With the popular resurgence of alternative takes on the classic American country rock sound, I find myself dealing with terms such as Anglicana or British-Americana, which seek to describe that odd hybrid of the formers take on the latters traditional sound. If Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders are the Antipodean equivalent of such a meeting of musical minds then it would seem that their cultural clash is fairing much better. Whereas on British shores the result tends to be a pale pastiche of what is going on across the water, on the other side of the world that melting pot is creating something much more sturdy. Whereas the trans-Atlantic product is one that has been weakened by British reserve, the trans-Pacific result is one that has been strengthened by Australian grit.
Blood and Bones, is taken from the upcoming album Greenbah and is a showcase for raw, bluesy rock and country twangs but its defining details lie at the top and bottom of the song. Up front and centre is Billy Roberts’ vocal, with the sound of an over indulgence in cigarettes and alcohol providing exactly the right lived in textures. Hiding at the back of the mix is some lovely swirling Hammond, which just raises its head occasionally, adding some emotive musical layers and contrasting background delicacy.
But as I said, this isn’t a by the book take on the genre, this is outback blues and part of the originality of the sound seems also to be a large swath of indie vibes running through its core. This is all the proof that you need that as much as music is universal it also constantly evolves and adapts to new environments. They say that travel broadens the mind; it broadens the musical possibilities too.