Loene Carmen – The Peach State

Earlier this year, Loene Carmen headed off to the good ol’ USA’s deep South in the midst of a never ending heatwave. While there, she chanced upon a beaten up old Stella parlor guitar, buried in amongst toasters, chairs and other bits and bobs in a thrift store on the highway. She bought it for less than five bucks, gave it a spit, polish and shine and put it to work whipping up a short suite of acoustic numbers inspired by the Peach State.

Once the songs were written, the next step was to hire a Mercury and set off on a roadtrip to Nashville, her small children in tow, to record the tunes with David Ferguson – the man behind the desk for those Johnny Cash American recordings, at the East Nashville Butcher Shoppe studio. And so, her new EP, The Peach State was born.

“This heat is relentless,” Carmen sighs at the EP’s opening over stark guitar. You can almost feel the impossibly dry humidity through your speakers. Beads of sweat building despite limited motion, the only air in the room coming through her breathy vocal.

This first track perfectly represents the six offerings here. There has always been something distinctly and classically American-sounding about the Australian singer/songwriter. Be it her deliciously seductive delivery, her lyrics or the atmosphere she creates when she straps on a guitar, so The Peach State sounds like a homecoming of sorts. It is Loene Carmen in her perfect environment. Stripped back and acoustic, this is a record that drips honesty and is raw to the point where it feels like she is sitting in the room with you, performing these songs on a beat up old geeetar while you roll an ice-cold beer bottle across your brow.

“We all know, we ain’t got long to go,” she tells us on Black Tambourine, yet, rather than being blanketed in melancholy at the thought of that ticking clock, we’re simply content that whatever time we’ve got left is soundtracked by the likes of Loene Carmen.

Review by Bobby Townsend. Find out how you can buy the EP here.