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WAM’s ‘Demos from the Wheatbelt’ artists announced!

14 Mar



WAM is excited to shine a light on a fresh slice of regional West Australian talent, today revealing the ten Wheatbelt acts selected for WAM’s upcoming Demos from the Wheatbelt compilation recording in the Cummins Theatre, Merredin, next week.

Due for release in August 2019, it is the first of nine new regional recording projects set to record an impressive 90 West Australian artists from across the state’s regions over the next three years.

Artists from throughout the Wheatbelt will be featured on the compilation, including Georgia McAlpine (Buntine), Gracie Stancic (Gwambygine), Hayden McGlinn (Lake Grace), Kelly Gardner (Gingin), Polly Medlen (Wagin), Refractory Road (Northam), Sue Munns (Beacon), Tim Beckingham (Wialki), Tom Caughey (Nukarni) and The Primary Collective (Merredin).

Recording will take place between the 18th and 30th of March 2019 in one of Merredin’s oldest buildings, the Cummins Theatre. Originally built in Coolgardie in 1897, the beautiful heritage-listed building owes its existence in Merredin to James Cummins, the then Mayor of Kalgoorlie, who purchased the Theatre and had it sent to Merredin in pieces by train. The Theatre was rebuilt where it stands today on Bates Street, open to the public since 1928.

Over the years the Cummins Theatre has played host to a number of Australia’s favourite artists, including AC/DC, Slim Dusty, Johnny O’Keefe, Lano & Woodley, The Wiggles, David Helfgott, Sherbert, Marcia Hines, John Paul Young, and many, many others. The iconic Theatre is packed with history and will provide a unique recording environment in the centre of the Wheatbelt.

Renowned sound producers and co-owners of Rada Studios, Matt Gio (Abbe May, Katy Steele) and Dan Carroll (Grace Barbe, Odette Mercy, Mathas) will be recording the project alongside Andy Lawson (Debaser Studios, WAMAwards Studio of the Year), who will be dropping in to provide production assistance for part of the project.

Demos from the Wheatbelt is the 10th iteration of WAM’s much-loved ‘Sounds of’ and ‘Demos from’ regional recording projects, which have played a pivotal role in developing regional artists and connecting them with new peers, inspiration, audiences, and mentors.

So far WAM’s regional recording projects have uncovered 100 tracks that have been broadcasted on radio stations across the country and racked up over 80,000 plays across digital streaming platforms. They’ve helped 147 regional musicians realise their potential and sparked successful music careers for Wheatbelt artists like Hayden Sprigg and Pete Byfield.

“The recording experience provided by WAM through the ‘Sounds of’ project turned out to be life-changing,” said Pete. “I was so encouraged by the process that I set to work and wrote a further sixteen songs once production had wrapped up.”

From a chance encounter with WAM’s 2014 recording project, Sounds of the Wheatbelt, Pete Byfield released his debut album, One, which won Best Independent Album of the Year at the 2016 WA Country Music Awards. He also received a nomination for Male Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017, was a finalist in WAM’s Song of the Year competition in 2015, and scored a WAMAwards nomination for Best Regional Act in 2017.

WAM is committed to creating many more stories just like Pete’s through our upcoming regional recording projects, and looks forward to sharing the finished songs with the nation!

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.