New albums, new singles, busy times...

Music Plus
with Winston Watusi

No time to waste, new music is here...

First up, Gary Harvey’s latest album ‘Outta My Head’ is officially out and very good it is too. Gary has been on the New Zealand music scene for decades, once with Auckland’s fabled Red House Rockers, more recently with the Night Owls.

He relocated to Tauranga in 2020 and for someone in his mid-70s certainly hit the ground running: he’s played the odd gig, exhibited his photography, and at Welcome Bay’s Colourfield Studio has recorded an album.

Gary’s musical niche is epic retro-rock Americana – he has a tremendous hard-lived rock voice – leaning towards old west history.

Gary Harvey.

That continues with songs such as ‘El Bandito’ and ‘Carolina’, which alongside big guitars features evocative piano from producer Tim Julian.

They sit with fun rockers ‘Paparazzi Kid’ and the title track while sax-led ‘Name of The Father’ is a tough paternal ode. This is my favourite of Gary’s albums.

Things mutate… 

It started as a quick project with three musicians from the band Brilleaux. But things mutate and three years later the guitar of Bruce Rolands and bass of Brian Franks are joined by a roster of Tauranga’s finest, including drums from Jeff Nilson and horns from Mark Dennison and Neville Grenfell.

There’s a launch at the monthly Cleaver Indie Artists gig at Bayfair’s Freeport with Cleaver & Co on July 4; you can hear Gary with full band as well as Te Awamutu country singer Rowdy’s Rose and hosts Rehaab.

Gary Harvey.

Meanwhile, Jan Izett’s second album, ‘Girl In The Glass’, drops next week, and indie popsters Crooked Finger’s debut, recorded at Mount Maunganui’s Studio 11b, ‘Unshackled Vol 1’, is out now with a launch gig at the Jam Factory on July 12. More next week.

Studio 11b seems to be continually busy – unsurprisingly given the quality of producer-engineer Evan Pope’s work – across a wide variety of genres, from the latest album by blues practitioners The Flaming Mudcats to a new single ‘Chaos of The Rain’ from Auckland heavy metal trio The Sun Gods.

Leaving Tauranga for a moment, a couple of bluesy new releases caught my attention. First is the latest single from Wellington bluesman Darren Watson.

This is Darren Watson, singer-songwriter-guitarist, who once fronted 1980s band Chicago Smoke Shop and is close to the top of the heap as far as Kiwi blues players go.

Song of the month 

More recently noted for a series of political songs in an “Elvis Costello meets John Hiatt” vein, ‘Something Gotta Give’ is a return to funky blues with great backing vocals and guitar sounding like Albert King meets Albert Collins. All I can say is damn fine work! My song of the month.

Gary Harvey.

Darren also offers musical services to others – check his Facebook page – providing everything from guitar solos to full production, all from the comfort of his home studio.

Hear the results: Taranaki’s Karen Clarke Blues Woman has collaborated with him for her newly-released single ‘Bruised and Wondering’, a tasty little blues rhumba groove. Yum.sss

Hear Winston’s latest playlist: