Late last year Tamworth-born Sydney-based singer-songwriter Andy Golledge released an extraordinary song, ‘Run to the River’, and announced his upcoming EP, Namoi. That EP has now been released and while it was always likely to be exceptional, there is so much else that could be said about it, yet it can also be described quite simply. That’s because the songs on this EP are so good at generating emotional reactions before rational responses. And it’s for that reason that the simple description is this: it’s joyous. That is, it’s joyous for the listener to have this work in existence, to listen to it repeatedly, to look forward to listening to it again. Each song has its own brace of emotions – ‘Run to the River’, for example, is love and despair and comfort and confusion – but the net effect is one of joy. This is an EP that can make each day better.
So that’s the emotional side. And even though when music listeners talk to each other they tend to talk in terms of ‘I love it’ or ‘I don’t love it’, when writing about music there’s an imperative to try to find the rationale for why a song or collection of songs works as well as it does. Rationally, therefore, we can say that Golledge and his band are very talented musicians who have worked together long enough now to make these recordings gloriously cohesive while also sounding like they’re exploring within them. They’re having fun (which is no doubt contributing to the emotional impact of the EP) and that makes it fun for us to listen to them.
Rationally, too, the through line of this EP can probably be found in its first song, ‘Blue’: ‘I may never tell the truth/But I can never sing a lie’. Golledge is authentic – authentically open hearted and open minded – which means he is declaring to listeners that he is willing to make a connection with them. For country music audiences this is usually a priority, alongside wanting a good story. And Golledge has great stories. Which makes him a country music artist, even as we can hear other influences in his songs, like 1970s California rock and 2000s East Coast Americana. If we’re open to life, to culture, we all have influences, in everything we do, which doesn’t make us any less us. Golledge’s work is unique, and familiar, and overall a gift to the rest of us humans.
Namoi is out now on I OH YOU/Mushroom.