With the soundtrack to car chase B movie scene and a voice reminiscent of those early 70’s Etta on Cadet sides, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks release their first single off with the same name of the full length Dawn on Hope Street Records. Her early singing background had Donovan singing church songs before she made the transition to secular tunes via The Donovans, which were comprised of her mother and five uncles. Her mother also sang country, but deep down Emma yearned for the blues tinged vocals that her father had on the shelves of his record collection. Combining her love of artists like Laverne Baker and Etta James with indigenous Australian artists like Archie Roach and No Fixed Address, Donovan found her sound. Now years later, she has found the right band to back her up. The Putbacks inject enough blues, funk, soul, and rock into their music that Donovan was waiting her whole life to write to be able to perform with. As a stalwart on the Aussie music scene, she had already toured and played with many of the indigenous bands previous to hooking up with The Putbacks. She brings much experience, plus the found collaboration with Putbacks bassist Mick Meagher, a writing partner she’s waited her whole life to write these kinds of songs with. Timing is everything, and this looks like a beautiful project that will just get better as that time goes on.
This project is no flash in the pan soul revival band or singer. The effort is more the indigenous band Colored Stone than Sharon Jones, and Donovan has used her experience playing (and being influenced by) with these bands to shine through the clouds. She and her band mates are not trying to bring back anything. There are no horns on this record. There is, however, a good injection of rock and country into the music, and the results are gritty, heartfelt soul tunes that echo the struggle. Recorded straight to analog tape, this struggle comes out through the songs. While many bands are going for a certain “throwback” sound, Emma Donovan and The Putbacks have lived it, and therefore can play it. It’s easy to hear. The result is nine great tracks and a fantastic full length. It reminds us of some of those ling lost 45s on the classic Black Chains and Exhaust record, a whole new world of rock infused soul that gets the point across quickly. Something different for your ear holes. Get this record when it is released on November 10th.