“We’re washing in dirty water/cause we never flaunt our assets or our business schemes/ take 15 grams of Quinine with a bottle of Sal Volatile / smoke Chesterfield non-filters and then jump in the sea / when Dr Suess is painting in the sky /you’ might catch a glimpse if you raise your focus higher.”
– ‘Dr Seuss Is Painting In The Sky’, off Wake, 2013.
If Dr Seuss was painting in the sky we would all look up, take a moment to pause, allow ourselves to imagine a world beyond ourselves. This is the opening gambit that Australian songwriter and musician David Bridie, of Not Drowning, Waving, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, producer and film composer, on his new album Wake, challenges us with.
Bridie now comes full circle to where he began in the early 1980s, creating his own work as a singer-songwriter. Five years on from his third solo album, Succumb, which followed 2003‘s Hotel Radio and 2000‘s acclaimed Act of Free Choice, it was time…
“I wanted to forge my own direction on this record, write the best songs I could, joining together all the various influences, gathering together all the musicians I have an affinity with, to come up with something that I could say I was proud of” he says. “I needed to stop being distracted, to lose myself inside the process, and make the best record I could, a record of substance.”
Wake is classic solo Bridie – 11 original songs (and one Hank Williams cover, yes really) of shifting moods, textures and sound oddities, harnessed into perfect finality by Bridie’s unfailing knack for an infectious melody, evidenced in the album’s first single already gaining wide airplay, ‘The Shortest Day of the Year’ (listen here).
Original plans were to make a slow, stripped-back record. Songs written on piano with a few added instruments. “That was the idea in the beginning, I was listening a lot to the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan and I loved the space in that record.”
Things got more involved from that simple premise, with the album being recorded across Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand, with musical contributions from a plethora of guest artists representing a full spectrum of genres and styles.
Marita Dyson of Melbourne band the Orbweavers lends her serene and steady voice to tracks including the dreamy, beautiful album opener, ‘Dr Seuss Is Painting In the Sky’. Blackeyed Susans singer Rob Snarski fulfills Bridie’s long-held desire to record with him, lending his honeyed tones to the strident ballad, Old Lovers.
Other guests include former Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug, NZ artist Eden Mulholland, Ashley Naylor (Even, Paul Kelly Band), leading lady of The Bamboos Kylie Auldist, PNG-born singer Ngaiire, drummers Dave Folley and Michael Barker, long-time collaborator Helen Mountfort on cello, and guitarist wunderkind John Phillips.
The mixing of Wake was similarly itinerant, with half the tracks mixed in the Melbourne beachside suburb of Black Rock by Simon Polinski, the other half in San Francisco by Ryan Coseboom of the band Stripmall Architecture. Coseboom’s partner Rebecca, also in Stripmall Architecture, is another of the guests on Wake.
This is one of Bridie’s greatest records. Up there with NDW’s Claim, Cake’s Good Luck and his first solo album Act of Free Choice.
Launching his album live via a national tour, Bridie will be joined, for the first time in 15 years, by Not Drowning, Waving co-founder John Phillips on the road, along with Dave Folle,y and for most shows, presenting New Zealander Eden Mulholland as a special guest.
Wake is out on June 7 through Footstomp Music and distributed by MGM.
David Bridie 2013 Australian Tour Dates
Friday 14 June: Governor Hindmarsh / Adelaide SA (book here)
Saturday 15 June: Barossa Regional Art Gallery / Barossa Valley SA (call 0417 084 191)
Saturday 22 June: The Street Theatre / Canberra ACT (book here)
Thursday 11 July: Mullum Civic Memorial Hall / Mullumbimby NSW (book here)
Saturday 13 July: Powerhouse / Brisbane QLD (book here)
Thursday 18 July: The Loft / Warrnambool VIC (book here)
Friday 19 July: The Ararat Hotel Red Room / Ararat VIC (book here)
Saturday 20 July: Northcote Social Club / Melbourne VIC (book here)
Thursday 25 July: The Clarendon / Blue Mountains NSW
Friday 26 July: The Basement / Sydney NSW (book here)
Saturday 27 July: Lizottes Central Coast / Kincumber NSW (book here)
Sunday 28 July: Lizottes Newcastle / Newcastle NSW (book here)
Friday 2 August: The Memo / Healesville VIC (book here)
Saturday 3 August: Caravan Music Club / Oakleigh VIC
Sunday 4 August: Montrose Town Centre / Montrose VIC (book here)
Saturday 17 August: Republic Bar / Hobart TAS (book here)
Sunday 18 August: Brookfield Margate / Margate TAS (more info)