Van Diemen’s Land by Russell Morris

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BY Gabriel Tamburini


An album I have heard recently is Russell Morris’ new album, Van Diemen’s Land. It is a sequel to Sharkmouth which became Morris’ first top ten album in 46 years since his near-7 minute long epic hit in the late 60’s “The Real Thing”. It debuted at No. 6 on the ARiA charts, went platinum, and won an ARiA for “Best Blues and Roots Album”.

Like Sharkmouth, Van Diemen’s Land covers a variety of Australia’s history including WWII, Breaker Morant, the Eureka Stockade, the Birdsville Track, the 1894 Shearers’ strike and even the Murray River as well.

In an interview, the retirement aged singer/songwriter said “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 of today with the characters that shaped them.”

I first heard the album at a friend’s place and must say it was a nice change from what you usually hear within the mainstream. Its folksy, bluesy rock really chills you out while you learn a thing or two about our country’s past. Russell’s voice is also great on this album which really suits the music, and changes depending what song he is singing. And after a night of drinking and listening to Heavy metal and rock, it was good to sit back, grab another cold one and end the night on.

So, to sum everything up, Russell Morris’ Van Diemen’s Land is a pretty cool album to kick back and listen to. I can’t wait to hear what Morris comes out with next, but first I’ll have to listen to Sharkmouth and see what that’s like.

I give Van Diemen’s Land 4.5 Tazzy devils out of 5.

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