The Mountain: a coming of age


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Lachlan Bryan is back and forth from his house in Richmond and Mt Eliza but still calls the peninsula home.

The 34-year-old country music sensation has done the peninsula proud with his band Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes since their album debut six years ago.

The dynamic team has since had three hit albums and released their fourth, The Mountain, on 25 September.

The highly anticipated album comes two years after their smash hit, 2013’s Black Coffee, which won the 2014 Golden Guitar for Alternative Country Album of the Year and The Age Music Victoria Award for Best Country Album of the Year. The album, which debuted at number 12 on the ARIA Australian Albums Charts, confirmed Bryan as one of Australia’s finest new country singers and songwriters.

The Alternative Country and Folk band released their much awaited album last week, coinciding with a national tour.

Billed as Bryan’s most personal album yet, The Mountain features 12 brand new songs recorded in his hometown of Melbourne.

“The songs on the new album are definitely more personal, and a sign I think that we are maturing as musicians. It’s not just about the music, it’s about telling a story,” says Bryan. “When I first started writing songs I was influenced by people like Bob Dylan and Tom Waites, who write more about other people. I decided to dig deep and write from my own personal experience for this album.”

Bryan says the reason it’s called The Mountain is to signify the journey.

“It’s like a coming of age album, with a personal element of the journey of going through hard times. When you reach the top of the mountain you realise it’s all about the journey, and that you still have to come back down, and find another peak to climb,” he says.

For Bryan and the rest of the band, this album has been particularly enjoyable to make.

“We took longer to write and record this one. Our drummer, Mat Duniam, who’s a Frankston boy, did all the arrangements for the horn section, and had a lot of input into the songs,” says Bryan, who first met Duniam on a train on the Frankston line.

“Shaun Ryan, our bass player, helped a lot with the vocals too, and this album we concentrated a lot more on the singing as the sound.”

For the release of this record, Bryan says he’s grown a mountain climber’s beard, and reckons he needs it.

“There’s blood in these songs, between the lines and the back story. It’s the most personal we have done,” says Bryan of the landmark recording from one of the country’s most versatile collectives.

Recording The Mountain in the studio, Bryan was joined by drummer Mat Duniam, bassist Shaun Ryan, and guitarist Damian Cafarell, alongside legendary session player James Gillard (Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers), pianist Ben Grayson (The Bamboos), and pedal steel player Seamus O’Sullivan (Ruby Boots, Bakersfield Glee Club).

The Mountain has been called Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes at “their careworn, uncluttered best. Lacquered throughout with nostalgic guitar parts straight out of the Sun Records playbook, the album traverses dancehall rock’n’roll, heartworn alt. country-Americana, and freewheeling rockabilly.”

To coincide with the album’s release Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes will be playing at The Caravan Club on Saturday 7 November.

First published in Mint Magazine – October 2015

Author: Melissa Walsh

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