Get to know our artists for 2023!
Hannah Aldridge (US)
Hannah Aldridge grew up on the muddy banks of Muscle Shoals—her birthright is music and Alabama. A reckoning between her coming-of-age in the South and a lifetime of trying to create an identity outside of it, her songs strike a delicate balance between rebellion and self-discovery. These two themes weave through Aldridge’s gifted storytelling, making for records that soothe like a lullaby and crack like a whip. For those raised in the Bible Belt, Aldridge’s music sounds like the voice of an old friend who understands. For those not in the know, her music is an initiation to the dark side of the South, Christian fundamentalism and the struggle to forge a future in a place haunted by its past.
Smoke Stack Rhino
With a band name that’s just one heavy animal away from the blues vamp ‘Smokestack Lightning’, Smoke Stack Rhino are gaining a reputation as ‘Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming blues and roots rockers’ (Beat Mag). Since forming in 2013, the Yarra Valley-based trio have been wowing crowds around Australia. Recently, they’ve taken their high energy live shows to Blues at Bridgetown, Moruya Blues and Roots, Airey’s Inlet and Rock The Turf festivals, along with finding airplay on Triple M & triple J radio, placing on Spotify editorial playlists and running Rock The Valley Music Festival.
Forged in a share house home-studio somewhere in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs over two years of lockdown, Playlunch is the brainchild and passion project of Liam Bell. Creating a cocktail of late 90s and early 2000s Aussie nostalgia, and taking inspiration from retro dance music icons, Playlunch is pioneering a new flavour of bangers altogether: ‘Bogan Funk’. Since their debut in April 2022, Playlunch have been causing a splash in the Melbourne music scene, packing out venues such as The Curtin, Yah Yahs and Cherry Bar, and supporting Murray the Red Wiggle’s project The Soul Movers. The band has also been confirmed to perform at St Kilda Fest 2023 & Offbeat Music Festival in QLD with the likes of Artists which include Thelma Plum, King Stingray, Gretta Ray & Electric Fields! Playlunch are guaranteed to be the ULTIMATE Festival Act.
Arm-in-arm with her flamenco guitar, Pia Nesvara brings flavours of her Chilean roots in a blend of gutsy vocals, hard-hitting rhythms and brazen lyrics that create her ‘soul meets indie/folk-songwriter’ sound. Though some might claim she’s vertically challenged, at 24 years old, Pia’s nothing short of passionate and as a self-taught guitarist and songwriter, she has graced stages around the country, from writing in her bedroom to busking on the streets of the Dandenong Ranges and then from jamming at festival open mics to playing the main stages. If you haven’t met her yet, you’re about to know - this kind of determination, thrive for life and vision is hard to miss.
Connell’s openness is what stands out from any performance. A forceful singer and a accomplished guitar player in multiple tunings, Connell’s personality stands out and has done so in her session work, her interview series An Otherwise Quiet Room, collaborations, and of course song writing and her captivating solo shows.
Camilla Rose Sullivan
Camilla Rose Sullivan is a songwriter from the Dandenong Ranges who combines alt-country and folk stylings with a dark 90’s edge. Her music weaves together interpersonal and reflective storytelling with her love of evocative regional landscapes. Her songs often feature a quiet yet confident build in intensity that acts as a point of catharsis for moments of intimacy, loneliness and hope.
With a unique sound that draws on elements of the blues, indie rock and folky fingerpicking, Tillerman Pete has developed a reputation for vibrant, passionate and versatile live shows. Filthy blues slide guitar rock riffs for the foot stompers, flaring horns and harmonised heart string pullers for the gin drinkers. With credits including the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn, Queenscliff,, Mornington, Bendigo Craft Beer and Blues n Roots Music Festivals as well as the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society semifinals 2018, Tillerman Pete’s debut EP Petrichor features Garden of Sin; a track nominated for the Australian Independent Music Awards for 2016. Their 2nd EP On & On released 2022 with singles Heart with Rhythm and Never Gonna Die featured on Triple J, Double J, PBS, RRR and public radio.
Mr. Alford's songs have been recorded by many acts around the world and he has a long list of performance and recording credits, being privileged enough to have played with some of the world’s most talented musicians. Mr. Alford, a country song writer from Melbourne, covers many themes and aspects of country music from traditional to modern bluegrass. At this stage he has 5 released albums with a new one on the way.
Mr. Alford has toured Australia extensively to the USA, Europe and Asia even recording with members of the Malaysian Symphony Orchestra. The latest single “Love Her So” is the first release from the upcoming album “The Greatest Show on Earth” featuring James Black, Ed Bates, Peter Somerville, Andy McClean and many more of Australia’s best musicians.
Mr. Alford’s show is a thoroughly entertaining evening with something for everyone.
Soulsville is a collective of local musicians who bring soul to Healesville Music Festival each and every year! Looking for your fix of uplifting soul music? Look no further than Soulsville.
Mast Gully Fellers
Mast Gully Fellers was formed in 2014 in the Dandenong Ranges, an area once known as 'Mast Gully'. The band is renowned for its unique but familiar ‘Australiana Bar-Room Folk’ sound which meanders through alt-country and blues, to bush ballads, and Celtic punk. Passionate about telling Australian stories, the band's music is filled with yarns of country pubs, bush life, love, traveling adventures, and Australian history. A lineup of fiddle, banjo, double bass, guitar, and percussion, with harmonica and ukulele weaving between carries those stories in the perfect tone.
Jeff Jenkins and the Heartstarters
Jeff Jenkins & the Heartstarters are seasoned Melbourne musicians who’ll kick start the festival on Friday night, performing a bunch of seriously good new songs, blending their influences from ballads with a nod to country, to pumping rock.
You’ll get to hear songs from their new album BOY MEETS GIRL - Jeff Jenkins and Adrian Gardiner (lead guitarist) co-wrote the songs and the album has been hailed ‘a great new Australian album’ (Neil Rogers on 3RRR), ‘a wonderful record, it tells a great story’ (music writer and critic Jeff Jenkins) and ‘terrific songs and playing’ (Stuart Coupe on Sydney’s 2SER radio). Some songs may already be familiar to you, as the album is getting airplay on 3RRR, 2SER, Southern FM, 3MDR and YVFM.
Jenkins says ‘Each song is a mixture of our influences; there’s rock, blues, tender ballads, rousing anthems and it is all written from the heart.
Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
“What Lachlan Bryan does is write some of the most insightful, poignant and heartfelt songs you'll hear this or any other year” - Stuart Coupe Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes are a difficult band to pin down. A little bit country, a little bit folky and a tiny bit rock n roll, they’ve built a cult following of loyalists who’ll argue that LB is a master songwriter and storyteller, and that the band’s raggedy, eccentric performance is completely unique. Yet ask the guys themselves and they’ll tell you they’re just a handful of wandering troubadours, worshipping at the altar of Dylan, Waits and Wilco.
Girl Friday & The Sepia Tones
Hobart-born and Melbourne-based award winning (Roddy Read, 2016) singer/songwriter Girl Friday (Tracey Hogue) will transport you to a different era. Her jazz, blues and folk sensibilities evoke a sense of nostalgia, innocence and melancholy. Girl Friday's rich, soulful voice is beautifully supported by Ashley Jones on violin and Andrew Tanner on double bass.
Artist of the Year 2023 at Newstead Live Festival, Enda is a festival favourite across Australia and comes to Healesville from a three week tour in New Zealand before heading off to three months touring in Germany and UK. Described by Folk on Tap as "A Cracking Live Entertainer" he is known for thoughtful, incisive and sometimes hilarious lyricism that describes his adopted home with the keen eye of the migrant. Bring your singalong voice!
Bitches Brew is Lisa Baird, Cheryl Durongpisitkul, Sarah Holmes, Stella Anning and Holly Norman. They play original improvised blues and roots music with spiky edges.
Parkville are a cathartic folk duo from the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria. Liam (guitar) and Dylan (violin) have spent the better part of the last decade developing the kind of musical synergy that leads many an audience member to conclude that they must be siblings or spouses. Cutting their teeth busking in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall, Parkville officially began with the release of The Peculiar Aftermath EP in 2017, which established their winning formula: a driving Mumford And Sons style backbone and boldly honest songwriting, topped with Knur’s signature effects-pedals-laden violin playing and a Punch Brothers-esque penchant for playful arrangements. 2018 saw the expansion of Parkville into a full band, culminating in 2019’s The Softest Murder EP, producing three well-loved singles and the chance to support Irish megastars Kodaline across both Melbourne shows of their Australian tour. Having spent the last two years writing and refining their craft, Parkville are now closer than ever and are preparing for the next phase of their career. 2022 saw them move in together, set up a recording studio and complete a mammoth 23-song recording project. 2023 will see the fruition of these plans, with the release of three singles and one album.
Armed with a high energy live show, songs from a forgotten century, and a terrible band name, The Barren Spinsters are the kind of band that Jack White would maybe join if he lowered his standards.
They look like a two-piece, sound like a five piece, and move like a hair piece. Front man Brendon Houlahan plays guitar with his hands, bass with his feet, and sings with his face. Matt Tennant belts the drums really hard, sings a little bit, and wears really dumb shirts while doing it. Together, The Barren Spinsters deliver 70s blues rock with a modern thrashy twist. Much the same way that Wolfmother doesn’t.
With recent debut album 'Ten Steps to Cynical Thinking' under their belts, we reckon The Barren Spinsters will give The Gum Ball a good what for.
Woody's World is an Australian children's music and entertainment act, specialising in ukulele teaching and family entertainment.
The Humbuckin' Pickups
The Humbuckin’ Pickups will bring their “Roots Drenched Folk” sound to venues all across Australia in 2023 to support their newly announced third album "Just Like Winter". The Troubadour Foundation Award and Maldon Minstrel winning outfit build on their first two offerings with a record that is filled with imagery of rural and regional Australia, and filled with the band's distinctive string accompaniment and four-part harmony. Wielding guitars, dobros, banjos, double bass and mandolins the quartet will draw you in with their love of storytelling through music, their humour and their four-part harmony.
Nigel Wearne saunters after dark in the music of the night, blending blues, folk and Americana-noir. Hailing from Gunditjmara country in south-west Victoria, he's a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist with diverse influence from Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Gillian Welch. A deep thinker and truth speaker with a penchant for all things peculiar, he sings of human frailty, grace and the cosmos; songwriting that cuts to the bone. Nigel has toured Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada and he's performed at a long list of music festivals, including the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Adelaide Guitar Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival.
Szara Fox and the Midnight Secrets
Szara Fox and the Midnight Secrets are a band on a mission to make people dance with their untamed and hot-blooded live show. A European singer-songwriter who has traveled the world, Szara Fox weaves an elemental sensuality through tales of wanderlust, love and what lies beyond the horizon. With the Midnight Secrets, she concocts fiery and irresistible Balkan Gypsy-infused dance grooves. Featuring the sublime talents of fierce and impassioned trumpeter Andrew Darling, viscerally blazing guitarist Nico Di Stefano, honey-fingered groove merchant Michael Arvanitakis, and the rolling thunder of Roderick McLeod, the Midnight Secrets provide the flaming temple of sound that houses the unique and spellbinding musical creations of sensual Dutch songstress, Szara Fox.
Katankin is the solo moniker of Melbourne indie-folk singer-songwriter Helen Catanchin. Formally trained as a jazz singer and with a Masters of Music Performance to her name, Katankin was born from Helen’s desire to return to her singer-songwriter roots. A phonetic spelling of her Russian surname (allowing its correct pronunciation for the first time in the singer’s life), Katankin further symbolises this return to one’s roots, and to one’s true self.
A uniquely compelling and haunting voice, along with poetic and painfully poignant, cuts-to-the-bone writing, all put their unmistakable stamp on Katankin’s songs. She writes and sings unabashedly and with great vulnerability, from the darkest recesses, wading through love, despair, loathing, fear, rage, tenderness, lust, and then up, up, up into the light.
Katankin released her self-produced debut EP, “The quiet shimmer of the world” in December 2022, which has already attracted extensive radio airplay, and is now available on vinyl, CD and all digital platforms.