New Music: Russell Morris ‘Van Diemen’s Land’

“Australia has an amazing history of yarns. From Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson, through to Paul Kelly and Bryce Courtney the Australian experience has always been retold in story. Americans have a proud tradition of folk songs passing their history down through the generations and while there are some amazing songwriters celebrating modern Australia, I wanted to create something that connected people today with the characters that shaped them”.

After a stellar year which saw his Sharkmouth album hit platinum and his reputation as one of the nation’s finest singer songwriters cemented, ARIA hall of fame inductee Russell Morris is ready to bring forth Van Diemen’s Land on April 11th. 

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Van Diemen’s Land follows on from Morris capturing the hearts and imagination of Australians in 2012 when he unveiled Sharkmouth, the first of the trilogy re-telling some amazing stories in Australia’s history—some famous, some not so famous—creating a historical document using blues and rock to celebrate the yarns that modern Australia was built on the back of.  

Van Diemen’s Land picks up where Sharkmouth left off, this time covering great Australian characters and stories including Breaker Morant, Sandakan, the Eureka Stockade and many more. Morris is joined on Van Diemen’s Land by a host of special guest artists including Joe Camilleri, Rick Springfield, Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil), Scott Owen (The Living End), Ross Hannaford (Daddy Cool), Vika & Linda Bull, Phil Manning (Chain) and Joe Robinson.

“Van Diemen’s Land is an album that has been an amazing experience to make,” said Morris, “With the success of Sharkmouth, it really let me off my leash so to speak. It showed me that people want music that tells them a story and moves them.”

“I spent over a year researching these great Australian stories. To me these albums are about looking back at the characters that deserve to be remembered and then doing that in the best way I know how—through song. It’s about leaving a legacy that in fifty years’ time, someone can put these records on and learn something about the spirit of our great country, in the same way we do when we read The Man from Snowy River.”

With over 18 months at the top of the ARIA blues chart (where it still currently resides!), platinum sales and an ARIA award, Russell Morris’ Sharkmouth album was his biggest ever, re-establishing him as one of Australia’s most important singer/songwriters. Best known previously for his seven minute epic 70s hit “The Real Thing”, Morris’ success proves that great art is ageless and that in an industry besotted with celebrity, scandal and fashion, sometimes it’s just the music that matters.

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