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The phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" doesn't apply to Matthew Good. A defining characteristic of this Canadian rock icon is exactly the opposite of that popular axiom. Over his almost two-decade career, Good has taken us on a journey. From The Matthew Good Band to Hospital Music, to his 2011 JUNO winning release, Vancouver, Good continually pushes forward into uncharted territory; mapping new musical landscapes most recently showcased on his latest release, Lights Of Endangered Species (May 31, 2011).
Lights Of Endangered Species takes Good in an unfamiliar direction, displaying arrangements that are a distinct departure from the likes of "Born Losers" and "Last Parade." Stark and passionate best describe Good's latest effort and despite its differences from the Matthew Good we are familiar with, the record still sits comfortably with his fans.
Purposefully taking the album to a new place was a conscious decision that Good and producer, Warne Livesey, made when creating Lights Of Endangered Species. Recorded near his home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., the record's nine tracks are an exhilarating example of Good's growth as an artist, focusing less on "radio friendly" material and showcasing unique phrasing and instrumentation that is perhaps new to his fans. This is best displayed on tracks like the piano driven "Non Populus," running over eight minutes long, anchored by the phrase "done something different."
It's clear on Good's most recent effort that he has, in fact, done something different; and that something reaffirms Good's place as one of Canada's most relevant artists. Clearly inspired by new influences artistically, yet remaining inherently recognizable, Lights Of Endangered Species is easily Good's most exciting and meaningful record to date.
And how does Good feel about his most recent work? "I'd just gotten off stage," recalls Good. "I was sitting in the dressing room with Shawn, my record company A&R rep, and the subject of the new record came up. I lit a cigarette, looked at him, and said 'Well, it's the best record I've ever made...' then I paused, exhaled, looked at him out of the corner of my eye and said – '...but I don't know what the fuck you're going to do with it.'"
Life in Australia's iconic Byron Bay is relaxed, social, and is known for its enviable lifestyle and chilled pace of life
Since Pete Murray moved to Byron Bay eight years ago, a string of musicians have also relocated to this creative seaside hub and also made it a regular pit stop along the touring circuit. The lure of sun, surf, and the best chai tea in the country is proving too hard to resist for many talented musicians artists and creative's
A bunch of locals play music together, surf together, help each other out, and even babysit for each other's kids. Pete Murray is at the heart of this community spirit. .
Pete Murray's new compendium album, Blue Sky Blue "The Byron Sessions" celebrates the collaborative Byron lifestyle and includes contributions from some very special guest artists. The idea spawned out of jamming on each other's songs within this tight knit kinship. After living with his most recent studio album Blue Sky Blue, Pete wanted to re-record and release the album how he plays it with his friends - stripped back, Byron-style. The album is something Pete wanted to do for himself and his mates. It's a re-interpretation of songs from an album he loves, infused with the flavour of his adopted home Byron Bay, the sun kissed mecca for back-packers and executive hippies where the chai lattes (real leaves, not powder), board wax, salty air, and the occasional waft of hooch create a uniquely blended aroma. When Pete is hanging out with his mates in Byron, he is just one of the boys - enjoying surfing at sunrise, daytime jam sessions, and evenings hanging with his kids. Of course he is much more than that - a proud father and one of Australia's most loved singer-songwriters with over a million album sales under his belt.
Pete put the word out to a collection of his muso mates to contribute on this compendium album. They are either Byron locals or artists who have come to know Pete during his Byron days. Byron locals Ash Grunwald and Scott Owen (The Living End) lend slide guitar and bass respectively to make Hurricane Coming unmistakably coastal; Katie Noonan's vocals on Hold It All For Love are beautifully haunting; new kid on the block Fantine takes Pete into uncharted territory on lead track Blue Sky Blue with a rap written by indigenous roots queen Natalie Pa'apa'a (Blue King Brown); another Byron local Bernard Fanning takes time out of his busy recording schedule to sing backing vocals on Led; Busby Marou contributes vocal harmonies and guitar on Let You Go and the track Free - which was the most played Australian track on Australian radio last year; Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) plays his recognisable guitar licks on H.O.L.L.A.N.D.
For the first time since his independent artist days, well before he became a household name, Pete Murray is touring the country for some up-close-and-personal shows - partly solo and partly stripped back acoustic with some muso mates. If you haven't seen Pete perform his songs stripped back to their raw form, then you haven't seen Pete at his best.