With an Australian Country heart, and the soul of Classic Rock, Jayne Denham has created something unique, new, and exciting with her new album ‘Renegade’, out now on ABC Music. The album is an energetic 10 tracks full of rock ’n’ roll, country, trucks, and strong Aussie women! Hildie Spautz spoke to her recently via skype, at her home in rural New South Wales for Rock Club 40 …
Listening to Jayne Denham’s new album, ‘Renegade’, if you’re like me, you will likely be surprised by the variety – and the powerful 70’s and 80’s rock sound on some of the tracks. If this is country, give me more! Jayne wanted the new album to be even rockier than her previous two. She had the idea of creating a unique rock & country mixture, still writing about Australian culture and Australian women, like she had in her previous albums, but really pushing the boundary. She took her ideas for ‘Renegade‘ to her producer, Garth Porter, who also co-writes many of her songs, and he got really excited about it. She says, “Garth has created an album that is one hundred times better than I could have even imagined. That’s the sign of a great producer – taking your little seed of an idea and kicking a goal – and he really has done that with this album.”
When asked about her rock influences, Jayne said “I grew up on country music. When I left school I joined rock bands, and I used to do a lot of covers, and you can sort of hear those influences, like Joan Jett, and Ann Wilson from Heart who would have to be my all-time favourite singer. And then, there were a lot of rock bands from Australia that were very influential when I was a teenager, who I used to sing, too, like Suze DiMarchi from Baby Animals. And Chrissy Amphlett of the Divinyls – she was an amazing singer and, as far as I’m concerned, she was totally ahead of her time. You look at the videos clips now and they’re outrageous! I was a kid and didn’t realize how much before her time she was, and she was very influential in rock all over the world. They’re the kind of women of rock that definitely influenced me”.
As for country music, she says “I grew up listening to anyone from John Cash to Dolly Parton. But lately, the people I’ve been really inspired by are people like Gretchen Wilson and Terry Clark, both American country artists. So I’ve kind of mixed all that together to create what I do. And it’s been fun!” And she’s fun to listen to, as well.
I was interested in how the new album came together, particularly some of my favourite songs. ‘Shelter’, the first single from the album, the first love song she has written or recorded, started out as a collaboration with her friend and fellow country artist, Tamara Stewart. Tamara said to her: ‘Jayne, I’ve got a really good feeling about this song, but we need to be careful with it, to not lose the magic in it.’ And so they got together with Aussie Country songwriting legend Colin Buchanan, who is known for his rural sensitivity, to help them keep the Aussie rural vibe as they polished the song off. (Colin wrote some songs on her previous albums and also writes a lot with Garth Porter and Lee Kernaghan.) She wanted the song to remain strong, didn’t want it to get mushy, and they succeeded. And she said “You can hear it in the lyrics, starting with the first line ‘I can see the tractor scraping circles, round and round’, both lovely and strong”.
You can watch the video for ‘Shelter’ here
She had been playing ‘Addicted to the Diesel’ (her second single from the album, now at #23 on the Australian Country Music charts) live for about a year and a half before the single came out. She says “It was kind of fun to have it finally come out on record – everyone kept asking- ‘when’s that ‘Addicted’song coming out?!’” It’s one of the most fun songs for her to do live and the audiences love it. She says, “It’s great, very rocky!”
Check out the video for ‘Addicted to the Diesel’ here
She wrote the rocky/country ‘Cowgirls MIA’ with Garth Porter and Matt Scullion (who both also wrote quite a few tracks on the new album, including ‘Addicted to the Diesel’). One of the guys came up with the fantastic idea of turning ‘Missing in Action’ into ‘Misbehaving in Australia’. It gets a great reaction live.
Jayne’s husband, Paul Denham, came up with the idea to create a rockabilly song and use roller derby girls in action as a background for the video (he is a video artist and creates all her music videos). When she proposed the idea to Garth, she couldn’t have expected the response – he got really excited about it because his daughter is in a Sydney roller derby team and he’s been to see her team many times. So the idea turned into ‘Jam the Jam’ – a rockabilly song for and about roller derby, complete with shouting derby girls and outrageously high energy finger-pickin’. It was fun for Jayne, Garth, and Matt to write, in the process learning all about roller derby. For country music, it’s “really out there”! They are thinking about doing a video for the song and distributing it world-wide and hoping it gets a positive reaction in the roller derby world.
Jayne is about to get out on the road – she has a show in Adelaide in June and then starting in July, a month long tour of NSW & Victoria with Carter & Carter and Travis Sinclair, getting Country out all over the two states. She’s excited to be going to some places where people aren’t much aware of her – yet!
by Hildie Spautz
Copyright © 2013 Hildie Spautz All Rights Reserved
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