A Country Band from Melbourne , Victoria whose music relies heavily on traditional country music, but is highly influenced by other styles. The sound is new and fresh, (no hay bales here).
the new voice of country music
issue March 2004
Australia continues to turn out genuine innovative country talent and Phil Younger and the Brew are no exception. Hailing originally from England but now based in Victoria. Younger is a family man with a full-time day job, who has spent more than half, life in OZ.He and the band have also been busy playing various venues downunder (including the prestigious Tamworth festival and garnered critical acclaim on Australian radio when the title track of this self-released self-produced debut album, was released as a single. Its Youngers contention that it is possible to make decent country music by adopting modern styles and influences yet still retain an essential country music integrity. He should know the bands previous incarnations have included providing music for line dancers, Garth Brooks-style contemporary country-rock and Johnny Cash tributes and with
CONCRETE JUNGLE COWBOYS he seems to have succeeded.
As with all solid song writing the 12 originals here are based on Youngers own life experiences, and draw on a profusion of styles ranging from trad country to blues, all delivered by the singers impressive baritone vocals. Sure the sounds of Cash, Brooks and others are present on cuts such as the shuffling Lucks A Lonely Lady, the steel-laced Take Away Train and the driving Sweet Jillyroo, which tells of a hardworking cowgirl, who delight in tantalising the fellas down at the local barroom, but the overall impression is one of uniqueness and originality.
The opening Long Distance Truckie is a brisk road tale that represents just one of several themes close to country fans that run through the album, boasting a strong rhythm and superb vocals on which Younger holds the high notes for the longest time to the background of some slick electric and acoustic guitar fencing, while the title track is a wistful, mid paced piece of nostalgia recalling urban kids who dream of being a cowboy a la John Wayne.
The blues is strongly in evidence on the chugging, uptempo Rear View Mirror with its raunchy harp fill and the closing Stuck in Prison with its mournful slide and equally mournful vocals while the morality message number Be Proud Of Who You Are returns to the downhome sound of acoustic and steel guitars while warning grafters that The time will come when everyone will reap all that they sow.
This is a fine collection of well-crafted songs whose highlights includes the aforementioned Sweet Jilly Roo and Concrete Jungle Cowboys, but the true two gems are the carefree Pretty Girl which boasts lilting accordian and some uncharacteristically mellow vocals from the usually gravel-throated Younger, and the lovely, lonely Seven Years one mans lament for the woman he has lost because the Lord took you away. Finally, the sound quality, mixing and general production values are of an extraordinarily high quality for a self- produced album. Hopefully CONCRETE JUNGLE COWBOYS will get the exposure it deserves if you come across it, be sure to sound it out. Jeremy Isaac
P.S. Concrete Jungle Cowboys the title track chartered throughout Europe and got to No. 2 in the UK Charts.
YES WE PLAY LIVE . LOVE IT .A SPECIAL MOMENT FOR US? we played a new years eve gig a couple of years ago .out of a town population of 3500 we had 3000 through the gates , it was a special gig
JOHNNY CASH GARTH BROOKS PINK FLOYD
I USE A BEYER MIC THR OTHER GUYS USE FENDERS DW DOUBLE AND ELECTRIC BASS KEYS SLIDE GUITARS
COUNTRY CAPITAL NEWS
Ten or so years ago he first got up on stage, but his legs turned to jelly and his throat became instantly dry. He made it through the impromptu performance but reasoned if he was going to do it again he'd better get the nerves under control.
Sister Kay was in fact the catalyst. She was performing with Melbourne 's YARRA YARRA JAZZ BAND and thought Phil had the goods for a singing career too. The ninth child of twelve in the family, he had followed Kay's lead emigrating to Australia from England - now having spent "over half my life here" he feels well versed enough to scatter Australianisms through his original compositions.
The first single off the album Concrete Jungle Cowboys is a perfect example. Phil reckons Jackaroos get plenty of mentions in Bush Ballads and the like, but the female equivalent doesn't, so Sweet Jillyroo is a song about an independent woman who drives the boys wild. This writer when reviewing the album declared it "perfect for B&S Balls" - not that I've actually ever been to one, or met (to my knowledge) an actual practicing Jillaroo.
This touches on another hobby horse of Younger who, if you read between the lines he has written on the cover, is against pretence, hypocrisy and fakery in his music but is capable of acute observation about all sorts of subjects from truck driving to personal relationships. He himself is blessed with a family, a steady day job and a stable band line-up that still allows him (and them) the privilege of taking their music out of town wherever they can.
This included a trip to Tamworth last year on a wing and a prayer. Busking and making enough of an impression to want to go back next January with a few firm dates. Having made the decision to trade in their earlier successes as (1) a line-dance band, (2) doing contemporary country a la GARTH BROOKS etc (3) Phil's ability to reach the low notes and do a very convincing JOHNNY CASH tribute. All that is by the board now they have found their own voice. Of course it is a harder road to follow but one with potentially greater rewards.
Certainly the album has met with good response from community radio stalwarts such as Big Al, 'Tubby' Dwyer and the syndicated Dave Prior. They and others are the unsung heroes of Australian Country Music - maybe Phil can write a song about them!
A couple of others he has written have certainly hit home. Be Proud Of Who You Are for example has meant a lot to one particular disabled listener of country radio while Phil himself choked up to recall Seven Years was played recently at his own mother's funeral across the ocean which unfortunately he could not attend given the vast distance and time factors.
While not exactly a young whippersnapper himself, time is certainly on the side of PHIL YOUNGER & THE BREW. They have been around a little while but on the national front are really just starting out. Give them a listen and/or visit their website www.philyounger.com to learn more of this big, outspoken bloke who is bound to make a mark on the scene. You read it here!