If you’d asked me a year ago who Grace Cummings was, I couldn’t have told you. You ask me today, and I’d trip over myself to tell you that she’s one of the most powerful up and coming folk artists in Australia today.
Her debut album on Flightless Records, Refuge Cove is incredibly minimalist – you can count the different sources of sound on this entire album on one hand:
- Backing Vocalist
- Her Voice
It’s a brilliant decision, because it put’s Cummings’ powerful voice at the centre of each track, making you swear she’s in the corner of the room with you, performing each track live. Many have called her music a callback to 60’s folk, and it’s hard to not see that comparison.
She sounds like a female Bob Dylan on the ‘Other Side’, while other tracks like ‘Lullaby for Refuge Cove’ evoke a more husky voiced Karen Dalton. It’s hard to not reference Paul Kelly when talking about Australian folk, and his influence is certainly present on tracks like ‘The Look You Gave’ and ‘There Flies a Seagull’, the former of which is the lead single from this album.
You get the sense that’s she’s giving her all with every song – and that’s why this album sounds so different than others of the same genre. She doesn’t hide behind a backing band or carefully pluck her guitar and sing softly full of whimsy. It’s lung busting, full throated and huge in sound – you put this on at a party, and people will wonder where the live music is coming from.
There were no EPs or singles to lead into this album – it just dropped in full and self standing, exactly like Cummings’ voice and songwriting. This album will stay with you long after she has finished, and will have you scrambling to find out where she’s performing live near you. For if she sounds this good on wax, imagine how it would sound live.