(Have you bought the single "The Holy Grail" yet?
It contains the previously unreleased track Ingenue.)
Restless Thoughts, the debut album
from Simon Bruce is getting plenty of critical acclaim, with Brian
Wise in Rhythms magazine (July 2005) describing it as the "..best
'country' release since Kasey Chambers.." Click on
It's finally here from Australia on
import. Simon Bruce's long awaited album RESTLESS
THOUGHTS. Those of you who saw Simon on the road with Tommy in
southwest, and west coast have been waiting for this album quite a
while and the plane
finally landed. Order it now on CERTIFIEDGUITARPLAYER.com.
This album has all the songs you've been waiting for from the
shows. It's truly brilliant. And
if you haven't heard Simon, you must hear this brilliant 20 year
old singer/songwriter from
from Gina Tommy Emmanuel's manager
Fans, Friends and Supporters
"Too Late Now "
from his debut album with EMI/Essence
is released to radio and video this week
with the album available in June
Checkout all the news, and listen to Too Late Now, at
Look Out for Simon's Debut Single "Too Late Now"
Simon returned to Australia after
touring the length and breadth of America with Tommy Emmanuel, and
went straight into back to back tours opening for BOND and Dido in
Australia and New Zealand. If the Guestbook on his website is
anything to go by, he's making a big impact on a diverse range of
audiences. With his album due for release through Essence/EMI
early next year, 2005 is shaping up to be even bigger than ever
The long awaited debut album is finished. Produced and
Mixed by Nash Chambers the album will be mastered by the legendary
Bob Ludwig for an early 2005 release.
*** NEW US TOUR DATES***
After a successful tour on the US East Coast in July, Simon
has been invited to extend his touring with Tommy Emmanuel in the
US kicking off this week with another 20 shows starting in Kansas,
moving onto Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Maryland
and finishing on the 22nd Oct in Kentucky. Check gig listing for
further details. This is most likely Simon's last tour in the US
for 2004 before he heads back home to prepare for the Australian
release of his album, but it won't be too much longer til he's
back in the US in 2005.
SIMON BRUCE - WISE
BEYOND HIS YEARS
By Phil Sweetland - Country music and radio
contributor, The New York Times
NASHVILLE, May 2004 - When Australian singer and songwriter Simon
Bruce turned 19 in May 2004, he had already covered more ground
both musically and geographically than most musicians will explore
in their entire lifetimes.
Simon has been mesmerized and influenced by the music and poetry
of folksingers Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and of rockers like
Elvis and The Beatles - artists whose greatest fame occurred
decades before he was even born in 1985. Yet his thirst for
insight led him to read and explore further, discovering early on
the writing of the British poets Lord Byron (1788-1824) and
William Blake (1757-1827).
He had also already played professionally on three continents,
beginning in the island nation of Australia before appearing in
clubs and on street corners in Britain and now in nightclubs and
recording studios in Nashville and New York, with a California
tour coming this summer.
Simon’s first album of original songs, a six-song EP called The
Champagne Sessions (2000) cut in Nashville when he was 15, was
produced by Aussie guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel and featured
another esteemed Australian on background vocals - Keith Urban. A
12-song CD on Essence Records is due out soon.
Simon’s life work started very early. Simon’s family, to put it
mildly, was a musical lot. It was a life that quickly came to
fascinate young Simon, especially when he discovered he could get
paid for singing on street corners - busking.
Like everything else about him, Simon’s earlier musical influences
are surprising. "Mario Lanza and Shirley Bassey," he says, citing
a tremendously popular Italian opera star and a more obscure
British soul singer best known in America for her spellbinding
1965 theme from "Goldfinger". Lanza and Bassey both had voices
that were larger-than-life, instruments that dripped with musical
emotion. "I kept listening to this tape I had of Mario Lanza. It
was probably painfully romantic," Bruce says. "And then later on,
when I got into Elvis, I could hear a kind of similar thing going
on with his voice as well."
As a performer, the theatricality of Elvis soon became a model for
Simon. Th songwriting influences came elsewhere.
"The first time I got into Bob Dylan was when I had a Byrds
record," he says. "I looked at the back of the album, and I said,
‘Who’s B. Dylan? He wrote all their songs!’"
But unlike Dylan, an American from the upper Midwest who relocated
to New York, Simon is very much an Australian. His Aussie
wanderlust is like that of the nomadic American Beat Generation
novelist Jack Kerouac, who certainly influenced Dylan: "This old
road keeps losing weight/As I drift to the nearest state," Simon
writes in "Rainbow Hotel". "Where I’m going, I don’t know/Just as
far as my feet can go," he continues. Australia is also a very
multi-cultural place, and a country that embraces diversity and
appreciates the arts, just like America.
At first, like any little kid, Simon was a pest who wanted to join
in on the family gigs but couldn’t really play or sing. That
quickly changed. Once Simon began studying Dylan and The Beatles
and writing his own music, there was something special there. Thus
began a worldwide journey supported by his family to give Simon a
realistic chance to achieve his musical dreams. After appearing at
school concerts and wining prizes in prestigious Australian
competitions like Tamworth, Simon was adept at both harmonica and
guitar. In September 1998 he took a working musical vacation to
the UK. Much like Paul Simon over 30 years earlier, Simon Bruce
quickly became enamoured of the English folk scene.
Performing on street corners is a tough way to make a buck (or a
pound or a Euro), but it also instills in those who are good at it
a natural ease and stagecraft. To this day Simon loves performing
and recording, but of all the tools in his remarkable skill set he
loves songwriting the most. "I like writing a lot, the process of
it," he says. "It’s a form of expression. When you write something
good, you know it. It’s a kind of high." Like many writers, he was
at first reluctant to sing his own compositions. That has changed
now, as audiences around the world are amazed at what this young
guy is creating. Much of that comes from the fact he loves to
read, and his reading list is not exactly typical.
"I like to read poetry," he says. "I like Robert Burns. I like
Byron as well." Why? "Heavy. Despair. Kind of darkness."
And what of the influence of Robert Zimmerman, alias Bob Dylan?
"He’s overwhelming," Simon said. "You can read what you like into
his songs. That’s my favourite kind of thing. Vagueness is cool."
So is Simon Bruce. Beware! If you don’t know his
music yet, you soon will.
February has been a big month, with a management deal with
Karen-Lee Goody at Encompass, and Simon has finished recording his
first album with Essence. With a release date set for later this
year, Simon now returns to the US for some touring dates and more
- Simon Bruce Opens for John Hiatt
Simon spent most of 2003 in the USA where he toured Texas, opened for John
Hiatt in the north east and Georgia, showcased at The Bitter End in New York
City, and took every opportunity to write songs and perform in his home town
In November touring agency Buddy Lee Attractions signed Simon to their
roster, giving Simon even more performance opportunities in the US in 2004.
Back here in Australia over summer, Simon has just signed a recording
contract with Essence, Nash Chambers' record label. Expect a CD release
- Sydney singer songwriter, and now Nashville resident, Simon Bruce
recently played some opening gigs with American song legend John Hiatt.
Travelling to New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York state, Simon performed
at some beautiful historic theatres to audiences who gave rapt attention and
applause to his songs and stories.
Back in Nashville Simon has divided his time between performances,
songwriting (including co-writing with people such as Mark Sanders,
co-writer of the Lee Ann Womack hit "I Hope You Dance") and spending time
with other ex-pats like Catherine Britt, Jedd Hughes, Kim and Carol from the
Green Cards, Mark Moffatt, and recent visitors Rod McCormack and Kim
Simon will shortly travel to New York city to play at an ASCAP songwriters
night at the renowned Bitter End, before returning to Nashville to perform
at another ASCAP writers night at the Bluebird in July.
- News July 2003
Simon's debut performance at the renowned Bitter End in
New York was a shining success, with the audience enraptured by his songs
and his performance. The venue was packed with people eager to see another
New York Songrwiting Circle night showcasing ASCAP talent. Simon shared the
round with Jonathan Rice, Jonathan Spottiswoode and Amy Carreira, and the
crowd didn't hesitate when offered the chance of an extra song from the
Simon' set included "Place Where You Live", "Peaceful", "Never Say Goodbye"
and "Ingénue", with high demand for the latter in particular to be included
on his next CD.
The next night saw Simon entertain another crowded venue, this time the
Living Room in East Village. Playing at 10 p.m. the audience included people
who had seen Simon in Texas, and New Yorkers with friends in Nashville who
had recommended they catch Simon. Simon finished his set with the "Final
Straw", and at least one label executive foresaw the song as a major radio
hit. Mixing with music industry people after the show Simon discussed, and
gained new insights into some of his favourite performers such as Bob Dylan
and Bruce Springsteen. Overall the two nights were a great start exposure of
Simon to the New York crowd and Simon can't wait to go back again.
- Simon and Texan singer songwriter Slaid
- Been wondering what Simon's
been up to? Pictured here with Texan singer songwriter Slaid
Cleaves, Simon is about to return from yet another successful stint in the
US, this time conquering Texas - from Dallas to San Antonio, Austin to
Gruene, and a few places in between! Check out his website for the
latest news and pics, and rush to any gigs you can in Oz as Simon expects
to return to the USA in August.
- Visa for Simon
- Simon has just been granted his
O-1 visa which entitles him to live and work in the United States for the
next three years. Granted for outstanding talent, the visa will give
even more impetus to Simon's pursuit of his music career in America.
- Simon is still in Austin after
completing his second successful Texas tour earlier this month, and is
playing at showcases during SXSW. With requests from other artists
to record his songs, and with the support of Windswept publishing who he
signed with recently, Simon's music is having even more of an impact on
the very receptive American audiences. Simon returns to
Nashville next week to record some of his current songs and prepare
for more American tours later in the year.
American publisher Windswept
With artists like Nick Cave and Alison Moorer already
signed to American publisher Windswept Sydney singer songwriter Simon Bruce,
who recently finalised a contract with Windswept, is joining the ranks of some
of the world’s most experienced and respected artists and songwriters.
"Windswept is one of the largest independent
publishers with offices from New York to LA", said Simon, who leaves for
the US this week. "I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with
such a great company".
Simon, who supported Kasey Chambers during her recent
Australian performances will be touring Texas during February and intends to
spend much of 2003 in America to pursue his career there.
you missed Simon at his recent gigs in Melbourne and Tamworth then you might
have to wait a while to see him. Simon has just signed a contract with major
American publishing company Windswept which will probably see him
spending much of 2003 in the States. Simon leaves on Monday to tour Texas in
February/March, with gigs lined up in Houston, Dallas, and Austin as well as
radio and TV performances. "I’m thrilled to have signed up with
Windswept", said Simon. "They’re a well-respected company with
writers like Nick Cave and Alison Moorer on their roster. It will be a great
experience. I always enjoy being in America, and especially the way people
there respond to music."
track of Simon's US tour at www.simonbruce.com
- From left to right: Simon, Ernie Johns, Jeff
- Simon relaxing at the Lindsay
Hammond night in Tamworth. Simon caught up with Lindsay in Tamworth
for the first time in nearly two years, having last seen her in Melbourne
when Simon and Lindsay appeared on the same TV program, the Denise Show.
- He's back! After a successful
month performing in the USA, Simon is back in Sydney for several big
performances. Come along and bring your friends! The Radio
Station Wednesday 3 October, from 7 p.m.
Tune in to radio station 2NSB 99.3FM Simon once again joins Michael
Beaumont to talk about his US trip, play some music from up and coming US
artists, and perhaps even some tracks Simon recorded in America.
The Weekend Saturday 6 October, 8 p.m. Almost Acoustic, 665a Darling
Street Rozelle If you haven't been to this candlelit venue, now is the
time, with Simon headlining a great night of (almost) acoustic music
Sunday 7 October, 3 p.m. Kelts Bar, Blaxland Head to the hills and enjoy
the popular acoustic afternoon at this great venue
The Big One Friday 12 October, 9 p.m. at Henry IX Bar Hilton Hotel, George
Simon is one of 24 acts from 250 applicants chosen to showcase at
Australian Music Week. Don't miss it!
- So...you want to know who Simon Bruce is?
You want to know who is this
15-year-old kid who plays Bob Dylan on his guitar and harmonica just
like - well, just like Bob Dylan?
You want to know
about the boy - all right, teenager - who writes and records his own
love songs and sings them like he's lived them all already? Well
then, I'll tell you - but believe me, this is only the
Part One - The Performer
Some kids want to fit in right from
the beginning, and some want to stand out. Simon is in the latter
category. He's the kid at kinder who stood on the box on the
corner and told all the other three year olds that he was Robin Hood and
that he would rob the rich and share his newfound wealth with them.
Needless to say, they were spellbound, although the child care
workers weren't so keen on the little revolutionary amongst
- He's the four-year-old
who hijacked his older sister's ballet class by pirouetting across the
floor when he and his dad arrived early one day... He was the five year
old who suddenly fell backwards after taking a sip of coke at the local
club, much to his father's concern - and then stood up, and took another
sip, and did it again - and again...
And he was
the one who watched his Dad sing a few numbers with the jazz band at the
local pub, and enthusiastically agreed to do his own routine of Rudolph
the Red Nosed Reindeer - but not until he'd negotiated the publican up
from the proffered $1.00 to the more acceptable (union rate?) of
$2.00! But most importantly for Simon in his tiny tot stage, was
the Christmas when he was five years old and Santa brought the present
he'd been wishing for with all his heart - a real, three quarter size,
nylon string, LaGrange, guitar. And the world is already grateful
to the prescient Father Christmas who knew that this kid really meant it
when he said that when he grew up he was going to play guitar and
- Part Two - Primary Colours
- At 14 Simon's maybe
not so keen for the world to know that he could moondance like Michael
Jackson at the age of six (including the tilted hat) or that Elvis was
his major hero from age 7 to 9 or that his first brief stage experience
with a mouth organ was accompanying his father at the (now defunct)
Green Lantern Folk Club in Melbourne, age 8. But then, fame has
its price, and there's no doubting that Simon's exposure to and
involvement in music throughout his early formative years has helped
shape the early success he's having on the threshold of
From age 5 to 10 Simon consolidated his
musical experience, going to talent shows with his mother, watching his
sister develop her love for piano, saxophone and guitar, and playing
along with his guitarist father and his musical mates at bush picnics
and nights around the campfire. With both parents having
professional musical backgrounds, Simon's gene pool is all in his favor
when it comes to a career in music. His mother was a band singer,
while his father's performance talents included performing in and
promoting musicals, singalongs, and a bit of old fashioned country
music. At the age of ten Simon and his sister were late (and
unsuccessful!) entrants in the junior Mt Gambier Country Music Talent
Quest where their father came third in the Male Vocalist section with a
rousing rendition (complete with mouth organ!) of "Lights on the Hill".
Surrounded by music, Simon's own talents were
never going to lie under the surface for long...
Part Three - A Star is Starting to Twinkle
- It's hard to see exactly when Simon started
down the path of serious success in his early chosen field of
music. Certainly a move to Wales Street Primary School in 1995
helped - even if Simon's brush with the violin was short-lived!
Certainly his one concert performance was memorable, although more
because of the professional look of the children's black trouser/white
shirt outfit than because of the virtuosity of the music. Still, the
teachers there nurtured musical ability and Simon started applying
himself more seriously to the guitar. He had learnt the basic
chords on his trusty acoustic, but harbored a secret belief that, if
only he had an electric guitar, he would be able to play it like the
bands he watched on TV. So in grade five Simon withdrew his life
savings and bought his first electric guitar, secondhand at Cash
Converters, for the princely sum of $173.00. Then he had to learn
the lesson of all ten-year-old budding guitarists - having an electric
guitar makes not one jot of difference to your capacity to play.
It is perhaps the greatest sign of a professional that Simon did not let
this unfortunate revelation deter him. Rather his mum organized
some lessons, and between them, his early lessons from his Dad and the
support of the teachers at school, Simon commenced his musical career in
Now when he went up the bush with his
Dad, he could really play along, and the busking money from bush
festivals at places like Kyneton and Bendigo was shared with him.
Simon started to see the financial potential of being a musician - and
he was hooked!
If there was any doubt, it was dispelled when Simon
and his father visited his much older half brother in Western Australia
just before Simon turned 11. His older brother had given up his
office job to pursue his dream of making a living from his songwriting
and music playing, with plans down the track to record his first
CD. As Simon peered through the doors of Bunbury pubs (he was too
young to go in!) he saw that it was possible to make a living as a
musician, and his course was set.
- During sixth grade
Simon and a mate started to play at local events, including a nearby
shopping center's Christmas Fair Day, as well as at the school fete and
at local homes for the elderly. Also at this time Simon started
writing his own songs, progressing from some of his earlier simple
rhyming productions with his sister to some acceptable pieces on much
more adult themes like unrequited love. The path of treble clefs
was unfolding before him, and he was ready to run down it - and run he
After starting High School, Simon's musical
talents consolidated. As well as playing electric bass in the
school band in Years 7 and 8, the duo he played in at primary school
expanded to a trio and enjoyed some success in 1998 including coming
second in the Werribee Rodeo talent quest in April, releasing a CD -
"Appleface" - in July, and taking out three awards, including best new
talent, at the Kool Skool Music Awards in December.
Unfortunately the band went the way of so many before them,
splitting up in early 1999, but Simon will always remember with fondness
this early foray into the music business. The band, however, was
far from his only outlet for his musical talent during this time.
Simon's first attempt at busking solo in January 1998 netted him $45.00,
including a $10 incentive payment to move closer to the appreciative
listeners at one cafe. While Simon at this time was doing covers
of bands such as silverchair and Nirvana, he was simultaneously
developing his own style, which was soon to be influenced by a chance
exposure to Bob Dylan - and Simon was hooked!
started playing the mouth organ, and learning the Bob Dylan style. In
July 1997 he went to the Tamworth Winter Junior Talent Quest and came
away with three prizes, including best male junior vocalist, and places
in original composition and instrumental. With that achievement
under his belt he headed back to Tamworth in January 1998 and at the age
of 12 came second in the West Tamworth Leagues Club Talent Quest for 12
to 16 years olds.
Meanwhile back in Sydney Simon
was becoming known for his busking around Glebe and Balmain,
particularly around the weekend markets. This profile was
consolidated when he was booked to play at Rozelle Markets in January
1998, a gig that he has been pleased to repeat on average every couple
of months, with appreciation from stall holders and market goers alike
increasing each time.
Then in September 1998 he
holidayed in Europe, taking with him his guitar and harmonicas and
practicing every day, like a true pro. Mind you, he nearly lost
the harmonicas when they caused a minor security alert at Heathrow - the
security guards took some convincing that they were instruments of
peace, not war!
Simon played at the Royal Oak
folk club in Edinburgh, busked in Chester, and participated in a folk
evening at the Royal Oak in Somerset, England. Any doubts about his
international appeal were dispelled by the overwhelming enthusiasm of
seasoned musicians for Simon's talent both in songwriting and
performing, and by the invitations to return
Returning from overseas Simon
concentrated on building up his local profile in the Glebe area, busking
and playing gigs regularly at the markets, Glebe Point road cafes, and
being booked for private parties. A newspaper article in the Glebe
identified Simon's future prospects, and at 13 years old Simon was
clearly only a few short steps away from fame.
Four - On the Verge of a Galactic Development!
- During 1997 and 1998 Simon started acquiring
the tools of the trade, all self funded by his gigs and busking.
As well as a semi-electric $900 Epiphone Simon has purchased a $700
acoustic Gibson, while his hefty blowing means that his harmonicas need
regular replacement at $40 a piece. Simon puts a large part of his
earnings back into his music, again showing the traits of the true, and
truly committed, professional.
- His commitment is starting
to pay off. In November 1998 he recorded his debut solo CD,
"Two's a Crowd", with five of his original compositions. Selling
at $10 each, the first 100 copies sold in five months, just selling them
while busking or playing gigs. In June 1999 Simon formally
launched this CD, by this time already into its second edition - and all
of it funded by Simon through the sales of the first print run.
The CD launch was highly successful, selling 10 CDs and attended by
music industry personnel, family, and friends and impressed
Then the following week Simon
made his first TV appearance, appearing live on Channel V's "The Joint",
hosted by Jabba who had talent spotted Simon busking at the Glebe
Markets the weekend before and invited him on to the show. At ten
minutes to midnight Simon played his original song, "It's Not the Same",
live on national TV - and a star is born!
August he recorded his second CD, Meet Me in the Cold, and in the
following month he was profiled on ABC's "Recovery". As well as
appearing on Radio JJJ with the band in December 1998, Simon has
performed on Radio 3LO on a number of occasions in 1999.
Also in December 1999 he again found recognition at the Kool Skool
Awards, receiving the special Encouragement Award.
He started the year 2000 with a return trip to Tamworth, performing as a
support act at the West Tamworth Leagues Club, performing live on the
local radio station, and picking up an Encouragement Award trophy, and a
third place in two Talent Quests.
Victoria in February, and he wowed the crowd at the Dandenong Folk
Festival, with the usual big demand for his CDs. He has also spent
a day songwriting with Marie Wilson, and aims to see his career take off
at the start of the new millennium.