FOLK &INDIE SPECIAL

angus and julia stone 9

Big Jet Plane (A Stone/ J Stone) – Angus and Julia Stone 2010

Angus and elder sister Julia Stone (below) were encouraged by their parents Kim and John to play musical instruments – guitar, keyboards, trumpet, and harmonica – when they both attended the Barrenjoey High School, and the family lived in Newport on Sydney’s northern beaches.angus and juliia stone3After completing high school Angus worked in various laboring jobs and Julia traveled overseas, in 2005 they were performing at open mic nights at the Coogee Bay Hotel and both were contributing original material to their sets. By 2006 they had evolved into a performance duo, Julia’s metaphorical romantic songs were contrasted with Angus’s more opaque pop-indie -folk songs, and their sibling harmonies were reflecting the natural timbre of their voices and the uniqueness of their tones. Angus possesses a deceptively feminine-like tenor voice, equally suitable for lead or harmony vocalising, whereas Julia’s Bork-esque vocal tones are well-complemented by her brother, which together create warm boy-girl harmonies, and effectively showcase their simple but beguiling lyrics.angus and julia stone 4They released their debut EP Chocolates and Cigarettes on Independent Records in 2006, the title was reminiscent of a lyric line from Bachelor Girl’s 1997 hit Buses and Trains, where Tania Doko compares boys to chocolate cake and cigarettes “ I know they’re bad for me, but I just can’t leave ‘em alone”, but Julia commented that “I really like both … But I’m trying to not like cigarettes. I only smoke now after I play gigs”, and that was the real inspiration for the title. In August 2006 they were in London recording their second EP Heart Full of Wine with producer Ian Pritchett and Fran Healy of UK band Travis, who collaborated with the duo on the recording of their debut album.angus and julia stone5Their debut album A Book Like This was released in 2007 and charted #7 locally, they also charted with the single The Beast (#34 in ’07) but it would be their second studio album, Down The Way, written in 2009, and recorded in Cornwall (UK), NYC (USA) and Coolangatta (Qld), that would provide the international breakthrough for the duo, particularly after the third single lifted from the album, Big Jet Plane, began to resonate with fans.angus and julia stone7The Angus Stone composition had originally been released as part of his debut solo album, Smoking Gun in 2009, under the title Lady of The Sunshine, but it became Big Jet Plane when re-recorded by  Angus and Julia in May 2010. The song peaked at #21 in Australia and has been certified platinum for sales of 70,000 copies, additionally the song has peaked inside the top 40 in New Zealand, France and Belgium.angus and julia stone 8The inspiration for the song was a chance encounter that Angus Stone made with a girl at a music festival by a nearby river, and according to Angus “she took me to the place I needed to go…” The lyrics are faithful to his interpretation of events “ She said, hello mister, please to meet ya/ I wanna hold her, I wanna kiss her/ She smelled of daisies, drive me crazy/ Gonna take her for a ride on a big jet plane/ … Be my lover, my lady river/ Can I take ya, take ya higher…

The song has a dreamy, trippy, stoner ambience to it, gently strummed acoustic guitars by Angus and Julia, wistful violins by Sally Herbert and Louisa Fuller, the deeper resonance of viola by John Metcalfe and cello by Chris Warsey, and subtle  percussion from Glen Absoluin, created a floaty, fragile, ethereal indie-folk song, that was both warm and enveloping, it won the 2010  ARIA Award for Single of the Year. The promo clip was directed by Kihu Ohe and features  a young girl seemingly trapped in a boring and monotonous job in retail, stacking shelves, working the checkout; there is a palpable air of melancholy, loneliness and the desperation of a humdrum existence, dreaming of escaping a dreary life on a jet plane overseas or a holiday to an exotic location, but never having the means to buy a ticket out. The album Down The Way, debuted at #1 on the ARIA album charts, sold in excess of 200,000 copies, and won the 2010 ARIA Awards for Best Album, Best Adult Alternative Album, Best Cover Art, and Best Producer (Angus and Julia Stone).angus and julia stone10The duo followed up in 2014 with their eponymous album, produced in association with Rick Rubin in Florida, which was a solid seller, charting #1 locally, and top ten in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand. The siblings have continued working on solo projects  and re-uniting to perform both locally and internationally, the album Snow was released in 2017 and charted #2 locally, and top 20 in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand,  and Switzerland, the single Chateau was lifted from this album and climbed to #26 on the ARIA charts.

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