Dubbo is about as far from New York City as it’s possible to be on this planet – 16,131km exactly according to the now-ubiquitous Google Maps.
So what makes a kid “from the bush near Dubbo” turn to NYC’s greatest musical import, Bob Dylan, for inspiration?
“I started out as a kid listening to a lot of folk singers and listened to a lot of Dylan as a kid,” explains new-age troubadour and Bendigo Blues & Roots newcomer William Alexander.
“I went through (musical) stages in my early teens, but traced it back to the folk roots. Then I followed it further back to the traditional Irish music of my ancestral roots, so some of that now comes out in my music.”
Melbourne-based Alexander, 19, who will have a new album to showcase at the Bendigo Festival, says he is most usually compared with Dylan, Guthrie and other 50s and 60s folk-singers. He laughs when it’s suggested that’s not bad company. “No, I’ll take that for sure.”
The new, self-titled and self-penned 12-track album will showcase many of the influences on this up-and-coming songwriter.
“It’s pretty diverse,” Alexander explains. “It ranges from those Irish elements right through to some more country sounds in the later songs.”
William Alexander – the album, not the singer – sees Alexander accompanied by a cellist, violinist, lap steel player and backing singers, which suggests a pretty full-on sound.
“Actually no,” he says. “My last couple of albums with my band were a pretty full sound, but this time I’ve stripped things back to let the songs speak for themselves in an age where melody and sound has become a key focus.”
Sometimes host at the Golden Vine, Alexander is no stranger to Bendigo but plays the city’s premier music festival for the first time towards the end of a national tour behind William Alexander.
“I’m only playing one festival show, but I’m looking forward to it. Friends living in Melbourne speak really highly about the Bendigo scene. I’ve been to other festival-type events in Bendigo and the place seems to be really vibrant. Whether or not city people just like to get away to a quieter place I’m not sure, but they just love coming up to Bendigo.”
William Alexander plays the Ewes, Brews, Stews & Blues showcase on July 19th at the Goldmines Hotel, and will feature at the festival in November.
Check out his original Girl From Carlton Town at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLpMD2U06IU