The Yarra Sessions, Episode 7: Jane McArthur @ Little Andorra

Hosted by Little Andorra
555 Nicholson Street, North Carlton
HER SONG: All This Love
(jump to song info)
MANDY’S SONG: The Hourglass
(jump to song info)

COVER: James Kenyon’s The Motorbike Song
(jump to song info)

Jane was one of the first artists we approached to film with us, and the first to have a rehearsal months before filming began. The dates never worked out after our original planning session, so it was a particular thrill to include her in this first season of An Otherwise Quiet Room.

An accomplished artist, Jane has an inspiring musical CV, with her 2015 album Ephemeralogica, recorded over 12 months in 12 different studios, and launched to an adoring audience at the Gasometer Hotel, with an incredible lineup, timed and choreographed to a ‘T’. It was this same kind of strict schedule that had us going ahead with filming despite a head cold, which Jane had been battling and naturally seems to have been at its worst on the day of the shoot. We drank hot water and did the best we were able to despite croaky throats. We were very lucky to have made it through,

We were hosted by the beautiful wine bar Little Andorra, in North Carlton. On the 96 tram line, it faces east, letting in loads of light, which sets off the beautiful hand-tooled bar and painstakingly chosen pieces of art and furniture. A perfect space for us, we are glad that we were made so welcome on what would otherwise have been a trying day. Broadsheet give a good description of them here.

Her Song:  All This Love (Ephemeralogica, 2015) (top)

Jane played a stripped back arrangement of this on electric, through a great amp, and had Mandy learn the vocals. Both women are struggling in this video with their vocals, but the passion and mood of the song is so present in the moment that you cannot help but feel the wind of the Highlands and the crackle of a fire in a hearth.

Mandy’s Song:  The Hourglass (Unreleased) (top)

Written for long, lazy and quiet days of reflection, this song is changed subtly from Connell’s usual arrangement with the addition of McArthur’s electric lead. The space of the venue gave a lot of room to the songs, and it was a happy circumstance that placed this shoot in such a spacious and sparse room. A perfect setting for songs of reflection.  McArthur is privately fond of botanical imagery and the song’s lyrics “Hourglass sifting, Dandelion lifting…” seemed apt at her place, where rehearsals took place.

Cover:  James Kenyon’s The Motorbike Song (Imagine You Are Driving, 2016) (top)

The Motorbike Song was an inspired choice. Chosen by Jane, the song is also distinctly Australian, fully representing a refined, consistent and strong style that Kenyon brings to so much of his own work. It was also featured on Damon Smith’s The Night Sky Is a Jewellery Store Window series. The idea for TNSIAJSW was hatched about the same time as the idea for An Otherwise Quiet Room, but launched much much earlier with two exciting and brilliant events to celebrate the series, one of which was also held at the Yarra Hotel where we launched AOQR on July 16th, 2017.

Jane McArthur Bio

If it’s a raw, honest, musical experience you’re after you should definitely get along to a gig. Jane is currently wooing Melbourne audiences with her solo shows, and is widely admired for her soulful vocals, poetic writing and bluesy undertones.  She is known in Tasmania as one of Hobart’s finest contemporary female singer-songwriter exports, having started out as front-woman for Tasmanian blues/funk/soul/roots outfit Let The Cat Out.

She has recorded three albums of her own material. Her 2016 release Ephemeralogica saw the culmination of a year’s work  – 12 songs in 12 months, recorded with different artists and in different studios throughout 2015. Ephemeralogica showcases McArthur’s talent for arrangement and her connection to a broad community of talented players.

Earlier releases fronting Let The Cat Out (Get It Like That, 2008 and Swimming Upstream, 2012), are also dynamic works, leading to her debut solo album Lemon Tree in 2012.  Produced by Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty, Funky String Band), this solo project explores acoustic folk, blues and soul. With each song treated as its own musical statement, the resulting album is a beautifully crafted collage of textural and lyrical ideas, with intimate vocals as a focal point in many of the songs. Think banjo, whiskey and summer afternoons in the backyard. The album consists of 10 songs, including one Tom Waits cover, and 9 of Jane’s songs both old and new, love songs, ballads and laments.