Australian artists I’ve missed out in this article, but after being locked indoors for the best part of a year these songs have helped me to dream of being able to travel again soon!