The enigmatically named Fallon Cush is the vehicle for songwriter Steve Smith, a Sydney musician who has been recording, releasing and performing music for three decades. With a knack for gathering exceptional musicians to add colour and depth to his compositions, Steve has produced a critically acclaimed pair of Fallon Cush albums. His musical CV also includes a highly regarded solo single, Don't You Wish / Tears (Green Fez/Citadel Records, 1988) and his time as guitarist in Sydney folk-rock band Catherine Wheel. Now, in 2016, Fallon Cush are set to release their most realised album to date in Bee In Your Bonnet.
On their self-titled 2011 debut, Fallon Cush explored a musical landscape built on power-pop, sophisticated pop-rock and a subtle streak of Americana. The influence of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Jayhawks, Crowded House and Big Star all shone bright, giving the songs a vibrant melodicism and a real sense of a songwriter’s craft. The sound of the album was enhanced by rich and detailed production courtesy of Chris Vallejo at Linear Recording in Sydney and mastering at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. From the driving soul shakedown of Where You Been to the aching and poetic melancholy of Over Me and the jangly, country-rock sound of Kiss You Awake – it’s clear there’s a strong mix of classic American and English albums, from the 60s to the 80s, in Steve’s record collection.
The success of their debut encouraged a quick turnaround with its follow-up April in 2012. Again recorded with Chris Vallejo they also engaged the mastering skills of Greg Calbi (The Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, The National, Tame Impala) at Sterling Sound. Key tracks such as Where Your Name Is Carved, Forever After and Honey Honey received widespread exposure prior to the premiere of April on American Songwriter. Upon its release the album received universally positive reviews from the likes of No Depression, Maverick Country and Jersey Beat. Americana UK described Fallon Cush's sound as 'combining the voice of Bob Dylan with the radio friendly vibe of Neil Finn.’ The wide appeal and international critical acclaim April received was testament to how successfully Steve had married his pop sensibilities with a roots-based style.
Late in 2015, Steve, Glen Hannah (guitars), Scott Aplin (keyboards) and Josh Schuberth (bass, drums) reconvened at Linear Recording, this time with backing vocalists Suzy Goodwin and Stephanie Grace, to record Bee In Your Bonnet. Their commitment to high quality sound also continued with mastering by Stephen Marcussen at Marcussen Mastering (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Dawes, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and The Decemberists).
On their third album they’ve continued the refinement and evolution of the Fallon Cush sound by introducing a more alt-country, wide-open-road feel to the music. Guitars slash and swagger with more abandon and the mood is often darker. Steve’s instinctive way with soaring melodies is still as infectious as ever but the band have found a way to imbue them with just the right amount of grit, ragged edges and free-wheeling, widescreen production. You can hear The Band, The Byrds, Dylan and Ryan Adams in the DNA of the songs as Steve details love won and lost, doubt, indecision and realisation. Fallon Cush have found the perfect combination of hook-laden song-craft and organic, timeless musicality.
Bee In Your Bonnet is scheduled for release early in 2016