Lauded songwriters in their own right, Nigel Wearne & Luke Watt join forces to go Above The Bit. Skirting the fringes of blues, country and outlaw folk, Above The Bit channels the fire of Billy Bragg, the poetry and clang of Tom Waits and the spirit of Woody Guthrie. Above The Bit shines a light on true tales of mutiny and civil disobedience in Australian history.
Nigel Wearne is "one of Australia's emerging songwriters'" (Tone Deaf) and Luke Watt is "the real deal… so real you feel you already know him" (ABC Radio). Together, they tap into the psyche and emotive fabric of their subjects, harnessing the power of narrative and verse with an informed historical approach and social conscience.
Deep in the winter of 2017, Nigel and Luke were Artists-In-Residence at Bundanon; Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s property they gifted to the Australian people. Immersed in 1,100 hectares of bush and parkland on the Shoalhaven River, they spent 3 weeks exploring the enigma and stigma of the mutineer and how it’s shaped modern Australia. In 2018, they received funding from the Australia Council for The Arts to record these songs.
Produced by Matt Walker of Stovepipe Studios (Lost Ragas, Broderick Smith, Liz Stringer), the album features Nigel Wearne on lead vocals, guitar, acoustic slide, piano, banjo and pump organ, Luke Watt on lead vocals, acoustic, electric-slide and resonator guitars and an all-star cast of musicians: Danny McKenna on drums, Steve Hadley on double bass, Mandy Connell and Matt Walker on backing vocals and Corinn Strating on wood flute and whistle.
Above The Bit challenges the typical face of mutiny and tells stories of unlikely rebels that are in danger of being forgotten. Aboriginal warriors, women on the goldfields, US military mutinies on Australian soil and the Batavia mutiny. Emotive, honest, empathetic and enlightening—their debut album is unmistakably Australian. As the hunger for truth and the demand for reconciliation grows, Above The Bit is as relevant as ever. "Some tales don’t heal unless they’ve been told"
2022 Australian Folk Music Awards FINALIST – Contemporary Folk Album of The Year
2022 Music Victoria Awards NOMINEE – Best Folk Work
WHAT THE PRESS ARE SAYING...
"The finest Australian roots music album so far this year" – Tony Hillier, Rhythms Magazine
"a fine and interesting album...reminds one of the best of Fairport Convention" – Americana UK
"one of the best Australian albums I've heard for quite some" – Warren Fahey, Rhythms Magazine
"An extraordinary piece of work" – Sunburnt Country Music
"A seminal folk record, vivid and gritty" – Listening Through The Lens
"A beautifully crafted collection of songs of epic proportions" – Unpaved
"Powerful stories that set the benchmark for reflective and raw Australian folk music" – Listening Through The Lens
2022 Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival
2022 The River Folk Festival
2019 Queenscliff Music Festival
2019 Majors Creek Festival
2019 Newstead Live Music Festival
2018 Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival
2018 2 Worlds Festival
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people are advised this project and associated songs contains the names of deceased persons. This content has been written, recorded and performed with permission from associated Elders and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.