Trevor Petrie reveals a poignant chronicle of the human condition with ‘Live at Mouse Mountain‘

Trevor Petrie reveals a poignant chronicle of the human condition with ‘Live at Mouse Mountain‘

Photo by Frida Petrie
Words by Talia Rinaldo

The live album represents Trevor’s optimum musical orientation.

Bringing well over a decade of experience to the table, and earning himself a solid reputation for writing heartfelt songs and engaging stories that transport the listener into his world in that time, Bendigo-based singer-songwriter Trevor Petrie shines on his new solo album, Live at Mouse Mountain.

Released late last month, the album captures you right from the start, championed by Trevor’s tenderly charged vocals and sombre and heartfelt sounds that leave you hanging on his every word. Inspired by interconnectedness and human interaction, the album’s eight tracks showcase Trevor’s amazing songwriting capabilities, crooning his emotive lyrics behind deftly plucked strings, striving to evoke emotions with every strum as he explores the sadder stories of his experiences in life.

“My songs are almost always based on personal experiences or events that have sparked my interest,” Trevor explains. “I hardly ever write intentionally. In fact, when I’ve tried to I find it quite difficult. It’s always been a spur of the moment thing for me and typically it happens when I’m just playing around on the guitar and land on a chord progression I like.”

With masterful storytelling evident as each explores the human condition, Petrie’s album was recorded live Mouse Mountain Studios in Kyabram with Cameron Prictor and Josh Ratcliffe late last year, offering an intimate glimpse into his world as an artist.

“Although I’ve mostly played in bands (Anti Social Commentary, The War of Ideas, Inner City Traders), I’ve largely written songs on my own and then taken them to the bands,” Petrie explains of his decision to record a live studio album.

“I enjoy listening to solo acoustic artists live; there’s more room for the artist to be creative with the way they perform their songs and as a performer, you can adjust the tempo and the feeling to suit the crowd on the night.

“There’s a real vulnerability or maybe honesty to solo acoustic performances that you don’t get with a full band studio recording, and since most of my performances for the past 18 months had been solo acoustic, I figured there was a certain sort of synchronicity there.”

If you caught any of Trevor’s live shows throughout the last couple of years, you will be familiar with all eight tracks on the live album, however, most are previously unreleased with only three of the eight appearing on earlier EP’s ‘Lion In The Closet’ and ‘The Beauty Of Solitude’ (The War of Ideas), only adding further depth to the live album.

A mainstay of Bendigo’s original music scene for over 20 years, Trevor’s passion for music extends far beyond his songwriting skills, presenting itself through his work with Poppet Head Records. The brains behind the enterprise, the Bendigo-based record label aims to build a network of like-minded musicians with a passion for writing great original music, who are interested in building a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

“We started Poppet Head Records a few years back, primarily to promote some of the great young songwriters that Bendigo has to offer,” Petrie explains.

“My wife and I lived in Castlemaine for a few years but moved back to Bendigo about three years ago. While I was living in Castlemaine, I started heading down to Melbourne to play at some of the open mic nights and even played a handful of support gigs.

“There seemed to be a real appreciation for the artists amongst the punters and I found myself wishing I could bring more Bendigo artists down to Melbourne to play at these venues,” he continues, “but the more I thought about it, the more I started to think about how we have a really strong songwriter scene in Bendigo and wouldn’t it be great if we could build upon that and bring people from Melbourne (or anywhere really) up to Bendigo to enjoy that scene.”

Not only is the indie label a family of artists who support each other, share ideas and provide encouragement, but it’s also driven by a not-for-profit ethos.

“The label is run by the members in a very democratic kind of way and the label doesn’t take a cut of any royalties or add any profit margin to any of the services we provide. To date, we’ve been able to rely solely on our Patreon supporters and donations from a couple of Facebook campaigns to cover our web hosting, distro and other services and our 2019 compilation CD was funded by each member paying a share,” he explains.

“In a nutshell, when you join Poppet Head Records you become part of a family. We have a private Facebook group where we discuss ideas and opportunities. We’re also there for each other when one of us needs a shoulder or to talk something through.”

While the label is still finding their feet and finding ways to bring greater exposure to the extraordinary talent within the City of Greater Bendigo, especially in the post-pandemic environment, the label wouldn’t be where it is today without indie-folk artist Steph Bitter, one of the first artists to trust Trevor’s vision.

“Steph, who was the first artist I approached to join the label, has now stepped in to help out as the acting director for the time being,” Trevor tributes.

“She’s an inspiring and moving songwriter, but also has a maturity well beyond her years and I look forward to seeing what exciting new opportunities Steph discovers for us.”

For the meantime, Poppet Head Records will continue to find new ways to re-connect with audiences and raising funds to record new music within their four walls, continuing to build on their tightknit network of like-minded, passionate local musicians.

A man with an everlasting passion for music, this live album represents Trevor’s optimum musical orientation, distilling a special aura, giving the listener the sensation of actually being present not only in the studio but also with Trevor as he reaches emotional depths with lyrics that speak of distinctive dark themes.

Live at Mouse Mountain is out now via Poppet Head Records.

You can visit Poppet Head Records here.