Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Universal Distribution
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Punk Blues, Garage Rock Revival
Discovered by the late Heath Ledger, who not only flew her across from Australia to Los Angeles after hearing her demos for the Triple J Unearthed competition, but also signed her to his Masses Music Co. label and directed her debut video, singer/songwriter Grace Woodroofe's journey from unassuming high school student to full-fledged recording artist reads like something out of a Hollywood script. Produced by Ben Harper, who also generously lends her his usual Relentless 7 backing band, her debut album, Always Want, explains why the posthumous Oscar winner decided to take such a leap of faith.
When I saw that the first three words of the press release for Always Want were “Australian folk-blues chanteuse,” my testicles crawled back up inside me. Visions of some awful repeat of the Ursa Minor debacle danced before my eyes like a flashback to some wartime atrocity. But while Grace Woodroofe’s debut wouldn’t exactly sound out of place sandwiched between Nora Jones and Califone on a Muzak Holdings LLC playlist, the young songwriter manages to side-step the biggest pitfalls of “folk-blues” pigeonholing to deliver a surprisingly diverse and engaging record.
Grace Woodroofe‘s rise to stardom has not been short in big name assistance. Demos discovered by the late Heath Ledger gained the actor’s eager support and the eventual production and creative help of Ben Harper. Over a four year period she recorded Always Want, a debut exuding a surprising amount of confidence for a 20-year-old. Woodroofe’s meld of blues, rock and brutal honesty make for an album of powerfully raw emotions.
TIM MCGRAW “Emotional Traffic” (Curb) In 2005, the year Toby Keith turned 44, he released “As Good as I Once Was,” one of his most bellicose and smarmy singles in a career that specialized in them, and a declaration of potency in the face of encroaching middle age. The pugnacious Mr. Keith figured out that aging gracefully in country music, unlike in many other genres, can sometimes mean becoming even rougher and less warm than you were in your younger years.