Q&A Scene: Shane Howard


Tell us about your new album.
It was recorded in a room at home, with John Hudson and Ewen Baker and myself playing live, as you would when you’re jamming. We played and played, until we captured a performance we were happy with. We then added Double Bass and strings. It was also done with really beautiful old valve technology. Very rich sounds, very warm. Musically, it’s a bold attempt to create a style of modern folk music that is distinctively Australian, while honouring Celtic, blues and country traditions. Lyrically, it takes traditional forms and uses them in a contemporary way. It’s a big, expansive, rambling set of stories and ideas, exploring love, mortality, the decay of Western society and the need for women to take a leading role. The World’s in crisis and basically unled. The old way of doing things has failed and we need to be boldly creative and re-imagine a new way forward into the future.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
It’s elemental really. Fresh caught seafood, cooked over a fire of coals on the beach where it’s been caught or gathered. Rich and natural and good for you.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?
[pullquote]It’s a perilous journey, this life business and it’s a major undertaking just to make that journey and save your own soul in the process. To spend your life becoming that person you set out to be.[/pullquote]It’s hard for me to identify favourites. They’re all parts of the one process and I love each of them for their differences and their interconnectedness. Songs are like rooms in a house. They all have their particular functions and delights; the kitchen, the lounge room, the bedroom. There are different types of memories in all those spaces. Having said that, the song Deeper South is also the album title and it sets the scene for what follows. The sense that we are all alone in the Universe journeying through our lives in a little boat on a vast sea, like the Southern Ocean. It’s a perilous journey, this life business and it’s a major undertaking just to make that journey and save your own soul in the process. To spend your life becoming that person you set out to be.

Any on the road anecdotes?
I remember touring with Bart Willoughby and Aboriginal band, Coloured Stone through Central Australia in 1985, after the Handback of Uluru to the traditional owners. We were due to play at Amaroo, a remote desert community, one evening. There was a torrential downpour en route and many of the dry creeks filled to raging torrents and became impassable. We finally made it to Amaroo at about 10:30pm and an old man there told us we were, “Too late. Everyone sleeping now“. We were woken early and did the concert at about 8am! Unusual hours for musicians but we were on desert time. Everyone threw money into a bucket and gave generously and away we went to the next show, 500 kms away.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
From nature and from lived experience. I try to push myself to engage in the world of big and small things. I read a lot of poetry and I always have my ear to the ground for a great song. There’s a poignant quote from William Carlos Williams poem, Asphodel, that says,
“It is difficult to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

What’s next for you?
We take the songs on tour around Australia and then to Ireland mid year. Songs are no use without ears to hear them. They are written for ‘the other’, so it’s a symbiotic relationship with your audience. They have to be tested to see if they have meaning and use to others. I’m also working on a series of major theatre concerts for the end of 2015, called EXILE, that explores the rich history of the Irish in Australia in song. There’s always the next album and the next body of work. It’s never-ending….fortunately.

What’s your scene?
I love being on a little boat near home in South West Victoria with a fishing line in the water, the Sun coming up or going down. I also love walking the streets of Melbourne or Manhattan or many of the beautiful towns and villages of Ireland or anywhere. My partner and my family are central to it all. I also love being in the midst of a great music session, anywhere, anytime, being transported into the soul of the Universe.

About Shane Howard

Shane Howard & band will perform a special CD Launch at the Flying Saucer Club on Friday 27th February. Be treated to an array of Howard songs from his new CD entitled ‘Deeper South’ which is a musical postcard from ‘the edge of the world’ – the unique southern coast of Australia. The album features songs full of music and poetry that are deep and dark yet illuminated by great shafts of light. Shane was the founding member of the legendary Australian band ‘Goanna’, known for their chart-topping song ‘Solid Rock’. Supporting Shane on the night will be Irish born, singer songwriter, Aine Tyrrell. Be sure not to miss the incredible talent that is Shane Howard!

“He sounds as though he has drunk from the same fountain that gave the world Henry Lawson, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan”
Bruce Elder – Sydney Morning Herald

When: Friday 27th February 2015
Doors: 6pm (Seats/Dining), 8pm (GA) – Showtime: 8.40pm
Where: THE FLYING SAUCER CLUB – 4 St Georges Road, Elsternwick Tickets: $42+bf (Reserved Seating), $30+bf (GA), $33 (Door)
More info: www.flyingsaucerclub.com.au


About Mandy Hall 950 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.