There’s something of the beautiful untamed wilderness of Tasmania, perched isolated on the edge of the world with a deep dark history, deeply infused in the new track from Christopher Coleman & The Great Escape ‘Paloona’. Its scope is cinematic, its delivery anthemic and the instrumentation unbound.
The song, featuring a semi-autobiographical character, captures a sense of the geographical bindings that hold and change us:
I turn to you
I always do
My heart is true
And yet buried deep is a sense of tragedy and history that stain the land:
Your heart, your hand
Their sea, Their land
Coleman says of the track:
‘Paloona’ came about towards the end of putting the record together. It was always down on the map that I
was working from, but I didn’t realise at the time of marking it down that it is a hydropower station 20km from
anything remotely residential. So the commute for the workers can be 300km, they stay in a motel for a week
and then make their way back home. I imagined the character, ‘Jesse’ or whoever, resenting the drive and
the imposition of unavoidable reflections of the land which he’d feel under a tyre. But, ‘Paloona’ sometimes
for me is more an ode to his lover. Other times it’s simply an escape, it’s just another little cog in the ‘machine’ of The Great Tasmanian Escape after all.
Paloona, the place, becomes a palimpsest for a darker history and for a sense of deep yearning. This is an achingly beautiful track, fresh and vital and suffuse with a melancholia. The accompanying video created by Ursula Woods with assistance from Jacob Collings captures the unique southern light – shot across the forests and lakes of inland Tasmania. Woods says of the inspiration for the video:
When I first listened to Paloona, I just wanted to run and move! The song is full of energy. The musical build
up completely sweeps me up with it and I feel a connection to the emotion and expansive nature of the song.
The lyrics too, are so beautiful and drive that feeling of going to a special place. We had a small window of
time to shoot the video and so we took a chance on a sunny day to get out and capture some of that
expansive, rolling, break-free feeling to go with the music. I had scouted the location and although it was not
Paloona, some of the industrial and forest features of the landscape made me think of Paloona. Chris
personifies the Tassie landscape in this video. His performance shows a real connection to place and how
certain places can evoke certain feelings including that feeling that we sometimes just need to get away and be our own in nature.
The result is something quite mesmerising and evocative that resonates powerfully with the song.
The single ‘Paloona’ is available through the link below:
The track is off the newly announced debut album ‘The Great Tasmanian Escape’ from Coleman and his super group of musicians which includes a who’s who of Tasmanian resident musicians including Glenn Richards (Augie March), the late and much lamented Mike Noga (The Drones), Stu Hollingsworth (EWAH and the Vision of Paradise) and Kelly Ottaway (The Stitch). The album is produced by Glenn Richards and is out on Friday, 25 February 2021.
Feature Photograph: Jacob Collings