Here's what the media have to say...
Warren Fahey, iconic Australian musician, concert promoter, stage performer, record company proprietor and raconteur, traces the genesis of this extraordinary and magisterial CD of various artists playing acoustic guitar arrangements of Australian folk songs and bush tunes back to the early 1970s.
This amazing project features a roll call of extraordinarily talented and innovative Australian guitarists.
This is an album you can leave on loop, and hear something new each time you listen to the tunes come around, and around again!! An amazing tribute to the winning combination of Australian guitar talent and Australian songs and tunes. (Ian Dearden, Trad&Now, August 2016)
Music being almost as beholden to fashion as clothes and food, we are now in an era when few Australians would be familiar with the songs that were the soundtrack to our colonial past. And were they heard, they may sound corny, archaic or primitive. So how to save and even popularise a vital slice of our culture and oral history? Warren Fahey's ingenious solution was to invite a host of guitarists of different ages and musical backgrounds to create instrumental versions of 24 such pieces of music. The simple act of paring them back to solo acoustic renditions is enough for the songs to be heard anew, as if their inner light is being bent through a prism. This is most obvious with the best-known songs, such as Ryebuck Shearer and Waltzing Matilda (Michael Fix). Click Go the Shears (Daniel Champagne) and The Wild Colonial Boy (John Kane), where suddenly tunes that have often been swamped by a foreground of lyrics and rough-and-ready voices can be enjoyed for their own intrinsic beauty. Other players include Ian Date, Jeff Lang and Marcus Holden. (JOHN SHAND, Sydney Morning Herald, July 2016)
'This bumper collection compiled by Warren Fahey brings together two of this folk legend's greatest passions: Australia's musical heritage and the talents of some of the country's finest musicians. These 24 tracks offer a fresh, warm and wonderful take on this quintessentially Australian music, and are well worth a long, delightful listening session.'
(Susan Jarvis, Country Music Capital News)
“Down by the Billabong finally brings to fruition a concept hatched four decades ago by Australia’s foremost folkloric authority. As part of his lifelong mission to explore the national ethos through music, project curator Warren Fahey has persuaded some of the country’s most respected acoustic guitarists to record their own selections and arrangements of tunes from the folk-bush archives.
Connoisseurs of quality guitar playing will find the resultant compilation compulsive listening, with the repetitive nature of melody and inherent simplicity of rhythm associated with many classics of the genre and era bringing out the best of the interpreters in terms of imagination and dexterity.”
(4.5 stars, Tony Hillier, The Weekend Australian)
“You’ve certainly got the pick of the crop here I'll look forward to playing it on air.”
(Russell Hannah, VOX FM)
The guitar has been an essential part of country music since it's inception in the 1920s featuring mainly as the sole backing instrument in the early “pick and strum” days from there it became the dominant instrument as the country music band took main stage. Arthur Smith heralded a new era with his “Guitar Boogie” which did away with the theory that guitars were only good for backing singers. Other great names have added weight to this including Chet Atkins, and Australia's own Barry Thornton, Lindsay Butler, and Tommy Emanuel, whilst Andres Sergovia showed that the humble guitar could shine as a classical instrument.
Warren Fahey who specialises in early Australian music has opened yet another guitar window, with the release of his latest production, a twenty four track CD carrying the title of “Down By The Billabong” which features all acoustic versions of Australian folk songs and bush tunes, including “Waltzing With Matilda”, “Click Go The Shears”, “Brisbane Ladies”, “The Dying Stock man”, “Varsovienne”, “Ryebuck Shearer”, “Yarrawonga”, and lots more. Guitarists include John Kane, Michael Fix, Marcus Holden, John Munroe, Kate Burke, Marcus Sturrock, and so the list goes on. These are not the usual renditions with each artist “going down their own track” with improvisations on the normal themes. The songs may be old, but the versions certainly are not. This is a must for lovers of acoustic guitar music who like to trip down memory lane whilst accepting the fact that the lane may take some unexpected turns. Thank you Mr Fahey for this little gem, it's on Rouseabout Records.
(Burt Everett, Twang Talk)
“A fine album”
(John Nutting, Australian Country Radio)
“I have played several tracks of this great album on Radio Adelaide Folk Show and the Community Radio Folk Show, that’s a national program available to all community radio stations on a download. Available Thursday 9.00pm with a repeat 0605am Saturday.”
“A lovely album”
(Shirley Smith, VOX FM)
Some of my favourite performers are on this gem of an album
(Jan Nary, Acoustic Harvest, Bay FM)