6.50pm, Saturday October 29 – Blues Stage
8.05pm, Sunday October 30 – Blues Stage
The strength of Blue Heat has always been the sum of the parts. There’s an intuitive understanding between them as players. It’s a less-is-more mentality, a unique chemical reaction which occurs when they play together, creating something organic and real…it can have soul, swing, be aggressive, raw, trashy, frightening and dangerous, but it’s always Blue Heat. It’s a combination of what they play and what they don’t play that makes their music so special. It’s about having the right vibe and capturing the best feel of the band playing together – their music comes alive when they’re interacting with each other. With great musicians, you only need to hear one phrase to identify immediately who’s playing. That’s when you know you have your own voice, your own unique musical signature…Blue Heat has that!
It’s been 20 years since Blue Heat recorded a studio album, but they’ve just put the final touches to a new disc that will be released later this year. Recently Jeremy Lee from ABC Radio caught up with Blue Heat’s guitarist and main songwriter Marco Goldsmith, drummer Barry Galbraith and the album’s co-producer Robert Quantrelle to reflect on why recording their new studio album took one day too long to complete.
It’s been a long road for Blue Heat, one of Warrnambool’s favourite and hardest working bands who are still going strong 23 years after their debut gig at the Ballarat Blues Festival.
Although they’ve been a regular fixture on stages locally and interstate, they’ve only released three albums during their long career – two studio discs and a live show recorded at the Continental Café in Prahran. And now, around 20 years since their last studio album, they’ve decided to record a new one. The obvious question is why?
Barry starts to explain, “too much time had passed by … we had this backlog of songs” before singer, guitarist and Marco adds, “it was about time too that we pulled our proverbial finger out and did it!”
The new album takes its name from one of its third track, “One Day Too Long”, a song that has been in their repertoire for nearly 20 years, further evidence that sometimes the best things are better savoured over a long time.
Marco and Barry are joined by Graeme Galbraith on bass, Brad Harrison on saxophone and vocals, and Paul Lemke on trombone. The sessions also caught the spontaneity of the band, as Marco remembers there was a day when he had to zip into Warrnambool, and while he was away “Brad had an idea with a horn line and a vocal melody, and I’ve turned up back and here they are going for it…I thought this sounds great…one run through it, you might as well hit record, and that was it.”
Recording in an improvised studio at Brad Harrison’s family property in Nirranda with local engineer Brenton Smith allowed the band to play as live as possible. According to Robert, “the importance of Brad’s property in Nirranda as the catalyst for the recording of this album cannot be underestimated. It’s been where they’ve rehearsed for the past few years escaping to its peace and tranquility to write and demo many of the tunes which eventually became part of the CD.”
It’s no secret that Blue Heat haven’t been performing over the last year. They had been booked to play at Wangaratta last year, but had to decline when Marco was diagnosed with throat cancer, and had to devote all his energies to overcoming that challenge. Happily, the diagnosis is good, Marco is ready to return to the stage, and the band decided there would be no more fitting stage for their official comeback than the Blues Marquee at Wangaratta.
“BLUE HEAT The seven strong Warrnambool outfit crank up a sophisticated brand or urban R&B with just a touch of the woodshed, no pretension whatsoever and mountains of class and cool.” – Terry Reilly, THE AGE