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"PRESS REVIEW Its a good life as Cornstalk takes root"

Since the successful launch of its debut EP last year, Newcastle based roots band Cornstalk has gone from strength to strength.

The video for its song The Good Life has been aired nationally on RAGE and VIDEO HITS and Brother Is has been included on the 2006 Country / Roots AIR compilation album.

Cornstalk will hit the road next month and make its way up the coast for shows in Byron Bay.
"At present we are booking shows up and down the East coast and will be back in the studio in the next few months to record our album," frontman Chris Hamall said.

Hamall said the six piece group was looking forward to again performing before a home crowd.

Check - TE GUiDE, HERALD.. JADE Lazarevic

"Riding The Partridge Bus With Cornstalk"

Riding The Partridge Bus With Cornstalk

Home > Features

Reported by: Jaspina - Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006. 10:04

Music can be a hard and costly game, and no one knows this better than Chris Hamall, vocalist and guitarist for Cornstalk. Recently making the trek to play on the streets of Byron Bay, the band had to pay around $600 to the council for the privilege.

Originally, Hamall was told of a $110 busker’s fee. Gradually, another $200 for insurance was added. Then another $130. On his way to Byron, the council told Hamall they’d made a mistake and he owed $240 more. “I got to the council after driving 10 hours up there and then they said ‘Realistically, you have to sign this and pay us $240 or you can’t play’.”

With the rest of the band on its way, he had no choice but to pay the additional fees. “When I was on the streets I talked to the other performers playing … and they pay $88 for a year,” he says. “It wasn’t fair, and I wasn’t even collecting any money!” Making the most of their time there, Cornstalk handed out around 50 DVDs, 500 flyers and also played a couple gigs and had a radio appearance.

What originally got Hamall into the game of music full-time was a trip to India, which resulted in a murder attempt on his life. “I suppose from that day on, I realised that I have a lot here in Australia … When I came home, I went ‘screw it, I’m going to do [music], I’m going to have a go and I’m not going to stop until I get where I want,” he says.

Currently based in Newcastle, Cornstalk formed in late 2003, and since then, has managed to build up a substantial following, despite only playing two shows in the industrial town. Known as the city with the most bands per capita, Hamall says Newcastle is a hard place for music. “It’s a covers city … Newcastle, I think, is just on its own little merry-go-round on the covers shows,” he says.

This is pretty much it in a nutshell. Several years ago there was a free gig at a local music venue. Sea Life Park and Sodastream were on the bill and at any one time, there were no more than about seven people in the room.

Thankfully, Cornstalk’s first gig wasn’t this dire and their first foray into live music was a support gig for The Beautiful Girls. Always telling himself he wouldn’t enter a band competition, Hamall relented when someone from the venue hosting the gig rang him and said Cornstalk would “probably [be] the band that would play with them”. The band made it to the final but didn’t take out the competition trophy, but they still snared the support slot anyway.

With a heavy emphasis on blues and roots with splashes of jazz, rock and soul thrown in, Cornstalk’s music fits perfectly alongside bands like The Beautiful Girls. But with the current music scene creaming itself over 80s synth pop, Hamall says it can be hard finding bands to play with that compliment Cornstalk’s style of music. “I think the disadvantage for us guys is that we are alone … we do stand out on our own a little bit,” he says.

The upside is that the band has a unique sound that sets them apart from their contemporaries. It’s this stand-out quality that has helped get the band a consignment deal with Sanity and a clip for The Goodlife played on Video Hits – prime time on a Saturday morning – and Rage.

With only one self-titled EP – recorded in 48 hours straight, with snippets of sleep caught on the recording studio’s lounge – Cornstalk plan to record an album this year. The band has also recently bought a 12-seater, 1962 Morris bus to tour Partridge family style in once it’s been restored.

It’s plans like these that make you believe Hamall does have the passion and drive to take his busload of music to the top. But he says he sometimes gets knocked for being a dreamer. His refute is, “’Without dreams, you don’t have a reality’. So you can call me a dreamer, but I’m going to try and make the dreams become a reality”.

Cornstalk play at the Basement in Sydney on April 6 with The Model School (acoustic) + The Receptionists + Aminah.

- Jaspina...Stephanie McDonald

"CD Review.."

Wednesday 28th September 2005

"Just in time for summer, Newcastle band Cornstalk is releasing the self titled debut EP of blues, roots and rock flavoured tunes that are guaranteed to brighten your day.

You can't fault the vocal delivery of Chris Hamall on opening track Feelin' Free which starts slow before bursting into a blissful summery tune.

Fans of The Beautiful Girls will like this release." - Jade Lazarevic / TE Guide


Wednesday 28th September 2005

"In late 2003 Newcastle band Cornstalk was formed with nothing but acoustic guitars and the strong voice of singer / songwriter Chris Hamall.

Almost two years later the band, comprising Hamall alongside Lee Rolfe, Lyle Goodman, Tim McArtney, Ben Pettitt and Shayne Hamall, has evolved.

Cornstalk has had the opportunity to support acts such as The Beautiful Girls, Afro Moses and Lisa Hunt.

For the past ten months Cornstalk has set its focus on a debut self titled EP which will be launched at the Cambridge Hotel on Saturday night.

The EP was recorded and mixed at Mangus Production by Justin Ngariki and Rolfe and mastered at Studio 301 in Sydney by Don Bartley.

Frontman Hamall said their music was a mixture of blues, rock and contemporary pop.

The independent group had been working tirelessly towards this weekends launch. They will be supported by The Van Diemens Band and Ngariki. Doors open 8.30pm with tickets available on the night.

Cornstalk is also set to perform an acoustic show in late October at The Great Northern Hotel." - Jade Lazarevic / TE Guide


Cornstalk EP - Launched Cambridge Hotel Newcastle 1t October 2005

The Good Life - Single to be released 19th December 2005

The film clip The Good Life, is being aired on RAGE & VIDEO HITS.

Currently Brother Is & The Good Life from our EP is being played around the country and the world air waves on the Country/Roots & Blues/Roots AIR Compilation for 2006.

Currently "The Good Life" from our Ep is being aired on FOX FM Melbourn, Today FM Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth on the Australian First Show.

Also "Brother Is" from the EP has been getting air play on Newcastle's NXFM.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Cornstalk is a six piece blues and roots, rock flavoured band that was formed in late 2003. Originating from Newcastle, Cornstalk has performed around for the last two years and supported a number of national and international acts. With their versatile writing style, Cornstalks’ music should appeal to wide audience and they are expecting to release their first album by mid 2006.

For the past ten months they have set their focus on recording their debut self-titled EP that was released on 1st October 2005 at The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle. The EP is avalable in SANITY retail stores & was recorded and mixed as a four piece band at Mangus Production by Justin Ngariki and Lee Rolfe and mastered at Studio 301 in Sydney by Don Bartley.

Cornstalk have recording their first film clip for the single release ‘The Good Life’ and have released it on RAGE & VIDEO HITS. The band are working towards playing at upcoming festivals and events.

The band members consist of Chris Hamall (Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar), Lee Rolfe (Lead Guitar), Lyle Goodman (Drums), Tim McArtney (Bass / Double Bass), Ben Pettett (Keys) and Shayne Hamall (Backing Vocals / Percussion). A brief overview of each band member is included below.

Band Member Profiles

Name:Chris Hamall

Chris has been playing for 12 years and has supported bands such as The Beautiful Girls, Lisa Hunt & Afro Moses. His musical influences are Alice in Chains, The Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin. Other interests include Motor Bikes, Mountain Hiking and Traveling.

Name:Lee Rolfe

Lee has been playing for 15 years, supported bands such as Suzi Quatro and engineered some local Newcastle bands. His musical influences are Kiss, Motley Crue and Sade. Other interests include Recording and Engineering.

Name:Lyle Goodman
Origin:East Maitland

Lyle has been playing for 12 years and has played The Basement in Sydney and supported bands such as The Beautiful Girls, Lisa Hunt & Afro Moses. His musical influences are Sound Garden, Guns & Roses and Powder Finger. Other interests include Sport, Fashion and Coffee.

Name:Ben Pettett

Ben has been playing for 11 years and has performed internationally in England and France. His musical influences are Pink Floyd, Gospel and The Black Crowes. Other interests include Snow Boarding and Photography.

Name:Shayne Hamall

Shayne has been playing for 12 years and has supported bands such as The Angels & Scary Mother. His musical influences are Sound Garden, Eagles and Alice in Chains. Other interests include Traveling, Cars and Socialising.

Name:Tim McArtney
Origin:The Whitsundays

Tim has been playing for 6 years and has supported bands such as The Beautiful Girls, Muzzy Pepp and Motor Race. Currently studying towards his Bachelor of Music, Tim’s musical influences are John Paul Jones and Sting. Other interests include Reading and Socialising.