Whichever it was, I was pleasantly surprised, in fact quite taken aback.
Apparently Mountain District Radio, based in Emerald, Victoria (3MDR – 97.1 FM) has been putting these albums out over a few years now and the qualification for entry is that the musos, whose tracks are accepted, must either live or perform in the Dandenong Ranges. In fact, the last compilation was an award winning production, so what has 3MDR garnered and put together for us over this past year?
As already stated, there are 3CDs, pretty good value for a start with an excellent cover and some 52 tracks in all. Several of the names I did not recognise, whilst others leapt out at me such as Spectrum, Kate Crowley, Abbie Cardwell, Khristian Mizzi and The Sirens, The Twoks, Lloyd Spiegel, Marisa Yeaman, Stevie and The Sleepers, Ben Kelly and the aptly named The Chops.
Putting those aside means that there are 42 tracks by other local and independent musos; you might not have heard of them by name, but you may well have heard them at local gigs or on 3MDR itself. Being in a rush (and not being paid for this review) I was tempted to overlook the also rans, but hold on, these are not also rans, they are true form independent musos!
Disc one opens with a very live acoustic performance by Tony J King and is self-written in a rootsy way and followed by Autumn Jenkins with Roller Coaster and some great bass playing, exacting vocals and more.
Staying on Disc One, I could not pass (what male could?) Designer Vagina by Melissa Main (with Stuart Atkin) and if you’ll excuse the pun, I was drawn in even further. Here is an independent artist giving sound advice to those who might be cosmetically inspired, but in a comedic and salutary manner.
Disc Two has two of 3MDRs many presenters performing tracks, being Rollo Ellis and Neesy Smith; two very diverse tracks with Rollo locked into his self-imprisonment and Neesy being the neo-folkie. Other tracks fall within the folk/roots/acoustica genres with some excellent musicality and enlightening lyrics. A local Primary School gets a look in and there’s a protest song too. What more could one want?
The final disc brings the set to a close with some great instrumentals, more outstanding vocals and musicianship.
Overall, the 2014 album has something for virtually everyone and explores and highlights the talents the Dandenong Ranges holds. If you are not genre bound and like blues influenced music, roots, acoustica, neo folk and improvisational music, grab a hold of this locally produced album. A track a day will keep the blues away…….except for those on the album.
Reviewed by : Iain Kendall of Cockatoo.