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Try calling the average Joe on the street a logophile, and chances are you’ll get slapped. Drop that baby around Husky Gawenda, and odds are you’ll make a friend. By definition logophiles are lovers of words; they can’t get enough. As the offspring of a well-respected Melbourne newsman and high school English teacher, genetically Husky is the perfect specimen. “Books, poetry and music were a big part of my upbringing … I think they’ve become part of my DNA.”
Growing up in a household where his parents’ record collection got a regular workout (he lists The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, George Harrison, Simon & Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen records as the family favourites, among others), it seems that his love of words put to music may have originated early in life.
“I never felt the pressure to be just like my old man, but he set a great example of someone who’s passionate about what they do, and that’s what I wanted to find. For me, I find that in music,” Husky affirmed.
Sure, the APRA award-winning songwriter may be genetically predisposed to literary success, but that doesn’t mean that he found writing his second album any easier. “It definitely doesn’t come easy, not for me anyway,” Husky replied humbly.
“Our first album [Forever So, 2012] was difficult, but this experience proved to be just as hard, if not more so. Songs are hard to write,” he says simply, “so to arrive at a collection of tracks that work well together, you feel represent you and make you proud, that’s not easy.”
Undeniably a labour of love, 2014 sees the release of Ruckers Hill (out Oct 17 through Liberation). “We’re all looking forward to sharing the album. I’m really curious to see what people think and to gauge reactions to the different songs. Of course I hope people dig it, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little bit nervous!” he laughed.
Joining him in anticipation is the band’s new drummer Arron Light, after the departure of Luke Collins. “Arron brings a lot to the band from the recording aspect, and when we play live as well. He’s been a wonderful addition to the band.” But fans will pleased to know that Husky has retained the family feeling, with his cousin Gideon Preiss returning on keyboard and Evan Tweedie back to play the bass.
The title track and album opener is affectionately named after a local landmark where Husky would take a sweetheart to gaze upon the bright lights of Melbourne at night. Written to evoke memories and emotions, it’s a fitting introduction to the rest of the album.
‘Ruckers Hill’ is Husky at their finest, from the psychedelically unforgettable ‘Heartbeat’, to the keyboard-driven ‘Leaner Days’. But it was the sentiment behind the final track ‘Deep Sky River’ that intrigued me the most.
“It’s a song that I wrote for a friend who was going through a hard time. I was inspired after I’d been at Gideon’s house and he played me Elvis’s Love Me Tender on vinyl,” Husky explained. “I fell in love with the simplicity of it and that’s what I wanted for this song, so that the lyrics and the story had a chance to stand out. It felt like a nice way to close out the album and say goodbye.”
When&Where: The Bridge, Castlemaine – November 7, The Karova, Ballarat – November 8, Beyond the Valley – December 30-Jan 1 & Queenscliff Music Festival – November 28-30.
By Natalie Rogers