Civil Dusk by Bernard Fanning
Bernard Fanning – remember him? Powderfinger? Tea & Sympathy? Well, it’s been a while, 11 years in fact, since he wished us all well. 2005 was the year that Tea & Sympathy was released to critical acclaim. The country folk-inspired album which spawned numerous singalong tunes was a throwback to west coast ‘70s America, when the great singer-songwriters were sprouting peace and love – Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, to name a few. 2013’s Departures, while not as successful, was an evolution for Fanning, incorporating horns and beats into his songwriting repertoire.
Fanning is back from a stint in Spain with a new collection of songs and a recording studio in Byron Bay (where else) where, along with longtime collaborator Nick DiDia, they have put the finishing touches on what could be his most important release to date. Behind the stripped back tunes on Civil Dusk are messages that resonate in all facets of life. Whether you view these songs as being about love, family, friends, politics or the world in general, Fanning has managed to capture images and messages that will leave a mark no matter how you interpret them.
He is clearly a deep thinker and an intelligent man who likes to look outside of the box. On describing the album, Fanning says: ‘Sometimes, particular decisions appear to be the most sensible or realistic path to take. A civil, pragmatic compromise. But the passage of time reveals those decisions to have been flawed and to have far deeper and wide ranging consequences than predicted at the time. We all live with the consequences of our decisions but have daily things to attend to.’
At once familiar and personal, this album will stay with you and upon further listens will keep you thinking, as I’m sure was Fanning’s intention to begin with.
Lou Fulco works as a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.