I recently saw Australian country music group Jetty Road at the Railway Country and Bluegrass Festival in Cookstown, Ontario. The festival, which was built around the 40th Birthday of Canadian country music star Jason McCoy, featured a good selection of bluegrass and mainstream country, including talented Canadian songwriter and musician Deric Ruttan who I didn’t get a chance to hear – but I did get a chance to hear and meet Jetty Road, and they really particularly impressed me with their music and attitude!
Sisters Lee and Paula Bowman, and band members Julian Sammut and Simon Ross put on an absolutely amazing show for a fairly sedate audience of mainly older people at the festival, encouraging the retirees to “get rowdy” as they belted out a rollicking offering of country-rock-bluegrass, compelling ballads, and instrumental ingenuity, particularly from the adept stylings of Simon Ross. They also did a quick lesson on Australian greetings, and were a really upbeat, fun act to watch! Jetty Road was playing Cookstown as part of a Canadian tour, and head to Winnipeg next for a September 1 show at the Pyramid Cabaret. Highly recommended to see if you have a chance. They then go on to Western Canada, before heading back to Australia near the end of September.
Songs like “I Wanna Go Home,” and “Full Circle” were brilliantly done, and the new best Australian country single-winner “I Have Been” was a compelling piece of heartache worthy of Lucinda Williams or Emmylou Harris. Being able to move from upbeat rock-infused songs with banjo and mandolin to slow, old-style country ballads was impressive to say the least! The vocal harmonies of Lee and Paula together with the skill of their bandmembers made for a great performance. The next big thing out of Australian country music could well be Jetty Road – I could definitely see Keith Urban doing a guest performance with them for starters!
I will have a link to a review of their 2006 album Dirt Roads: City Lights up very soon via Suite101.com.