DEEPER SOUTH (Goanna Arts/Independent) **** (4 Stars)
This is Shane Howard's journey across the wine-dark sea. He takes to the ocean in imagery and philosophy, meditating on life and love in the pitch and roar of the waves, the depth of the currents, the surface tensions of the seemingly becalmed. He excerpts Ode by 19th-century poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy ("we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams") in the liner notes to complement his own lyrics – for there's something of a constant battle on the captain's deck between despairing realism and the power of love. It's an all-acoustic, wooden instruments, affair that marries folk and Celtic genres. Howard's voice is deep and moving, a highlight being Hymn to Love. .... Warwick McFadyen ( The Age)
Howard has refined his art with 13 solo albums, 3 Goanna albums, two books and a stable of great production credits, that have established him as a significant contributor to Australian folklore.
His anthemic song, Solid Rock, from the album, Spirit of Place (1982), recorded with his band Goanna, was written after a moving experience at an inma at Uluru in 1981. It has since passed into folklore and the Australian psyche. He pushed on, beyond commercial success, tirelessly pursuing an artist’s journey, in order to make sense of the story of a ‘whitefella’ in an Aboriginal country.
His songs have been recorded by numerous artists as diverse as Ireland's Mary Black and Australia's John Farnham and Troy Cassar-Daley. He has spent much of his musical life working with Aboriginal musicians, as well as touring Ireland and forging Irish-Australian connections. Shane has been a producer for the Pigram Brothers, Street Warriors, Mary Black, Archie Roach and the soundtrack for the Jimmy Chi musical, Corrugation Road. He’s a founding member of the celebrated Black Arm Band.
"Howard is one of Australia's most influential songwriters who combines a deep understanding of poetic and musical folk traditions and captures something essential of the spirit of Australia in words and music. Nevertheless, his songs have a global reach and explore universal themes". Aziz Choudry, Montreal.