In March 2021 Tim Freedman set off on a solo regional tour to promote his band The Whitlams’ single ‘Man About a Dog’, a song about driving through the country after heavy rains have broken the drought. In the first week of the tour, he was immediately buoyed by the enthusiasm of rural audiences in Tamworth, Gunnedah, Mudgee and Orange, and driving between towns he noticed that the band was being played on country radio stations including Kix Country and 98.9 FM for the first time in their long career.
Nursing a beer on the Sunday night after a particularly good-natured show in Mudgee he formed a plan.
His friend – Matt Fell from Love HZ studios – had started his astounding run of ARIA and Golden Guitar wins soon after they made an album together in 2011. The next morning, he rang Fell and asked if he wanted to put his dream band together and have some fun in the studio. “I said Matt, let’s make some country music, and he said ‘Hell yeah'”.
Within six weeks they were in Sony Studios, East Sydney with another CMAA Producer of the Year Rod McCormack on banjo, papoose and acoustic guitar, Ollie Thorpe on pedal steel and electric guitar, Stu Hunter on Wurlitzer and Hammond Organ, and Josh Shuberth on drums.
‘50 Again (Black Stump Sessions)’ is the first fruit of this collaboration. The recording is a new version of The Whitlams song released after ‘Man About a Dog’ – a celebration of ageing enthusiastically in which our protagonist is so happy he feels like he is 50 Again. Taking advantage of the recently rare privilege of having a full band set up in a big commercial studio, Matt Fell’s dream team settles into a bubbling groove reminiscent of the country funk of Bill Withers. Tim Freedman recalls, “When the feel composed itself in my headphones, it was so slinky I started singing the chorus in a falsetto I’d never heard from myself before. It was great to be urged somewhere different”.
The hybrid act will set out on the road to develop their sound this November with a run of dates through Queensland. Ollie Thorpe and Matt Fell will join Tim Freedman and long-term Whitlams’ drummer Terepai Richmond for the drive from Cairns down to the Gold Coast, reconstructing The Whitlams’ staples like ‘No Aphrodisiac’ and ‘Blow Up the Pokies’, playing some new originals and pulling out some of their favourite country covers.
On January 21, Rod McCormack will join them for a reunion of the recording sessions in a showcase for the Tamworth Country Music Festival on Friday 21 January at The Longyard Hotel.
Listen to 50 Again HERE
TOUR DATES 2021
Friday 29th October – Moncrieff Theatre – Bundaberg, QLD
Saturday 30th October – Butter Factory – Logan, QLD
Sunday 31st October – Wallaby Hotel – Mudgeeraba, QLD
Thursday 4th November – The Anthill – Mareeba, QLD
Friday 5th November – Gateway Hotel – Townsville, QLD
Saturday 6th November – Goat Bar – Rockhampton, QLD
Sunday 7th November – The Met – Mackay, QLD
Friday 21st January – The Longyard Hotel – Tamworth, NSW