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| 9 April 2014 | Reply

Fanfare Records
11 April 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Russell Morris - Van Diemen's Land cover

Morris scored a surprise smash hit with his last album, a self-reinvention and reinvigoration called Sharkmouth which explored characters primarily from Melbourne’s inner city crime gangs and a vibrant Oz Blues sound.

As Part 2 of his planned modern blues trilogy, Van Diemen’s Land is at least as good – maybe even better, and the characters on this new record revolve around bigger themes – events that shaped Australian history, and the characters integral to them. Breaker Morant, the Eureka Stockade, the Bendigo gold rush, the Sandakan forced march in WWII, for instance.

Featuring a sometimes rockier blues sound than Sharkmouth, Van Diemen’s Land also celebrates some special guest appearances – Rob Hirst (Midnight oil), Phil Manning (Chain), Vika & Linda Bull (The Black Sorrows), Ross Hannaford (Daddy Cool) and Scott Owen (The Living End) all make vibrant contributions, and former pop idol Rick Springfield (more would be familiar with his 80’s hit Jessie’s Girl than his more recent, excellent, melodic hard rock albums) contributes an authentic blues slide solo to Burning Rodney.

Whilst the co-writes and guest appearances all help Van Diemen’s Land to kick goals, there is no doubt that the man whose name is on the cover is the prime mover here. Morris has conjured stories containing characters that are real, that live and breath in the music, in much the same way Mick Thomas or Paul Kelly do.

On top of that, he’s brought the blues – an American art form if ever there was one – Down Under and made it sound like it was born here, and that’s no mean feat at all.

100% ROCK MAGAZINE interview with Russell Morris, April 2014

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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