On their new album 'Hospital Hill', singer-songwriter Jack Carty and former Papa Vs Pretty bassist Gus Gardiner explore the nostalgic pull of small towns and how you can never really go home again.
“There's a common thread running through the album,” Jack says.
“A lot of things keep coming back to the town that I grew up in and not just that, but childhood and family, and I always think about that stuff with these really rose-coloured glasses.”
Jack grew up in Bellingen and although he's travelled the world as an award-winning composer and performer, the little town he grew up in has never been far from his heart.
“I always miss the town I'm from and I always miss essentially being a kid, but at the same time it’s never quite as you remembered it and it’s coloured by the fact that you’re looking back at it.
“Whenever I go home I love it for a couple of weeks, but then I'm ready to move on again and I think it’s that tension that runs through the whole album.
"The album's not literally about Bellingen where I'm from as a place, it’s more about the idea of leaving where you came from and that always having an effect on you and being with you.”
'Hospital Hill' is Jack's fifth studio album and was recorded live in-studio, in complete takes over just two days, allowing Jack to imbue it with the sense of excitement that comes with hearing songs played live.
“I wanted to do it as live as possible and really try to capture that ethereal thing that happens on stage when you're playing live in front of an audience,” he says.
“The last album that I made was called 'Home State'  and I made it at home in my living room, and I took a long time to make it because I had as much time as I needed because it was just me in my living room making this thing. So I could afford to play around with sound as much as I wanted.
“For 'Hospital Hill' I wanted to go the other way and try to capture that exciting, in-the-moment thing and I think we managed to do that, which I'm really excited about.”
The album features string arrangements by Gus performed by a string quartet made up of members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Though Gus has composed string sections for Jack's earlier albums, 'Hospital Hill' involved a much more collaborative songwriting process for the pair. “Gus and I got together and very much wrote the songs together,” Jack says.
“Gus has worked on a lot of my albums before playing bass and also he’s written string parts before, but it was always the situation where I would write the songs, we would record the songs and then he’d write a string part and tack it on at the end.
"But this was very much him and I getting together, going through the songs and setting them up structurally. So the strings are an integral part of the whole she-bang.”
Jack and Gus will be taking 'Hospital Hill' on a national tour in June, finishing up conveniently enough in Jack's home town for the Bello Winter Festival. “I haven’t been back home [to Australia] for about nine months and I really miss it,” Jack says.
“I haven’t toured back home in over a year so I'm so excited purely from those practical perspectives, but then I'm also really excited to be bringing this record specifically back because I've never toured with a string quartet before in Australia and I think it’s going to be a really special thing.”
'Hospital Hill' is available now.
Fri 22 Jun - Solbar (Sunshine Coast)
Jack Carty Tour Dates
Sat 23 Jun - The Old Museum (Brisbane)
Thu 28 Jun - Spotted Mallard (Melbourne)
Fri 29 Jun - Trinity Sessions (Adelaide)
Sat 30 Jun - Fremantle Arts Centre
Sun 1 Jul - Always Good Nights (Bunbury)
Tue 3 Jul - Smith's Alternative (Canberra)
Thu 5 Jul - Camelot Lounge (Sydney)
Sat 7 Jul - Rous Mill Hall (Northern Rivers)
Sun 8 Jul - Terry's Place (Darwin)
Thu 12 Jul - Bello Winter Festival (Bellingen)