ROOTS: LUCKY THE SUN
reviewed by Polly Coufos
Most of the 12 songs on Sara Tindley’s second album 'Lucky the Sun' are set in a desperate place, where love and lust are coming to those who think they may have already seen their last good chance of such things go south. Tindley displays a Lucinda Williams-like intensity and maturity in her writing, and the delicious folk, soul, blues and country stylings support her argument that a late-blooming girl has a place in the world. There are sketchy details in the lyrics but enough space in the varied arrangements and Tindley’s dreamy delivery for the listener to fill in the blanks. Hot for You sizzles under the heat of James Gillard’s soulful guitar licks, One and Only amuses in showing a relationship is measured by the offer to listen to your version of Khe Sanh, while Paulie’s Last Ride tells of a friend who has come to an untimely end; his farewell is both tender and unsentimental. Produced by Bill Chambers, this is honest-to-goodness music for grown ups.
FROM: THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN 2/6/07
NOT YOUR AVERAGE COUNTRY GIRL.
SARA TINDLEY’S DOING HER OWN THING.
BY SARAH THOMAS.
Sara Tindley’s 10 year old daughter, Lilly, is less impressed by the fact her mum is opening this year’s Splendour in the Grass and more interested that she might meet her namesake, Ms Allen, who is also performing at the festival.
“She’s really excited,” Tindley says, “She’s like, ‘I might even get to be her friend’.” Allen’s ballsy Brit pop may be far removed from singer-songwriter Tindley’s alt-country but the two share a common approach. “I really admire people that gain all that commercial success but are still quite uncompromising” Tindley says. “She’s got her own thing going on.”
Tindley’s second album Lucky The Sun, is also about the music first, sales later. “I just wanted to present this collection of songs that I’d writted in the most true form, without worrying about the commercial possibilities of it all,” she says. The album is a warm collection of lilting, evocative musings on love and life – think Sheryl Crow with a bit less commercialization, a bit more soul and perhaps a few measures of bourbon.
And Tindley, who hails from country Victoria but now lives in Meerschaum Vale, a tiny town south of Ballina, feels in fine company with the women she has been compared to, such as Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, and Kasey Chambers. “They are all women who are doing their own thing in a quite a natural way. It’s not very contrived and I feel that’s what I’m trying to do as well.
The band she teamed up with for touring and recording the album, The Kingfishers, share the same approach, she says. In fact it’s such a tight-knit unit that drummer Stuart Eadie designed the album artwork with one small problem – he spelt the boss’s name wrong on the CD. “He came to me and says: ‘ I’ve got some really, really, really bad news.’ I was just like [Gasps dramatically] ‘God, what is it?’, thinking the covers have come back and they’re just a big smudge. And he says, ‘I put an ‘h’ on your name’. I was like ‘Stu, I can live with that.’
Next on the schedule is a new album – she hopes to team up again with Bill Chambers, whose production of her current album just made it “sparkle”. She’s also planning a tour of Australia’s country halls. There are also mainstream country fans to consider. “There’s still an audience for me there. People who like country music in all its forms are really loyal, they are just there for the music. They don’t care whether you’re pretty, fat or skinny. If they like your songs, they’ll come to your gigs.”
From the SMH Metro section May 11 ’07.
BLUES AND ROOTS with Marty Jones.
SARA, LISA, DAVE.
Sara Tindley is my new favourite Australian artist. As I mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago, Sara is a Byron Bay based artist who has just released her second album, Lucky The Sun. The first time I put the album into the CD player I recognized its quality – Sara’s singing style is warm, gentle and unaffected and accompanied by the rich guitars of producer Bill Chambers and James Gillard, shines like the sun in the title of the album.Though the album bears country music influences, it is not tainted by the clichés of most contemporary country, both Chambers and Tindley determined to construct a recording with integrity.
But Tindley’s real strength is her blossoming songwriting. I listen to a lot of new records every week, but nothing has echoed around in my head more consistently than the songs from Lucky The Sun, especially the sassy opening track Hot For You and the touching and timeless True Believer.
Tindley has assembled a strong band, The Kingfishers, to perform Lucky the Sun live – including Karma County drummer Stu Eadie and Fort guitarist George Chrysostomou – and folks are still talking about the set they played at Byron Bluesfest, a set that scored them a spot on this year’s Splendour in the Grass bill. Sara Tindley and the
Kingfishers play three shows this week: Thursday at the Vanguard (with Sarah McGregor), Friday at the Beach Hotel in Newcastle, and Saturday at the Federal Hotel in Bellingen.
From: DRUM MEDIA May 15 2007.
STRAIGHT UP. SARA TINDLEY
I AM mother, lover friend, muso, passionate, driven. I am indie-country-folk singer songwriter and guitarist Sara Tindley.
I LIKE life
I WANT a leader with vision and integrity for our country.
I WISH I DIDN’T LIKE drinking and smoking.
MY ULTIMATE RIDER INCLUDES a massage for all band members.
MY ULTIMATE TOUR WOULD BE WITH Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Paul Kelly and Sara Tindley and the King fishers.
I AM PLUGGING my new album LUCKY THE SUN and my gig with my fantastic band The Kingfishers at The Beaches Hotel in Merewether on Friday night.
From: The Newcastle Morning Herald. 17th May 2007
THE BABE FROM BYRON
She hails from country Victoria, rarely visits the Harbour City, but has lived and worked right across Australia from Darwin to Perth and back again. Along the way, Sara Tindley – who The Courier Mail in Brisbane likened to Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers – teamed up with ace producer Bill Chambers for her latest long playing stunner Lucky the Sun. Together with her band, The Kingfishers, Tindley is the hot voice of alt-country rock. This much anticipated album launch, supported by Sarah McGregor, will no doubt be packed out fast, so get in quick.
From: CENTRAL May 16 2007
LUCKY THE SUN REVIEW by SUSAN JARVIS
A recent review of Sara Tindley’s new album in a major metropolitan newspaper claimed that the best that could happen to Byron-based songwriter Sara Tindley was that the local country scene – that so-called ‘moribunt environment where they celebrate “authentic” mediocrity and drag everything down to that level’ – and should ignore her. Well fortunately Sara doesn’t appear to share that patronizing view, because she’s everything today’s country music is and should be about. And country’s embraced both Sara and her vibrant, appealing songs with open arms. Lucky The Sun is a superb album, full of perceptive, warm and heartfelt songs delivered in a fresh contemporary way, Bill Chambers has done an excellent job in producing this album, from the sultry,sizzling Hot For You, and the funky One And Only to the powerful Paulie’s Last Ride and the delicate True Believer – one of the album’s highlights. Make no mistake – this IS country. And Sara is set to be very much part of its future.
From: CAPITAL NEWS. May 2007
Sara Tindley did not have to go knocking on doors to score a spot on the bill at Splendour in the Grass. Organisers approached her with an offer to open the GW McLennan Theatre on the first day of the festival, which takes place at Belongil Fields on August 4 and 5, after catching her set at the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival last month.
“We weren’t even expecting it. It was a nice way to get to Splendour, rather that knowing someone that knows someone and sneaking in the back door,” Tindley said. “ It was very flattering and really nice to actually be given the gig because we played well.
“I’ve never actually been to Splendour so I’m looking forward to playing there and checking it out”.
Tindley will perform a handful of dates with her band The Kingfishers in the lead-up to the festival, including the launch of her new album Lucky the Sun, in Sydney tomorrow night. She recorded the album with long-time friend Bill Chambers over six days at his studio on the Central Coast. The pair had promised to work together for years.
Tindley describes it as “country-slash-roots”. “It’s not really straight-forward country. I’m preferring to call it roots because for people that really dig that straight-forward country, I don’t know what they would make of it”. she said. “It’s been absolutely fantastic working with Bill and getting to know him. For someone who is widely respectedand has achieved a lot in his career, he has so much integrity and refuses to sell out, which I love”
Lucky the Sun is the Melbourne-born musician’s second album. She spent years touring as a backing vocalist in the early ‘90s before moving to Byrong Bay to further pursue her music career. But she had to put in the hard yards. “Because I felt so experienced, I thought I’d just waltz into something straight away but I got up here and no one wanted to play with me…….and I mean no one,” Tindley said. “I spent three or four hours a day teaching myself songs at home. After that I took it into the pubs.
“The first gig was so shaky but over time I got better and then people did start to want to play with me, and now I’ve got this amazing band”.FROM: THE NEWCASTLE POST liftout May 16 2007
Lucky The Sun (Vitamin)
Byron Bay-based singer-songwriter Sara Tindley has captured the attention of musicians and broadcasters across the nation with her latest effort Lucky The Sun, the follow up to 2003’s 5 Days.
Tindley has an interesting lyrical sense, often relying on the use of imagery to propel the narrative in her songs. One would imagine this style of writing to be quite difficult and terribly awkward if not done well, but Tindley manages to pull it off seemingly effortlessly.
Lyrically, she shows shades of Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers while musically sticking to a Lucinda Williams-esque country pop sound that’s about as sweet as anything that’s come out of the country for quite some time. There’s something uniquely Australian about Lucky The Sun; it’s honest, funny, sad and has an overall laid-back, almost careless feel.
Bill Chambers once again proves himself to be one of the most important figures in Australian country music as his tasteful production makes the songs sparkle and his delicate guitar work adds another element to a number of the tracks.
This is compulsory listening for all supporters of Australian roots music, the only problem being its punishing ability to put other more lauded artists to shame.
Dan Condon Time Off
Lucky The Sun (Vitamin)
Saturday 24 February 2007
The best thing that can happen to Byron-based Sara Tindley with her second album is that the local country scene ignores her. She is too good a songwriter and too diverse in her influences and styles for that moribund environment where they celebrate "authentic" mediocrity and drag everything down to that level.
Tindley's mix is a roots melange with country as its dominant, but not overwhelming flavour. So alongside the slide guitar of producer Bill Chambers and the classic harmonies there's country soul in Rambling Ways and Dirt Music which bring to mind Shelby Lynne, while Rain Falls deserves some of the attention we've already paid to Tift Merritt. A strong '70s singer/songwriter mood infiltrates True Believer and Heart It Was A Desert suggests someone has been listening to Patty Griffin.
Even when the territory is more straight line the excellent players - James Gillard, Will Grahame, Jeff McCormack and Mitch Farmer join Chambers - bring a lovely swing to Anchor Me. This is a good album so let's hope the city picks her up before Tamworth ruins things.
Bernard Zuel Sydney Morning Herald
Lucky The Sun (Vitamin)
Friday February 16, 2007
Sara Tindley Above The Pack.
There is something wrong in Australian country music, and no amount of record sales will convince me otherwise.
There is too much that is bland, there is too much that is cliched and there are too many records that go over the same old ground.
Of course, that criticism applies to commercial music of all kinds, and notably the Nashville country production line.
But just when you are hoping for something to come along that presents fresh angles to the country tradition in the way that Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers manage to do, along comes Sara Tindley.
And she's Australian, based in Byron Bay.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to discover that her second album, Lucky The Sun (Vitamin), is produced by Bill Chambers, since many of the good things in Australian music are in some way connected with that clan, either as producers or performers.
But Tindley is also her own woman, with her own things to say, and Chambers has the good taste to recognise that and hook her up with a magic band including himself and James Gillard on guitars.
The playing sparkles and Tindley's clear-as-a-bell voice floats above, but it's the quality of her writing, the insights of her lyrics and her sense of humour ("I think you and I mean something/I'll even listen to your version of Khe Sanh") which set her above the pack.
For proof, take a listen to Heart it was a Desert, a story of physical and emotional abuse, with its poetic opening refrain ("A man with an umbrella meets a woman with barbed wire/They circle around each other/Never naming the desire.")
Paulie's Last Ride takes perhaps the oldest story in the country book – "going home to my home town" – but makes the tale seem brand new. Like all good songwriters, Tindley knows not to give all the answers. What happened to Paulie? It's not explained, but you know that whatever it was, it wasn't a happy end.
Perhaps best of all is True Believer, a yearning piano ballad that has more in common with Carole King and Jimmy Webb than country.
Others might have been tempted to turn this into a big production number, with strings, pedal steel and the kitchen sink. But with a song and voice as good as this, no adornment is required.
Fans of Gillian, Lucinda and Kasey, check this out.
Noel Mengel The Courier Mail