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Cass Hopetoun Breaks Down Every Track On Debut Album ‘Not Your Typical Bride’

8 April 2022 | 12:10 pm | Mallory Arbour

With the release of her debut album, we’re so delighted to bring you this exclusive track by track, as Cass Hopetoun talks us through each track.

Cass Hopetoun

Cass Hopetoun (Image: Supplied)

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Today, Cass Hopetoun releases her highly anticipated debut album, Not Your Typical Bride. Produced by Matt Fell from Love HZ Studio, the eclectic 13-track collection remains grounded in Country music, with welcome detours into Americana, Motown, Pop and even Mariachi.

Hopetoun explains, “This album started as a bit of fun as I started my songwriting journey and I aimed to keep it that way. It doesn’t try to follow a particular ‘mould’ or feel - it does what it wants, and man does it get carried away at points. I’ve really tried to create a fresh blend of traditional and contemporary country and have been slowly finding the ‘Cass’ filter... It shares many opinions, many rants, much sass, vulnerable moments and a splash of quirkiness - kind of like me.”

Hopetoun burst onto the Australian country music scene as the tequila touting party girl behind the catchy #4 hit, Shots. Then she let us know she’s here to stay with the defiant and provocative follow up, Typical Bride – which flew to the #1 spot on the Countrytown Hot 50 Country Airplay Chart and earned the singer-songwriter her first Golden Guitar Award  nomination for ‘New Talent of the Year’. The album also features feel good bops like Who Needs Hawaii and Live a Little and sassy rants like Typical Bride and Fortune Teller.

The entire collection was co-written by Hopetoun with her fiancé and fellow Country Music artist, Blake Dantier. The album’s explosive opening track, Bonfire, was also written with Sarah Buckley, whilst the thoughtful and vulnerable, Parallel Lines, enlists the pen of Nashville based, Australian ex-pat, Phil Barton. The album is rounded off with the bonus track, Say The Word – a duet with Andrew Swift, which topped the Kix Hottest 20 and was the radio station’s #1 most played track for 2021.

We’re so delighted to bring you this exclusive track by track, as Cass Hopetoun talks us through each individual track: the creation, sentiment, and everything in between.

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1. Bonfire  

Blake and I spent a lot of our lockdowns setting up zoom co-writes trying to make the most being stuck at home! One person we were really keen to get in the (virtual) room with was Sarah Buckley. We ended up going with a title/song idea I had in my phone called Bonfire - which centres around wanting to throw all your exes stuff into a big fire after a breakup. Sarah is such a talented writer and I love the melodies she comes up with so I was really keen to see what we would create together.  

In the studio I remember getting back a bunch of drum tracks from Josh Schubert and this one really stood out. When we listened back, we were all blown away from how ‘huge’ it sounded. Matt and I even shared a look and giant nod that said it all… YAS. The drums took the song in a different direction… from a boppy break up song to a powerful, empowering song that hits you in the face with its first drum hit. I LOVE having it as the album opener - it sets up the whole album perfectly.  

2. Typical Bride  

Once Blake and I got engaged, I realised pretty early on that we were planning a very different day to what my family (and others) thought it “should be”. I had been out with my Dad and Grandma and he kept asking things like “Well, you’ll be having a church wedding right??”, “You’ll be wearing white right??” And there was a liiiiittle bit of a heated discussion before I went home and started writing this song. It was more of a rant with a melody if I’m being honest but, it made it easy to smash it out in an hour. I then took it to Blake who helped rework (calm it down a bit) to bring it where it is today.  

In the studio, Matt used an instrument which is pretty much a 70s samples machine haha He spent ages getting these groovy Latin grooves into the track which were WELL worth the effort. They give the song this super unique feel along with the percussion layers in there. I love how Matt’s mind works.  

3. Shots  

A few years ago a lot of my close friends were getting their first ‘real’ jobs… aka 9-5’s and suddenly there was a lot less willingness to get a little lose on the weekends. One night a friend of ours announced they were leaving at 8pm because it was ‘getting late’. This was a Friday, and no one had work the next day… Once they had left, I went on (another) rant to Blake about how everyone was in a hurry to grow up and settle down and we were all too old for things like shots. Two days later, Blake came back with a finished song… probably because I gave him a lot of material let’s be honest.  

This was my first song I’d ever recorded so I was a total newbie and had no idea what I was doing! haha. I remember trying to soak in so much over the two days and asked Matt lots of questions haha. It was a surreal experience watching this little song in a voice memo on our phone turn into what it is today. My favourite part of the whole tune in the fiddle part – since that was added in, I literally can’t imagine the track without that catchy riff in there. 


4. Chinese Whispers  

Rumours are never fun, especially when they’re not true. I had an ex-friend spread a rumour about me about a particular situation which painted me in a bad light. I knew it wasn’t true at all, but it still hurt me, and I couldn’t help but, dwell on it. It was Blake who reminded me that people are always going to talk but, you can choose to ignore them.  

This is one of the grooviest songs on the album and it’s half thanks to the writing but, a lot of it has to do with the production. Matt is a percussion wizard. I also love that it has this surf rock feel, so it brings a lot of retro vibes. Fun fact, the whistle track in here is the same one from the demo Blake made. He recorded it in our lounge room and if you could zoom in real close you can maybe still hear an expert from the McLeod’s Daughters episode I was watching! Haha 


5. Never Was  

When Blake first showed this song to me, I knew it was a contender for the album. It had such great imagery and storytelling and I wanted to tell it. It’s a one-night stand song but, focuses on the moment where you wake up and think should I stay here…or should I grab the heels and get out of here quick smart! Haha.  

This song has such strong imagery and storytelling, and it was a joy to record. It took me back to theatre days of telling a whole story with just one song. I’m pretty sure it was the fastest song to record on the whole album.  

6. Live A Little  

This song brings me joy. It brought joy the first time I heard it and it keeps bringing the joy every time I sing it. I love the message in the song… get out there and LIVE. Especially after 2 years of being lockdown up continuously it’s a welcome reminder.  

I love singing this song. I was literally dancing around the recording both whilst we did the vocal track!  


7. Who Needs Hawaii  

During lockdown Blake and I tried to bring different cultures into our home. If we can’t travel, we might as well bring it to us… that was our motto. We would have nights of cooking Indian food, putting on traditional music… Hawaiian cocktails in tiki cups and dancing around to Hawaiian music etc. Who Needs Hawaii is all about not waiting for a specific time to have a holiday - just have it now! Pull out a fold out chair, grab your favourite drink and relax. The lyrics spoke to me as I’m someone that gets caught up in being busy and then I completely forget to take a time out.  I’m learning slowly to chill out haha A lot of that is thanks to that good ol’ covid perspective.  


8. Barbie Doll  

I’d been hearing about a friend of a friend who was unhappy in their marriage and felt like they were just ‘pretending’ now. They were putting on a facade that everything was going great but, deep down it was falling apart. I thought it sounded a bit like they were living in a Barbie Doll house. The imagery of that lead me right into creating the bones of the song. Blake had a musical idea that ended up fitting it perfectly, so we put them together and finished writing it to create what it is today.  

This went through looooots of changes during the production process. It could have gone in so many directions but I’m really happy with where it landed eventually. I loved putting all the vocal layers and harmonies in the track.  

9. Parallel Lines  

Pregnancy tests whether you’re keen on them being positive or not are a super stressful few minutes. I was thinking one day about that wait time and how much can go through your head, no matter what you want the result to be. I took all my ideas to a co-wrote I’d set up with Blake and Phil Barton (an Aussie songwriter based in Nashville) and we smashed it out in one session. 

The vocal riff in here was literally something I was making up whilst Blake was doing a guitar track. Matt said “what was that you were doing?? Let’s record it now”. The voice is my instrument, so I loved all the predominate vocal parts in the songs - they feel really authentic to me.  

10. Fortune Teller  

In 2019, Blake and I went to The USA and took a 3-day trip to New Orleans, more specially the French Quarter. LOVED it. They are into all sorts of magically, quirky things so it was right up my alley. They have their main street that has two voodoo shops on it, filled with all sorts of things like shrunken heads hanging from the ceiling etc. I thought… I have to see a fortune teller whilst I’m here – this is the place to do it! I went through the shop, right to the back where there was a dark room with one candle and a fortune teller. I was so nervous haha! It was a fantastic experience, and I knew had to write about it. Blake and I actually wrote this one car trip home from the Central Coast. It was one of those songs that was so easy to write… if only there all were!  

I loved recording this song. We did it the same day as Typical Bride and it was just such a creative day in the studio. I wanted to create the feel of New Orleans in the song - the jazz, the mystery all the flavours. Matt was all about it. It’s the ‘darkest’ song on the album production wise and I think it brings such a different flavour to the album.  


11. Honest  

The message in this song is something I really passionate about so as soon as Blake showed to me, I put dibs on it. Most people still find it hard to open up and not just answer with the usual ‘I’m fine’ when they’re falling apart inside. It would be great to live in a world where everyone felt comfortable to open up to friends and family so that were able to get the help they need.  

Our goal was to make it epic. If we’re going to have one ballad on the album we might as well go big or go home haha! The outro especially is huuuuuge and I love where we it climaxes too.  

12. Karma (It Ain’t My Fault)  

I come from a music theatre background, and I think that is most obvious in this song. It was another song where I had the lyrical ideas but, Blake had a musical one and they meshed together perfectly. This is my country murder ballad…we all have one right...? It was a song that was pure fun, we didn’t try and fit it into any sort of genre/formula we just got a little wacky with it haha. 

In the studio, Matt had one listen and turned around and said “We should get horns, right? We should get horns.” 2 days later, we had the incredible James Green come in and play trombone and trumpet and it honestly gave me goosebumps. The horns honestly brought it to a whole new level!

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