Datson Hughes are currently touring their Whispering Highway EP down the b
Geoffrey Datson and Annette Hughes began their artistic collaboration in 2000 when they set up their independent Stickylabel. Poet and sound artist Datson (Surfside 6, Samurai Trash, Konk) penned SS6’s Hit single Cool in the Tube, and Hughes is a published author (Harper Collins 4th Estate). They formed their songwriting partnership and folk duo in 2008, playing all original songs on Datson's handmade mountain dulcimers. They began performing publicly in conjunction with their book projects (Then & Then, Protest Singer and Art Life Chooks) and were consequently invited to perform at various writers' festivals, including Byron Bay Writers' Festival where the duo appeared in concert with Paul Kelly.
In 2012 award-winning record producer Kalju Tonuma turned up in their neighbourhood and the duo began work with him on a major studio album project. Towards the end of the recording process, Melbourne guitarist and vocalist Megan Bernard joined Tonuma's production team and together, they have made a very rare and beautiful record in the psychedelic folk genre. A masterpiece in the original sense of the word. This is the culmination of Datson's life's work, but only the beginning of Hughes's songwriting journey.
Four years later Datson Hughes is in possession of 22 immaculately produced and mastered tracks of which they have released 3 singles - Poor Time and Thief of Sky with Planet B side, Sweet Mathilda Waltz and EP Whispering Highway. Thief of Sky, was highly commended in the 2016 Q Music awards. A promising start.
In mid 2016 they bought a touring vehicle and have been taking the duo out into the wider world. They recently played in Brisbane on the same bill as the reformed Leftovers - a huge buzz for Hughes who came of age in the Brisbane punk scene. They did a house concert tour of country NSW and a preview showcase of our Whispering Highway EP in Sydney at the Union Hotel (with Terry Serio’s Ministry of Truth and two other bands supporting), then at the Django Bar with Ben Fink and Dale Caldwell's duo project Close to Forever. They officially kicked off their year long 2017 Whispering Highway tour in Brisbane, planned along highways (Pacific, Bruce, New England Princes, Newell, etc).
Geoffrey Datson exhibited his instruments in the Quokka pavilion at the 2017 National Folk Festival where they hit the blackboards to gather audience and hone their performance skills in the lead up to the national release of their forthcoming debut album Dynasty Zero, and subsequent national tour in 2018. This release will be followed up with the release of a second EP, Dark Garden in 2019, featuring Hughes on vocals and in 2020. They have packed up their books and clothes, transferred everything digital to the cloud and intend to be on the road - forever.
Psychedelic folk duo Datson+Hughes sing all original songs to the gorgeous twangling strings of their Apalacian mountain dulcimers and acoustic guitars.
Harking back to Englsih folk, or the deadpan experiments of the Velvet Underground, their stark, ironic and soulful music goes back to the beginning - song, strings, melody and meaning.
A couple of years ago, Geoffrey Datson went up Black Mountain, did a deal with the devil, came back down and with co-writer and collaborator Annette Hughes, began work on their debut album. The devil he'd seen was award winning producer Kalju Tonuma who heard the magic in the music and put the devil in the detail. Forty years in the making, this classic Australian album is so polished you can see yourself in it.
While the work resembles the 'folk' of traditional instruments and styles, it is punk in the sense of home made, uncompromising and free from commercial ambition. With voices blended in close harmonies, this psychedelic folk duo plays all original material on the gorgeous twangling strings of Apalacian mountain dulcimers and acoustic guitars. Harking back to something Alan Lomax might have captured, or the deadpan experiments of the Velvet Underground, their stark, ironic and soulful music goes back to the beginning - song, strings, melody and meaning.
They are currently touring their EP Whispering Highway in the lead up to the release of their debut album Dynasty 0 in late 2017. Rich, firm and juicy, it comes with a message... take a big bite and be sure to enjoy!
PRAISE FOR WHISPERING HIGHWAY
Mountain music, they used to call it. Made by people who lived up in the hills, in the backwoods; people who often made their own instruments, and certainly made their own rules and their own fun. Datson+Hughes live in the hinterlands behind the Sunshine Coast in south-east Queensland, where it’s a lot more lush than it ever was in the Appalachians, and they make their own brand of mountain music. It is appropriately lush, a blend of everything and nothing they’ve carried with them from the inner-inner-city post-punk art-rock demi-monde plus a few new things they’ve found up in the hills and use in that same DIY spirit, most principally an age- and environment-induced stillness that allows for introspection... Datson+Hughes produce songs, on their new EP Whispering Highway, out of their own harmonic system, beholden only to themselves, reflections on lives well lived, on hurdles and loss and regrets surmounted, that end up in the moment, on the spiritual quest on-going… the climb to the top of the mountain…
Clinton Walker (author and cultural comentator)
'...playing Datson Hughes' Whispering Highway EP for the third time today. ... It's a blend of all of my favourite Folk/Psych records. Plus something more. A step beyond into the realm of truth and beauty... I can hear his experiences. I can feel him searching for the right words, the right vocal delivery. The right balance of love and control. It's dark and evocative, with a bright and hopeful tenderness streaming through in the form of those celestial female vocals and some crystalline guitar sounds that crack and splinter ... rays of light and salvation that break through dark clouds of loss and sorrow.
An instant classic to be poured and pondered over for years to come. Enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand, eyes closed and then again with pen and pad, as I sit and marvel in celebration with an artist's gentle envy and an admirers analysis. Congratulations on such a beautiful piece work. A favourite!'
Khristian Mizzi. (Melbourne singer-songwriter)
"... Macksville - I hear a classic song about our country. ... it is certainly a beautifully crafted sound. ..."
Tom Kristensen (Singer Songwriter, Love Me)
PRASE FOR THE WORK
"If i said there was something of a gobetweensy thing about it i don't mean in any literal way, rather that there just seems to be some sort of unique Queensland feel about it."
Clinton Walker (author and cultural comentator)
Best stuff now a'comin' out of Aussieland."
Dana Bryant (Spoken Word artist and singer)
"Embracing, involving, touching - like overhearing someone's confessions. Great work ..."
Des Wade (Singer Songwriter)
"This is languorous, luxurious after-midnight music. The trance-like instrumentals allow the lyrics to unfurl tendrils deep into the oldest parts of the listener's brain. This is mindful music."
Morgana McCleod (author)
"... really an important work. It is hard even on second listen to pick one piece out, it is like a wonderful landscape where one moment must serve another, and it has to be precise even if only a few words or a whack of the brush on the painters tongue - layered wonderfully. ... there is something of the landscape that hints of the terrible pain of Xavier Herbert's 'poor fellow my country'. A stretching of land."
Christopher Barnett (poet)
"It out Rubins Rick in a manner George Martin could only dream of."
Phill Beckett (Singer Songwriter, Musicisan)
When touring, Datson Hughes has own mics, stands, PA and desk, and reqire only mic lines from front of house desk.
They also have their own 240V power enabling performance anywhere, from open air parks to art gallery foyers. They can also perform completely unplugged in a cafe or livingroom.
Datson Hughes performs seated and standing.