Coming from country Victoria, singer songwriter David M Western has crafted a folk-infused delight in his new single ‘Blue Eyes Red’. It is undeniably lightly touched with a hint of Americana or alt. country – even a bit of dirty, swampy blues – and yet is more aligned with an uniquely Australian troubadour outback genre – think veteran indie folk king Paul Kelly and the wild west tones that bands like The Triffids sometimes reflected. The instrumentation creates its own flow – a sparse acoustic intro that builds up into something that swaggers and rolls with a bar room bustle. Western says of the track:
I had wanted to write a song that just kept building. Whenever I felt it heading towards a new section of the song, I needed the next part to continue accumulating in energy and a sense of implosion. I was thinking of ‘Crying’ by Roy Orbison or ‘Thunder Road’ by Bruce Springsteen. Sometimes I forget that this song doesn’t really have a chorus. I don’t think it needed that verse/chorus form, because it has a concept that it honours.
What it does so well is it creates an atmosphere and a journey – that peculiar element that captures an Australia beyond the urban jungles. Indeed, ‘Blue Eyes Red’ evokes an outback blistering heat that develops into a wild unhinged thunderstorm, and an open endless road winding through the bristling gum trees fading out into red hot desert sands. The themes seem apocalyptic and fatalistic – with hints of ‘On The Beach’ by Neville Shute:
When doomsday comes you’re in control
Cos you have bad days but survive em all cos you
Look up blindly speak to kindly
Raise that gaze with poison smiling
We’re gonna paint this town and your blue eyes red
Speak so much that nothing gets said
And an edge of fatal romanticism provides a ray of hope:
I never ride with my windows down
But if I did it’d be in your town
There is a hint of mystery and, as with any good troubadour, a compelling story to tell. And Western certainly delivers.
‘Blue Eyes Red’ is out on Thursday, 10 June 2021 through Believe and will be on Western’s forthcoming album ‘Child Mind’ due out in August.
Feature Photograph: Joel Nigel Coleman