It’s not an unusual story, in fact you might call it a rite of passage, the suburban Aussie schoolboy in the ’80s, practising Hoodoo Gurus riffs on his birthday guitar, forming a new wave band with schoolmates, writing songs and perfecting his playing, almost making it, and then drifting out of music towards study, work and travel.
Sydney alt-bluegrass troubadour Nick Payne might have remained a weekend picker with a drawer full of songs, but the stars aligned when a move back to Sydney after working around Australia coincided with an impulse purchase of his dream guitar (a Martin D28). A friend turned him on to Ryan Adams Heartbreaker album, and Nick Payne discovered to his surprise that he was a country music fan. With a new musical direction and a wellspring of creativity, drawing inspiration from the traditional and modern Americana canon, as well as Australian alt-country and roots, he returned to performing, playing and writing with renewed focus.
Payne formed Sydney favourites Dear Orphans in 2006 co-writing with Lyn Taylor. The bluegrass outfit has toured, played festivals and performed solidly ever since as well as releasing two albums.
A growing collection of songs and a yearning to get back into the studio has prompted Payne to record an album of his own music. Musically rooted In bluegrass and Americana, Payne’s music crosses borders and blends cultures. Payne sings of our scoundrels, pioneers and history; capturing the sparse character of the unpopulated bush, but bringing an urban, rootsy sensibility very much of the present yet unashamed of its influences.
Nick Payne is an exciting and captivating solo artist, his tales will draw you in while the music — in turns rollicking and plaintive — will keep you there.
Kristin Moore 2015
Check the album out.