Most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement has opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music is making you happy. Today, playwright and arts administrator Augusta Supple.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
It was Friday the 13th (March) when I realised I wouldn’t be flying to North America at the end of the month for what my colleagues had assured me was a well-deserved break. My original plan was to reconnect with my favourite Californians, then Canadians in the small music town of Guelph (just near Toronto) and then Texans at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
To manage the heartache of cancelled travel plans (and an actual heartbreak that happened before The Great Confinement), I set myself into the groove of a steady music routine thanks to a fairly odd vinyl collection: one album per workweek selected as my companion (to be played at the beginning and end of each workday) and then absolute free reign on weekends to indulge in all sorts of flights of fancy with vinyl records, CDs, playlists, online concerts, Facebook concerts, patreon rewards. But during the week – one record for five days.
Marty Robbins - A Lifetime Of Country Hits
James Taylor - J.T
Chris Isaak - Heart Shaped World
Chris Cornell - Higher Truth
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
Sarah Blasko - What the Sea Wants The Sea Will Have
Cowboy Junkies - All That Reckoning
Deborah Conway - Bitch Epic
Led Zeppelin - IV
Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
The Pixies - Wave Of Mutilation
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
Stars - Set Yourself on Fire
Elvis Presley - Greatest Hits vol 2
Vince Jones - For All Colours & It All Ends Up In Tears
ANZAC Day saw my usual patriotic deep dive into Redgum and The Bushwackers.
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
Chris Cornell’s Higher Truth (which is best binged while drinking whisky)
Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters (the anthemic album of The Great Confinement!)
Joni Mitchell and the LA Express’ Miles Of Aisles (a charming live concert especially with a transcendent version of A Case of You. This album was gifted to me by a friend in LA I was supposed to see in April, so this album alongside Joni Mitchell’s Blue has kept me company with California and Last Time I Saw Richard ringing across the chambers in my heart!)
Queens Of The Stone Age’s … Like Clockwork (perfect album to clean your house to)
Prophets Of Rage’s Prophets Of Rage (perfect to rage to)
Glenn Campbell’s Greatest Hits (for those who are needing and wanting a Wichita Lineman)
Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu (ah the hypnotic tremulousness of Almost Cut My Hair)
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
Vince Jones - It All Ends Up In Tears
When I moved to Sydney for university at the ripe old age of 17, I thought this album offered wisdom and prophecy from the coolest dude ever to attempt to make the flugelhorn a part of his crooner brand. Starting with some life tips in the opening song If You’re Goin’ To The City making its way through piteous cries from Mr Vince channelling his inner lovelorn sea captain in Jettison, a middle-aged autumnal reflection in Rainbow Cake and landing squarely on It All Ends Up In Tears, I think this album still contains the power of prophecy.
But now instead of a suite of imaginary seductive forgone conclusions, I think this album is the perfect soundtrack to inspire a slow solo shuffle as one shrugs off middle-aged observations like a string of losses at the horse track.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
I could say Bob Dylan’s song I Contain Multitudes or Murder Most Foul due to the epic ambition of the storytelling – after all he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. To be honest, I’m kinda late to Bob Dylan. And he’s new to me. Am I excited about it? More curious I suppose. Leaning into Dylan perhaps, so I can catch his mumbles.
Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters with Heavy Balloon, Cosmonauts and Drumset all with a sense of insatiable driving force.
The other night I got really excited by Sarah Belkner, and so signed up to her patreon. I also had a good listen to Brendan Maclean’s new disco track Easy Love and it made me wish him extreme fame and fortune.
But surely the folksinger collaboration of the moment must be awarded to Briggs and Tim Minchin with HouseFyre #Stayhome.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
There have been a few late evening YouTube wormhole adventures where I have been tumbling like Alice into a wonderland of Louden Wainwright III, Johnny Cash, Megan Washington, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, The Black Keys, The Waifs, Galapagos Duck. Or some Live Concerts on Facebook thanks to John Butler and Mama Kin, Owen Campbell and James Gordon.
But what flattens anxiety as far as albums go?
Jessy Bell Smith - The Town
I once saw her play at The Hillside Music Festival – on an island, in a lake, Ontario Canada. Her song Tiny Lights was introduced as a song “for those who like to find a hilltop at night with someone you like, sit in the snow and drink whisky.”
Kamasi Washington - Heaven And Earth
I recommend if you’re feeling rubbish, to pull out all your Christmas/fairylights, adorn your bookcases, take a shower, wash your hair, brush your teeth, put on a really fantastic dress, pour yourself something cool and light, possibly with ice cubes and surrender to Heaven.
Billy Field - Bad Habits
I can’t help myself.
Sly and the Family Stone - Greatest Hits
When in doubt – funk it out.
Augusta Supple is senior manager, strategic projects and engagement, at Create NSW