There are interesting musical things going on in Newcastle, NSW/Awabakal and Worimi country – there have been for years, of course, but these specific things are related to the emergence of the record label Beverley Hillbilly Records helmed by Catherine Britt, who has also been taking the production reins on singles and albums, including the new album by Natalie Henry. Britt is steeped in country music, not just as a performer but as a listener, so it was perhaps just a matter of time before she used that knowledge to become a producer as well – and it’s a glorious thing that that time is now, especially when she is signing an artist like Suz Dorahy to her label.
Dorahy, who is also from Newcastle, has released some great singles in the past, and now she’s back with another. ‘Tell You’ is a story of betrayal that builds towards the bridge, in which Dorahy pulls her emotions from deep within and gives us her glorious growl.
Of the song’s inspiration, Dorahy says, ‘It took a mighty blow to crack me to the core. It’s that moment of realisation where it turns out some folk are not who you thought they were.’
Dorahy writes from a place of darkness that is moving towards the light – because that is her experience. Nine years ago she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome. ‘I spent seven years being a recluse,’ she says, ‘and just tapping into my music because it took me to another place away from the darkness of depression and PTSD. Music was my saviour.’
It was Natalie Henry who helped Dorahy find a different path, offering her a chance to play at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and through Henry she met Britt. Now on Britt’s label, Dorahy’s music can find its way to even more people – and perhaps be their saviour too.