Triple treat Lo Carmen (internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter/ author/ actor) brings her shimmering brand of folk-country-blues to her hometown of Adelaide for the first time, joined by her band The Great Beyond (featuring members of The Cruel Sea/ Kim Salmon/ Mess Hall) for a very special Father’s Day performance, also starring Lo’s father Peter Head, Adelaide’s esteemed piano man/ prodigal son (Headband/ Mount Lofty Rangers). Lo speaks to Hi Fi Way about the show.
How exciting is it to be playing shows again?
I’m really loving being reunited with my brilliant band and playing live with them – especially as before the pandemic I was mainly playing solo, which can get a bit lonely. I never quite know what to expect but I always know how great they’ll be, and audiences feel it too. Its just a joy from every angle.
Did you find you lost a lot of momentum during the pandemic years?
I was living in Los Angeles prior to the pandemic and moved back to Sydney in a dramatic, overwhelming rush when it all went down, before visas ran out and we were left in a dangerous situation, leaving everything behind. I was very grateful to be here and just dug into the down time by putting all my energies into writing my book Lovers Dreamers Fighters.
Were you nervous playing shows again when they resumed?
A little bit yeah, I felt very out of practice and creaky. It did feel surreal as we slowly started dipping our toes back into live shows again, even just getting dressed in ‘outside’ clothes and dealing with conversations and guitar amps and all those things I’d forgotten how to do, but luckily it all came back like riding a rock’n’roll bicycle.
How much of a buzz will it be playing your first hometown show in over ten years?
It’s going to be really special to play in Adelaide after all this time, and to get to see family and a few friends I haven’t seen for so long. Adelaide’s vibrant and eclectic music scene was always inspiring to me growing up and I loved tagging along with my dad to gigs, from Hindley St to Henley Beach, and it’s nice to be able to be part of it now.
Adelaide will be a special gig being a Father Day’s extravaganza. What does it mean to you being able to play with your dad?
Peter is endlessly entertaining and inspiring, on both a musical and philosophical level, and getting to hear him play is always a a total treat. I’m excited he’s going to play some songs with my band and join us for some recording while we’re there too. The last time we performed together in Adelaide I was nine years old and singing the first song I ever wrote, with Peter and Barrie McAskill from Levi Smith Clefs at a big party at the Town Hall.
Is this show focused mostly on Lovers Dreamers Fighters?
I’ve tried to build a set that includes many of the songs I went deep on in my book, some brand new, some favourites and some wild golden oldies from my early solo albums, as well as a couple of special covers we’ve worked up based on stories from the book.
Have you been working on new music and are there plans for a new album?
I’ve had to turn the song tap off for a while, at least until we can record the ones that are currently bubbling away and jostling for recording position! We’ve been plotting and planning recording for a long while but reality keeps getting in the way and slowing us down.
Do you think your sound has changed much with your new music?
I feel like my sound is constantly evolving in a strange circular fashion, back and forth between and around all the styles of music I’ve absorbed and love. There’s a bit of everything in there, from country soul ballads to French love songs to scratchy 70s punk.
Who do you look up to for musical inspiration?
Willie Nelson. Bill Callahan. Taylor Swift. King Tubby.
What’s next for Lo Carmen?
We’re making a start on our new album, and I hope to have it ready to release early next year.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Lo Carmen & The Great Beyond at Wheatsheaf Hotel on Sunday 4 September from4pm to 7pm. Tickets from OzTix.