‘Deeper South, is a gem… these songs are like zephyrs… if quality has hardly ever been a guarantee of success in the music industry, it's even truer now in our world of miniscule attention spans. Fear not, quality still lasts. ‘Deeper South’ will last, and last, and last'…..David P. Weber
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)
Just like the sky and waters of the Great Southern Ocean, where Shane Howard was raised and resides, his 13th solo album, ‘Deeper South’, features songs full of music and poetry that are deep and dark yet illuminated by great shafts of light.
Going Deeper South A video about the recording and crowd funding process of Shane Howard's new album 'Deeper South' Just like the sky and waters of the Great Southern Ocean, where Shane Howard was raised and resides, his latest CD, ‘Deeper South’, features songs full of music and poetry that are deep and dark, yet illuminated by great shafts of light.
For 35 years Shane Howard's songs have mapped the human spirit and the Australian landscape. That landscape has been populated with rivers; raging rivers in flood, desert rivers running dry, deep rivers winding or forging their way to the sea. With ‘Deeper South’, these rivers are unbound and finally find their way to the sea. The musical landscape is as vast, mysterious and powerful as the Southern Ocean and Howard has found his true musical home. He is at his best.
This is an album that redefines the boundaries of Australian folk music and reinvigorates it with poetic and musical mastery. The musical influences are as diverse as jazz, blues, country, Australian folk music and the deep well of traditional Celtic music.
On his 13th solo album, Howard’s musicality and skill as a guitarist are also on display and are enriched by the accomplished playing of John Hudson (guitar, dobro, mandolin) and Ewen Baker (fiddle, mandolin). Recorded in Howard’s home studio, the trio played and played, to capture a live performance, rather than constructing studio tracks. With the live tracks down, long term music collaborator Ruben Shannon added Acoustic Bass and special musical guests, Peter Grayling and Rosie Luby added Cello, Tommy Carty, Bouzouki and Andy Richardson, Flute.
Some tracks rock and roll, like a boat ploughing deep into Antarctic waters, set free from the troubles that beset the land, sailing wildly into the tempest of mighty squalls. Other songs are deeply meditative, like the calm, glassy, seas of Summer. Irish and Scottish tunes flow in and out of the entire record, like ocean currents.
Lyrically, Howard sets out on a complex and diverse voyage through the human experience with meditations on the writings of St Paul, songs inspired from Sufi poetry, meditations on grief, songs set to the words of John Shaw Neilsen's poetry and a pirate murder ballad set in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Stories with biting social commentary and dark satire sit alongside praise poems to both the feminine and the divine, like the hauntingly beautiful, ‘You’re The Love’, co-written with Russ Kunkel during the Carole King tour. Songs of tenderness and mercy stand beside tales of murder. In ‘Deeper South’ there is loss and longing, and love, in many forms and hues. There is raw power, subtlety and at times, the sublime.
‘Deeper South ‘ is a created world of powerful imagining and the music that propels the words and the narrative is equally masterful. This is true folk music, but not as we know it.