Eils & The Drip, Two Tone Pony & Baeden Faint: Highlights From This Week’s ‘Grass Roots’

27 February 2024 | 6:40 pm | Staff Writer

Every week, ABC Country's ‘Grass Roots’ program shines a light on the best independently released Australian country content.

Eils & The Drip

Eils & The Drip (Credit: Mike Ridley)

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Every week, ABC Country's Grass Roots program shines a light on the best independently released Australian country content. Selected from the hundreds of new tracks submitted, the one-hour program is now available on demand as well as premiering each Monday at 9pm on ABC Country, showing the health of Aussie country music across all its sub-genres. Here are four of this week's tracks you should have on your radar. 

Head here to have a listen to this week’s full episode of Grass Roots.

Eils & The Drip – Easy Rider

Melbourne's latest freewheeling cosmic country sensations have arrived with a single that will take your breath away as it makes you feel the wind in your hair and the world spin beneath your wheels. Indeed, it's all there in the opening bars of Easy Rider. The gorgeous harmonies and the rich, full sound jump straight in before the song opens out in all its big sky splendour.

It's an incredible track, one that speaks of a longing for freedom and an uninhibited sense of self. And while it all maybe a bit of wishful thinking – the fabulous video, created by Wild Rose Pictures, hints at that, while at the same time putting real-life motorcycle rider Rick on a ‘70s Honda 50cc – Eileen, the true nature's child who we see as the fearless frontwoman Eils whenever she gets in front of a mic, simply sings the hell out it. 

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Eils & The Drip are a Naarm six-piece formed by vocalist/songwriter Eileen Hodgkins (aka Eils). Eileen is a prolific figure on the local scene who, at the age of 13, hit the road with her three siblings in family band Perch Creek (originally The Perch Creek Family Jugband). Perch Creek toured nationally and internationally for more than ten years, releasing a couple of albums, and playing the likes of Golden Plains, Port Fairy, Woodford, MONA FOMA and Falls Festival, as well as Edinburgh Fringe, WOMAD UK, Winnipeg Folk Festival and more. 

Indeed, Perch Creek toured Europe and the UK three times, Canada twice, and played shows in the US, including in Nashville. They also appeared on Specks & Specks, and even supported Lisa-Marie Presley!

Two Tone Pony – Caroline

Still riding high from their Tamworth Country Music Festival debut, Two Tone Pony have unveiled their lively new single Caroline. The track is a tangle of banjo and guitars, set to a driving backbeat, reminiscent of an Allman Brothers classic. “I was definitely channelling the Allman Brothers sound, in particular Dicky Betts the guitarist,” revealed frontman David Kirkpatrick

Recorded with multi-award-winning producer Rod McCormack at his Central Coast hideaway, The Music Cellar, the two attempted to replicate Dicky Betts’ iconic sound. “Rod researched his sound and recorded my guitar solo in a simulated set up like his – very cool! We then got Rod to add his trademark banjo picking to contribute to the rolling guitar feel of the song. I hear the sound of the steam whistle,” David said.

The idea for Caroline began when David became fascinated with the paddle steamers that serviced the wool trade on the Murray Darling River: “I was taken by the fact that it was quite dangerous – the boats could become stranded in a tributary if the water level dropped and could be stuck for months before rains came and flooded the rivers again.”

Yet, Caroline is not the name of the wearied paddle steamer in this somewhat sea shanty, but rather the woman who waits for her love to return. “I envisaged a young bloke who signs on for the money not really knowing what is in store and then finds himself stuck on the boat while his fiancé – Caroline – waits for him not knowing what has happened.”

Caroline follows on from Two Tone Pony’s single Stormy Weather, which peaked at #11 on the Country Songs Top 40 airplay chart, the third of which to climb the chart since the band’s debut last year.

Baeden Faint – Hometown Fantasy

Country troubadour Baeden Faint has just dropped his impressive debut single Hometown Fantasy, with the accompanying music video racking up over 2,600 views in two days – earning the emerging artist an outstanding result for a debut release. Born in Modbury Hospital in SA and raised in Parkes, Baeden grew up like a lot of other kids from the country – playing soccer, footy, fishing, camping, and riding motorbikes. 

His passion for country music kicked in when he stumbled upon John Williamson’s Old Man Emu CD in his pop’s one-tonne ute. He first picked up a guitar at his friends grandfathers shed, and at age 12, was given his first nylon-string and swiftly began teaching himself to play. He honed his craft at open-mic nights to build up his confidence, which soon turned into paid gigs. As a field technician working with Telstra, he’s racked up the miles and written songs in every place you could imagine – on a coastal cliff face, atop of a misty mountain, under an old corry shelter in the middle of nowhere and on the edge of the Simpson desert.

Produced by Garth Porter of Rancom Studios, Hometown Fantasy was written like a lot of his other songs – with a port in hand, smoking alone late at night, with too much time for thinking. Penned whilst sitting on a swing at 3am in the morning, across the road from his nan and pop’s house, Baeden found himself reminiscing on past relationships where it seemed everything was laid out ready, but wondering whether it was really meant to be. 

It’s a bittersweet song that is filled with the regret of losing the love and happiness that was once there, whilst acknowledging that it was right to leave it in the past and move on. It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s Baeden Faint.