Scene News: Songwriter Paula Standing shares previously unreleased material at the 2022 Tamworth Country Music Festival

After releasing her latest album The More I Give earlier in 2021, songwriter Paula Standing is excited to be showcasing some previously unreleased material at her performances at the 2022 Tamworth Country Music Festival. Gearing up for the release of her latest single, Almost Okay, in March 2022, the self-taught guitarist is delving into her songwriting book and sharing tracks she has previously penned in the North-West New South Wales region.

Almost Okay didn’t appear on Paula’s latest album release. Instead, it was a track she kept up her sleeve, determined to do something special with the murder ballad. Written at a songwriters retreat at DAG Station, she felt like now was the first time to share it with audiences, and what better place than returning to the region where inspiration first took hold.

“I had the opportunity to write with Jeremy Edwards, who had heard me sing my track A Good Day on the first night,” says Paula, recalling her time at the Winter DAG Songwriters Retreat at Nundle back in 2018. “He seemed to think there was something much darker belying my innocent sounding voice. It was inevitable that we turned out a murder ballad. I turned up to the session with this title Almost Okay, which had popped into my head while I was sitting in Sydney Airport between flights enroute to Tamworth. Jeremy had a chord progression and between us we eked out this tale of woe. Fortunately, we had it wrapped up in 90-minutes, because then the pipes in the bathroom burst, which took our attention.”

Almost Okay is a song that garners its own attention. A rousing track with gentle instrumentation highlighting the haunting lilt of Paula’s vocals, the story behind the song captivates the imagination. “My character is one who has become very smitten by a younger lover, who it turns out, is not as taken with her,” says Paula. “In fact, the younger man is making eyes at someone half her age, which he foolishly denies. She sees red, and acting in blind rage, finds herself watching ‘her dream float way’. It is the timeless tale of a woman scorned.”

A prolific storyteller, Paula is well-known for her exploration of ballads underlain with emotion. The release of her third long-player earlier this year, The More I Give, was another example of this. Paula launched the album with a swag of performances in her hometown of Adelaide. Her Tamworth Country Music Festival shows will be the first opportunity to celebrate the 2021 release interstate.

For Paula, there is so much for look forward to in 2022 and kicking it off at the Tamworth Country Music Festival catching up with friends is the perfect way to start. “I think the best part of the Festival will be seeing all the country artists I have met over the years again,” she says. “We have stayed in touch over social media these past two years, but it will be so nice to see their faces. Hearing all these people play live again is going to be a treat. I also have tickets for the Golden Guitar awards this year for the first time and I’m looking forward to the glitz of this wonderful night.”

As for the rest of 2022, Paula has big plans. “I’m hoping that travel will be a little more fluid and I can look at the possibility of once again performing interstate,” she says. “This year I have been playing with a band instead of always solo. This has been a lot of fun and I hope to continue this. I have a couple of ideas for different shows, one of which I would like to pay tribe to the late John Prine. My current album is being promoted on Country and Americana stations in the USA, so a trip to the US is not out of the question.”

For a list of where to catch Paula Standing performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, visit her website. Paula’s forthcoming single Almost Okay is slated for release in March 2022.

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