It’s Australian stories for the ears, the eyes, the head and the heart.
Missy Higgins’ OZ is something different … an eclectic album of Aussie cover versions and a quirky book of related essays. The music and the prose are best experienced together in a beautiful clothbound CD/Book edition but they can also be enjoyed separately in physical or digital forms, and all are released on September 19.
The OZ album features Missy re-imagining 15 Australian songs that were originally recorded by a diverse set of artists including The Angels, Slim Dusty, Something For Kate, Warumpi Band, Paul Kelly and The Drones. In the accompanying OZ book, Missy uses each of those recordings as the starting point for a sprawling series of essays; reflecting on life, love and how not to wear high heels.
“I wanted to try something different this time around”, explains Missy. “I couldn’t decide between making a covers album or writing a book so I decided to do both at once. Musically it’s intended to be a real mixed bag of lollies.
“Obviously part of the reason I called the whole project OZ is that it’s all about Australian songs. Plus, for the first time, I recorded the whole thing in Australia. However the title has a second meaning. I like the idea of songwriters being like the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz”. Some people think we’re special people who have special powers but really we’re just scared little people hiding in a backroom somewhere, working like crazy to make sure we don’t get found out.”
There are four main threads that bind this disparate collection of tunes. The first is obviously the lyrical and vocal combinations that allow Missy to truly inhabit each of these works as if she had written it herself. The second is the strikingly live production by Missy and American orchestrator Jherek Bischoff (Amanda Palmer, David Byrne, Kronos Quartet).
The third thread that runs through the OZ recordings is the presence of contributions from various friends of Missy’s. Not only does she cover Dan Sultan’s timeless “Old Fitzroy” but the Deadly Award winner (and “Bran Nue Dae” co-star) also adds his unmistakable voice to an ol’ timey rendition of “The Biggest Disappointment”. Kate Miller Heidke and Amanda Palmer are among others to feature prominently.
Finally, the entire collection was mixed by multiple Grammy recipient Jay Newland who also mixed Missy’s breakthrough album The Sound of White.
In other major news, Missy revealed over the weekend that she is due to give birth to her first child in January.
Over the last decade Missy has become one of our most beloved singer/songwriters. Her three previous albums, The Sound of White, On a Clear Night and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, have sold more than a million copies. They’ve each gone to #1 on the Australian charts and each has also been recognised with ARIA Awards.
MISSY HIGGINS – OZ
Available for pre-order from Tuesday August 5.
1. You Only Hide (Something For Kate)
2. Old Fitzroy (Dan Sultan)
3. NYE (Perry Keyes)
4. Shark Fin Blues (The Drones)
5. Was There Anything I Could Do (The Go-Betweens)
6. Back To The Wall (Divinyls)
7. Don’t Believe Anymore (Icehouse)
8. The Biggest Disappointment feat. Dan Sultan (Slim Dusty)
9. Everybody Wants To Touch Me (Paul Kelly)
10. Curse On You (The Blackeyed Susans)
11. No Secrets (The Angels)
12. Before Too Long feat. Amanda Palmer (Paul Kelly)
13. Blackfella/Whitefella feat. Crystal Itjuwalyi Butcher (Warumpi Band)
14. Calm And Crystal Clear (Neil Murray)
15. The Way You Are Tonight (Don Walker)