It’s been a big year for country rock sensations, The Wolfe Brothers. With the recent announcement of the ‘This Crazy Life’ tour in celebration of their fabulous, chart topping, new album, we chat to bassist Tom Wolfe about what fans can expect from the new music, the tour and the other artists involved. So it seems that 2016 has been the ‘Year of the Wolfe’.
“If I can say so, it’s a bloody good year so far!” he laughs. “It’s been, honestly, it’s been fantastic, we are just very appreciative, with all the success of the new album and everything that’s been happening lately. We put a lot of work into this band over the years, and just some of the fruits of your labour coming back, it’s really nice. And the fans seem to be really be enjoying it, I think, this new album is, as we spent so long on the road, it’s chilled us as songwriters, as people, and as artists, and I think now our best bit of work yet, so we’re very happy.”
No doubt honing their craft over the many years in pubs and clubs across Tasmania and Australia is finally paying off in spades. Since being runners up in Australia’s Got Talent in 2012, the band has also toured with their musical hero Lee Kernaghan and won a Best Group CMC award earlier this year after winning the CMC’s New Artist of the Year award in 2014. Now they are currently on tour and carving a new path across the US before bringing the mini festival “This Crazy Life’ back to our shores. Tom tells RockClub40 “We’ve been doing a bunch of gigs through Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, it’s been great, a lot of mid western states, doing some really good support slots, big festivals, a lot of county fairs. it’s been an incredible experience. But they haven’t forgotten where their roots are, making sure there’s a quick pit stop back in Oz mid tour as Tom explains “On and off, no rest for the wicked. We go back to the Gympie Muster, actually we fly on Sunday to go home for the Gympie Muster, then we come straight back and get back on the road over here. Then straight into This Crazy Life tour. Go, go, go…”
And “The Crazy Life” it is, being the obvious description of their phenomenal success and life on the road. Now the Australian East Coast will get to experience not only the new tracks from the new Wolfe Brothers album, but also a showcase of country music talent as Tom continues “I think it’s going to be really special, 7 acts from 3 different countries on one night. There are not many other tours happening like it in Australia at the moment. It’s unique and really special. We were friends with all the guys, we were sort of talking about where the state of where Australian country music’s at, what we are all doing touring wise, we kind of thought we want to do something different It wouldn’t be like us to go against the grain. (laughs) So we thought, you know what, some of the fans visit festivals because they don’t necessarily get to see one act they get to see 6, 7 acts on the one day. We kind of got our brain ticking over and went well, let’s take a mini festival out on the road and give everybody a showcase of acts they might have wanted to see, and put them all on the one night and put a really special tour on, and that’s basically how it’s born. Gord, Gord Bamford is coming over from Canada. He’s the number one guy over there. We’ve spent the last week with him here in town. And on top of all of that we’ve got Jody Direen coming from New Zealand. She just won female artist there. Christie Lamb gold guitar winner. Caitlyn Shadbolt of X factor and CMC winner. Troy Kemp from McCallister Kemp and up and coming Craig Heath, he’s a really talented guy. So you’re going to get to see some stuff you like and on top of that you’re going to get to discover some new music as well. So that’s exciting, that’s a really exciting thing.”
Starting the tour in Tassie will be big highlight for the band as Tom and Nick Wolfe, with guitar player Brodie Rainbird and returning for the Aussie tour only, drummer Casey Kostiuk, take it back home to where it all began. “ Well we thought, we’d better get home at some point” He laughs. “Everyone has been waiting. Honestly it’s going to be exciting to get home and it’s really nice to launch it there, being away from home for so long. Sort of take it back to the state where we started playing in the pubs for 20 people, 4 -5 years down the track here we are putting on a mini festival named after our new album in our home state. It’s going to be really amazing and it just goes to show if you work hard, you can do it. So it’s going to be nice to take that home”
Since mid November 2015 the band has spent months in and out of Nashville, the country capital of the world, writing and recording and releasing their 3rd album “This Crazy Life” this year with the Nashville based producer Luke Wooten, who has produced and co-produced the bands first two albums. The Wolfe Brothers have been able to soak themselves into the deep endless pit of Nashville creativity as Tom gives us more insight into the sound and song writing of the new album. “ I think the new album is, well, while I think it’s a big step forward sonically, I think the way the sound of the album was done, song wise, you really get to see probably a bit more depth from the band. With songs like Every Time, Love Gone, When I Was The One, showing a bit more growth. I feel that just the years of touring and travel has matured us, and I really feel that comes across on this album. It’s pretty fitting, the title, and then the lead single This Crazy Life, that’s kind of what our life has been for the last 4 or 5 years, we haven’t really stopped (laughs). Every day is different and it’s a lot of fun, you never know what situation you are going to get into. It keeps you very fresh and on your toes.”
It’s not just Nashville which has proved to be a mega successful period for the band. They have also been experiencing success as the US crowds show them some love on the current country music circuit. “At first for us, there were a lot of nerves involved, getting comfortable with it. Honestly, they’ve been great. Energetic. Really into what we do. We found as a band we had to slow down what we were talking about on stage, just to help them understand us. It’s been fantastic, just been like home, they’re into it, they get the songs. They’re enjoying the music, so, more than we can hope for” As Tom continues “It’s exciting to create something and the songs written come from experience from where we are from, which is the other side of the world, but people across the other side, they get it. And they’re listening to us sing it. That’s really good, really really good”
Seems we may have some Aussie music legends on our hands here. Genuine and hard working compatriots tearing it up in the biggest country music scene on the planet. Tom finishes our chat by giving us an insight into travelling on the road in the US and their unique baptism of fire.”There’s great stories, I can tell you one fantastic one. Our first ever bit of touring over here, when we got on the road, so excited, we bought cars, we’re getting set up, we bought amps, we’re getting everything ready. Our first trip on the road, middle of the night, we’re heading from Kentucky on the way to Ohio, and the lights on the car start dimming, we’re like ok this is not good, this is really not good, so then the whole dash and the whole lights on the dash starting to dim, we’re like right, let’s get off this highway, we’re in the middle of a freeway, next exit. Couldn’t make the exit the car died. We’re stuck on the side of the freeway, our first ever bit of touring in America. The alternator’s gone so we didn’t even have power to have the lights on. Got a tow truck organised, tow truck came, they only had room for one person in the truck, the rest of us were actually sitting in the car, on the tow truck. Found some mechanic in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky, like out on a back road and it was 11 O’clock at night. Those guys, with massive big tobacco in their lips, couldn’t understand their talking. Yeah, it was pretty incredible.”
Great story Tom, and what a great concert we have coming up. Be sure to check out The Wolfe Brothers and all the other amazing artists on the “This Crazy Life” tour kicking off in Tasmania from 7 October. For full tour details, click here.
by Marina Knezevic
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