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MP3 Chris Pickering - Ghost City

Singer/Songwriter mixed with Alternative country (with a small c.).

5 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, ROCK: Roots Rock

Chris Pickering is a Brisbane-based independent singer/songwriter.

Since mid-2004, Pickering has been garnering strong critical acclaim and steadily charming audiences around Australia with his quietly compelling perfomances, refreshingly innovative melodies and stark, introspective songwriting.

Pickering''s third solo record, an EP called Ghost City and produced by ARIA-Award winning legend Magoo, is due for national release through MRA Entertainment in November 2006 (Catalogue #CP04).

Ghost City features songs from Pickering''s forthcoming album (due out March-April 2007) as well as some exclusive EP-only tracks. Guest performers on the recording include Savannah Jo Lack (violin), Helen Russell (bass), Megan Washington (backing vocals), Michael Flanders (pedal steel) and Kathryn McKee (cello).

Pickering''s songs have a breezy country flavour, while retaining the pop instincts that scored high rotation airplay for the Boaties and even delving into acoustic folk territory. He''s a little bit of Elvis, Morrissey, James Dean, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy, Rufus Wainwright and Gram Parsons - all shook up.

In addition to numerous well-received headline shows, Pickering has shared the stage with the likes of Beth Orton, The Church, Epicure, Machine Translations, Holly Throsby, Jen Cloher, Gelbison, David Ross MacDonald, James Blundell, Brendan Welch, Sophie Koh, Iron On, The Gin Club, Andrew Morris, Joel Plaskett (Canada), and Kate Miller-Heidke. He’s also played live to air several times on ABC radio and 4ZzZ.

Pickering’s honesty and simple integrity enable him to endear himself to a broad range of audiences, whether it be Tamworth cowboys, jaded indie kids in the Valley, or grey wanderer hippies touring the folk festival circuit. And he doesn’t even play football. Well, he used to. But only recreationally.

Pickering’s acoustic formula invites comparisons with the likes of Wilco, James Taylor, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Paul Kelly and even Sea Change era Beck. But one listen is proof enough that Pickering sings his own stories with his own distinctive voice and style.

Ghost City follows Pickering''s debut solo album A Safer Place commanded the attention of songwriting connoisseurs throughout Australia. Giving the release 4 stars, Brisbane''s Courier Mail called A Safer Place "magnificent". Rave declared it "accomplished" and Time Off "a truly superb effort" (see below for full quotes).

Released independently in late 2005, A Safer Place has (since February 2006) been distributed nationally by MRA Entertainment in a special limited-edition format which features a bonus disc of Pickering''s June 2005 EP, Hard to Find.

Chris co-produced A Safer Place with Brisbane’s Emerson Bavinton (Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, Gorgeous). The album contains a mixture of styles, united by Chris’s warm vocals and delicate guitar work. It varies from the indie-pop cuteness of Sleepyhead, through the jaded-youth irony of Goodbye Cruel World, to the McCartney-esque strings and piano on Somersaults (the album’s closing track). In between is the country-rock-meets-The Smiths hoedown of Better Off, the deft fingerpicking and enchanting melody of All As it Should Be, and the captivating folk troubadour storytelling of The Stars Will Fall Down Tonight.

An accomplished and versatile musician, Pickering plays most instruments appearing on A Safer Place. The album is not without guest appearances however – notably, bass by the incomparable Helen Russell, slide guitar on Goodbye Cruel World by one David McCormack, violin by Tamworth Golden Fiddle winner Jo Lack, and backing vocals by jazz singer Megan Washington.

A Safer Place is available in all good record stores throughout Australia via MRA Entertainment, and internationally via https://www.tradebit.com. You can also get the songs on itunes.

Ghost City will also be available in Australian record stores in November 2006, or directly at the CD launch event (Friday 3rd November at the Spark Bar, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm).

Some nice things people have said about Chris Pickering:

"...a record that continues to resonate, captivate, stimulate and surprise long after your first listen... a magnificent debut LP..." - The Courier Mail, album review re A Safer Place, 25.05.2006 (4 Stars).

"...heartfelt and refreshingly honest with some of the sweetest country-flavoured melodies in the country.... A Safer Place is a truly superb effort from one of Brisbane''s greatest emerging talents." - Time Off album review, 30.11.2005 (4 Stars).

"Since leaving the Boat People, Chris Pickering has quickly gained a reputation as one of Brisbane''s most promising singer/songwriters. You can find evidence of this both in the latest EP by his band The Horse You Rode in On and this accomplished and emotive debut solo album. Stripped of the prog/jazz flourishes of the Boaties, Chris has nonetheless retained some of their ''70s West Coast pop elements and blended them with country-inspired arrangements. There''s ravishing rural pop in Chalk Outline and Better Off and crackly Elliott Smith-style minimalism in [All] As it Should Be, the guitar seemingly coming from an ancient transistor radio. There''s the lush melodicism of Jackson Browne or James Taylor in Rattle and even more Everybody''s Talkin''-tinged take on Horse... EP track Sleepyhead and majestic, Nyman-esque strings in the epic closer Somersault. An immensely impressive debut." - Matt Thrower (review of A Safer Place LP) in Rave Magazine, 15.11.2005.

"With a new album hot off the press... ex-Boat People drummer and local alt-country hero Chris Pickering is finally coming into his own." - Nick Christie in Scene Magazine, 19.10.2005.

"...Accompanied only by his nimble acoustic fingerpicking and occasional bursts of harmonica, Pickering''s sweet voice glides through several tracks from his recent EP Hard to Find and upcoming album A Safer Place, the best of which, such as the lilting All As it Should Be show him to be a confident songsmith with a knack for emotive melodies." - Live review in Rave Magazine, 27.09.2005 (re: show with Machine Translations and Holly Throsby @ The Troubadour, 23.09.2005).

“Confident country-tinged debut: Former Boat Person Chris Pickering steps out from behind the drum kit and heads down the dusty trail to https://www.tradebit.comntry on this four-track debut EP. The title track sets out his stall nicely - acoustic guitars, fiddle, piano and harmonica all sit comfortably around Pickering’s catchy and assured vocal melody and driving rhythm….All As it Should Be combines rollicking finger-picking with a gorgeous pop melody, Thinking Clearer brings to mind Muswell Hillbillies-era Kinks and Farther Along adds a tinge of blues to the mix. With songwriting as solid as this, Pickering is bound to go far in his chosen genre.” – Brett Collingwood (review of Hard to Find) in Rave Magazine, 19.07.2005.

"...Instantly likeable vocals, as well as a disarming lyrical candour.... Chris still retains the keen melodic sense that made From the Corner so infectious. In this way Pickering has a songwriting edge on many https://www.tradebit.comntry performers: his songs are not only honest and intimate but catchy to boot." - Rave Magazine, 07.06.2005.

"I had no idea that Chris''s own songwriting was a honey-filtered distillation of both [Nick Drake]''s and Dylan and Young''s storytelling legacy. Neither did I know just how accomplished Chris is as a solo perfomer.... He was confident and striking as he shared his lilting and romantic ballads. Delightful!". - Rave Magazine, 21.06.2005.

"The EP includes Hard to Find, recorded in Melbourne with top-shelf players including James Black and Stephen Hedley. But songs like All As It Should Be and Thinking Clearer, with Pickering''s deft finger-picking guitar and harmonica, show how well-suited he is as a solo troubadour." - The Courier Mail, 11-12.06.2005.

"Pickering''s debut single, Hard to Find, is a breezy, feel good country ditty, the type of song that plays over the happy ending of a film as the characters skip off merrily into impossibly perfect futures." - Beat Magazine, 01.06.2005.

"One of Brisbane''s best emerging singer-songwriters..." - Brisbane News, 25.05.2005.

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