Brendan Takes Centre Stage
By Sue Jarvis

He’s best known as one of Australia’s most gifted and in-demand musicians, who has performed and recorded with a galaxy of country stars.

Now Brendan Radford’s stepped into the spotlight in his own right, with the release of his remarkable debut album, Snow.

And Brendan’s revealed that he’s right up there with the best, thanks to his sweet, true vocals and a swag of great songs.

A perceptive, intensely personal and enormously appealing album, Snow has been almost five years in the making – mainly due to Brendan’s many other musical commitments.

“The album was regularly put on hold because I was touring or recording with other artists, or producing another act, but eventually I realized I had to bite the bullet and make it happen,” Brendan said.

Those other artists have included the cream of Australian country and rock music, amongst them Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Troy Cassar-Daley, Gina Jeffreys, Russell Morris and Glen Shorrock.

He’s also produced a number of award-winning albums for artists like Rose Carleo, Casey Watt and Lance Friend.

It is abundantly clear that Snow was a real labour of love for Brendan. The songs have been expertly crafted and reveal a real talent for conveying emotion – from loss and confusion to nostalgia to sheer joy.

Brendan’s gentle and perceptive way with words is perfectly captured on the album’s title track, ‘Snow’, which was recently released as the second single.

The song was written about his uncle, diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 24, and conveys myriad emotions. It’s a song that makes you feel happy and sad, wise and vulnerable all at once.

Brendan also dips into the past in a very personal way on “Coongoola Station”, a song inspired by his late father.

“I’d always wanted to write a song about Dad, but this one took about 10 years to emerge. The song’s written from his perspective,” Brendan said.

The first single from the album, the very catchy “Sweet Maree” is quite different. Brendan laughingly describes it as “bluegrass with drums”, and it’s a delight. So is the Western Swing-inspired “Don’t Think Twice”, a superb cover of the old Pete Seeger/Bob Dylan classic.

Some of the most powerful tracks on the album dig deep into the human psyche. They include “I Don’t Know”, dealing about self-belief and knowing when to move on, and the memorable “Stop the Night” — a cool, seductive love song featuring some great piano playing by Vaughan Jones.

And Brendan has also included a reflective song about the state of the world, “What’s Going On?” which was cowritten with Olivia-Jane Crick.

Given his extraordinary musical talents — on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and numerous other instruments — it’s only right that Snow features two brilliant instrumentals. “Pronto Tonto” is a fast and furious musical tour de force, while the gentle and evocative “New Morning” lets the listener lie back and experience the dawn of a new day.

Casey Watt joins Brendan for an exquisite duet on “I Needed You”. It’s one of several well-chosen cover versions on the album. He’s also included his own take on the Bad Company classic “Shooting Star” and a wonderful version of Shanley Del’s “Rear View Mirror” – one of the album’s highlights.

Brendan says that with Snow he set out to make an album that reflected who he is and that would be personally satisfying to him.

There’s no doubt he has succeeded — this gentle, perceptive album was well worth the wait, and will captivate everyone who hears it.

From now on, Brendan Radford might have to get used to standing front and centre on the country music stage, instead of to the side. And he doesn’t mind a bit.