The past twelve months or so has seen Steve Kilbey – the prolific frontman of Australian icons The Church – release four albums under various guises, two of them collaborations with ARIA-winning classical guitarist Gareth Koch, which are 'ancient music' celebrations of Steve's enduring love of ancient history.
The new album (released 4 June) is 'The Hall Of Counterfeits' featuring a monumental 23 tracks and captures the essence of the ancient/ world music thread as well as solo works following on from his successful 'Eleven Women' album – also released during this highly productive period.
The record credits The Winged Heels as the studio band with stellar players such as Roger Mason (Gary Numan), Barton Price (Models), and Gareth Koch (Sapphire) plus American producer/ engineer Andrew Beck on bass.
"A new sprawling double album, a labour of love," Steve says about 'The Hall of Counterfeits'.
"The record I had to make before I shuffle off this mortal coil and begin again all over – some other time, some other place. But this record is the big one and even if I do get another 30 years down here it will be a hard one to ever top.
"I'm lucky to have found these players who have helped create this huge, strange, unwieldy chaotic dense bunch of songs that we have plucked fresh out of the thin air. I have never been prouder of an achievement in my life.
"If you can make it to a show please come and experience the entire thing live plus some other long-time favourite tunes I'm sure you will know."
Steve is in the middle of a promo tour, with shows already completed in Newcastle and Sydney with just three more to go at Cronulla, Canberra and Wollongong.
We caught Steve musing on ancient lands that inspired many of the songs and lyrics on the album; here are his five favourite ancient places.
Science. Power. Knowledge. Flushing toilets and doomsday weapons. Time running out. Earthquakes. The sea would have. "Down below the ocean where I wanna be (she may be)." Her influence lived on in Egypt, yet greatly diminished. Her memory somehow persists in our hearts.
The assyrians, baby! Cruel exotic mysterious. Winged genius. Heirs to Gilgamesh. Subjugators. Temples, walls, libraries codified laws. Wicked kings defying Jehovah. Suddenly empty. Destroyed by Babylon her successor. Biblical. And yet we know so little.
Hannibal Barca the enemy of Rome. Dido threw herself from a tower because of Aeneas Prince of Troy bound for Italy to found Rome. All of Africa at her disposal. The war elephants. Child sacrifice. Laid utterly to waste forever and salted so nothing may ever grow there.
Situated between France and England. Wielders of Magick. The Avalon connection. The olde folk. Druidic and strange. Down, down below the waves now.
South America. Astronomy. Guided by aliens. Ayahuasca-induced prophecies. Monkeys in the temple. Reclaimed by the jungles. Disappearing for centuries.
Steve Kilbey 2021 Tour Dates
Thu 17 Jun - The Brass Monkey (Sydney)
Fri 18 Jun - Royal Hotel (Queanbeyan)
Sat 19 Jun - Heritage Hotel (Wollongong)