Country music songs are usually stories set to melodies. There are the tropes we all know well, about losing your house, your dog, your car, your missus … Some of those persist, although not usually in Australian country music, whose songwriters tend to look into the details of lives – their own and others – and draw out stories that are more about finding than losing. In her new song, ‘Weed, Wine and Women’, Natalie Henry, a singer-songwriter from Newcastle, NSW/Awabakal country, covers finding and losing, and she also turns some of those old tropes on their heads, simply by singing from her point of view.
The title of this song makes it sounds as though it should come from a rusted-on male artist lamenting the temptations of his long life. Part of what’s so wonderful about this song is that it is Henry who tells us that it is ‘weed, wine and women’ that will get her through the night and she delivers this declaration just as that male artist would, with no explanation about why it’s the case. Henry is, therefore, giving that particular country music story a new context, even as it’s musically couched in a honkytonk form country music listeners will recognise.
‘“Weed, Wine and Women” is my messy, shameless break-up anthem,’ says Henry. ‘I had hit rock bottom, I needed anything that would help me cope until the next sunrise … and I needed to put those vibes on this first single. I didn’t wanna polish up the story tellin’ away from the authentic experience that so many of us go through.’
This song was produced by Catherine Britt and Michael Muchow, and is accompanied by a video made by Jazmyn Produces, shot at an old motel in Brisbane. It’s the first track from Henry’s upcoming album, and will be launched at a show in Newcastle on 28 May.