Blessed with an angelic voice, deft at lyrical wordplay and armed with a seemingly inexhaustive melody well, Conway – and partner Zygier – create songs which become best friends for life. You can hear the influence of her Patsy Cline tribute shows lingering in One Chance, while Accidents Happen In The Home recalls Martha Davis. Beautifully played, you can hear every single note and the care taken to let the songs breathe. Special guests include Paul Kelly and Toni Collette.
There are two potentially scary aspects about Summertown. Firstly, Deb Conway wants to be ?mature?; and secondly, it?s incredibly ambitious to aim to write songs as perfect as those of Carole King, James Taylor et al. But these fears are unfounded. Apart from the odd uneasy moment, Summertown is magical. An acoustic album with classical moves, Conway is subtle and restrained. Partners in music and life, she and Zygier create upbeat gems, dramatic ballad, lullabies and pop with country music being an almost unconscious influence. Guests included Toni Collette and Paul Kelly, plus members of Augie March and the John Butler Trio. Why Conway isn?t a world-famous diva is a mystery. Maybe she could have been if she had auditioned for Neighbours.
Summertown – Now Hear This
Sometimes a bad break is a lucky break. Apparently Conway broke an arm while writing her latest album, so she was sidelined from playing guitar, and long time partner- collaborator Zygier had to keep things simple and play rhythm. The result is a collection of songs that doesn?t fuss around, keeping things concise and painting everything in primary colours. That said, Conway?s storytelling ability has developed to a point where she?s not afraid to tackle the big old genres, and she has a nice line in understatement (Accidents Happen In The Home?) and in finding a new angle in a well-worn theme(?Something?s Right?). Meanwhile, ?Sunday Morning? (with Toni Collette on backing vocals) is so breezy and carefree that it warms the cockles of your heart. I?ve ploughed through many, many albums by female singer-songwriters of late that are either overly flowery or cloyingly self-obsessed, so it?s pleasant to hear Conway tiptoeing a fairly steady line between heartbreak and infatuation with barely a hiccup.