Listen to the sounds of Victoria with these regionally-inspired playlists from our state’s best live musicians 

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Listen to the sounds of Victoria with these regionally-inspired playlists from our state’s best live musicians 

Alice Skye. Credit Laura Du Ve

Consider this your ultimate musical guide to Melbourne and Victoria.

Victoria is home to some of Australia’s hottest musical talent – we know this and we love this.

If you’re looking for tunes for your next road trip, Visit Victoria and Music Victoria have delivered the sounds of the state with a collection of regionally inspired playlists curated by local music artists.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here

Six artists and bands from Melbourne, the Murray, Grampians, High Country, Great Ocean Road and Gippsland have come together to create unique playlists that reflect their region’s sound, as well as share some of their best local travel tips.

Evelyn Ida Morris from Melbourne, Benny Walker from the Murray, This Way North from the High Country, Alice Skye from the Grampians, Tom Richardson from the Great Ocean Road, and Harry Hook is Real from Gippsland have each developed a playlist for their region that speaks to the cultural diversity, landscape and distinct feel each destination has to offer.

“Collaborating with Music Victoria and local artists has been a great way to develop playlists that bring the regions and their diversity to life,” says Visit Victoria CEO Brendan McClements.

“Each of Victoria’s regions is distinct in culture, landscape and creativity, we’re encouraging Victorians to jump in the car, drive somewhere new and be inspired by our regional sounds”.

So are you ready to hear the sounds of the state?

Tom Richardson – Great Ocean Road

If you’ve attended the famous Port Fairy Folk festival over the years, chances are you’ve heard of Tom Richardson.

Based in Warrnambool, on the western end of the Great Ocean Road, Tom is one of the region’s most successful artists, having shared stages with the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Cold Chisel and John Butler Trio. He’s toured over 15 countries and collaborated with everyone from Native American poets to Indian Kirtan masters and Fijian highland village choirs. Soulful guitar and experimental sound is his thing. His shows often feature complicated percussion grooves, four-part vocal harmonies, and Tom in the middle of it all, dancing and stamping over his pedals, strumming his guitar like a madman.

Between pumping out studio albums, including the 2018 smash Promise of the Light, Tom also heads up the Space Wellbeing Studio and Find Your Voice Collective, a creative activism organisation with over 250 members of all ages, abilities, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

Check out his playlist of local artists below.

“All the artists on this playlist either live or grew up on the rugged south-west end of the Great Ocean Road. There’s definitely something in the water down here…”

Benny Walker – The Murray

Hailing from Echuca Moama on the banks of Dhungala (The Murray River), Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker has carved out a reputation as one of Australia’s best live acts. His style is an upbeat mix of First Nations storytelling, soulful blues and contemporary guitar, backed by killer vocals and a double-helping of showmanship.

It’s a pretty exciting cocktail. Walker took out Music Victoria’s Best Aboriginal Act of the Year award in 2016. His third studio album, Chosen Line, picked up a 2021 NIMA nomination and entered the Double J ‘Best Albums of 2020’ charts at number 12. He’s also got a deep connection to The Murray, and the lands of north-western Victoria.

Check out his playlist of local artists below.

“I created this playlist like a sort of sound-bed to my life that day. My inspiration came in the moment. Every day is different.”

Alice Skye – The Grampians (Gariwerd)

Wergaia and Wemba Wemba songwriter Alice Skye is based in Melbourne, but home for her will always be Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, Victoria’s craggy western ranges. Raised in Horsham, on the banks of the Wimmera river, Skye broke onto the local music scene with the critically acclaimed 2018 album, Friends with Feelings, before signing on with Bad Apples, an Indigenous-driven record label that celebrates First Nations artists.

Since the release of Friends with Feelings, Skye has teamed up with twin musicians Sam and Kane King (two childhood friends from Horsham), who play guitar and drums in her live shows, backing up Skye’s  gut-wrenching musical poetry. The crew plan to take Skye’s latest album, I Feel Better but I Don’t Feel Good, on the road in 2022.

Check out her playlist of local artists below.

“Gariwerd (The Grampians) has a life of its own. This playlist captures my memories of the mountains and waterholes, and how I feel about home.”

This Way North – Victoria’s High Country

Indie pop-rock duo This Way North have travelled all over the world, but when it came time to settle down, something drew them to Victoria’s High Country. Since the pandemic, the band put down roots in Yackandandah, alongside a thriving community of artists, musicians and creatives.

It’s been a big few years for Leisha Jungalwalla and Cat Leahy. This Way North have toured across New Zealand, Canada and Australia, supporting big-time artists like Ash Grunwald and Kate Cebrano. With their explosive on-stage presence and nostalgia-soaked reverb guitars, they also took out Best Regional Act at the 2018 Music Victoria Awards. You might know them from their stand-alone single, Night Terrors, which got play on ABC radio, or their 2020 EP ‘Vol 3’ (a follow-up to 2016’s break-out ‘Vol 1’ and 2018’s ‘Vol 2’).

Check out her playlist of local artists below.

“Our playlist was created, drawing inspiration from the rugged mountain tops, ferny gullies and crisp clear rivers that are present in the High Country.”

Harry Hook Is Real – Gippsland

Harry Hook Is Real (the artist formerly known as Harry Hookey) is a Gippsland folk legend. He grew up on a farm in the tiny township of Cowwarr, nestled in the green valley between the Strzelecki Ranges and the Great Dividing Range. Over his career, he’s been nominated for an Aria, toured around Australia, Europe and America, opened for The Eagles, and taken out the prestigious International Songwriting Competition.

After playing in session bands alongside the likes of Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and Bernard Fanning, Harry Hook Is Real left Nashville in 2018 to return to his roots. He settled in Gippsland and began working on a new solo project. In 2020, he dropped no snake in the tree, his first self-produced album.

Check out his playlist of local artists below.

Evelyn Ida Morris – Melbourne

Evelyn Ida Morris has been making music since they were three years old. It started with the piano, then the drums, then indie bands, trekking into the city from Warrandyte to sneak into gigs as a teenager. Now they’re one of Victoria’s most gifted composers and live music acts. In fact, they were recently voted one of the Top 50 Most Power People in the Australian music industry.

In 2014, after releasing several tracks under the name Pikelet, Morris co-founded LISTEN, an advocacy group for diverse Australian artists. In 2017, they released their first self-titled album, full of racing, dextrous piano chords. Then it was onto feature film soundtracks, including the score for Acute Misfortune in 2018, which earned Morris their first ARIA nomination.

Check out their playlist of local artists below.

“The inspiration for my playlist is locally made music that makes me think and see things differently. I advise listeners to pop their headphones on and walk around the city.”

This initiative celebrates Victoria’s talented musicians and performing arts culture. It is supported by Visit Victoria’s Stay close, go further campaign, encouraging Victorians to turn the music up, hit the road less travelled and explore more of what Melbourne and regional Victoria has to offer.

The playlists are live now, coinciding with World Music Day Tuesday, 21 June, and are available for listeners via Spotify and Visit Victoria