“[Areatha] is an alt. country promoter and [Chris] is an alt. country journalist,” Dave says.
“So over a beer I sort of sat down and floated the idea with them. I wanted to showcase some grassroots stuff, but between us we wrote down our wish list and I think it came to about 55 acts, and you know I remember saying to them 'we'll be lucky if we get 15 of these!'”
The trio rounded up 47 acts, running the alt. country gamut from the gothic honky-tonk of A Man Called Stu to the sweet '70-inspired country pop of Tracy McNeil & The Good Life.
“I think the beauty of alt. country is that everyone does a different take on it, so listening to the album we've put out you can hear that,” Dave says.
“There's stuff on there that's full-tilt rockers, there's stuff on there that's really sparse acoustic, and there's everything in between.”
Interestingly, Dave, Areatha and Chris looked in a markedly untraditional place for these alt. country ballads, finding most of the bands in Australia's major cities. “That's why we called the record 'Take Me To Town', because it's mostly coming from the cities,” Dave says.
“I think that's the perspective that we're trying to bring to it; in a lot of cases there's an inner-city kind of Australian feel.”
The compilation was made for country lovers old and new, with the aim of bringing the alt. country community together. “I'm from a big alt. country town and I kind of wanted toshowcase the idea, but I also wanted to bring the community together,” Dave says.
“There's alt. country people in Sydney who don't know who the acts are in Brisbane and Melbourne, and vice versa.”
Dave himself rose through the ranks of the scene almost by accident, starting a record label to help release albums for his own band eight years ago. “It was never supposed to be a real label, but one thing turned to another and I had a mate who was in a group for ages and he was saying 'oh we're struggling to get our album out, we don't know what we're doing'.
“So I said 'oh I'll give you a hand', so I ended up putting that out, and then I did stuff for another band, and one by one it sort of ended up – another mate, same thing, I helped him out, he's probably now the most successful artist on the label.”
Happy accidents aside, Dave is excited to release the album, which he hopes will drum up support for the alt. country scene.
'Take Me To Town' is released 28 September.
Take Me To Town Tour Dates
Fri 12 Oct - The Stag & Hunter (Newcastle) Sat 13 Oct - Marrickville Bowling Club (Sydney) Sun 14 Oct - The Brass Monkey (Sydney) Sat 10 Nov - The Spotted Mallard (Melbourne) Fri 30 Nov - Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane)