At just 22 years of age, Blake O’Connor has become a prevalent name in Australian country music; celebrated for his captivating voice and astute songwriting. Today he releases his highly anticipated sophomore album, ‘Finding Light.‘
Since taking out the title of Toyota Star Maker in 2019, O’Connor has gone from strength to strength. His debut album, ‘Everything I Feel’ followed; reaching #1 on the ARIA Australian Country Albums chart and garnering a Golden Guitar Award for New Talent of the Year.
‘Finding Light’ is more than a reflection on the singer-songwriter’s journey since then – it was his therapy. “After the last few years of the unknown, I found myself finding light through song!” he exclaims.
The album has an organic energy, unlike that of of his contemporaries. Although each track has been meticulously crafted by an enviable list of collaborators, they still possess soul – each performance living and breathing in its own way.
“It draws from all of my favourite influences. From country and blues to classic rock and gospel. I made an album that I would want to sit and listen to from front to back, and I cannot wait for everyone to do the same thing and feel all of the things I felt when making the record.”
O’Connor split the recording of Finding Light into two distinct sessions. “The first half of the album was recorded with Nick DiDia (Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen) and Adam Eckersley in Nicks studio ‘La Cuava Recording’, that he co-owns with Bernard Fanning from Powderfinger, mid Pandemic.”
The second act took place closer to his home on the NSW Mid Coast, with Michael Lynch (Jeff Beck, Delta Goodrem) and Sinead Burgess at the helm. “Teaming up Nick DiDia & Adam Eckersley, Michael Lynch & Sinead Burgess to build this album really bought every song to life the best way possible.”
Previously released singles Kickin’ A Rock, Soul Feeling and Willin’ and Ready embody the singer’s penchant for optimism. Each one leaps from the speakers with boundless energy. Seamlessly blending vintage sounds and songwriting techniques with modern methods, you can tell this guy’s done his homework.
The album is certainly not without its ballads, on which O’Connor’s elastic vocal is given ample room to stretch. The brooding, Chained To The Ground, is an epic slow burn of self-actualisation, while the one-take, If You’re Looking Down, invites a warm intimacy from being recorded live; simply O’Connor and a guitar.
Run With You and Let a Bit of Light speak to his rock music roots (his former primary school teacher did put him in an AC/DC band when he was 7). The delightfully groovy, Honey appears late in the piece as the most hard rocking in the bunch.
O’Connor’s powerful and distinctive voice has already been heard on several of the world’s biggest stages – Nashville’s famous CMA Fest (USA) and the massive Buckle and Boots (UK) abroad, while at home he’s been a fixture on some of our biggest festivals – CMC Rocks, Deni Ute Muster, Gympie Music Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Groundwater Country Music Festival, Savannah in the Round and the Mt Isa Rodeo.
After two Australian tours in 2021 and 2022 he plans to hit the road again following the release of ‘Finding Light’. The massive run will see the Port Macquarie native weave his way through the NSW countryside, then up the QLD east coast all the way to Cairns, before heading home.
‘Finding Light’ is elegant and rough both at once. Much like the singer’s voice – weathered around the edges, yet always perfectly on pitch. Blake O’Connor is an old soul and this album exhibits a talent well beyond his years. Its broad spectrum of influences gives it a sound akin to many classic records and a feeling that the performance is raw and real. Yet it remains a product of its time, with modern influences elevating it into a new space all of its own.
FOLLOW BLAKE O’CONNOR
Saturday 11th March – Stock Route Festival – Dubbo, NSW
Sunday 12th March – Seclusions – Blue Mountains, NSW
Friday 17th – Sunday 19th March – CMC Rocks – Willowbank, QLD
Thursday 23rd March – Berserker Tavern – Rockhampton, QLD
Friday 24th March – The Metropolitan – Mackay, QLD
Saturday 25th March – Mansfield Hotel – Townsville, QLD
Sunday 26th March – Dunwoody’s Hotel – Cairns, QLD
Thursday 30th March – Kings Beach Tavern – Caloundra, QLD
Friday 31st March – The Royal – Nundah, QLD
Saturday 1st April – Jindalee Hotel – Jindalee, QLD
Sunday 2nd April – Wallaby Hotel – Mudgeeraba, QLD
Saturday 8th April – The Butter Factory – Telegraph Point, NSW
** Tickets are on sale now and available via https://www.blakeoconnormusic.com/tour
Thanks to Wildheart Publicity