The Long & Short Of It Provide A Slice Of Australiana On New Album 'Midnight Choir'

Published in Music  
The Long & Short Of It's newest album is titled 'Midnight Choir'. The Long & Short Of It's newest album is titled 'Midnight Choir'.

A country music duo who've been writing together the past 15 years, Melbourne's The Long & Short Of It's newest studio album is 'Midnight Choir'.

Co-written with Nashville-based Kenny Royster (Luke Combs), 'Midnight Choir' features 11 cuts of traditional and contemporary country music including ballads as well as a couple of foot-stompin' party tunes.

The pairing of David Baird and Patsy Toop OAM, who first met in 2007, together as The Long & Short Of It they've previously released six studio albums and two EPs winning a slew of awards including Tamworth Songwriters Award (2011), three-time winners of Indie Country Music Australia's award for Most Popular Independent Country Duo (2017, 2019 & 2021), and two-time winners of a Gold Media Medallion Award for Best Duo Nationally (2015, 2018).

The new album is titled 'Midnight Choir'; how does this batch of songs showcase the current incarnation of The Long & Short Of It?
This album showcases the growth and maturity in our songwriting capabilities. We are fortunate to have co-written this album with Ken Royster, who produced the album in Nashville TN.

Kenny was instrumental in the early evolution of Luke Combs by providing vocal coaching and production of eight songs on his inaugural triple platinum album.

There's a real mix of ballads and slower numbers to upbeat, rockin' tunes perfect for a dance-off at the pub; is it critical to present a variation of tunes as a body of work rather than 10 songs that all sound very similar?
Absolutely, we do our best to provide a variety of uplifting songs to showcase our vocal prowess. We want to provide a variety of songs to keep our broad audience engaged.

The songwriting process between you two; given you've been collaborating together for 15 years, do you have a natural relationship of evolving songs from the bare bones to the finished product?
We sometimes have songwriting workshops together with time taken away from day-to-day activities to clear the mind and get the creative juices flowing.

Dave composes most of the rhythm on acoustic guitar. We are great believers that the song must hold its own on an acoustic guitar with vocals.

When writing new material, does that come in bursts of creativity where you strike while the iron's hot or do you write fairly regularly and when it comes time to record a new album you pick the best from the litter?
Our songwriting comes in bursts. Often we will record ideas on our phones, for later review. We listen to these ideas later and either wonder 'what we were thinking?' Or think 'that's great!' By walking away for a while it's like listening with a fresh set of ears.

The album single 'Cowboy Lonesome' is a collaboration with Nashville-based producer Kenny Royster; how did that come about, what did he add to the song, and can we expect more collaborations between you and him in the future?
Well, we first went to Nashville to record some material from other songwriters from around the world in 2013.

We also recorded one of our own songs 'You Made Me Stronger', which ended up being the title track on that album. Kenny approached us and asked if he could collaborate on co-writing some songs with us. We agreed and co-wrote 'The Night Of Our Life' in 2016.

The album was a great success so we decided to co-write this album as well. All was achieved via Skype. We would catch up pretty regularly to co-write with Kenny. He would be at the end of his day, and we would be at the beginning of ours. The formula has worked and we are extremely proud of this album.

Lyrical themes of this batch of songs – did you want to cover certain subject matters?
Yes, each songwriting session we would talk through concepts for songs. We are particularly passionate about maintaining uplifting and positive themes. That includes conveying a positive message around issues that we see are important.

For example, Dave and Kenny wrote 'Forever Girl', which references the world we live in as a throw-away world, but the positive message is about finding love despite this. We try to impart our personal philosophy without trying to preach to our listeners.

How important is it to any song's appeal to write about themes that are relatable to everyday folk?
We think this is important. Country music is about the poetry within a story that conveys a message. Whether that be a beer drinking song, or a love song, they need to be relatable to many different people.

People need to hear and understand the lyrics. While individually they might convey a range of feelings and emotions, they must impart a human connection. Otherwise we would be writing for our self.

Does the Australian bush, countryside offer a rich tapestry of influences that you infuse into the music of The Long & Short Of It?
Absolutely, we write about our personal experiences that we have gained by being Australian. What a rich tapestry we have to work with.

Albeit we sometimes refer to American themes to enable a more worldy understanding of our music, our ground is Australia and that's where we start and finish. We also must respect our American co-writer and the themes and stories that he has to convey.

What do you hope people listening to 'Midnight Choir' take away from the album as an overall listening experience?
We want a personal piece of us to be imparted to our listeners, which embodies our musical journey. Moreover, positive and uplifting themes that are relatable rather than the negative rubbish we have all endured in recent times.

The music videos for 'Cowboy Lonesome' and 'Midnight Choir' are both visually stimulating, particularly the panoramic landscape shots of the cowboy riding his horse ('Cowboy Lonesome'); were they recorded in-house or did you you collaborate with others on both?
We collaborate with a young videographer, Haili Luxa. We workshop the way we want our video portrayed.

'Cowboy Lonesome' is particularly powerful given the expansive wilderness the cowboy is in. The video was filmed in the Victorian High Country, which resembles the Wind River Range in Wyoming, with an overlay of the Rockies in the background. He is portrayed as dot in the expansive landscape to enhance the loneliness theme.

When can we expect more live shows from you guys?
We are currently working upon tours of regional centres and album launches to tie in with this release, so stay tuned.

The last couple of years has seen country music flourish in Australia moving more towards the mainstream... as mainstays of the scene, the surging popularity of the genre must be a welcome sight?
We love country music for all of the reasons referred to above. We are thrilled to see the genre take off. After all, it encompasses many styles from traditional to contemporary.

Thanks for your time; anything else you'd like to add?
Wish us luck x

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