Various – When I First Met Your Ma

L.O.V.E. Love. Is there any other topic, emotion or expression to provide so much inspiration for songs, books and art? When I First Met Your Ma focuses on the special relationship between mother and child and its release was timed to coincide with Mother’s Day.

The set takes its title from the Paul Kelly song of the same name and this is track one on the release. Here, we get 16 Australian artists writing love letters to Mum through song. In the liner notes there are special tributes and photos to the artists’ mothers and other special ladies in their lives, which should melt the hearts of cynics and optimists alike.

The main order of the day is of course the unconditional love that is shared and all too often taken for granted. So it is that we have musicians like Washington revelling in the power of simple settings and turns of phrase, as the whole proceedings share in the universal qualities of inspiration and support.

While Paul Kelly’s contribution is more a folk song about his sweetheart, elsewhere we get Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu connecting not just with his own mother but the Yolngu mother figures through blood, songs, stories and culture. There are covers by Bertie Blackman and Matt Walters, while John Butler offers a live cut of Treat Yo Mama. A particular highlight here is Oh Mercy with the Crowded House-inspired pop song, With You. And as to be expected, there are a lot of female singer-songwriters putting in an appearance, including Claire Bowditch, Katy Steele, Gin Wigmore and Julia Stone.

The sixteen tracks fit either the folk or pop genres and are the sorta things you’d imagine the record label assuming your mother would love. But cynicism aside, this collection is soft and heartfelt, light and whimsical and a set of ever-so-sweet, warm and emotive gems.