Brendan Gallagher
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Brendan Gallagher

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John Moyle, Leading Edge Magazine 2006

Karma County front man Gallagher has crafted 12 songs with the virtuosity and maturity of a seasoned pro. The rich lyrics deal with the detail and broad brush strokes of a life lived somewhere on the fringes, while the music travels from multi-layered guitars to lush strings supported by a sure footed rhythm section led by Felix Bloxsom. Ably assisted by Jimmy Little, David McCormack, Charlie Owen and Lucky Oceans. A cut above the rest.



- John Moyle, Leading Edge Magazine 2006


Brendan Gallagher is our Australian Chris Isaac, minus the suit, haircut and abstract liberetto. ok so the only similarity is that Brendan is super super cool.
It's not only the lyrical content, as in Karma County's Dexter & Sinestra, which oozes coolness, it's his vision for his music and his arrangements that make him so special. As his first solo album it becomes obvious this is not your average 'I can write a song and live in your street' kind of deal. Brendan has earned his stripes working with such folk as David Bowie, Kylie Minogue and Dave McCormack and really must I mention names? He's a skilled guitarist, credible songwriter and producer and it's a wonder he has released a solo album sooner.
On Eve St is a patchwork of instruments layered together by one of those few blessed musical ears.

- Polly, Tsunami Magazine 2006


But for a slightly more expansive range of instruments, Sydney crooner Brendan Gallagher's first solo record might easily be taken for the sixth by Karma County, the lushly twangin' acoustic trio he's fronted for a decade. His wood-grain arrangements blur country-blues, smoky jazz and the odd tasteful symphonic arrangement, but the joy is mainly in his wit and perspective as a singer and storyteller. A fondly recalled encounter on a suburban bus, cliff-hanger love stories and darker contemplations come alive through his warm, conversational baritone, which glides to a shivering falsetto for the existential crescendo of Black Swan Song.


- Michael Dwyer, The Age 2006


Brendan Gallagher (frontman of Karma County, producer of Jimmy Little’s Messenger), has finally released his debut solo CD, On Eve St, and it’s a beautiful summation of his rich and varied musical life.
Brendan’s guitars, keyboards and rich baritone voice deliver his tenderly observed characters in songs - the fatally attracted couple on a city bus, bar room philosophers and travelling salesmen - all painted in musical strokes that take the best from the past 5 decades of music, with an array of stellar sidemen.


- Lucky Oceans, The The Planet 
ABC Radio, August 2006


The clue is in the title. There is a real tenderness to ‘DJ Old Brendo’s’ words and music in this simple collection.

The words tumble out in quiet conversations. His exemplary guitar playing has a warmth that, while having the technical skill of a man who’s even written books on the subject, has an ease and humanity which gains your attention, without stridently demanding it.

There are songs of love and long drives up the coast to somewhere you can see the sea. But the love is that between adults and the drive is in the family people mover rather than the sports car with the warm wind in your hair. Or what’s left of it.

To open with a song called Try, Try Again, is the honesty of a man who is still trying to get it – or make it – right. The arrogance has gone and you’re left with your craft and hopefully your faith in love. His experience gives him the knowledge of self – even knowing when you’re ‘three fingers into trouble’. Regrets, he’s had a few. But then again, you can usually get a song out of them. However, he can still appreciate The Wonder Of It All. Like that framed cheque on the wall from that David Bowie session.

See, Mr Gallagher has history. Of course he was/is the lugubrious tones of Karma County. Producer of note for the likes of the venerable Jimmy Little. But it still all comes back to the songs and the sincerity with which he can deliver them. And that’s the way it should be. Classy and crafted, as expected.

Ross Clelland, Drum Media 24.11.09
- Drum Magazine Nov 2009


Headland - Karma County

By Chris Peken

Brendan Gallagher has the most congenial of smiles and the nimblest of fingers. His smooth fretwork on the acoustic guitar has produced five Karma County albums over the last 13 years, so now is as good a time as any to collect 36 songs - past, present and unreleased - into one two-disc retrospective, Headland. With a title that gives away Brendan's coastal origins, Karma County have always been one of the best summer bands, perfect accompaniment for long drives or cool drinking when the temperature rises. These songs also remind you that like Gangagang before them, they can capture a sense of place and space that is very Australian. From the opening Postcard - a song that introduced the band with a bang to local audiences - to the unexpected delight of the Yazoo cover Only You, this collection reminds you how much can be achieved by a quietly spoken, unassuming, but highly-talented drum, double-bass and acoustic guitar trio.

****

Posted by Chris Peken from The Alternative Media Group on 26/09/2008 at 09:51 AM in Music Reviews / Sydney
- Alternative Media Group


Karma County - Headland 7.5/10
KARMA COUNTY?Headland?(Vitamin Records)?7.5/10

?If your one to enjoy easy-listening, first-class Australian music and don’t have a swag of Karma County CDs in your collection, this gem was intended for you. The superior tracks from their five releases can be experienced alongside two new songs, altogether making for an exquisite platter of sublime, wholesome and relaxing music. It’s the kind of music you can listen to on a road trip and let the sparse drumming, unhurried vocals and effortless storylines float into your ears in a non-invasive way. Standouts include: ‘Dexter and Sinistra’ (an ingenious true blue love story performed by Bryan Brown), ‘On The Sacred Sand’ and ‘Happy Birthday Dear Customer’.

Polly - Tsunami Magazine Australia


Discography

solo - 'Tooraloo & Tender' (2009) through Inertia, 'On Eve St' (2006) through Vitamin
with Karma County - 'Last Stop Heavenly Heights' (1997), 'Olana' (1998), 'Into The Land Of Promise' (1999), 'Happy Birthday Dear Customer' (2001), 'Pacifico' (2004) & 'Headland' (2008) all through Vitamin
with Dead Marines - 'New Day' (2005) through Vitamin
with THE MILLIONAIRE$ - 'Sentimental Horses' (2008) through Inertia
as producer - Jimmy Little 'Messenger' (1999), 'Life's What You Make It' (2004) through Warner
Bernie Hayes 'Homebody' (2007) through Half A Cow
LJ Hill 'Namoi Mud' (2008) Laughing Outlaw

Photos

Bio

BRENDAN GALLAGHER is a music polymath – singer, multi instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, author, composer. Some say he was born with a guitar in his hands. In a career spanning over thirty years he has played on recordings for artists like David Bowie, Jimmy Little, Kylie Minogue, David McCormack (Custard), Paul Mac, Dave Mason (The Reels), Bernie Hayes, King Curly and more. He has produced over twenty albums, including two ARIA award winners - Jimmy Little’s instant Australian classic Messenger (1999) and Karma County’s Into The Land Of Promise (2000).

Brendan is best known as singer/guitarist with Karma County. Over the last fifteen years the band have released six albums and toured around the world. As a songwriter he has written perennial radio favourites like Postcard, Secret Country, Love Sublime and Dexter & Sinistra.

He is also the author of The Open Tuning Chord Book For Guitar. Since 1994 it has found it's way into the guitar cases of musicians like David Bowie, Peter Buck (REM), Lee Ritenour, Arlo Guthrie, Paul Kelly, Paul Weller (The Jam), PJ Harvey and guitarists from Ireland to Lithuania, Wyoming to Hawaii.

[Brendo will be heading to UK & Europe in 2010 for some in-store appearances and workshops to promote the new 3rd edition published by Music Sales UK]

Brendo has also released two solo albums - 2006's 'On Eve St' (voted one of the top 25 albums of 2006 for the Australian Music Prize) and 'Tooraloo & Tender' released in 2009.

Brendo is a gifted solo performer, be it laying down some wicked slide guitar moves or dipping into his extensive songbook or swag of yarns to charm an audience.

He has also composed soundtracks for features and short films for directors like Rachel Perkins, Sue Brooks and Warwick Thornton.