A fresh crop of homegrown songs from WA’s Wheatbelt is about to be unleashed on the nation, with WAM moving ahead with its newest regional compilation, Demos from the Wheatbelt; the first of nine new regional recording projects set to record an impressive 90 regional artists over the next three years!

Demos from the Wheatbelt will provide 10 Wheatbelt songwriters with the priceless opportunity to record an original song with two of WA’s best producers, Matt Gio and Dan Carroll, at a pop-up studio in the iconic Cummins Theatre in Merredin this March. The final compilation will be released in August 2019 on CD and digitally for national radio, industry and public consumption.

Artists from throughout the Wheatbelt will be featured on Demos from the Wheatbelt, 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.