PREMIERE: Halfway - Bret Canham's Leather Jacket

1 March 2016 | 10:40 am | Staff Writer

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Decorated Queensland-bred octet Halfway are mere weeks away from unleashing their eagerly awaited fifth full-length, The Golden Halfway Record, onto our impatient ears and, to help tide us over during this final agonising stretch, the band have unveiled brand new single Bret Canham's Leather Jacket, proudly premiering on The Music today.

The new cut marks the first taste from the forthcoming album, which follows 2014's widely acclaimed Any Old Love and was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, in September 2015 with legendary indie-rock producer Mark Nevers (Calexico, Bonnie Prince Billy, Lambchop & more). 

The track takes its themes and title from the adolescent experiences of core Halfway duo John Busby and Chris Dale, who — growing up in the isolated central Qld town of Rockhampton — met a boy (the titular Bret) who "stood out and suffered for it" before, as so many young outcasts living in rural Australia do, booking it to the nearest major capital to enjoy a more tolerated existence.

With a line-up boasting an ex-Go-Between (John Wilsteed), talented musos Luke Peacock and Ben Johnson, the Irish sibling-power of Noel & Liam Fitzpatrick, and the "we survived Rockhampton" pluck of Busby, Dale and Elwin Hawtin, it's little surprise that this is a band who has made palpable strides with every new release. With a boast-worthy reclamation of the band's rock roots while never denying their countrified elements, the album is tipped to be one of the best things this colourful ensemble have ever done together.

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"The band is like a face, showing all the stuff that the years have piled on," Wilsteed said in a statement. "One day you're just a kid, screaming around in the summer dark, and then you do what you do, roads less travelled or waking up in the ditch, but keeping on. Then every now and then, in the midst of it all, you look in the mirror and it's all there. These albums are like those mirror moments."

Halfway will launch The Golden Halfway Record at home in Brisbane, at the Triffid, on 29 April. Tickets are available now.

The Golden Halfway Record will be released 8 April on iTunes, deluxe CD and 180-gram vinyl via ABC Music.