Karl S. Williams

The music of Karl S. Williams is born of a desire to connect with the universal soul.

Hailing from  Queensland, Karl’s journey  has seen him  criss cross Australia via roads travelled and some less so. He has built a reputation as a solo bluesman, when his authentic dirty ‘30s American south, red-eyed blues sounding stuff is rolled out, it showcases an expansive vocal range which  is almost as impressive as his fearsome beard.

Born at a young age into a non-musical family, and named after a criminal from the future, none can be bothered to unravel the twisted line that led Karl S. Williams to The Blues and perverted him into a guitar-slinging, banjo-wielding freak with a penchant for Hell fire, Heavenly salvation, and writing about himself in the third person.

Mr. Willams’ connection to the universal soul is clearly evident to those who see Karl perform live; an experience so emotionally charged that all are unavoidably drawn to it and uplifted.

His debut album Heartwood was originally released independently last year but found its way into the hands of the good people at the Warner Music label imprint, Footstomp Records. 
It will surely find its’ way into the hands & hearts of NaranaFest attendees in no time at all.

 
 

Benny Walker

Hailing from regional Victoria, Indigenous singer/songwriter Benny Walker is the real deal. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for the land, the people, summer vibes and deep grooves are the elements that reach the soul. 

Latest offering ‘Oh No You Don’t' was written at Walker’s home in Moama and recorded at Way Of The Eagle studios in Melbourne with ARIA Award winning Producer Jan Skubiszewski (The Cat Empire, John Butler Trio, Dan Sultan). ‘Oh No You Don’t’ heralds in a new direction in sound for Benny Walker. Mixing Blues and Roots with a contemporary soul vibe the song sees a strengthening of the vocal and its range.

The song is written as a triumph over, and a big "F you" to mental illness. Feeling that you've learnt to, for the most part, be one step ahead of anxiety, knowing the familiar warning signs and using your own experience to deal with it.

Benny has performed alongside some of Australia’s finest, including Archie Roach, Blue King Brown, Tim Rogers and Vika and Linda Bull, and was awarded Victorian Indigenous Performing Arts Award for Best New Talent in 2012. In recent years he has performed at some of the country’s best-loved festivals, including Moomba, Woodford, St Kilda Festival and Blue Mountains Music Festival, and has also taken the plunge into the Canadian festival circuit.

An accomplished solo performer, Walker is regularly joined on stage by his band, where he replaces his acoustic guitar with a Telecaster and indulges his passion for the big blues-rock sound. On his 2013 album Sinners and Saints’ Walker joined forces with ARIA Award winning producer Shane O’Mara, drawing on O'Mara's expertise to bring out a more organic, textured sound. The album gained praise from the musical community.

 
 
 
 

Emily Wurramara

This country has a cultural heartbeat like few others. For millennia that pulse has been powered by music. It has always been song that has told this country’s stories – it’s why such an ancient culture remains so alive and powerful.  But today we see a new tradition being born – young artists drawing from two very different worlds to make music and tell stories about contemporary life but with an ageless perspective. 

You can hear it through every beat and skip of Emily's music and her deeply engaging and personal songs. Emily sings in both English and Anindilyakwa, the traditional language of her home on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.  Hers was a childhood of water and music. Life growing up on the island was one of, travel, fishing and extended family.  A mother telling her stories of dreams and dolphins that would one day become the seed of her music. Moving to Brisbane at age 6 was a shock, but it was in that city that she started to discover new sounds and senses. It was when she travelled home though for a funeral that her heritage really grabbed her. 

“There were these young men waiting on the side of the roads with grass leaves,” Emily recalls. “They started to make little fires on the edge of the road leading all the way to the burial grounds and the men surrounding the car started singing in language. The way their voices rattled, the way that they held those long notes put me in a trance. It was then that I had the fascination with everything to do with singing.”  Emily taught herself piano at age 10 and almost immediately started writing her own music. Poetry, books, ukele, guitar, saxophone, choir – they were all drawn into her imagination and the songs started to flow.

Since then, in almost the blink of an eye, she has become a seasoned performer who has taken her music around the country and abroad with show and festival appearances in Sweden and France. Closer to home she has performed at Gaarma Festival, Island Vibes, Woodford Folk Festival, Clancestry and numerous other events; performing alongside respected artists like Shellie Morris, Troy Cassar Daley and Impossible Odds.  Add in a couple of 2016 Queensland Music Award nominations and a first single debut on the AMRAP charts, staying in the top 10 for over a month and the picture starts to build of a young artist with a very bright tomorrow.

That talent was recognized when she was selected to write with Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning as part of a special collaboration through the 2014 Clancestry Event. It was this collaboration that led to her first single, ‘Ngerraberrakernama’ and sets the tone for her debut EP.   Produced by acclaimed artist David Bridie (My Friend The Chocolate Cake: Not Drowning, Waving) and features percussion by Greg Sheehan and released June 17th 2016 through Wantok Musik.  From traditional stories and nursery ryhmes, to songs that address the ever-present challenges to her community and to simply growing up, the EP is a compelling listen.

 
 
 
 

The New Savages

Melbourne duo The New Savages built their reputation by digging out long lost grooves from pre WWII era blues music, with an emphasis on creating a dark and hypnotic beat that punters can dance to. Lead singer and guitarist Milan has built a career on finding lost blues riffs and transforming them into something modern. There is a real ethos of live performance emphasized by The New Savages, all the music they create insists on being the sound of one guitar and one vocal backed up by the swinging drums of Nathan Power. Nathan developed his skills playing in numerous jazz outfits and provides the perfect backing for Milan's primitive guitar boogie style.

Rarely do the duo's songs take on more than one chord for their entirety - they come from a blues tradition older than the standard 12 bar form. Through being forgotten this music today sounds fresh and vibrant from the voice of a young poet turned bluesman, and will surely be a highlight for all the punters hoping to get up and boogie or drink an ale and tap their foot along to

The New Savages play Melbourne Hill Country Blues. Launching their second EP 'Goin' Over The River' in June 2016 with a 25-date national tour, The New Savages play a slice of classic Americana, drawing on influences such as Jim Morrison and Muddy Waters to create a dark, old-time blues sound.

The album debuted at #4 on AMRAP's Regional Charts, and the June 12th Launch in Melbourne was at capacity.

This EP tour builds on The New Savages busy gigging schedule. They have performed 120+ shows in the last 18 months, appearing at around 15 festivals including St Kilda Fest, Great Australian Beer Fest, and the Bendigo Blues Festival. The New Savages also curated, managed and performed a show at White Night Melbourne 2016 which saw 12 hours of non-stop blues from 7 pm - 7 am.