Chloe & Jason Roweth
What they've said...
One Man’s Weeds – Another Man’s Flowers and Tie Wire by Chloë and Jason Roweth
Review by Graham Seal
Chloë and Jason Roweth are a multitalented couple of singers, instrumentalists, reciters and songwriters. They have been interpreting traditional music and creating new material live, on recordings and, of late, online for well over twenty busy years.
These outstanding performers have stayed true to their commitment since their early CD, recorded live at Wongawilli Hall, NSW, in 2001. Then performing as ‘Us Not Them’, this CD was titled One Man’s Weeds – Another Man’s Flowers. It contained contemporary songs, several poems set by Chloë and Jason, a couple of their own compositions, some tunes, a few traditional tracks (‘The Drover’, ‘Maiden’s Prayer’, Exile of Erin’), Tex Morton’s ‘Move Along, Baldy’ and three Mike O’Rourke compositions - ‘Sweet Necessity’, ‘Poison Train’ and the CD’s final track, ‘Sing Us a Song, Boys’. Jim McWhinnie helped out very effectively with bodhran on a couple of tracks.
Twenty years later, they have released another live CD, Tie Wire (and other grand plans). Like most performing artists, Chloë and Jason have used their enforced holiday from live gigs to work on recording projects, usually at home. With a similar balance of songs and tunes to their first CD, this one showcases the skills in early evidence, now honed to a confident and, at times, passionate delivery. Some bushranger ballads are featured, together with some contemporary numbers with a social and political message by masters including John Dengate, Alistair Hulett and Harry Robertson. There are a couple of sets of beautifully arranged mazurkas and reels, together with a sprinkling of great traditional ballads - ‘Dark Eyed Gypsies’ and ‘The Female Rambling Sailor’ in the version collected from Mrs Catherine Peatey of Brunswick in 1959 and living here once again.
Then, and now, Chloë and Jason interpret their material with a variety of musical styles and distinctive arrangements that enhance the music rather than getting in its way, always remaining true to the sources of the songs and their singers. With such a range of talents it’s no surprise that they have been a fixture at festivals, concerts and clubs around the country for many years and collected a few awards in the process. Along the way (including playing and recording with the band ‘Collector’) they have created a body of work that respects the tradition and keeps it alive with fresh interpretations and new creations in the same spirit.
REVIEW OF HOUSE CONCERT, MILLTHORPE, 2017
"Chloë and Jason Roweth are clever and soulful musicians – everyone knows that. But it’s as storytellers that they shine brightest, and make their most profound contribution to Australia’s understanding of itself in art. Their latest Lawson show, exploring the life and times of our Henry, is a journey through this nation’s past and heart that will not only thrill confirmed lovers of the bard but bring him – his words, his demons and his delight – to new audiences.
Jason’s recitation of ‘Faces In the Street’ and Chloë’s exquisite touch on the concertina were showstoppers for me – not to mention Chloë’s heaven-sent voice. Every element of their performance is delivered with spellbinding beauty and care. This is one of those rare shows that you want to go on forever – and when you leave, you realise it does anyway. Utterly unforgettable."
"Are there any two people who have enriched Australian traditional musical and poetic life more?
I don’t think so; they are the best, and are pure gold in their integrity."
- Polly Garland
“Jason and Chloe Roweth are without question two of our finest interpreters of Australian traditional folk music. Their large body of work work stands as a testament to their expertise as musicians; incorporating electric, country, blues, rock, grunge, show and 'trad' sounds to explore Australia's rich traditions. Far from predictable in approach, they incorporate song, dance tunes and spoken word to showcase lesser-known songs alongside popular favourites; ultimately displaying their deep knowledge and respect for the material.”
“Jason and Chloë Roweth are dynamite on guitar, mandolin and voice, and their original mix of folk and blues was captivating.”
Theresa West, Springwood Folk Club, Cornstalk
“…strikingly beautiful music…”
Liz Bastion, Prime Television News
“Their talent and experience in the folk scene showed as they delivered a stunning performance - there is very little more to say about them that has not already been said in praise of their artistry…”
Greg Bull, Loaded Dog Folk Club
"Chloe's voice is one of the best on the folk circuit, strong and confident with a sense of connection to the material."
Graham McDonald, Folk Australia Website
“...Chloe and Jason Roweth have made a significant contribution to Australian traditional music. Over the past ten years or so they have recorded 10 CD’s in their own right and have also been part of 2 CD’s for Bathurst band Collector and 2 CD’s for Wongawilli.
They possess a high standard of musicianship with thoughtful and tasteful musical arrangements. Their repertoire includes strong original songs, old style ballads, well known (and some less well known) bush songs presentd with a great mix of lively dance tunes - most of these from Australian players.... Chloe and Jason Roweth have a deep love for the music they play and are highly skilled at presenting it. They are a top class concert act.”
Bob Rummery, folklorist and musician, W.A.
“Chloe and Jason Roweth are the best thing to happen to Australian traditional folk music in the last decade.”
Jim Low, Katoomba based singer and folklorist
"I just love Us Not Them."
Ian McNamara, Australia All Over, ABC Radio
"I get great delight from watching and hearing "Us Not Them" (Jason and Chloe) perform together. Crystal clear singing, and sensitive instrumental accompaniment. Their co-ordination is superb. Definitely a class act…"
Ted Egan AM
"…the finest in traditional folk song…"
Victor Harbour Festival Programme
“Their music is refreshingly open, spacious like the rural countryside they sing about.“
Rootsworld Web Site, USA
“When I first heard of Chloe and Jason, they were Us not Them, or Them not Us, then Wongawillies. I can't wait to see where they turn up next. All I know, they are wonderful artists, enthusiastic collectors and arrangers, and the very best kind of friends to have. I score their entertainment value as twelve out of ten. Don't miss them.”
Blue the Shearer
"Us Not Them' are a rare and delightful mix of Australian history, rural tradition, 'rootsy' musical influences, working class politics and gentle good humour. Chloe's excellent mandolin and natural 'on stage' exuberance perfectly balances Jason's wry understated delivery and Celtic/country guitar 'grooves'. Their albums are strong, unpretentious excursions through the possibilities that modern folk/country has to offer when it is wedded to a deep respect for tradition and history. Absolute standout tracks for me include 'Songs of The Bush' and 'Salvation Jane' which showcase the duo's strong writing capacity when they turn their hand in that direction; while their extensive experience as an integral part of the much loved Wongawilli Bush Band shines through in the traditional tune sets that are so a much a part of their performances" More please..."
“..best night’s entertainment ever at the bottom pub.”
"This is the sort of C.D. that you could play every night and enjoy more with each listening. There are no silly, pseudo-American accents, no frenetic guitar bashing and no gratuitous pyrotechnics. Just good songs beautifully sung and accompanied, and good dance tunes beautifully played by people who love the music and are very highly skilled in presenting it.”
John Dengate, Cornstalk Gazette, about "As Good As New"
"The band of the future."
Alan Musgrove, Kiama Folk Festival
"Chloë has the most naturally beautiful voice which just takes you away and brings tears to your eyes in songs like Past Carin' (Lawson/Lobl) and Bonnie Moon. I loved the harmonies on everything. Add to that the skilful guitar and mandolin playing and the fact that they wrote most of their own songs - the usual superlatives don't do them justice. We loved them!"
Jenny Carter review of North by Northwest gig, June 1998.
Cornstalk Gazette Aug '98