Following the success of his previous two albums, The Queensland Tiger has released a third album of folk songs celebrating some of Australia’s most loved poems in an historical context.
Taking its title from the famous poem My Country, Our Country is an album of patriotic songs and poems put to music. Australia’s strong love of folklore and stories being passed from generation to generation is heard on this album, taking the listener on a journey through Australian history from the 1820s to the 1940s, capturing the life and times of those who were part of it, from international events like the goldrush, the Great Depression, and the World Wars … to domestic scenes, like shearing, and life in the Australian bush.
Like the artwork on the cover, the album has at its centre a love of country - but that heart is not broken ... it is cracked, and through those cracks comes these Australian stories : the adventure and the determination, the challenges and the hardship, the commitment and the loyalty, the courage and the sacrifice, the romance and the loneliness, the mateship and above all, the willingness to try, to “have a go” .
Most of the songs are based on original poems by some of Australia’s most famous writers, and The Queensland Tiger shows them the respect they deserve by presenting the poems in their complete form - for instance, in The Man From Snowy River , we get all thirteen verses, and in My Country, we get all six verses of the poem, which was originally called Core of My Heart . There are three works by Banjo Paterson (Clancy of the Overflow, Waltzing Matilda, and The Man from Snowy River) and fittingly, the same number by his great rival and contemporary, Henry Lawson (Andy’s Gone with Cattle, Freedom on the Wallaby, and The Route March). Women writers are also strongly represented: Mary Gilmore (No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest), Dorothea Mackellar (My Country) , and Helen Palmer and Doreen Bridges (The Ballad of Eureka).
The tunes for these songs were written by an interesting array of musicians, like Maggie Somerville, Ade Monsbourgh, and the late Hugh MacDonald. These are all Australian musicians. The one exception is My Country : this tune was written by UK duo Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch while they were living in Australia during the 1980s. There are some traditional tunes as well, and one tune which was written by The Queensland Tiger himself (The Man from Snowy River.)
Each track features vocals and keyboards by The Queensland Tiger, and he is joined by a wide range of guest musicians, each with their own unique sound. These include John Joe Murray (violin), Mikhail Bugaev (violin/viola), Natasha Jaffe (cello), Slobodan Lekic (accordion), Jessie Morgan (violin, backing vocals), Paul Johnson (flutes and whistles) and Lillian Penner (violin, flute, cello and backing vocals).
Our Country is the third release from The Queensland Tiger, who has gained recognition for his reworks of traditional Australian folk songs. He breathes new life into some well known songs, and some others which might otherwise be forgotten. He is trying to bring them to a new audience, so these songs will continue to inspire new generations.