Jayne Denham Goes Track-By-Track Through New Album ‘Moonshine’

15 May 2024 | 7:26 pm | Ellie Robinson

The Aussie star’s hotly awaited sixth album just debuted at #1 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Country Albums Chart.

Jayne Denham

Jayne Denham (Credit: Tony Mott)

More Jayne Denham More Jayne Denham

It’s been a huge month for Australian country stalwart Jayne Denham, with her career-defining fifth album, Moonshine, debuting at #1 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Country Albums chart. Not only that, but it hit #7 on the ARIA chart for all Australian releases, and #17 on the global Top 40 Country Albums chart.

Moonshine is a breathtaking journey of an album, steeped in some incredibly rich storytelling that truly elevates Denham as a singer and songwriter. So to celebrate the milestone release, we caught up with her to get the lowdown on every single track on the album.

1. The Moonshine Raid

“After the inspiration I had to create my last album Wanted, where we mixed the music from old spaghetti Western movies with a modern-day country rock twist, I decided to add sound effects all the way through the new album.

“This time we decided to draw inspiration from the Prohibition Moonshine era of music and so this time we thought it would be fun to put all the sound effects in one track to set the scene, and so we created The Moonshine Raid. Finding all the sound effects was really fun and Brian Bunn wrote the score with Brian White, also setting the vision with me from the start.”

Join our community with our FREE weekly newsletter

2. Moonshine (ft. Colt Ford)

I found this song and wanted to record it for the Wanted album, but someone else beat me to it and already put it on hold, so I had to let it go. But I loved it so much, so for the next year I kept saying to my publishers, ‘Got Moonshine for me yet? It’s my song, I know it!’ 14 months later I get the call, ‘Jayne it’s yours, but cut it quick – people love it.’

Moonshine was written from a guy’s point of view, but I like to put a twist on most things I do so I knew it was the perfect song to sing from a woman’s perspective. To then have Colt Ford love it so much he wanted to be on the track as well... all I can say is working with Colt was a dream come true, he was someone I had dreamed of working with, so Moonshine is very special in lots of ways.”

3. Are You Ready For This (ft. Hurricane Fall)

“This track was written by the legends Miranda Lambert, Jessie Alexander and Jon Randall. We were looking for some duet songs and with me being the country rock chick, this song was sent to me. They didn’t tell me who wrote it as they wanted to see how much I liked it first, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was perfect for the album. Then the question was, who was going to sing it with me? After touring with the boys from Hurricane Fall, I knew they would be the perfect fit. It was great to work with the boys.”

4. Chain Smokin’

“To create the type of albums I like to make, I have a theme and storyline in mind, so I am always on the hunt or trying to write songs that fit the story and help me paint the picture that this time was Moonshine. Again, Chain Smokin’ was pitched to me and the clever way it was written blew me away, it ticked all the boxes for this record.

“To find out it was again co-written by another legendary writer and artist, Brandy Clark (Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Darius Rucker, etc) and hit songwriters Matt Jenkins and Trevor Rosen, just blew me away. This song was incredibly creative to record as I had to go to another place to bring the vocal sound that it needed, and Brian’s band track is just so epic, it brought this song to a place that lifts the album and the story fits like a glove.”

5. Poison

“This is a George Strait cover. While finding songs to tell the Moonshine story, this song came into the mix and I felt a huge honour to give it a crack to cover it in my own way. My dad was a huge George Strait fan, and I grew up listening to all his albums, so to record this for me and for my late father was in fact a very emotional song to record.

“I wanted to do it justice and felt I needed some help to push me to my vocal limits, so I called my dear friend Drew McAlister to vocal produce this as we had been mates for 20 years, and he knew me and my voice. This was the best decision I could have ever made as he pushed me and helped me recreate this awesome song and make it my own. Drew also jumped on backing vocals and that added a real haunting and wonderful sound.

“It has become probably my most favourite song on the record as it is a different side of me. I think Dad would have been proud.”

6. Stunt Double

“With the Wanted album I had to paint the wild west album picture, so to do that there was lots of ‘I wanna kill ya, shoot ya, etc.’ kinda songs. So, with these kinda badass albums I always have to find the happy and fun songs to help break it up.

“So for this album, ‘Stunt Double’ ticked every box and if you know my sense of humour, this song is so me. Every time I sing it the crowd gets into it as it is so fun and cheeky. My producers Brian White and Brian Bunn did a brilliant job bringing the old-school country in, yet with upbeat and modern production to keep anyone feeling the fun vibe this song creates. I got to record this vocal with the boys in Nashville so that was great to be altogether to get the energy right. This one is all fun.”

7. Risk It All

“This song came from me thinking about how in 2023 we had performed at heaps of festivals and so it meant I would need to hit the road with my band and go to smaller towns to promote the album in 2024,  and it would mean I would have to ‘risk it all’. It was a lightbulb moment! I then decided that’s the name of the tour. So I had the tour name and no song, but what a title – all moonshiners on the run from the cops had to risk it all, it was a winner idea. So, this song had to be written and make the record.

“I called my producer Brian White and told him my idea and said it needs to be a barn burner. I said, ‘Let’s get our good friend Phil Barton in,’ who has written so many of my big hits. He loved the idea, so they dropped everything and within a week Risk It All was going on the record. And I have to say it’s probably one of the best songs live in the show. We did it! Phew! That one sure was a risk.”

8. Lovin’ A Wild Thing

“This one took me by surprise. Brian White sent this song he had written with Jason Sever, Ben Glover and Chad Brownlee. As soon as I played this song, I knew it was a hit but the demo was country pop, however the title, lyrics and melody 100 percent fitted the album.

“As a session singer at times in my career, it is easy for me to sing all different types of styles of singing if needed. So this one was tricky because if I went too pop it’s just not me, but if I went too rock it would spoil the awesome melodies they wrote that required a more gentle yet fully rounded tonal approach to do it justice. So, after hearing what the Brians did in the studio with the incredible, powerful, dynamic band track, I knew I had to figure out how to do both, to give this song the sound it required.

“Sidenote: again this song was written for a guy, but I knew it was me and would be a powerful message from a girl’s point of view. So I got together with Ben Robertson (Robertson Brothers) who produced all my vocals on the Wanted album to help me. We were so happy with the result that it ended up being the lead single for the record, and I was rapt. It worked even better than I imagined and is a standout track for me.”

9. Face Of The Sun

“There are just some writers you find that are perfect for you – they say what you think, write melodies you could only dream of singing, and put it into words better than you ever could. For me this writer is Megan Conner. I have never even met her except online, and hope to later this year, but she has written a number of my songs that I love and adore. She wrote this with my producer Brian White and Pete Stewart and for me to sing this song was like putting wings on me. I feel like I can fly when I sing it.

“What an incredibly clever epic song that I now get it say is mine. A song that beautifully paints a picture of a love you just can’t ever get over.”

10. Moonshine Money

“Country music is about stories, and writing this song [gave me[ one hell of a history lesson in moonshiners and the stories from the prohibition era. These stories blew Matt Scullion and I – just two crazy Aussie country artists – away. Man I tell ya, this kinda thing is what songwriting is all about. Talk about a mind-blow.

“I got to meet Ross Flora, an awesome singer-songwriter from Nashville, last year. He grew up in Virginia, the moonshine capital of the world, so to hear the stories that made our eyes do the emoji when they pop out, some stories we cannot repeat, was one [songwriting session] I will never forget. Out of that came the fable of Uncle Jimmy’s hidden Moonshine Money, and the story was created loosely based on stories we got to hear about. It tells the story of finding his money as he sits in jail after the sheriff was killed.

“Here’s to many more fun writes like this one that cross the pond, it sure did bookend my Moonshine album perfectly.”