Photo credit: Dave Tacon
Photo credit: Dave Tacon
One Sheet - also available as a PDF file
The Darling Downs stand out as the most unlikely of collaborations
between longtime members of the fertile Australian rock scene. While it is
not at all insane to imagine the driving force behind The Scientists, Beasts
of Bourbon, and The Surrealists, Kim Salmon, working with Died
energetic frontman and songwriter Ron Peno, the improbable happens when you
consider the result that might flow from such a teaming.
What are the odds that these two towering figures of Australian music, famous for swaggering, noisy, swampy punk rock (Salmon) and soaring pop rock (Peno) would concoct such a perfect loveletter to American country folk? 1000-1? Armed only with Kim Salmon’s custom Cole Clark acoustic guitar and Peno’s singular voice and vision, The Darling Downs crafted an almost impossible album: a record of nuanced beauty, a subtle masterpiece that unfolds like a dahlia with each successive spin, giving the listener something new and unexpected at every helping. All from two guys and one pristine guitar.
At times Peno channels the spirit of Appalachian folk’s high lonesome sound, complete with yips, yelps and howls (“In That Jar,” “Let It Breathe”), while elsewhere his (improvised?!) vocals are hypnotically understated, almost delicate--threatening to disappear into thin air before crashing down like thunder (“Loverslain,” “Deep Deep Blue”). Supporting Peno’s acrobatic vocal brilliance is Salmon’s equally understated, elegant guitar playing, perhaps the most restrained of his career, made all the more stunning when you know the fireworks and growl of which he is capable and for which he is famous. From the more traditional strumming on “There’s a Light,” to the fingerpicked sparkle of the opening track “I’ll Be Always There” and “In a Cold Place by a Lake,” augmented by mouth harp and triangle that almost shock when they emerge from the surrounding ambiance, to the near ragas on “Why Did She Leave?” and “Waste My Time,” Salmon showcases not only his versatility but playing of such surprisingly refined grace that it defines the album as one of the best listens of 2006.
Their 18 months of live shows in Australia have garnered the most glowing reviews possible, with their appearance at the 2005 Harvest Festival, in front of The Handsome Family, stealing the show. Our hope is that American and European audiences will have a chance to have their hearts stolen soon.
“With Salmon often infusing the guitar lines with deft lilts and melodies, grasping each song is sometimes as difficult as interpreting a smoke signal in a storm, the ever-shifting qualities of the music making it difficult to categorize. The experience mesmerizes...” –The Age (AU)
“There are plenty of bands around at the moment paying homage to the proto-country rock sounds of The Band, The Byrds and Gram Parsons; only a trivial amount of them can claim to approach the Darling Downs’ idiosyncratic perspective on the country genre.” - Patrick Emery – Beat magazine
“Anyone who saw those guys that day at Red Hill will tell you greatness was at work.” - Marcus Mulcahy - Harvet Festival
Listen to Real Audio
from How Can I Forget This Heart of Mine?, the debut album by The Darling Downs (saki039).
N K S
For booking information on The Darling Downs outside of Australia, please contact Carrot Top Records, Inc.
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From One To Another was released on Carrot Top Records on October 14, 2008.
<-back to the main Darling Downs page also see live images from the The Metro 11/11/05->