Includes digital pre-order of Tangled Trails.
You get 3 tracks now
(streaming via the free Bandcamp app
and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the
complete album the moment it’s released.
shipping out on or around June 9, 2023
Streaming + Download
Pre-order of Tangled Trails. You get 3 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
‘Tangled Trails’, the latest album from Robbie Melville, is an introspective collection of songs inspired in part by the 1921 silent film of the same name. An imagined soundtrack to the early Western classic, each song can be matched to a scene of the film, ranging from the wintery wilds of Canada to the melting pot of Roaring Twenties era New York.
Drawing inspiration from significant figures in Melville’s life, the music displays his characteristic warmth, quirkiness and sense of romantic melancholy. His various projects - from the frenetic 50:fifty album by cleverhorse, to the elegant chamber jazz of To Iceland! To Iceland! by his trio Antelodic - have exhibited an accomplished exploration of the subtle intricacies of human emotion.
Many of the compositions on the album are dedicated to friends and family. The album’s centrepiece, Gin Ode, was written for Melville’s longtime friend, collaborator and saxophonist Gideon Brazil. “Gideon and I have been playing music together in an array of different projects for many years now. All that time spent listening to each other has resulted in a deep musical connection. More importantly, our friendship has never faltered. Gideon is still the most unpredictable person I’ve ever met. It’s a wonderful quality”. Bookended by a jubilant melody, Gin Ode moves between several sonic landscapes like slowly shifting sands, exploring shades of darkness and light.
Romance is a personal and tender message to Melville’s wife, and Lullaby was written for his eldest daughter Bug. “When my daughter was a baby and we were living in Shanghai, I thought it would be great to be able to play her a song to get her to sleep each day. At the time I was studying the guitar playing of Jimmy Wyble. It’s harmonically advanced contemporary counterpoint, and not at all suitable for composing a simple lullaby. It unintentionally influenced the writing of the piece quite a lot. Instead of falling asleep, my daughter would cry whenever I played it to her”.
Three of the album’s pieces are duets for guitar and cello. These were written after the idea was suggested to Melville by his luthier Jim Matheas, who built the classical guitar he uses on the album. Featuring one of Australia’s leading cellists, Zoe Knighton, Seed builds tension with a repeated rhythmic figure and Orange Monsters I Have Known maintains its relentless forward motion with the guitar and cello filling in the negative space of the other. Orton, on the other hand, is a slowly unfolding ballad.
“Orton is inspired by the music of American composer Mark Orton. I originally heard the tempo as being a little faster, but when Zoe and I were warming up in the recording studio, Zoe started playing it really slowly. My initial thought was that it felt all wrong, but I kept my ears open, and after playing through it with her for a few bars, I realised that her instincts were spot on. I began to follow her phrasing. It seemed to me as if she’d written the piece and knew it better than I did. I experienced a really wonderful feeling of surrender. Zoe is incredibly musical, and I’m so grateful she was able to be a part of this album”.
The fourteen pieces on Tangled Trails travel through environments of modern jazz, country blues, contemporary classical chamber music and acoustic folk. Melville successfully weaves together such disparate elements into a unified and enchanting musical world.
‘The mix of moods and feelings achieved by Melville’s compositions is rare in any art form’ - John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
‘TANGLED TRAILS’ TOUR DATES:
Friday 23rd June - The Old Church On The Hill, Bendigo VIC
Saturday 24th June - Cross Street, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 25th June - Broadford VIC
Tuesday 27th June - Nest Cafe and Cinema, Tumbarumba NSW
Thursday 29th June - Johnston Street Jazz, Sydney NSW
Friday 30th June - Fillmores, Kiama NSW
Saturday 1st July - Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra ACT
releases June 9, 2023
Robbie Melville - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, bass, guitalele, harmonium, junkie bell
Zoe Knighton - cello
All compositions by Robbie Melville except 'Great Expectations' by Guy Garvey/Craig Potter/Mark Potter/Pete Turner/Richard Jupp
Recorded at By Larry's Grace Studio, January 2023
Mixed by Mark Stanley
Tracks 3, 7 & 11 recorded and mixed by Hadyn Buxton
Mastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering
Artwork layout by Gideon Brazil
Photography from the Godby Family Fonds, courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Alberta
This album was made with the generous support of the Johnny Dennis Music Award
Robbie proudly plays a Jim Matheas Custom Classical guitar and a Phill Carson Crickmore Custom 00 guitar
Quality Control - Jim Matheas, Gideon Brazil, Julie Suter, Bug Melville, Eva Melville, Dave Faiman, Ronny Ferella
Thank you Annie Parnell and all at the Johnny Dennis Music Award, Zoe Knighton, Mark Stanley, Hadyn Buxton, Julie Buxton, Julien Wilson, Jim Matheas & Phil Carson Crickmore
My deepest gratitude to Julie, Bug and Eva for your unflagging support, patience, generosity and love
Gin Ode is for Gideon Brazil | Dance Fer Ella is for Ronny Ferella
Romance is dedicated to Julie Suter | Hey Buddy is a nod to Buddy Emmons | Lullaby was written for Bug. It doesn’t work as a lullaby |
Orange Monsters was inspired by the artwork of my uncle David Roberts | Orton and Or Not… are inspired by the music of Mark Orton | Pharos is dedicated to Mario Lattuada | Yosemite Picnic Fantasy was commissioned by Krisha Leione
It's not vital to your enjoyment of the music, but this album can function as an imagined soundtrack to the 1921 silent Western film ‘Tangled Trails’