A little distance can be a good thing for any songwriter. Physically or emotionally. It can also be the hardest thing to get for anyone living a creative life when punching the clock at 5pm is hard to do.
But Shane Nicholson found some distance and it has been good for him. You can hear that in the bones of Hell Breaks Loose, the sixth solo album from the Australian singer-songwriter, songs written over several years and during a period of personal change.
“Many of these songs are about self-discovery and new horizons,’’ Nicholson says. “And also how that’s not always great, it can also sometimes be difficult. You can veer down a few wrong paths. It can take time to adjust. Writers will always find turmoil to write about even if there isn’t any, but the writing for this record certainly came from an authentic place, and was very cathartic.’’
So too was the recording process. Nicholson has established himself as one of the country’s most in-demand record producers but for Hell Breaks Loose Nicholson hands the reins to producer Matt Fell at his Sydney studio, Love Hz.
Nicholson’s career began as a teenager recording his own songs in his bedroom in Brisbane. He first made waves with rock band Pretty Violet Stain and released his debut solo album It’s A Movie in 2002. Since then he has explored everything from folk to country, bluegrass and rock, picking up 8 Golden Guitars, 2 APRA awards and 2 ARIA Awards along the way.
“I don’t feel compelled to prove anything. I know with Hell Breaks Loose we came up with something that I loved. That’s all that has ever mattered to me, really. The weight on your shoulders certainly feels greater when you are younger, and these days I’m just happy to be doing what I do, the way I like to do it.
“There was something relaxed and natural going on as we made this album. When that happens, you often find that something intangible gets in the grooves, and people can feel it.’’
Weight Of The World
Hell Breaks Loose
When The Money’s All Gone
Irons & Chains
One Big Mess
Bury My Guns
You And Whose Army?
Eyes On The Prize?