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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

You can bet on this Dark Horse

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Lovers of Tex Perkins’s dark country collaboration Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses are in for a treat. The boys have just knocked out a brand new LP titled Everyone’s Alone, attracting attention not just from the punters, but from the boys in blue as well!

Tex and the boys were a little surprised to find six to eight drug-squad police turn up at their Factory Theatre album launch in Sydney last week. Perkins even dedicated a section of his set to them with punters declaring ‘Tex was on fire. He did about 10 minutes of standup on them and was like Hi Everyone… I’m Stoned!’

Ironically the average age of the punters was 35–40, and although it’s unlikely this group, who would be needing to rush home to relieve their babysitters, were about to pop pills or smoke meth, it re-affirms something we all know: Perkins has still got his edge.

Frontman for the evocative soundscapes of The Cruel Sea and the hard-edged pub rock of The Beasts of Bourbon, collaborator on the Tex, Don and Charlie outings, and compadre to Tim Rogers on the TnT project. More recently seen leading the Tennessee Four in a night of memorable music in his turn in the Johnny Cash musical The Man In Black, Tex is now back with Everyone’s Alone, the follow-up to 2011’s Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses self-titled debut. Beginning life as primarily Perko’s backing band, The Dark Horses have developed a sound and style distinctly their own. ‘This record has more of a band feel to it and less of a singer-songwriter trip,’ says Perkins ‘so it felt like the right time to present the Horses as one unified entity’.

The live set promises, as always, to be something special. Perkins’s world-weary growl will showcase songs from the new album, alongside gems from their Black Cattle Dog.

So what is it about this line-up of Charlie Owen, Joel Silbersher, James Cruickshank, Murray Person, Stephen Hadley and Gus Agars?

According to Tex it’s simple: ‘Because they smell good’. ‘But seriously folks, it’s much more than that. I mean, there’re many reasons’ says Tex, ‘wonderful musicianship, a certain earthy gritty filthy beauty, an ability to hold their breaths for many seconds at a time; they’re all shorter than me, when I open my mouth they throw grapes into it, are often approximately in tune and most of them have never physically attacked me… but really it’s because they smell very, very good. Individually they stink, but all together they brew up a sweet stench that is irresistible.’

Previous Dark Horses track declared ‘Everything really gonna be alright?’ But is it really?

Tex doesn’t seem to think so… ‘Oh, we’re all going down, no-one will escape the wrath of Dad. Father Nature that is. Mother Nature is the nurturer – the creator of all the wonders of life: trees, flowers, birds and bees, sun, moon and all that. Father Nature is in charge of tsunamis, superstorms and earthquakes. He is the one who comes home drunk and burns down the house.’

It’s been well over two decades in the music scene for Perkins, who reckons things just get better because ‘I’m closer to the end now than I am to the beginning’. Like most of Tex’s albums, the lyrics are lean. There’s not an ounce of fat. ‘My songs don’t come with fat,’ he says. ‘They’re lucky to have any meat on the bone at all. Actually my mother would like to sit my songs down and give them a good meal!’ The new album bears the title of one of the tracks, Everyone’s Alone. This melancholic anthem captures a simple truth. ‘Everyone is alone with everybody,’ says Tex. ‘We’re all in this together but we arrive one by one and we all go out one at a time.’

So what should we expect for the Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses show at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore?

‘You can expect the most breathtakingly beautiful powerful heartfelt soulful thoughtless music Lismore has heard since… last week.

‘You can expect to see and hear musicians who love what they do and are grateful to be off the dole. This week.’

Friday at Star Court Theatre in Lismore.
Tix www.starcourtheatre.com.au or 6622 500.

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