News: Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission announce new album ‘Where Only Memory Can Find You’ alongside news of upcoming national tour

To celebrate the news of the upcoming release, the band has released the second single from the album, Lilac Trees. The new single ties in with memories and perceptions of the past. Not only is it a song about  memory, but it is also a song about a song; an old song from the American South that was taught to Mick as a child, and which, upon reflection, is one he now realises he could never sing because of its racist undertone.

Mick explains: “I played a songwriting workshop as part of a festival alongside Jessie Lloyd who collated the Mission Songs Project. The theme of the workshop was something like ‘Home Songs’ and the only thing I could think of that was anything like a ‘family song’ for me was one we used to call ‘Lilac Trees’. I looked online and couldn’t find it, but then I realised the actual title was ‘Stay In Your Own Backyard’. It is a song from the American South, and reading through the lyrics I realised they were at best condescending and patronising but no – let’s say it plainly: It’s a racist song. It was taught to us by my grandmother who was far from racist herself – in fact she’s probably where a lot of our decent family politics and egalitarianism comes from, a really kind and fair woman. But even for the purpose of historical illustration it’s a song I could never bring myself to sing. It just has a really bad sentiment to it. So ‘Lilac Trees’ is a song about that song, and about realising something that had been passed down from generation to generation wasn’t what you thought it might have been.”

Where Only Memory Can Find You marks the return to the fray of Mick’s former Weddings, Parties, Anything bandmate, violinist Jen Anderson – joining founding WPA accordion player Mark “Squeezebox Wally” Wallace in the Roving Commission ranks – who oversaw the beautiful string arrangements on Lilac Trees and a number of other songs. 

The album will go on sale from May 7th, and can be pre-ordered from April 7th.

Mick and the band are conducting a national tour which coincides with the release of Where Only Memory Can Find You.


Sun May 14 – Hotel Warrnambool, Warrnambool, Vic 
Fri May 19 – Memo Music Hall, St Kilda, Vic
Wed May 24 – Arco Bar, Heatherton, Vic
Thu May 25 – Arco Bar, Heatherton, Vic
Fri May 26 – It’s Still a Secret, Brisbane, Qld
Sat May 27 – It’s Still a Secret, Brisbane, Qld
Sun May 28 – It’s Still a Secret, Brisbane, Qld
Fri June 2 – Camelot, Marrickville, NSW
Sat June 3 – Camelot, Marrickville, NSW
Fri June 9 – Mojos Bar, Fremantle, WA
Sat June 10 – Lyric Lane, Perth, WA
Sun June 11 – Lyric Lane, Perth, WA
Sat June 17 – Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Sun June 18 – Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Tickets for all shows available at

Feature Image: As supplied

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