SINGER songwriter James Stewart Keene is no stranger to the Bulli Heritage Hotel. Growing up in the
Woonona/Bulli district, Keene is regularly seen enjoying a drink at the iconic pub and music venue. This time, James will return to launch his new digital country rock EP “Going Places”.
It’s been six years since Keene put out a country rock release. Back in 2006, under the moniker of James Stewart Keene Band, he released the EP “You Want What I Got”. That EP received good local attention to home crowds in Wollongong and Sydney and attracted air play on community radio and internet music sites. His band also attracted a reputation for uncompromising and raunchy live sets.
“My old band was really loud for a country rock act” Keene said.
The act eventually moved away from country rock and evolved into a more pub rock orientated genre. In the end the band changed its name to 08 Crash. Keene ended up sidelining his country inspired sounds and material for a few years.
“I was always inspired by 70s west coast country music, like that of the Eagles, Neil Young, Credence Clearwater Revival and Crosby Stills & Nash. It’s exciting to go back to the style I do best,” he told The Bulli Times said.
Keene was fortunate to get his music heard in the US. Working with a well known song plugger in Nashville USA, his music has brought him some attention from music publishers in the US. This lead to a trip to Nashville in 2011 where he met with music industry contacts and did a radio interview while he was there.
His new Digital EP “Going Places” will feature his own songs and will be available from all good digital music retailers from late April 2012.
The release got its name after one of the tracks on the record. “Going Places” was an ironic and somewhat double entendre name for the work, which, he said, had been a few years in the making.
“The songs are really about a life journey and about maintaining self belief through hard times”, he said.
In keeping with the “travel” theme, Keene selected a photo taken on the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge for the EP artwork.
“My photographer Mark Hamlet and I dodged traffic to get the shot. I’m walking down the centre line of the bridge, arms out wide while walking away from the camera. There’s an open road ahead of me, while the road winds around a formidable mountain. They say a journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step. This photo is such a visual metaphor,” he said.
To support the release, Keene is launching the EP at the Bulli Heritage Hotel on Saturday April 14. He will be backed by some of Wollongong’s finest musicians for the show.