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article imageInterview with Australian singer/songwriter Lianna Rose Special

By Adrian Peel     Mar 25, 2015 in Music
The energetic Queenslander has a new album out, the free-spirited-sounding 'Travellers.' She told Digital Journal all about it.
Since releasing her debut album Soak Up the World at the end of 2008, Lianna Rose's star has continued to rise. If seeing her music feature in both Home & Away and Neighbours (Australia's most popular soap operas) wasn't enough, then the Alt-Country/Americana musician can also take great pride in having her first hit single with "Jack," opening shows for the likes of Lee Kernaghan and James Blundell and being nominated for a slew of industry awards, most notably at the Golden Guitars in 2010.
A subsequent trip to Nashville, which included a performance at the famed Bluebird Cafe and an encounter with Rodney Crowell, further inspired her and helped sow the seeds for album number two, released earlier this month and entitled Travellers. Ms. Rose takes up the story:
"That's right. I spent almost three weeks in Nashville doing some songwriting and meeting various people. It was a chance meeting with Rodney Crowell. I went to his concert and I was lucky enough to meet with him and talk with him on a personal level. I've always admired him as a songwriter, so it spurred me on to really go down this path that I'm on."
Has Lianna, a lifelong fan of John Cougar Mellencamp, Suzi Quatro, Tom Petty, Hank Williams, John Prine and Johnny Cash, among others, ever considered permanently relocating to Nashville like a number of her fellow-countrymen?
"Definitely," she replies. "To me, that's the songwriters' hub of the world and my experience over there was very favourable, so I'd love to go back and revisit. The option of living there? Of course. I like to experience all different things in my life and if that opportunity ever arose, I'd grab it with both hands."
Regarding the title of the new record, the friendly star states, "'Travellers' was a song that came to me in the early hours of the morning. I was experiencing some grief at that time - something that I wasn't familiar with - with the loss of a loved one and this song brought me a sense of peace. It sent me on a spiritual journey, hence the title Travellers."
"This album is a lot more honest, it's a lot more personal - there's a piece of me in each and every song," she continues. "I really just focused on the songs and what I believed was the right production for each one, and it's brought me back to the core of that Alternative Country, Americana, Roots - bit of rockabilly, bit of blues... It resonated with me more this time."
The first single is "Willy Wagtail," a title that I thought sounded very Australian, though I wasn't quite sure why... "'Willy Wagtail' is a very personal favourite," says Lianna, who early on in her career worked as a backing vocalist for Stevie Wright from legendary Aussie beat combo, The Easybeats.
"We all suffer from a blue day here and there and I was going through a period of some darkness. I went downstairs, put a guitar in my hand and started playing that riff at the head of the song over and over, and the next minute this song came out...
"Willy Wagtails are funny little birds here in Australia. They're very tiny, but they've got an aggressive side as well - they're very strong birds and they'll take on a larger bird. I love their power, so I was inspired to put them in the song and I love playing it live."
Which other tunes on the 13-track CD (Lianna wrote all of them herself) is the artist especially fond of?
"Look, for rocking out and having a bit of fun, I love the song 'Big Ass Town'... I love 'Take Its Toll' - that's a song about brushing off the negativity from other people and about staying true to yourself. But a deep-down personal favourite was a song called 'I'm Still Standing' and I wrote that two days after I arrived in Nashville.
"I sat in my motel room alone and just thought, 'Wow, what a journey I've been on in my life' and I'm very grateful for the fact that I'm still standing. I've been through a lot and I'm really glad I'm here. I've made it, I'm alive!"
Curiously - and rather unexpectedly - the last track "Your Town" is a tribute to German heavy metal troupe Rammstein. "Yeah, what a band!" exclaims one of their biggest fans. "I first came across their music about eight years ago and fell in love with them.
"I often listen to them in the car while I'm driving on long trips and I cannot understand a word they're saying, but I love the emotional attachment that I have with their music. I feel like I get drawn into a world that's very different to mine and I wrote that as a tribute to them."
To finish, I asked Lianna what it felt like to have had a number of the songs off her first album feature in both Home & Away and Neighbours, the latter a programme that this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
"They're great Aussie stories and to be a part of that, even as a songwriter in the background, was an absolute honour for me," she enthuses. "I'm a big fan of those shows, so to hear my music being played in there was a very fortunate thing to happen and I've really enjoyed the journey."
Travellers is available now from iTunes.
For more information on Lianna Rose, visit her official website.
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