I remember when Whitley (not White-ly) first entered my consciousness. I had bargained my way into a band night at Spectrum and was looking forward to seeing The Seabellies. They were great (surprise, surprise), but it was another artist who caught my eye. In between the bands, everyone I chatted to seemed to suggest that this Whitley guy was pretty special. I had no idea what to expect and when I saw him walk out with just a stool and acoustic guitar, I was a little sceptical. But as is so often the case, I was wrong. While I normally need a certain amount familiarity to truly enjoy a live set, Whitley managed to impress me with his soothing folk music. While I didn’t fall in love instantly, he did enough for me to remember him (someone casually crossing the stage behind him mid-song may also have helped to cement the occasion). For a forgetful person such as myself, that’s an achievement.

So with his music somewhere at the top of my todo list, I was understandably excited when I received his brand new album, The Submarine. Almost as if it was destined to happen, it quickly became a favourite. It was all I wanted to listen to. Every time I listened to something different, I would have to follow it up with a healthy dose of Whitley. In fact I listened to it so much that I managed to damage the CD before getting a chance to rip it. Just as I was told when I first saw him, there’s something special about Whitley. I don’t often delve into the world of folk, but he seems to offer something more. His music has the characteristic beauty of folk, yet it also has the suspense and melodies of pop (or some other loosely defined genre). Whatever it is, I like it.

The fairy-tale continued last Tuesday when I unexpectedly got the chance to see him again. I was on my way to a psychology lecture when a very familiar sound drifted towards me. I looked over and saw a band playing inside a giant yellow tent. As I went in for a closer look, I discovered that sure enough, it was my ‘artist-of-the-moment’, Whitley. Rather than calculating the odds of this Melbourne artist starting a show at my university at the exact moment I walked by, I just basked in the fortune of it. This time round, he had a full band, who did a great job and complimented him perfectly. But it wasn’t just his music which impressed me, it was his whole persona. This guy was born to be a musician. At just 22, he seemed so at ease whilst playing to the crowd. Even his stage banter, which so often is either mumbled or lame, added to the experience of seeing him (the Mighty Boosh references were much appreciated). I walked away thoroughly satisfied and completely indifferent to my missed lecture. I even bought a shirt, throwing my principles of financial stinginess out the window.

If you’re looking for a new favourite artist, may I suggest Whitley. I don’t mind sharing him, just as long as his shows don’t become expensive. If you like what you hear, head to his website for plenty of goodies and also consider getting his album, because as you may have gathered by now, it’s pretty good.

The Life I Keep – This is one of the softer songs that I really enjoy. I like to sing along, despite the fact that I’m utterly hopeless at it. Somehow I still manage to get the words ‘looking’ and ‘searching’ wrong more often than not.

All To Whole – This song really shone when I saw it performed live. He was struggling to hit the notes, but by no means failing. It was quite a powerful performance.


A Has Been That Never Was said...

It's been a while since I've heard an aussie artist with folk music this good!

I just missed him playing at the brass monkey!
Dang the midweek performance!

Cheers for the songs: gonna buy the album tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

plus he has an owl on his chair...

Anonymous said...

ohhhh. "I remember" is my favourite song right now. im in love.