Perth five-piece Delilah Rose & the Gunslingers celebrate the release of their second EP, Good Grief! on Saturday 13th October at Clancy’s Fremantle.
Around The Sound talks with the band’s front woman and song writer, Delilah Rose, about the EP launch and the meaning of life, and death.
“I can sit down and have a cup of tea with grief now. Before, I very much wanted to push it away, because it hurt, and it was terribly uncomfortable to sit with. But now I can sit with it and we can share a cup of tea.”
That’s Delilah Rose talking about the death of her father four years ago and the genesis of what ultimately would become the four tracks on her band’s second EP, Good Grief!.
“The EP title and the song title can be taken as, not an expletive, but like in the olden days, they would have said, ‘Good grief!’ But I’ve also come to see grief as a good thing. Once you lose someone who’s really close to you, you never really lose the feeling of grief.”
Don’t be put off, though. Rose’s songs are no maudlin dirges filed with regret and sorrow. Being able to face up to death and the ensuing grief is as much a celebration of life as anything else, and that comes through strongly in the music. Asked to pigeonhole her songs and the band’s soundscapes, Rose begins by reflecting on her childhood upbringing in WA’s Wheatbelt.
“There’s a lot of space out there. It depends on the season a little bit, but it’s [the music] like a light summer breeze. [We play] country that’s a bit out of the box and a bit left of field, so it’s not like pop country, or ‘true’ country. ‘Folkabilly’ was something that I came up with, because we’re not really rockabilly, but we’re not really folk, but if you join the two together and add in a dash of ‘70s rock, then I think that’s sort of what we do. It’s some kind of vintage, rocky sound, with some folky numbers thrown in (laughs).”
Not easily pigeonholed, you could just as easily use words like celebratory, uplifting, moving (in a get up and dance sort of way), and moving (in a cathartic sort of way), to describe Rose’s music. If you’re heading to a Delilah Rose & the Gunslingers show expecting to cry into your beer, stay home and watch Netflix. If you want to hear music performed by one of the rockinest bands in the mild west, ditch the remote and saddle up for a night of raucous joy and fun. Just don't expect to get away without shedding a tear or two.
“I like the thought that I can make someone feel something,” Rose reflects, getting back to the theme of her current crop of songs. “What I love about it most is the reaction people have, especially to the song Good Grief, as it’s about Dad. I’ve had so many people come up to me afterwards and thank me for sharing that; and sharing their stories with me about the loss of their parent and how that was for them. I’m so glad that Good Grief invokes a response. I love listening to people’s stories. I think it’s such a human thing to connect through story.”
Rose’s current release deals with the tragedy and comedy that is life. Grief is the rawest of emotions, but death is as much a part of life as is having a cup of tea.
“What I’ve discovered is, we don’t talk about death very much. Those first days after Dad died, it was all such a fog, but it was so raw and so real. It was incredible. I remember feeling – looking back, not at the time – it was just such a raw and special time, because there’s no bullshit after someone’s passed away. It’s just what it is, they’ve gone and... ‘Do you want another cup of tea?’”
And strawberry jam. What? Well, when asked about how it will feel to perform these songs to an audience, Rose strays into talking about one of the best band merchandise ideas we’ve ever heard of.
“Good, I hope! It’s funny, because the 13th [of October] is Dad’s death day as well, so it all worked out that we’re playing on that date. I actually asked for a different date and that was the only date that they could offer, so I’ll be a little bit nervous. But I’m really excited to not only share the songs that we’ve written and recorded for the EP, but we’ve got a few new songs in the set as well. So, it’ll be good! We’ve made some jam, too, so you can buy a $5.00 glass of strawberry jam at the show.”
That's the essence of Rose. One moment she can be sharing the most intimate of memories:
“He was a really good friend of mine, and my Dad, and we played in a band... He was just such a cool guy. He went very suddenly, so it wasn’t something that we could prepare for, and it left a huge, huge gaping hole.”
The next, she’s talking about making strawberry jam. But, of course, the two are just different ends of the same thing, the great comedy/tragedy that is life.
So, if you’re looking to make a connection through story and song, Delilah Rose & the Gunslingers are the right outfit for you. And, good grief, do we ever need connection these days!
Don’t forget to bring $5.00 for some strawberry jam.
Delilah Rose & the Gunslingers launch their EP Good Grief! At Clancy’s Fremantle on Saturday 13 October with support from Michael Savage and Tom Fisher & the Layabouts. For more details, visit the event page here.