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REVIEW: ROSCOE JAMES IRWIN - THE HUNTING ROAD
The Hunting Road

Roscoe James Irwin
The Hunting Road

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1000 Nights - Digital Single

Roscoe James Irwin
1000 Nights - Digital Single

dB Magazine Sarah Maunder

The experience of heartbreak for most of us usually results in sobbing into empty bottles of vodka (not speaking from personal experience, of course). But for Roscoe James Irwin it means producing a drastically different album of acoustic melodies, and a few weeks in British Columbia. 



"It was more cathartic than anything else, I was actually in the middle of making a totally different solo record at the time, something that was much more rocky," he explains. "It's not what people will be expecting from me, having seen me play with The Cat Empire. Those songs are much more up-beat and powerful. This is a record that came out really honestly, and I went to British Columbia to escape for a few weeks to write." 



Irwin has also been influenced by experiences touring overseas, having recently accompanied Belle & Sebastian, and also spent time working with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen. "I expected them to be these ultra-cool rock stars, but Brian especially, it was like hanging out with your uncle. He wasn't buried in his room, he seemed to really thrive on being out there, and working with new musicians. That was really inspiring" 



So how does someone become a stand out in a city as large and diverse as Melbourne, and get these kinds of opportunities? "There's a lot going on in Melbourne, a lot more live music, but the city has a really supportive music industry. As a teenager though, I was lucky to spend a lot of time with friends and this group of guys that group ended up becoming The Cat Empire. We all met in high school, and we had a mentor named Steve Sedergreen who hand picked us from around the place, and got us gigs we would never have gotten as sixteen year olds." 



Preparing to visit Adelaide as part of his upcoming tour, Irwin comments how "a lot of people think I'm from Adelaide originally because I've spent so much time there." Probably not something a native Melbournian would appreciate I imagine, however, he adds fondly "I love coming over, I've got loads of friends over there, and I'm more confident about getting a crowd in Adelaide probably, than any other city." 



Roscoe James Irwin will launch new album 'The Hunting Road' at The Promethean on Fri 9 Sep. 





Exystence Music Blog - Zorn

Roscoe James Irwin, an immensely talented artist who has an exceptional reputation as having been an arranger, composer and multi-instrumentalist for a number vast number of Australian musicians such as The Cat Empire, The Bamboos, Felix Riebl and Paul Kelly has ventured out on his own and delivered his debut solo album, The Hunting Road. Written in the Canadian mountains during 2009 after a breakup, the album emanates honesty and simply feels like a cold, winter album.


The Hunting Road is a solid offering of ten songs that marry twisting vocal harmonies and catchy, upbeat rhythms with a lingering sense of folk melancholy to create a sound that seems reminiscent of Elliott Smith yet entirely Irwin’s own. The first single from the album, “1000 Nights” is a brilliant piece of songwriting. Beginning with only acoustic guitar and vocals, the song’s texture is slowly layered before building to the pounding, crashing crescendo during the last minute of the piece.Highlights from The Hunting Road include “1000 Nights”, “Picking Apples”, “Once Upon a Time…” and “Pass the Time”. I would recommend this album for fans of Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith.




Luke Balzan

It’s always nice when you read someone’s CV and attempt to pigeonhole them based on their album cover and label, but then be pleasantly surprised by what music they actually have to offer. Melbourne artist Roscoe James Irwin has worked with The Cat Empire and The Bamboos, has an album cover that evokes elements of roots culture and features on a label that is known for impressive reggae releases. So, when you put the disc on, you may expect to hear some funky reggae, loaded with jazzy horns and maybe some screaming blues guitar. What you get is something quite different, but just as impressive. For his debut album The Hunting Road, Roscoe’s gentle voice marries well to the relaxed acoustic guitar that features so prominently throughout the album. Musically, this is a blend of gentle blues and upbeat folk country, somewhere between the likes of Carus and Things Of Stone & Wood.



There’s a catchiness that draws you in straight away, while the subtlety of the album keeps you entertained for the long run. It’s definitely a great accompaniment for these long warm evenings we’re coming into: grab a beer, put it on and watch the sun go down with a smile on your face!





The Au Review - Kyle Bright


Roscoe James Irwin, an immensely talented artist who has an exceptional reputation as having been an arranger, composer and multi-instrumentalist for a number vast number of Australian musicians such as The Cat Empire, The Bamboos, Felix Riebl and Paul Kelly has ventured out on his own and delivered his debut solo album, The Hunting Road. Written in the Canadian mountains during 2009 after a breakup, the album emanates honesty and simply feels like a cold, winter album.



The Hunting Road is a solid offering of ten songs that marry twisting vocal harmonies and catchy, upbeat rhythms with a lingering sense of folk melancholy to create a sound that seems reminiscent of Elliott Smith yet entirely Irwin’s own. The first single from the album, "1000 Nights" is a brilliant piece of songwriting. Beginning with only acoustic guitar and vocals, the song’s texture is slowly layered before building to the pounding, crashing crescendo during the last minute of the piece.



I find some songs on The Hunting Road surprising in that they catch you off-guard. That is, they begin on a soft, laid-back note but often suddenly shift moods and an entire backing band drops in, lending an interesting and contrasting feel to the songs (see "Once Upon a Time...").



Highlights from The Hunting Road include "1000 Nights", "Picking Apples", "Once Upon a Time..." and "Pass the Time". I would recommend this album for fans of Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith.



All in all, an excellent debut from an artist who rightly deserves to be thrust into the consciousness of contemporary Australian music.



Review Score: 8/10




The Alternative media Group - Ben Montegue

he modern trend of folk, country or “roots” music on the surface alone is a little baffling. One can only surmise that it is a direct response of the alternative music scene running as far as it can in the other direction of ultra produced “non-instrument” digital sound that is clogging up the charts. So is this why Melbournian Roscoe James Irwin’s debut album brings out banjos, mandolins and the like? You know what? It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter what sound or genre Roscoe wrote and recorded in because his clear talent would be able transcend a style’s boundaries. There is not one dud track out of the ten on The Hunting Road. Being able to shift tone, feel and tempo from track to track (often within a track too) without losing intensity is a gift and pleasure to listen to. The vocal harmonies are sweet yet strong. Not sure if directly or indirectly I think Roscoe has been influenced by the late Beatles. Most of it is pretty subtle but the end of track five Georgina is more than little like Hey Jude. Nonetheless that song will be a favourite and this album is an absolute corker




Ben Montegue - Alternative Media Group


The modern trend of folk, country or “roots” music on the surface alone is a little baffling. One can only surmise that it is a direct response of the alternative music scene running as far as it can in the other direction of ultra produced “non-instrument” digital sound that is clogging up the charts. 



So is this why Melbournian Roscoe James Irwin’s debut album brings out banjos, mandolins and the like? You know what? It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter what sound or genre Roscoe wrote and recorded in because his clear talent would be able transcend a style’s boundaries. There is not one dud track out of the ten on The Hunting Road. Being able to shift tone, feel and tempo from track to track (often within a track too) without losing intensity is a gift and pleasure to listen to. The vocal harmonies are sweet yet strong. Not sure if directly or indirectly I think Roscoe has been influenced by the late Beatles. Most of it is pretty subtle but the end of track five Georgina is more than little like Hey Jude. Nonetheless that song will be a favourite and this album is an absolute corker.