Old Crow Medicine Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRkdcJ9evgs, Kirsty MacColl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-5yQcRh5R0, Steve Earle & the Dukes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUABdnoYHEw, Wilco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qNPCcrKMAs, Dixie Chicks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9NG7cLNzbs
Boom Town - Album Recording Su Morley: vocals fiddle piano. Mike West: banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar vocals. Katie West: double bass. Colby Earleywine drums, percussion Steel City Sue & the Smoke Stacks Su Morley: vocals, fiddle, guitar Billy Black: guitar, mandolin, vocals Dan Huish: banjo Tim Merrikin: double bass Bodie Wereman: drums, vocals Steel City Sue Duo Su Morley: vocals, fiddle Peter Daffy: vocals, guitar
John Prine , Hogslop Stringband, The Balfa Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Kirsty MacColl, Ben Townsend, Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello
Unearthed artists we like
Newcastle singer, fiddle player and songwriter Steel City Sue is releasing her debut album ‘Boom Town’ via Bandcamp 1 September 2018.
Boom Town is a collection of songs written in and about the coal country of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and was recorded with US touring act Truckstop Honeymoon at their Ninth Ward Pickin’ Parlor in Lawrence Kansas USA.
Steel City Sue, also known as Su Morley, met the troubadour songwriters Mike and Katie West of Truckstop Honeymoon, at the Woodford Folk Festival in the early 2000s and was more recently encouraged by them to record some of her original songs - which became Boom Town. Mike and Katie West both play on the album.
“Mike has a huge musical range, and his playing and production on the album was really sensitive to the array of feels in my songs – from the rootsy fiddle-driven ones, and the songwriter-folk tracks through to the more electric arrangements.” said Morley.
The album Boom Town is grounded in link between the coal fields of the Hunter Valley and the Appalachian mountains both in sounds and themes. It is also independently contemporary, whimsical, heartfelt, cynical and at times political – a window into a life deeply involved in a real place in time.
“Newcastle listeners will recognise old places or events in songs like Boom Town. But whenever I’ve played Boom Town out of town, audience members come up to me afterwards to talk about how it reminds them of their town too. People relate to that story of chronic exploitation. It’s happening everywhere. Sadly.” said Morley
The album goes beyond political folk. There’s a surly rock track Talking’s So Passé sung in unison with Katie West - complete with dodgy French and a psychedelic fiddle solo. There’s also a fair serving of heartbreak in the more classic country arrangements such The In-Between or I’ve Still Got Time for You. While Walking on Your Land is a piano song tackling the loss of the devastating dispossession of Awabakal and Worimi people.
“I’ve been playing gigs since I was a teenager. And the whole time I’ve writing songs. Just for myself. A thing I do. It took the encouragement of Mike & Katie and a few close friends to get me over the line and record them. I suppose I wish I had done it sooner. Recording in Kansas was the adventure I needed to get this first one done. And now I’m keen to keep going with the writing and recording.”
“It’s also been great playing the Boom Town songs with my new band Steel City Sue & The Smoke Stacks (Billy Black guitar, Dan Huish banjo/guitar, Tim Merrikin double bass, Bodie Werleman drums). The band are all accomplished musicians with their own and other acts and have been excellent to work with. Newcastle definitely has some great band talent around at the moment.”
As well as Mike West’s instrumentation, Morley’s fiddle playing is a feature of the album. Her style has evolved from playing Australian bush music into a sound built from her explorations of the southern-US traditions of Old Time and Cajun music. Her many visits to Louisiana and the Appalachian mountain states have honed her old time, bluesy and melodic style.
The album cover appropriately features artwork by Newcastle artist Trevor Dickinson, with a derelict building Civic Court that is still standing on Hunter Street - currently painted with the David Bowie Labyrinth mural.
Boom Town goes live on Bandcamp on 1 September 2018