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E-Spire Entertainment News

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Bernard Fanning Tour Schedule

Monday, August 28, 2006

NASHVILLE, TN - Bernard Fanning’s debut solo album Tea & Sympathy is approaching five times platinum in his native Australia. With an Australian ARIA No.1 debut under his belt, the coveted No. 1 spot on the 2006 Triple J Hottest 100 with stand out track ‘Wish You Well’ and many a sold out tour, APRA’s (ASCAP equivalent) 2006 Australian Songwriter of the Year is now taking his trademark voice and country-tinged rock songs to the rest of the world.

The renowned Nashville-based record label Lost Highway - home to the late-great Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams - has welcomed Bernard Fanning to the fold. Tea & Sympathy was released in the USA on August 8, with the UK release also through Lost Highway/Mercury quick to follow on September 11. Bernard and full band will preview Tea & Sympathy in a series of intimate live shows in the US throughout September.

9/12 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
9/14 Nashville, TN 12th & Porter
9/15 San Francisco, CA Café du Nord
9/18 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy
9/19 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
9/20 Vancouver, BC The Media Club

Fanning recorded Tea and Sympathy at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, England with co-producer Tchad Blake (Los Lobos, Tom Waits, Richard Thompson). The English country-side brought a new dimension to Bernard’s songwriting and it was here that the key track ‘Wish You Well’ was penned. The album is an effective compound of country, blues, folk and rock and inspiration has been drawn from artists of these genres both past and present.

It’s not all that difficult to make a record that sounds like it could have been recorded in 1972. Making one that can’t be placed on the timeline however, is a mighty tall order. That’s what Bernard Fanning has achieved with Tea and Sympathy.“I’ve always loved that ‘70s sound,” Fanning says of the overall tone of the record. “Albums like Led Zeppelin II, what Jimmy Page did with open tunings -- what you might call Led Zeppelin country. Not that it really sounds like that band, but just in keeping with the country blues style of that period. For want of a better word, I think it has a certain gentleness and beauty that balances out the rock element”.

From the intricate finger-picking that underscores the weary-but-hopeful “Thrill Is Gone” to the fiddle-kissed “Songbird,” Tea and Sympathy gets that balance right, largely due to its unflagging organic vibe. And unlike the self-consciousness that accompanies so much self-consciously retro rock, Fanning’s compositions exude a quiet elegance and an affable confidence -- traits that mark him as the sort of guy who’s capable of becoming a part of rock’s rich tapestry, rather than merely a mender of its threads. To help capture the essence he wanted for Tea and Sympathy -- “something that was earthy, not all perfect and sparkly” -- Fanning co-produced the album with Blake, bringing to the table only a set of tunes in a skeletal state and a clear view of which fork in the musical road they were to take.

“What I really wanted, more than a specific sound, was to write songs with a strong emotional element. Unfortunately, the idea of emotional music has been co-opted by ‘emo’ bands, and some people think it’s all about screaming. I wanted to show that it could be presented differently”. To do so, Fanning called upon an international array of musicians toting all manner of down-home instrumentation -- from mandolin to fiddle and lap steel guitar -- all instruments that the singer says “convey a lot more than you can do with electric guitars”. That palette of sounds lends a country tinge to several of the disc’s cuts -- notably the plaintive “Sleeping Rough” and the O Brother Where Art Thou-worthy “Yesterday’s Gone”.

“I don’t think I was consciously trying to create country music -- and I wouldn’t want to insult people who make real country music by saying that I have. I just respect the genre a lot. In the old days, they were really telling it like it was, which you don’t hear much these days, other than in the hip-hop that’s not obsessed with cash and sex.”

Bernard succeeds in peeling back the layers, both emotionally and aurally, throughout Tea and Sympathy. While many of the album’s songs deal vividly with loss -- Fanning says, “I was in a relationship that broke down, and writing was a part of the mourning process” -- its lingering notes are ones of optimism about what lays beyond the horizon.

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posted by Shelia, 5:42 AM


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