Their latest 5 track EP is a thing of great beauty, shimmering it's way into your brain like a jewel encrusted earwig.
"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 ... 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…"
"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... 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.
"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."
Outsider psych-folk singer-songwriting duo, DATSON HUGHES perform their own-brand Australian gothic songs of love, loss and redemption on their tintinabulous Appalachian mountain dulcimers.
Outsider psych-folk singer-songwriting duo, DATSON HUGHES make own-brand 'mountain music' on hand-made instruments. Harking back to English folk, or the deadpan experiments of the Velvet Underground, with voices blended in beutiful harmonies, they perform all Australian Gothic songs of love, loss and redemption on their tintinabulacious Appalachian mountain dulcimers.
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 a studio 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 now out on vi byl.
While the work resembles the 'folk' of traditional instruments and styles, it is 'outsider' in that it is non-mainstream, uncompromising and free from commercial ambition. With voices blended in beautiful harmonies, DATSON HUGHES play all original Australian Gothic songs on the gorgeous twangling strings of Datson's hand-made Appalachian 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 debut album, Flowers and the Axe.
'Rich, firm and juicy, it comes with a message
take a big bite and be sure to enjoy!'
Outsider psych-folk duo DATSON HUGHES are currently rolling out the release of their debut album Flowers and the Axe with a 2018 four state Australian tour up and down the east coast.
Geoffrey Datson (Surfside 6, Samurai Trash) and author Annette Hughes began their artistic collaboration twenty years ago in 1997. Three years later they set up their indy Stickylabel to release Datson's poetry and electronica which he had been making since returning from NY a decade earlier. They formed their songwriting partnership and folk duo in 2008.
The songs, some begun in the 1980s, are finally finished and distilled into this double album masterpiece. Volume 2, Now and Forever is due for release in early 2020 following their forthcoming European tour. They have packed up their books and clothes, transferred everything to the cloud and intend to be on the road - forever.
Geoffrey Datson and Annette Hughes began their artistic collaboration twenty years ago in 1997. Three years later 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 DATSON HUGHES 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.
So far they have released three 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.
Since mid 2016 they have been taking the duo out into the wider world where they 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. Their Whispering Highway EP Tour saw them play in Sydney at the Union Hotel (with Terry Serio’s Ministry of Truth), Annandale Hotel, and Gasoline Pony. They played the Django Bar with Ben Fink and Dale Caldwell's duo project Close to Forever, and gigs at the Fairlight Folk and Illawarra Folk Club. 2017 the duo went back into the studio to record a second album, Now and Forever, to complete the original vision - to make a classic double album.
DATSON HUGHES are currently rolling out the release of their forthcoming debut Flowers and the Axe, with a national tour in the first half of 2018 - prelude to a three month European tour in the second half of 2018. They have packed up their books and clothes, transferred everything to the cloud and intend to be on the road - forever.
PRAISE FROM OTHER ARTISTS
Best stuff now a'comin' out of Aussieland."
Dana Bryant (NY 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... 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)