Aly Cook Gets ‘Caught In The Middle’ with Some Of Australia’s Finest Musicians


Aly Cook is a New Zealand based Multi award-winning recording artist with a deep passion for all things musical. She is a consummate songwriter and performer, who has taken her music to the world, delighting audiences wherever she roams and carving a career as a respected live performer. She has used her vast entrepreneurial experience to crowd fund all of her recordings to date and also dedicated much of her life to furthering the careers of other independent artists. She has twice been a finalist for NEXT New Zealand Woman of the Year in 2011 & 2016 for her contribution to the Arts.

 

Country Singer

Although based in New Zealand Aly has had one foot either side of the Tasman for many years, touring the length and breadth of Australia as she has in her homeland.
While touring the East Kimberley region, her passion for ancient lands led her to write ‘Kimberley’ which was used in a TV promotion for the region and many songs of the country and its people have fallen from her pen. ‘Kimberley’ was a single from her sophomore album ‘Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel’ and was produced in New Zealand by Alan Jansson. The album entered the Top 40 Official New Zealand album charts and also enjoyed 6 number one hits on Australian independent airplay based charts.


The interview about the journey of Aly Cook’s album, ‘Caught In The Middle’.

 

Tracey: Hey Aly, great to have you back on Music Talks. Wow, the new album is almost here! Can you tell us what the first single off the album is about, ‘Red Dirt Road Trip’

 Aly: Over the Years I have travelled up and down and around Australia, across the Nullarbor in the 80’s, up to the Kimberley, out to Alice, and up to the far north of QLD.  I love the Red Dirt! We don’t really get it in NZ, those long Aussie road trips singing to songs on the radio. On my way to Mildura Country Music Festival and back I heard the song idea in my head, and then took the idea to Asquith, did that Bidstrup Cook Bidstrup writing thing and we had the song completely written in a couple of hours.  We have filmed a cool music video for this song out in Alice Springs.

 

MT: You do very well in your crowdfunding campaigns to help your funding for your music. Your upcoming album, ‘Caught in The Middle’; when is the due date for its release?

 Aly: The Album comes out in 3 stages with the pre-sale starting Friday 6th of September. ‘Steal Your Love’ becomes available on digital stores and then the iTunes pre-sale of the album begins. If you pre order the album you get ‘Steal Your Love’ as your instant gratification track. The Song ‘Steal Your Love’ is one of 3 covers on the album, which also has 9 originals. The song is by Lucinda Williams from her ‘Essence’ album.  Friday Sept 20th comes the first single ‘Red Dirt Road Trip’, and it’s video, then a week later ‘Caught in the Middle’s official release date is Friday 27th of September. My Birthday! It’s also the first day of Mildura Country Music Festival where I am performing for 10 days straight.

 

MT: If you couldn’t raise funds through crowdfunding to record, how else would you do so, and how important is it for an artist to have the support from their current fans? 

 Aly: Well I don’t know really.   I’ve only been able to record because of crowdfunding and pre-sales, and my crowdies, as I like to call them, mean heaps to me. They are more than people who buy my album. To me, they are true friends, as they support my being able to do my art, and we are a team. That is how I look at my crowdies x

 

MT: Do you feel extra pressure to do something extra special when so many people have contributed to the costs of making an album through crowdfunding?

Aly:  It’s a symbiotic relationship. I provide them with music and they enable me to make it… I hope everyone that listens to the tracks on ‘Caught in the Middle’ love them, and especially my crowdies, as they are part of this journey.  I now hope that more people come on board, buy the album and love what I do .

 

Album cover

MT: I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of attention around this particular album with some very well-known and respected musicians and producers involved. Can you tell us who has been involved in the making of ‘Caught in the Middle’?

Aly: Well it all starts with the song and the Bidstrup Cook Bidstrup writing team started 4 years ago, when I got the opportunity to go out to Mutitjulu near Uluru with Uncle Jimmy Thumbs up team. We were doing music with the Aboriginal Kids out there with Buzz Bidstrup. Most will know Buzz as a founding member of The Angels, he co-wrote one of their greatest hits with Doc Neeson, ‘No Secrets. Out in Uluru we wrote a song called Kulini and this started our writing together. Each trip to Australia I would stop in to Buzz and Kay Bidstrup’s house. (they are both founding members of Australian band GANGgajang ) and so began the journey of writing the album. There is also a co-write with friend Gold Guitar winner Allan Caswell on the album.  Buzz produced the album and recorded and mixed it with the very talented David Nicholas. David is amazing and his list of credits on many hit albums is huge including ‘Winner ARIA Producer & Engineer Of The Year’. He’s produced and or mixed some of the greatest Australian albums like INXS & Midnight Oil, also international tracks like Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting #1 US Hit ‘All for One’ which he co-produced, engineered and mixed. Both Buzz and Dave have really given the love to my album and it’s been a complete honour to work with them. The musicians are just outstanding people and it has been a real privilege to have them play on this album. These include ..Members of the Tracking Crew,  Rick Melick on Keyboards, James Gillard on Bass Guitar, The Late Glen Hannah on Guitar, who tragically passed away during the making of the album, and Buzz Bidstrup who, apart from co-writing, played Drums, Percussion and Guitarlele also Clive Harrison on Bass, John Kaldor on Pedal Steel, George Washing machine on violin and Dean Ray on Acoustic Guitar. Also some vocals from Buzz and Kay, along with Jon Abo and a special guest appearance on two tracks from Sharon O’Neill.

 

MT: What keeps you going in music and who have been your biggest influences?

Aly: I love music, & musicians. I love people and nothing beats delivering the songs live,  knowing you are moving people and have them with you. That comes through honest delivery, something I strive for. I guess one of my biggest early influences was Neil Young. I had every Neil Young album, Fleetwood Mac, then Bonnie Raitt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams etc.

 

MT: You travel and perform a lot between New Zealand and Australia, where has your favourite place to perform been to date that you remember well?

Aly: I think my fav gig would have to have been opening for Melissa Etheridge, REO Speedwagon and Huey Lewis & The News in Taupo NZ, performing in front of thousands of people is amazing, and the other would be with Buzz performing to raise funds for Uncle Jimmy thumbs up in 2015 at the Sydney Opera House.  My favourite venue is a little place in Golden Bay NZ called ‘The Mussel Inn’ where you can hear a pin drop when you play and its deemed to be cool to do your own material. Musicians get to stay in the owner’s log house at the back and Jane and Andrew’s craft beers and food is amazing.

 

MT: If there was one place you would love to visit and perform, where would that be?

Aly: That is a hard one … Dream Big …The Royal Albert Hall … with a whopping great Orchestra.  Apart from that I am grateful for every show I get to do anywhere. Especially festivals.

 

Single CoverMT: Getting back to your upcoming album; Do you have a favourite song, and why is this your favourite?

Aly: They change all the time. But I love ‘Hold Up Half the Sky’ because it’s a woman empowerment song. Another is  ‘Cold Wind’ that closes the album, written by Kay, as her inspiration after the death of Glen Hannah. It was very cathartic. Personally, delivering that song gave me closure over Glen’s death and allowed me to look at finishing the album. Celebrating his beautiful magical guitar work, that he left on these recordings, enabled me to focus in a positive way. Music is such a healing thing.

 

MT: What does this album mean to you?

Aly:  A deeply emotional journey. A lot has happened for me, on a personal level, during the writing and recording of this album. It’s all a reminder. While I was in Mildura about to take the stage, I was told that my son had been involved in a serious car accident back home in NZ. He’s left today with a paralysed lower leg from it. When I left Mildura, and drove to Buzz and Kay’s house, my son was in surgery and was for that entire 1000 Km drive. ‘Red Dirt Road Trip’ was partially written on that trip back.

Then Glen Hannah tragically dying, just a couple of weeks after the initial recording sessions for the album, really took the wind out of all of our sails. We were all so devastated it made it painful to listen to the work and complete the project. As a mother and a wife, I felt so much for his family. His death rocked many people in the Australian music industry.

 

MT: You mentioned the collaborations associated with the making of this album, one being the great Buzz Bidstrup who is one of Australia’s great musicians, songwriters and producers and has been a member of some very big Australian bands, namely, The Angels, The Party Boys and GANGgajang, as well as managing the likes of Jimmy Little and Nathan Cavaleri.

How do you know Buzz and what was it like working with him?

Aly: I kind of answered that one above but I am so honoured to be working with Buzz and this great team and to be on the SBD Label.

 

MT: How long did it take to record ‘Caught in The Middle’?

Aly: We wrote over a 3 year period and the recording was done in a week of sessions and then I returned for another week of minimal overdubs and recorded ‘Cold Wind.’

 

MT: How does it make you feel when you are hearing your songs nearing completion in the studio?

Aly: I am very proud of this body of work and feel pretty elated by the calibre of people I have had the privilege to work with and how they have laid their own beautiful magic on the tracks.

 

MT: How does this album differ to others you’ve recorded and released?

 Aly:  Well, quite different. I’ve been much more involved in the process on this one and the big difference is the recording with a live band. With my previous albums I laid down the vocal and guitar guide track and the tracks were built up while I was not there.  With ‘Caught in the Middle’ I recorded with excellent musicians live in isolated rooms, so we were laying down at the same time, no click track involved just to set the rhythm at the beginning of the song, and this really allows the music to breathe and be dynamic. We then chose which take had the best vibe and built on that track. What I wanted more than anything on this project, was for people to listen to my album, then see me perform live and feel that the recording was every bit the same as seeing me live. So it’s like I’m really in your lounge when you listen.  I think we achieved that and there is some lovely instrumental work. With that level of talent in the room you really want those people to shine and share their gift on your music.

 

MT: The indie music scene is so large, as an independent artist, what kind of team surrounds you and how important is it to have a small team?

Aly: This time, for the very first time, I am no longer on my own or just working with Therese.  The album is released on SBD Music which is a partnership between Buzz Bidstrup, Dave Nicholas, and Sebastian Chase, who is the owner of MGM Distribution, plus the team at MGM. I also have Therese McKee at Key 2 Artist promotions and Amy at Light Tree Media. For the first time I have someone really working on the branding, graphics and imagery. and my crowdies of course who help to get the word out about the album. I love my team x

 

MT: Will you be releasing any video clips from some of the tracks off the album?

Aly: Yes I think there are a good 3 to 4 singles at least off this album. ‘Red Dirt Road Trip’ being the first to launch on the 20th of September.

 

Single Cover

MT: Aside from the first single off the album, ‘Red Dirt 

Road Trip’, I believe you will be having a pre-release of an album track on the 6th September. What is this track and what is it all about?

Aly: Yes that is the 6th this Friday we release the pre-release track. This is an album track called ‘Steal Your Love’ which is one of the 3 covers on the album, this one being written by Lucinda Williams. It’s what you call an instant gratification track.

So this Friday 6th of September is the beginning of the ITunes pre sale for the album ‘Caught in the Middle’ and whoever pre-orders gets ‘Steal Your Love’ as their instant gratification track or the track off the album that they get straight way .

 

 

MT:  Is there anything else we should know about?

Aly: People can still order from my from my pre-sale crowd funder and get a signed CD from me here http://www.alycook.com.au/the-new-cd and hope you will love what you hear and add to spotify playlist and apple music etc.

‘Steal Your Love’ Available On These Platforms

Spotify | Apple Music | iTunes | Deezer | Amazon | Tidal | YouTube

 

 

 

Links To Aly Cook

Website: http://www.alycook.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alycookmusic

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alycooknz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kiwialy

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/166AJiXkYyMbBFzv4SMg1E

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd0d13gJfF_04EjqrvY5XBA

Aly Cook Gets ‘Caught In The Middle’ with Some Of Australia’s Finest Musicians

Aly cook on music, marketing and poison

 

 

New Zealand Country Singer Aly Cook

In the last 10 years Aly Cook has performed around the world from New Zealand to Australia, UK & Europe. Building a fan base everywhere she goes.

Aly’s sound is an eclectic mix of Country, Blues, Folk & rootsy songs rich with harmonies and catchy choruses.

A multi award winning New Zealand artist including New Zealand Female Country Artist of the Year and being finalist for NEXT New Zealand Woman of the Year 2016 for her contribution to the Arts. 

Aly’s songs have graced the independent country music charts including the Australian Top 40 Country Tracks Chart (Airplay based). Include 4 x number one singles from her album ‘Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel.

In the last 2 years she performed as opening act to Melissa Etheridge, REO Speedwagon and Huey Lewis & The News, Rosanne Cash in Poland  & Laura Bell Bundy in Italy. 

Aly’s ‘Western line’ was named the number one song for 2017 on the Top 40 Country Tracks Chart for 2017 and Aly was awarded international artist and awarded a #1 award for having ‘Western Line’  reach number one on the Tasmanian Country Chart . Aly performed at the award in 2017.

Key 2 Artist Promotions offers a low cost and high delivery PR service for independents. Their business motto says it all –  ‘Your Success is Our Success’. Aly Cook, as well as being a successful independent recording artist, publicist and entrepreneur, with a wealth of experience in the industry, is a partner in the business with Therese McKee. With Therese in Sydney and Aly in New Zealand they work with music artists on both sides of the Tasman. Key2 Artist Promotions offer a range of services including Music Distribution to Radio & Media, Artist Publicity, Social Media Promotion, Media Releases, Radio Scheduling, and Facebook Page & Website Construction for Artists. They offer affordable packages tailored to suit the artist’s budget and future goals.

Key 2 Artist Promotions: https://www.key2artistpromotions.com.au/home

Following 4 number one singles from her album ‘Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel’ on the Australian Top 40 Country Tracks airplay chart, this week marks the beginning of a new direction for singer songwriter Aly Cook as she releases a newly commissioned song ‘Poison Rain’. (Electronic Acoustic Adult Contemporary) The song has been “Self Penned” and co produced with Jay Pheye in his little Golden Bay Studio and mastered by Benny Tones. ‘Poison Rain’ is now available on Itunes.

‘Poison Rain’ calls for an end to 1080 poison and other rodenticides in New Zealand, poison that is banned in many countries. The song asks for a better solution to be found, one that does not involve tons of poison continually tipped on New Zealand’s native forests.New Zealand Singer Aly Cook

Aly Cook became intent on looking into 1080 poison after a conversation she had with friends who featured on a TV Wild Video. New Zealand farmers were interviewed in the video who had all suffered stock losses from 1080 poison drops. These farmers had been instructed by various government departments to put their compensation payouts down to ‘track maintenance’ or ‘stock food’, after their animals had tested positive for 1080 poisoning. Other farmers were asked to sign confidentiality clauses. Watch the video here. This conversation lead Aly to look more into safe ways to reduce the number of stoats, rats and possums in the NZ bush. If there was nothing to hide, the farmers would not have been instructed to lie on an invoice.The more Aly looked into it, the more oxymorons she found. Doc claims 1080 did not kill invertebrates… yet 1080 was developed as an insecticide.

This set Aly on a path to expose the hidden and inconvenient truths about 1080 and other aerially dispersed poisons. She has joined thousands of others who would like to to see a change to New Zealand’s policies on the choice of pest control and to who intend to put pressure on the government to join many other countries in the banning of the use of 1080 poison.

It became clear to Aly that there were many images online of native animals that had been killed by 1080; personal experiences of people who had lost stock and pets to the poison; and people who had collected dead native birds after 1080 drops. However, those who claimed that the poisoning doesn’t kill native species, including our own department of conservation, would do anything to deny the obvious truth. Instead they point to their scientific studies, which simply don’t match the visual images and people’s experiences that are out in the public arena, in much the same way as the tobacco industry commission studies overode studies that pointed to the dangers of smoking, the same has been done in the case of 1080. Science can and has been manipulated throughout history.

Pictures do not lie! Videos do not lie! Farmers should never be encouraged to LIE on their invoices simply because certain government departments want to hide figures on stock losses. Science is only good science when figures are not manipulated.

Images from youtube of birds collected after a 1080 drops. 

1080 and other poisons are indiscriminate killers. The death suffered by animals is extremely prolonged and agonising. It is totally inhumane and must stop.

Poisoned Animals from 1080 Drops

Images of Animals dying of 1080 taken from videos at https://www.tv-wild.com/

New Zealand has always been a country where people can hunt pig and deer freely and this has now become a hazardous risk for hunters and the public due to the poison drop.

Aly Says …

“There are lies everywhere covering up, for example, the recent ‘so called’ Botulism case (Here is the interview with the actual family and excerpts from their medical notes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6i4pZ5RYI4&t=570s yet official statements in the mainstream media differ from the actual medical reports. The hunter’s dog died the day the wild pork was collected . After eating the pork it made the family so violently ill that they were thrashing around and the hospital staff had to strap them into their beds for days”. The family tested negative for Botulism yet they were not tested for 1080 poisoning until 18 days later following a lawyer being engaged by the family. I urge kiwis to watch this documentary and also think about what this is doing to our clean and green image. We have to find a better solution to pest control than this”.

Poisoning Paradise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQRuOj96CRs

Podcast with Aly Cook

All proceeds from the sale of ‘Poison Rain’ will go back into paid promotion of the TV Wild video and the song to the public and to continue the lobby to the NZ Government TO BAN the USE of 1080 and similar aerial dropped poisons.