Friday, December 6 saw the release of Blood Moon, Cold Chisel's third album of new music in the last 10 years.
The tight sound and hard-driving lyrics show how the band's core has stayed the course: their brand of rock'n'roll takes no prisoners, mixing distinct vocal lines with melodic riffs and an omnipresent beat.
There is no sign of age or delusion, or rust, or mistrust. Nor should there be. Given how much they mean to music fans, the longer they're kicking on with new material, the better we all feel.
Ian Moss's vocals are particularly strong on several pieces, including the final track, You Are So Beautiful (penned by him and Lucy DeSoto). A classic, bluesy love ballad, it brings the raucous album to a calming finish, like turning out the lights on a big night.
The album's opener (which also features opening lines by Moss), Getting the Band Back Together, highlights the versatility of the whole band, with lyrics by Don Walker and vocals shared by Moss and Barnes. It's got a tasty jam by Mossy smack in the middle. You can just feel how the song will take off in front of a live audience.
The real killer song is Land of Hope. The lyrics by Barnes and Walker are minimal, but the presentation is an anthemic chant. Sassy and nasty, blues at its best. Classic.
Cold Chisel's Blood Moon tour kicks off on December 31 at Fremantle Park in Western Australia. All venues on the tour are outdoors.
Byron Bay's Easter extravaganza has added another 11 artists to the Bluesfest bill: Kool & the Gang, The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, Guy Sebastian, Allen Stone, LP, Dweezil Zappa, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Waifs, Erja Lyytinen, Chain and Ash Grunwald.
The event runs April 9-13. Headliners already announced include the Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz, George Benson, John Prine, John Mayall, Patti Smith, Brandi Carlile and many more.
2020 is looking like a busy year for Rai Thistlethwayte, lead singer of Thirsty Merc. He will be playing keyboards for Joe Satriani's European tour in May and June. Thistlethwayte will be back for the Big Red Bash in July.