Lachlan Bryan: Artist, storyteller and the next big thing in Australian Country Music

Lachlan Bryan performs at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana - July 22, 2012
Lachlan Bryan performs at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana – July 22, 2012

I have many talented friends.  Many of them I’ve known since the days of high school.  Don’t ask me why there is such a large proportion of successful actors, writers, musicians, comedians and the like who have emerged from my home town and it’s surrounding suburbs that form the Mornington Peninsula – it could be something in the water, or it could be that the area attracts many creative types who settle down and then have families and voilà! Cue a dearth of babies who are destined to grow up and work in either Music or the Arts.

Such is the case with rising Australian Country Music artist, Lachlan Bryan.

I’ve known Lachlan since he was about eight years old.  The younger brother of a good friend and colleague of mine in the theatre world (yes, the talent gene runs in the family), I remember Lachlan as a quiet kid who was usually busy doing his own thing (normally his homework, as he was younger than the rest of us and still in high school a fair while after we’d all graduated).

Over the years we lost touch, as happens.

Then in 2009 I became aware of a music video clip for a song called “Ballad of a Young Married Man” by Melbourne band, The Wildes, directed by the talented Sean Genders.  I don’t remember how I came to see it, only that it was online, but I do remember thinking how much I loved the music, the story and the visuals that went with it.  I locked that in my head for future reference – always on the look-out for local bands whose music might fit one of my film projects down the track.

What I hadn’t realised, mainly because I hadn’t seen him since he was a teenager, was that Lachlan Bryan was The Wildes lead singer and songwriter.  I thought the lead singer looked familiar, but figured I’d just seen him elsewhere online.

Lachlan Bryan: Shadow of the Gun (album cover)

It wasn’t until mid-last year (God bless Facebook) that I suddenly made the connection.  By then, Lachlan had recorded and was about to release his first solo album “Shadow of the Gun” and I’d just friended him and other members of his family on Facebook – delighted to find them online after so long between sightings.  It was with growing interest  that I realised via their updates that Lachlan had developed an impressive musical ability of his own – which had caught the attention of many people, not least of which was Core Music (Sony Music Australia), who had signed Lachlan up and released his debut solo album to much fanfare in January this year.

As soon as the album was released, I bought my copy.  And it’s a good album.  It’s a great album, in fact.  As a storyteller, Lachlan is a borderline genius.  He’ll be totally embarrassed that I’ve called him that, but being a poet myself, I can appreciate a good lyric – and Lachlan’s lyrics draw you in, take you on a journey into an alternate world filled with compelling images straight out of the Deep South or Wild West, add a dark twist or two and then (sometimes not-so-gently), deposit you out the other side.  In short – they just work so damn well.

Put that with his music – a blend of old-school blues/country, often labelled “Gothic Country” or “Alt Country” and you’ve got an artist that is destined to be one of our next big things – it’s only a matter of the where and when.

(Warning: The following video carries a Rating M for Violence)

Lachlan and I began chatting about life, careers, etc and I kept promising him that I would come to one of his live gigs in Melbourne to actually say hello again in person.  As is usually the way, life kept happening to prevent this, but on hearing that his last Melbourne gig for some time would be happening yesterday at the lovely Hickinbotham Winery in Dromana, I knew it was something I couldn’t miss.

I collected my mother (yes, she is a fan too) and off we went to enjoy an afternoon of distinctive music overlooking the vineyards.

Hickinbotham of Dromana, looking across the vineyards to Port Phillip Bay
Hickinbotham of Dromana, looking across the vineyards to Port Phillip Bay

Firstly, I have to acknowledge Andrew and Terryn Hickinbotham.  They have built a unique vineyard and cellar door that is truly Australian.  Surrounded by bushland and with a welcoming “Outback watering hole” feel, they not only provide some tasty wines (and now beers), but also generously support many local artists – both the performing and visual kind – without reserve.  Earlier this year the Hickinbothams’ (along with Morning Star Estate in Mornington) sponsored a private screening of the teaser for my current work-in-progress, the docudrama “A Life Unexpected: The Franz Stampfl Story”, and yet I had never actually visited their winery socially – until now.

Lachlan Bryan performs at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana – July 22, 2012
Lachlan Bryan performs at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana – July 22, 2012

And it was a fantastic afternoon.  While it wasn’t the most ideal situation to sit and just listen to an artist play – meals were being served, wine and beer drunk and conversations carried out around the room – that, in a way, added to the charm and in fact made the director in me think that a stylized version of the scene would work for one of Lachlan’s music video clips (as long as we were all wearing gothic Wild West gear and had interesting make up applied!).

Despite the din of knives and forks and chatter from all corners of the room, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed Lachlan’s performance.  Framed by trees seen through the durable plastic wind protectors behind him, Lachlan played three sets of his music, occasionally accompanied by fellow members of The Wildes, Andrew Wrigglesworth (on guitar) and Laura Coates (on accordion) and always to enthusiastic applause.  (Andrew and Laura have formed another group called The Weeping Willows and often support Lachlan at the various gigs around the country).

All in all, it was a really enjoyable afternoon with good food & wine, great company and excellent music.  Additionally, I was delighted to be able to thank Lachlan face-to-face for his support and encouragement of my decision to reconnect with my own craft (that of acting) over these past months.  As I said, I have some very talented friends – and they’re also thoroughly nice people as well.

Lachlan leaves for a tour of the USA at the end of August.  He has three more gigs in Oz before leaving, which you’ll find listed here.  If you’re in Canberra or Gympie (yes, he’s performing at the iconic Gympie Muster), as Molly Meldrum used to say “Do yourself a favour” and see him in action. This is an artist who is building up to take the world by storm – and you don’t want to miss being a witness to the journey.

L-R: Laura Coates, Andrew Wigglesworth, Lachlan Bryan, Sally McLean and Kelly Gentle at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana - July 22, 2012
L-R: Laura Coates, Andrew Wigglesworth, Lachlan Bryan, Sally McLean and Kelly Gentle at Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana – July 22, 2012

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WATCH MORE OF LACHLAN’S MUSIC VIDEOS BELOW:

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VISIT LACHLAN’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.lachlanbryan.com

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One thought on “Lachlan Bryan: Artist, storyteller and the next big thing in Australian Country Music

  1. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

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