"Heroic- suitable to the character
of a hero;daring,noble, intrepid, determined. What are ya? a fuckin' hero?"
"Blues- colloquial, a fight; a dispute- a mistake- discoloured
by cold, contusion, fear, rage or vascular collapse.-the unknown, the
dim distance;nowhere-"Macquarie dictionary.
CD released July 1st 2002 on the Cockaigne
label. Distributed through MGM.
Recorded at the Ponderosa during April to October 2001.
Mixed at St Ives
Produced by Clare Moore and David Graney
All sessions engineered and mixed by Adam Rhodes (except "heroic
blues" which was recorded live to minidisc by Adam and "don't
mess with the blood" which was recorded at Trueform in Spotswood
by Neil in April 2002)
Mastered at DK by Bill Miller.
Artwork and photography by Tony Mahony
All songs written by David Graney
Heroic Blues was gotten together over a long period. Almost 18 months. Not so much
the recording as much as it was conceived and compiled around a lot of
other furious activity.
2020 reflection. This was a great time of playing music with Adele Pickvance on bass and Billy Miller on guitar and vocals. He was very much into inspired improvisaation and was a joyous presence to be around. Adele was somusical on the bass. Stuart Perera was also into improvising.
Fave lyric ..."I'm standin in a bar
singin my songs
theres six people hangin around
they've got nowhere else to go
I'm a hero, thats what I do
no one buys my records
no one knows my old songs
I've played here before
there were so many people
I'm a hero , thats what I do
looked at from another direction,
this could seem pretty sad
If pushed, I guess I would call it a
folk soul kind of record. After our previous two CDs I just wanted to
get a collection of songs together that could be laid down at our studio
with an acoustic guitar and then built up from there. "The Dave Graney
Show" CD (1998) and then "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" (2000)
had all been recorded with a lot of Midi / Keyboard tracks. I loved all
the sampled textures that were suddenly available with the new hard disc
technology. I wanted to get away from all that and make a vague kind of
singer /songwriter type record.
I'd always heard that Lou Reed had made "Berlin " in that way,
laying down the guitar and vocal and then leaving it to Bob Ezrin to make
sense of, this was the vibe I wanted.
We laid all the tracks down in a couple of days. Clare and Adele then
played the rhythm tracks. Adele was using a double bass and Clare was
laying down some vibraphone. Bill wanted to come in at the end and improvise
over all the tracks and Stuart did the same. We hadn't really played any
of the tracks live before.
The title track was recorded live to
minidisc at a soundcheck in a hotel in Tarwin Lower. It was a kind of
drifting interior monologue. A performer talking to himself. The ambience
of the empty bar gave the track that extra melancholy dimension. I had
shown everybody the chords once the day before and we jammed it out. There
are no edits. It starts and finishes like it did that day.
lead vocals, acoustic and electric Maton guitars
Clare Moore, drums, percussion, vocals, vibraphone, piano,organ
Adele Pickvance, acoustic and electric bass,vocals
Stuart Perera, electric guitar
Bill Miller, acoustic and electric guitar, backing vocals
MANY OF THESE TRACKS WERE REMIXED AND RE-SUNG IN 2010 FOR SUPERMODIFIED
the tracks don't mess with the blood. Family life. Tough, brooding, bruising
family life. anchors aweigh. A sad song about good friends and familiar faces
disappearing from your life. You drift a little further out each time.
son of maggie mae. I always wondered what happened next in the
Rod Stewart song. This is my version of their future. leavin' the Mount. I grew up in Mount Gambier. A blue collar
timber town in South Australia. We called it "the Mount".
This is a 70's scene, built around a picture of a few girls from that
time. clingin' to the coast. I pictured a young girl/woman moving to
a bohemian part of a big city and being both entranced and confused
by the retro/nostalgic glamour she sees all around . How can she enter
this picture? The song trips out to other places , like a lot of my
stuff, in general , its pretty abstract. I like the abstract blues.
And the abstract truth. I will alwayshate you. When you're in love with someone
its often described as if you were being "possessed". You
lose your self to another. Hating someone, being "in hate"
is just the same. heroic blues. "Blues" can be a feeling of sadness or,
in the Australian vernacular, a fight. Either way, these blues are heroic.
Gargantuan! Titanic! "It's what I do." I don't know anything. As you get older and you see more, the
picture keeps getting wider. You lose your concentration. eye o' the vibe. A stormy kind of trip , while negotiating the
seemingly random but unforgiving shipping channels ,buffeted by the
trade winds and renegade storms, an artist attempts to hang onto himself.
And at the same time, identify a deeper, much larger weather pattern.
are we goin' too fast for love?. The lonely chords came first
and then the lyric tripped out too easily.
The vibe (the scene) Leading
up to "Heroic Blues" Last CD released "Kiss
tomorrow Goodbye " (Cockaigne 2000) . Contained "drugs are
wasted on the young" , "out of the loop" and "have
you heard about the Melbourne mafia?")
Significant activities and events since that release
Constant live performances around Australia. (Favourites included a "mayoral
gala performance variety show" in Mt Gambier SA which saw the band
go on after a dog act and finish the show being surrounded by children
throwing streamers over them. There was also a performance at the Marybinong
detention centre in November 2001, a performance on a Melbourne tram for
PBS FM and our first show at the Meredith festival.)
Live dates (Clare Moore and David Graney with Brooklyn bass player and
songwriter , Spike Priggen) in New York and Boston , November
2000. Also several dates in London with the full Dave Graney Show
line up,( Coincided with bass player Adele Pickvance touring Europe ,
the UK and the USA as a member of the Go Betweens).
Live dates in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, February 2001.
Two months as opening act for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds throughout
Europe and the UK May-June 2001. (Included David Graneys "too close
to death and Pere La Chaise" experience with a bleeding lung infection
and intensive care in Paris). These dates were done by David, Clare and
Stuart Perera with two Edinburgh musicians ( and old friends) , Malcolm
Ross and Ian Macarthur on bass and guitar.
September 2001, Australian theatre tour as opening act for Billy Bragg.
(Several dates in Perth were done with Marty Casey from the Bad Seeds
on bass. Other dates around this time were done with Ken Gormley from
the Cruel Sea on bass).
October 2001 , release of Clare Moores debut solo CD, "the
Third Woman" on Chapter Music.
It's hard to imagine there was
a time when Dave Graney was king of, if not pop, at least the ARIA's.
And it was with an album that included "rock'n'roll is where I hide",
one of the strangest and most insightful songs about the genre. Stranger
still, what Graney is doing these days isn't much different, maybe a little
If Graney has a weakness, it's that he sometimes thinks too much about
what he's doing. He always writes great lyrics, but at times it sacrifices
some warmth and melody. These pitfalls have been avoided this time around;
"Heroic Blues" has a slightly warmer, more organic sound. Graney
seldom forgets to sing a tune.
The music is centred around Graney's purred vocals and textured acoustic
guitar, with strong contributions from Stuart Perera on electric guitar
and long time collaborator Clare Moore on drums and keyboards. The combination
of instruments often recalls a sound from the early seventies when all
bets were off and soul mixed with country, psychedelia and everything
else you could fit onto vinyl.
What hasn't changed is Graney's genius with words. Whether it's by weaving
intricate , mysterious narratives on "son of maggie mae" or
taking snapshots of dark suburbia ("leavin' the Mount"), with
it's talk of "green ginger wine and buddha sticks, chillums ,shotguns
an' panel vans...").
All this culminates in the standout title track, Graneys best song since
the aforementioned "rock'n'roll is where I hide". An interior
monologue from a rock singer past his prime performing in a near empty
venue, it's hilarious, but with enough pathos and autobiographical capacity
to make it transcend joke status.
It's what he does best. Graney makes sharp commentaries on subjects close
to his heart; the music compliments it. Heroic Blues indeed . (8/10) David Messer, Juice magazine "Don't Mess with the blood"
Dave Graney advises on the opening track of Heroic Blues, a sentiment
echoed in the buttery call and response harmony vocals by Clare Moore,
Adele Pickvance and Bill Miller. It's a righteous beginning to Graneys
third album with his current lineup, a solid and intuitive backing band
who underline Graneys lyrical meanderings and lead guitarist Stuart Pereras
atmospheric playing. Heroic Blues has a more organic-dreamlike and vagabond
feel than its two predecessors. Graney offers no obvious hooks or radio
friendly punchlines; more like a knowing wink and a crooked finger beckoning
the listener to venture down some winding back alleys. The muted, soulful
sounds are loungey and blithe, and the words segue effortlessly from the
ridiculous to the sublime, offering frequent lyrical pleasures based in
both imagination and irony.With his own peculiar uber cool blend of evocation
and ennui , emotional wisdom and surrealist humour, Dave Graney is still
the only show in town. Sophie Best, EG
The Tarwin Lower
pub is somewhat of a legendary institution. Virtually every hard working
Melbourne band has played the hotel, remotely located on the way to Wilsons
promontory. It was in the half empty Tarwin Lower pub that the title track
to the new Dave Graney Show album , "Heroic Blues" was recorded.
The song offers the pivotal moment on the LP. Gone is the confidence, the
bravado, the swagger that has been associated with recent Graney productions,
replaced by a sense of vulnerability and reflection as Graney visits the
depths of introspection that only a handful of paying customers can induce?
How did he get here?
Since his last truly consistent outing , 1995's marvellously realized The
Soft 'n' Sexy Sound , Graney seems to have gone out of his way not to repeat
himself, in the process producing works that simply don't play to his strengths.
It seemed at times as that the creativity of the song titles (Everybody
loves a mass killer, am I wearing something of yours?, no pockets in a jumpsuit
etc.) were more important than the music and the melodies. What has followed
is a sustained period of reduced critical recognition and sales. And while
it may be difficult to approach the album thinking that Graney has done
a u-turn, you are strongly encouraged to do so, because this is a deeply
thoughtful CD, chock full of winning tunes, that will almost certainly put
Dave Graney back on the map.
Opener don't mess with the blood is a beautifully crafted introduction and
possibly his most fully realized song since 1997's man on the make .Featuring
swooning vocal harmonies, it's a gentle late night reflection that sets
the mood for Heroic Blues and opens the door to successive songs of contemplation
and regret. I don't know anything continues the theme and is compelling
, with a brilliant melody to boot. Closing song Are we goin' too fast for
love? is a lyrically rich exploration of a doomed relationship and, again,
is musically supreme.
Out of difficult times, the Dave Graney Show has come up with a work of
real beauty and substance that will be a contender for Australian album
of the year . Welcome home Dave, it's good to have you back. Glenn Cartledge, Inpress