THE HARBOUR UNION
A collective with the idea of collectin'....trading songs for donations is the plan...songs of heart swung with the warmest acoustic instruments and the sharpest electrics sung with guts and hope....
Cause albums, charity records whatever you wish to call them are often fraught affairs. The Grand Gesture is always the hardest to manage, and the participants while good intentioned often suffer when they find themselves in an Irony free zone. It’s a place where musicians individual self obsessions are meant to be subsumed by the greater good. The problem is a musicians self obsession is really at the crux of their being, it is their gift and I guess also their curse. In the context of their individual performance, songs or records those obsessions are in their right place, expected even. However when they collectively unite to offer their response to an issue, an event or a cause its common to hear a collective groan and whisper among their audience and critics, suddenly we are meant to believe that these self mythologizers actually…gulp…’care’. It can be laughable, it can be sad yet now and again it can work.
The motley band of lyttelton musicians who have gathered under the moniker “The Harbour Union”, hope that in their case at least the concept will work, at least on a small, local and community orientated scale, which considering the independent nature of the artists present is one very close to their hearts. They’ve done away with the grand gesture, this (in relation to all of the work happening for chch) is small and hopefully like the best ideas, simple. Hunker down together, record some songs and hopefully hustle them into as many hands who want them, in exchange for cash. It’s that word that’s key here, cash. Like it not when confronted with the events and challenges faced by their city and community the harbour union knew cash would help keep things running. From schools to business to rent payers and workers lots of folks are struggling around their way, and not ones to ask for something for nothing the strummers, singers and writers who make up the harbour union figured they’d trade that which they make (songs) for donations of the financial kind.
So that’s what they did, they made a record of, for, and about their community, the profits and proceeds of which will find their way back to lyttelton and to the folks who need it. Simple.
Thirteen new or reimagined songs from a collective featuring some of the harbour basin’s best known, and best kept secrets.
The Eastern are string band that roars like a punk band, that swings like a gospel band, that drinks like a country band, that works like a bar band, that hopes like folk singers, and sings love songs like union songs, and writes union songs like love songs, and wants to slow dance and stand on tables, all at the same time. Continually described as NZ’s hardest workin’ band they’ve spent the last few years playing over 200 nights a year up and down nz and beyond. They’ve toured with and opened for Fleetwood Mac, Steve Earle, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Jay hawks, Jimmy Barnes amongst others but are just as happy on a street corner or in a backyard singin and kickin’ their heels. Happiest on tour and with two well selling records and three e.p.’s to their credit they show no signs of quittin’ or tagging out. With their second record ‘Arrows’ out in Australia in may the eastern have been glad to be muckin in at home and having a chance to take part in the ‘Harbour Union’ Project.
Part man, part wheel, All one man renegade ghost orchestra. Whereas to most people homelesness means failure, Davidson has embraced it as a career choice and seems to turn it into some sort of success. He has, for the last ten years at least, been winding up his world tour machine joining forces with folks like Holly Golightly and Voodoo Rhythms Reverend Beatman. Beginning with gatecrashing the legendary Funeral Orchestra, "Dead Brothers" and ending up as restless as a ferret he spends less than 24 hours in each place he travels through, he spends most of his time on the road, and touring a relentless circuit encompassing Western Europe and North America. 2010 saw him release his 3rd solo Album "Self Decapitation" tour from march til end of december, and create two videos to support the release. We asked Davidson to give us a few words about his lifestyle:
"Well theres not much to say really, to most people homelessness means destitution and terror, to me it is a sign of successful tour planning..."
Davidson is well recieved in USA aswell as Europe , and has played from Moscow to Texas and from Ireland to Tasmania.
New Zealand musician Lindon Puffin first rose to national prominence as frontman & songwriter of glam rock band ‘The Puffins’ in the mid 1990’s. The Puffin’s toured relentlessly, receiving widespread student radio air time, eventually topping the charts with a Roxy Music-esqe single called ‘Lighthouse’ before Lindon left the band to take up a job as the RDU 98.5fm breakfast show host in 2000. A couple of years later he relaunched his career as a solo folk-punk act supporting international artists such as Tenacious D and Billy Bragg. He has released two solo albums to date, the last of which reached no. 22 in the NZ charts. He’s twice been awarded ‘Live Act Of The Year’ (04 & 07) and in 2005 he produced a hilarious feature length music touring documentary called ‘Figure 8000’ that screened on NZ Music TV as well as an 18 month rotation on Sky TV’s Documentary Channel! 2008 saw him undertake a comprehensive world tour of 12 countries & 36 cities cementing his reputation as one of NZ’s hardest working independent self managed musicians. Late last year, Lindon returned to the studio with highly respected producer Wayne Bell and an all-star band of iconic NZ musicians to record his third solo album called ‘Hope Holiday’ slated for release in winter 2011. His high energy performance, comedic banter and soaring vocals make him an unforgettable live act.
THE UNFAITHFUL WAYS
The Unfaithful Ways are a band built around the firm belief that the song is all that matters. Blending the mystical lyricism of writers like Townes Van Zandt and Gene Clark with an inborn flair for strong melodies and three-part harmony, their music stays true to the age-old themes of "love and loss and everything in between". Since forming in 2008, they have garnered a healthy reputation in their native New Zealand, issuing an EP, Four First Songs in 2009, supporting international acts such as Band of Horses and Justin Townes Earle, featuring on the Townes Van Zandt tribute album More Townes Van Zandt By The Great Unknown released on Forthesakeofthesong Records in 2010, and appearing in 2011's Big Day Out lineup. On the back of a publishing deal with Native Tongue, their debut album is set to be released this year.
THE TINY LIES-
Charlotte Ivey and Harley Williams are 'the Tiny Lies', a New Zealand Alt-Folk-Country act who have been writing and performing songs together since mid 2009. Since their very first live to air performance in May 2009 on Volcano Radio, the Tiny Lies have performed a number of live shows in and around the Christchurch area. The live sound of the Tiny Lies is beguilingly simple: Williams plays acoustic guitar, Ivey plays harmonica, both contribute to vocals. But, as with any good musical duo, the product is far more than the sum of its parts. Described by friend and fellow songwriter Adam McGrath (The Eastern) as having a "twisted gentleness" embodied in their music, the duo tend to write more about loss, loneliness and the frustrations of relationships rather than the opposing. That said, the band are not adverse to love songs either, with love itself often being the underlying motive behind their subject matter. Their sound isn't necessarily depressing though, more melencholic and reflective. They write songs that tell stories, like any typical folk act, but often write songs that are short, sweet, simple and with minimal lyrics....
Al Park is perhaps one of chch musics most enduring icons, from his days as a leading light in the c-city punk scene as founder of the mighty Vapour and the Trails as well as holding the keys to chch most famous punk venues Mollet St. Al is also familiar as the leader of the infamous Louie and the Hotsticks, chch’s ‘80’s ska, rock’roll kings, the man behind the well remembered echo records secondhand counter and more recently as the brains and name behind Al’s Bar one of the citys biggest and most popular live music venues, who has hosted everyone from Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club to Amanda Palmer to Justin Townes Earle. Al’s belief in live music, independent spirit and the thrill of a great song has seen him as one of the lytteltons most well thought of residents and a god father to most young musicians in the town and city beyond. Post earthquake a basketball stadium has been required to host the amount of bands wanting to hold a benefit in for Al and his bar.
Lyttelton's newest country singers have thrilled audiences all over the city with their gospel infused country twang. The Vicars daughter sings but keeps the band supplied with liquor and the audience with soaring vocals and a shimmy to put even the most flexible juke jointer to shame. Having lost their debut album in the earthquake they’re thrilled to offer up ‘Weeping Willow’ in tribute for the Harbour Union record.