‘Venture in Vain’, the debut EP for Riley Catherall, transcends genres, blending the Canberra bred musicians blues and jazz background with his newfound country inspiration across a cathartic five track journey.
‘Watered Down Man’ sets the tone for the album with its pure and honest song writing. Catherall delivers the opening line, ‘Well I’m two parts water and three parts sin’, in the same fashion that Bradley Cooper presents ‘Maybe It’s Time’ from Oscar-bait, A Star Is Born; with sincerity shaking through. Slide guitar, subtle harmonies and the gentle caress of piano keys are humble and understated.
Harmonica draws you into, ‘House That’s Meant For More’, a stripped-back track seemingly about the loneliness of moving cities and the trials of love. 2018 ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, Kasey Chambers, joins Catherall on vocals for ‘Robin’, a match made in country heaven as their voices intertwine and softly graze each other. The delicate vocal runs and falls in the final minute are simply divine. ‘Maybe You’re Right’ again reflects the loneliness and melancholy, as does ‘Meet Me There’.
Catherall’s song writing is mature beyond his years, but the influence of Kevin Bennett, Mike Carr and Matt Scullion, with whom he wrote tracks, and the guidance of Bill Chambers in the studio are clear. If ‘Venture In Vain’ is anything to go off of, Catherall has a very promising future in the music industry.
By Tammy Walters