TOURING: Northern Rivers resident Harry James Angus is a singer-songwriter, trumpet player and guitarist.
TOURING: Northern Rivers resident Harry James Angus is a singer-songwriter, trumpet player and guitarist. Michell Grace Hunder

Jazz and gospel show will take you to heaven

"STRUGGLE, struggle, struggle with glory

I wear a golden chain

no one, no one

will remember my name"

These are opening verses of Harry James Angus's Struggle with Glory, the title song of his latest release.

But, is the song about the Northern Rivers resident and Cat Empire co-front man struggling with success, or being a celebrity? No.

The songs in the album are based on Greek mythology, and how divinities struggle with their supra-human status.

Angus wrote the whole album on the Northern Rivers early last year while reading Greek mythology to his son.

"I was reading a fair bit of Greek mythology at the time, mainly the kids version, but I have always been interested in it."

The artist said he is bringing a live show worthy of the (Greek) gods for local audiences to introduce the new album, although he tested the songs live here already before he took the show on tour.

"The show is similar to what I did at Mullum Music Festival last year, which was the first time I ever played these songs in public," he said.

"I don't get much time to do this show in between my shows with The Cat Empire, but any time I do get the chance, it's always great.

"It's old time jazz and gospel with vocal harmonies, with lyrics based on Greek mythology."

Angus said the show will involve five or six musicians but everyone sings and plays instruments, giving a much bigger sound.

"For this band I picked some of my favourite musicians, people mostly based in Melbourne, that are great instrumentalists and also great vocalists," he said.

Northern Rivers resident Harry James Angus is a singer-songwriter, trumpet player and guitarist.
Northern Rivers resident Harry James Angus is a singer-songwriter, trumpet player and guitarist. Michell Grace Hunder

The musician explained that in order to achieve that old-fashioned sound of that type of jazz and gospel, the musicians must play their instruments differently.

"You have the double bass instead of the bass guitar," he said.

"But also the piano playing, a very important part of that sound is a technique called stride piano, where the player plays the bass and the rhythm with the left hand and then the melodic and the chord structure with the right hand."

The recorded album, which is available digitally and on vinyl, was recorded in a way that is old fashioned to give it a vintage overall sound.

"A the moment, I have been working on a Cat Empire record for six weeks full time, but this record I made the whole thing in five hours," he said.

"It's live in the sense that we all played together, all the musicians were set up in a big room and we played the songs maybe three times each, and then we chose the best version.

"It does sound less produced... but it is such a beautiful sound when the instruments blend into each other."


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