Tracy Redhead – Walking Home A Different Way

Many readers may not be familiar with Perth-born songwriter turned Sydney resident, Tracy Redhead. Regardless, she has certainly earned her musical chops – having taught herself the guitar at age 15, touring WA with John Butler at 19 and recently contributing to two albums from The Green Mist and The Chapel Of Ease. The former featured Brian Ritchie, John Sparrow and Jeff Hamilton from the Violent Femmes and Charlie Owen and Spencer P Jones from The Beasts Of Bourbon. Fast forward to 2008 and Tracy Redhead has released her debut solo album, Walking Home A Different Way. Produced by Tim Powles (The Church), this cements Redhead’s position as an accomplished and proficient singer/songwriter.

The record begins with chords similar to Spandau Ballet’s version of True, and the music soon gains a hypnotic quality, as a metronome-like riff reels you into a song that could have easily been sung by Sarah Blasko. The following track is an intergalactic bounce, as some bopping-pop results in Redhead sounding like Katy Steele. Whereas Pass You By is an epic track akin to a bona fide Delta Goodrem hit. Some solid indie-pop ensues and Together Or Alone reverberates through both speakers, and its light piano and vocals provide an ethereal apparition of a song. Sweet Success borrows from The Cure’s Lovesong and contains the lyrics: “You’re getting awkward and it’s on display/such a far cry from how it was in your heyday.”

Throughout much of the record, Redhead enjoys singing rhyming couplet lyrics that are full of wonder and contemplation while also touching on important issues – like in Afternooning where she sings to an imprisoned refugee. Meanwhile, in Troubled Little Tune she notes, “I could be wrong but there’s always another familiar song.” And this really could be a summary of the album. The fourteen tracks contain recognisable aspects but Redhead also puts her own spin on the past through intelligent observation and honest indie music.

Apparently she wanted to create an accessible record that retained an underground feel, and I think she should be congratulated for doing just that. On Walking Home A Different Way, Redhead has produced something that can emotionally resonate with the masses, while not succumbing to the dirty prescriptions of mainstream pop music.