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"And when beautiful night hid the shocking black shame of the day that was past,
I felt the Great Universe rocking with the truth that was coming at last."
- Henry Lawson
from The Soul Of A Poet (1905)
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"Chloë and Jason Roweth's new album, ‘The Soul of a Poet’, is an exquisite reimagining of some of Henry Lawson’s sharpest and most soulful words. Australian bush music as you’ve never heard it before – truly, do yourself a favour."
- Kim Kelly, Writer
The Soul of a Poet
Songs and Poems of Henry Lawson (2018)
Chloë and Jason Roweth mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Lawson with a selection of his finest poems in song and spoken word. Their work includes original musical settings, and evocative use of dance music from Lawson’s (and the Roweths') home country - central-west NSW.
The Roweths have found great inspiration in Henry's words, learning his poetry, and setting many lesser known poems to music. The poems that resonate with Chloe and Jason are those of a more complex and personal nature; verses that reveal Henry Lawson as a flawed genius, a creative artist, a revolutionary and a humanist.
An exciting addition to the album is Liz Frencham's gorgeous accompaniment on the double bass. You can hear the energy in the room in this live acoustic style recording, faithfully captured by Michael Gissing at Silver Hill, Cygnet, Tasmania.
Jason Roweth - Vocals, Guitar
Chloë Roweth - Vocals, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin, Concertina
Liz Frencham - Double Bass
Megan Roweth - Guest Reciter
Recorded by Michael Gissing
live at Silver Hill, Cygnet, Tasmania, Jan 2018.
Mixed and Mastered by Michael Gissing with Chloë and Jason Roweth.
All arangements ⓒ C. & J. Roweth 2018.
‘The People’s Poet’
b. 17 June 1867, Grenfell Goldfields
d. 2 September 1922, Abbotsford, Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
"I can love him because he stands above us all. Because his fun and friendship, his troubled, tragic spirit, his rugged ways, the vision that he never lost, the hopes that were broken, his kindness and despair, his heart and soul poured out, everything he thought and everything he wrote for our great heritage, were as much a part of him as his drinking. And I am like him, and I understand."
From Henry Lawson’s daughter, Bertha Lawson [Jago], unpublished notes. As reprinted in ‘A Wife’s Heart - The Untold Story of Bertha and Henry Lawson’ by Kerrie Davies, first published 2017 by University of Queensland Press.
All words by Henry Lawson.
1. As Good as New (1905) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
2. Second Class Wait Here (1899) - Musical Setting: Christina Mimmocchi
3. The Day Before I Die (1907) / The Watch on the Kerb (1888) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
4. The Good Old Concertina (1891) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
Additional Traditional Tunes/Song: Happy as a Big Sunflower / Another Fall of Rain / Schaeffer Quadrille
5. Outback (1893) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
6. Faces in the Street (1888) - Traditional Tunes: Col Charlton’s Lancers, Jack Canny’s, Young Ned of the Hill
7. Since Then (1895) - Musical Setting: Slim Dusty
8. Will Yer Write it Down for Me? (1902)
9. The Soul of a Poet (1905) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
10. Sweeney (1893) - Traditional Tunes: Mudgee Schottische / Teaching Clarence McFadden to Waltz
11. Freedom on the Wallaby (1891) - Musical Setting: Chris Kempster. Arranged: C & J Roweth
12. Jack Cornstalk (1901) - Traditional Tunes: Turondale / Waltzing Matilda
13. Take it Fightin’ (1905) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
14. When Bertha comes to Tea (1902) - Traditional Tune: Kath McCaughey’s
15. Shearer’s Song (1888) - Musical Setting: C & J Roweth
Dance Tunes: Jumble Springs (C & J Roweth) / Home Sweet Home Mazurka (Traditional)
16. On the Night Train (1922) - Accompaniment based on the tune by Chris Kempster.
Running Time: 1 hour
The Day Before I Die / The Watch on the Kerb
Preview track from upcoming album "The Soul of a Poet"
'The Day Before I Die' (1907) Words: Henry Lawson. 'The Watch on the Kerb' (1888) Words: Henry Lawson, Music: Chloe & Jason Roweth (2017).
Chloe Roweth: Voice, Tenor Banjo
Jason Roweth: Voice, Guitar
Liz Frencham: Bass
Music recorded live at Silver Hill, Cygnet, Tasmania - Jan 16, 2018.
Video recorded at Silver Hill - Jan 19, 2018.
Music and film recorded, mixed and edited by Michael Gissing.