I’m awed by Liz Stringer. She has a huge voice; she’s a genius lyricist, and a strong solo female performer. If you aren’t already, you’re about to become her newest fan.
11 Munroe St
Coburg VIC 3058
During the planning of The Moreland Sessions, videographer / co-producer Agostino Soldati and I often met in cafes. It was at True North, as we were discussing potential venues for the season, that Agostino pointed over my shoulder and said “This guy, he’s pretty cool and he helps run this fantastic room just a few doors down”…. I looked around and saw Caspar Zika, who I hadn‘t seen since the 90’s when we went to primary school together.
Cool and Interesting even back then, Caspar now manages programs for New Futures Creative which is the creative off shoot of VICSEG. They work in partnership to provide services to migrant communities, refugees and asylum seekers. The community initiative offers training, employment, and children’s and family services to people from all over the world. The programs are inclusive and inspiring, and generate jobs, qualifications, and truly beautiful art. Located near the corner of Sydney Road and Munro Street, it’s not really a walk-in venue and yet the various people associated with the space come and go easily and with big smiles for each other. It feels open. Job Placement and Social Enterprise businesses function side by side with childcare and aged care education, and though the place is quiet for our shoot, we can see that the space is well-used.
Our guest is Melbourne legend Liz Stringer, someone I’m happy to call friend and whose career I admire. I really want to make a good impression.
I first saw Stringer at the Brunswick Hotel on Sydney Road, playing Friday nights with Jordie Lane. Back then she had only released an EP, but has gone on to release 5 full-length albums and developed a strong audience in North America and Europe. In 2017, Stringer put on another brilliant residency, called the Big Tuesday Stringalong, in which she interviewed Dr Lou Bennett, Deborah Conway, Mick Thomas and Neil Murray.
Our co-producer Agostino Soldati has made most of Stringer’s professional videos, assisting as a camera operator on her 2014 Live at the Yarra DVD, and directing and filming videos for singles Anyone and Protecting Myself. Their friendship shows in his treatment of this shoot. It’s his ability to form a rapport with all our guests that has created the sense of fun that runs through the season, and together with our professional and lovely engineer Mischa Herman we were able to put this episode together with a minimum of fuss.
‘Keep Keeping On’
This song from Stringer’s latest album ‘All the Bridges’ has some soul influences and a classic harmony line. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, USA, it’s a love at first listen track, feeling like an old friend but never derivative. The album centres around friendship, and this song is no exception. You can feel it when you sing along.
‘Lights of Hay’
by Neil Murray
Stringer’s chosen cover describes late night, long distance drives and a longing to get home: something that must resonate with Liz. It’s written by Neil Murray, an iconic Australian songwriter who’s been touring solo since 1989. He first emerged in the early 1980’s as a founding member of the ground‐breaking Warumpi Band who helped make contemporary indigenous music heard in mainstream Australia.
Watch Neil Murray’s original clip here.
Inspired by heavy emotions, Bruises is the story of a woman who has committed grievous violence in self defence and despair. The lyrics are stark, and the song is relatively short, but the topic is grim and so the words can weigh on an audience. It uses a drone, which sets up a great melodic background for lead. Its easy to imagine a lap steel or ringing, dirty fiddle.