Inspiring Sweet Kate
Winter 2019/2020, Kate Ceberano thought it would be fun to get together with a few friends and record a few songs by some of the artists who have inspired her as a singer, a songwriter and performer over her 40-year career.
Of course she couldn’t have known how appropriate a few of her song choices would become as salves for the heart as we all came to terms with life during a pandemic. Alongside the ten “favourites” that grace her 28th album are two original songs – Hold On and Sweet Inspiration – the latter, cowritten with fellow singer-songwriter Rick Price, who, as she explains, had some chords that “sent me in the right direction”, giving that album its title.
Recorded in Melbourne over three days, Kate coproduced the album with her musical director, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Roscoe James Irwin, who’s worked with Megan Washington, The Cat Empire and The Bamboos, and features, among others, her readings of So Far Away from Carole King, I Honestly Love You by Peter Allen, The Long And Winding Road by Paul McCartney, If It Be Your Will by Leonard Cohen and I Will Always Love You from Dolly Parton. Both Hold On and Sweet Inspiration were released as singles.
“We played through our confusion and loss,” Kate says in the album’s liner notes, “and came out the other side with this beautiful album… Its purpose is to uplift, release and set your soul free!” It’s a purpose anyone who’s followed her career over the past 40 years knows has resonated throughout her work.
Stuck in “isolation”…
Ever the entertainer, confronted with the inevitability of cancelled tours, under the direction of her filmmaker husband Lee Rogers, 2020 saw Kate take to the Internet with a weekly live stream show titled simply Kate Ceberano & Friends, filmed in their lounge room and featuring special “virtual” guests as diverse as Chick Corea, Vanessa Amorosi, Dami Im, Rick Price and Brian Cadd among many.
Last year also saw the release of a collaborative album Kate had recorded pre-COVID – The Dangerous Age recorded with The Church’s Steve Kilbey and Brisbane singer-songwriter and journalist Sean Sennett, while another collaboration, Tryst, recorded with Paul Grabowsky, picked up the 2020 AIR Award for Best Independent Jazz Album – Tryst had also won the Best Jazz Album ARIA in November the year before, her third ARIA Award. Has it really been 35 years since Kate won Most Popular Female Artist at the Countdown Awards?
A “sonic hug” for us all…
… is how Kate sees Sweet Inspiration. As for Hold On, the other original song on the album, cowritten with one of her backing singers on the album, another singer-songwriter in her own right named Jess Fairlie, the message, as she again says in her liner notes, is simple – “be strong, your moment will come”.
Kate Ceberano on tour…
With, finally, the roll-out of vaccines giving us all the promise of a safer 2021, live entertainment is returning to a venue near you, and one of the perennial favourite events, the national APIA Good Times Tour sees Kate Ceberano join Leo Sayer, Wendy Matthews, Deborah Conway, John Paul Young, Joe Camilleri, Brian Cadd and Vika & Linda Bull take to the following stages:
BREC Bunbury May 13
Perth Concert Hall May 14
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide May 15
QPA May 20
Empire Theatre Toowoomba May 21
Twin Towns, Tweed Heads May 22 & May 23
Ulumbarra Theatre Bendigo May 26
Palais Theatre Melbourne May 28
Costa Hall GPAC Geelong May 29
Anita’s Theatre Thirroul June 3
Civic Theatre Newcastle June 4
Enmore Theatre Sydney June 5
Canberra Theatre Centre June 6
Princess Theatre Launceston June 11
Wrest Point Hobart June 12
July 6-8, Kate will also be a part of the Big Red Bash, Birdsville with Shannon Noll, Thirsty Merc, Tim Finn, Bjorn Again, The Radiator, Paul Kelly, Wendy Matthews, Ian Moss, Chocolate Starfish, Mi-Sex (fronted by Noiseworks’ Steve Balbi), John Williamson, Ross Wilson, Glenn Shorrock and more…
Story: Michael Smith
Michael Smith, former Associate and Contributing editor at The Drum Media and The Music, freelance music journalist for RAM, Juke, On The Street, JAMM, Sonics and way more, freelance book reviewer for Overland, Island and Quadrant, author of What’s Been Did (And What’s Been Hid): A Narrative History of Australian Pop and Rock, two volumes completed to date, Volume I covering the artists and acts that emerged between 1955 and 1963, Volume II those between 1964 and 1969. Bass player with Mushroom signing Scandal 1976-78, and legendary instrumental surf guitar band The Atlantics 2006-12.