JANE GERMAIN & IAN SIMPSON

NO FUN ALLOWED

MGM

Ian Simpson will be known to many bluegrass fans as one of the best instrumentalists around. His roles in Paul Kelly’s touring bands, particularly the Stormwater Boys bluegrass project, have been impressive, to say the least.

Simpson first teamed up with singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jane Germain on her Chinese Whispers album. No Fun Allowed is their second album as a duo and it’s an ingenuous, spirited treat. There are no airs of snobbish traditionalism, nor any flagrant attempts to conjure some “ingenious” new subgenre. Just a couple of highly talented and passionate musicians playing to their strengths and loves. And clearly, despite the title, having a ball in the process.

The pair plays virtually all the instrumentation on this album, swinging between old-timey era versions of the folk forms, country, blues and bluegrass with a distinctly Australian swagger. Germain plays acoustic guitar and handles most of the lead vocals, but is also handy on the banjo. Simpson plays bass, guitars, banjo, percussion, dobro and harmony vocals. Adam Gare steps in with a little fiddle and mandolin when required.

In addition to a handful of co-written original songs, all vocal numbers, the duo pays tribute to a few of their favourites, including Chet Atkins (‘How’s The World Treating You’), the Louvin Brothers (‘Don’t Laugh’), and the Delmore Brothers (‘Mississippi Shore’).

MARTIN JONES - RHYTHMS - April 2012


NO FUN ALLOWED

JANE GERMAIN & IAN SIMPSON

INDEPENDENT

It’s clear that JANE GERMAIN and IAN SIMPSON are having the time of their lives playing music together. And they do it so well, bringing their ample talents to bear on everything from traditional bluegrass and some gorgeous vocal harmonies to contemporary bluegrass. Throughout, that wicked twinkle in both their eyes is conveyed through their music, which is fresh, warm and wonderful.

I absolutely loved the cheeky Why Do You Hate Me So Much? and the first track, Listen To What You Know is a standout. Other fine original songs include the evocative I Can’t Hear You Now and No Fun Allowed. There are two excellent instrumentals, Climbing The Munro and the cute Bantams Out The Back; the musicianship is superb. The pair also pays tribute to vocal duos on tracks like How’s The World Treating You, Don’t Laugh and Mississippi Shore.

This is a charming, quirky and completely delightful album – Jane and Ian are a country music secret that definitely needs to be discovered!

SUSAN JARVIS - COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS - February 2012


LONESOME ROAD

JANE GERMAIN & IAN SIMPSON

INDEPENDENT

The musical chemistry between Jane Germain and Ian Simpson is very much in evidence on this diverse and very appealing album. The pair set out to recreate the sound and style of their live shows together, and they’ve achieved that brilliantly with a huge dollop of warmth and energy. The album’s sound leans towards bluegrass, with some blues classics and a number of other gems.

Highlights include Jane’s exquisite vocals on the beautiful Darling Brown Eyes and one of her signature songs, Living On The Edge. Her voice is like an instrument – it can be sweet and pure for a ballad, or it can take on a completely different tone for blues and bluegrass.

There are two instrumentals on the album, Dance Of The Fountain and a reprise of Lonesome Road Blues – both, naturally, are imbued with Ian Simpson’s magical touch.

This album, Lonesome Road, is wonderful – organic, dynamic and full of great tunes done superbly. Watch out for it!

SUSAN JARVIS - COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS - May 2010


CHINESE WHISPERS

JANE GERMAIN

INDEPENDENT

If you thought you’d heard it all, then an album by an Australian born singer songwriter with Chinese heritage may change your mind.

On Chinese Whispers Jane Germain attempts to combine cultures and takes a bunch of West Coast based acoustic/electric musicians along for the ride, including some familiar names in Ian Simpson, Adam Gare, Dave Brewer and The Waifs Ben Franz.

Despite the line-up of potential musical virtuosity the accent is on the languid rhythms and vocals of the artist who possesses a smoky voice and does not seem anxious to tie her songs up in neat little bundles. The Oriental fusion seeps in with the track What Have I Got To Lose name checking Chinese cities much like an old Chuck Berry song would the USA. The title track features a traditional Chinese two string violin while the final, Model Young Man a Mongolian singer in a near “throat music” style.

Well Willie Nelson recorded with Tuvan master Kongar-Ool Onda so anything is possible. Country and Eastern anyone?

KEITH GLASS – CAPITAL NEWS - September 2007


CHINESE WHISPERS

JANE GERMAIN

INDEPENDENT

The title of this CD, Chinese Whispers, alludes to Jane Germain’s heritage (her great grandmother was a Manchurian, married to an English missionary), her recent residence in Beijing, and the Chinese musicians playing on various of the tracks on this album.

The title track is dedicated to her great grandmother and speaks poignantly of her choices and conflicts. “Model Young Man” is a response to a documentary on a young Manchurian man trying to protect his heritage, and features singing and playing from Hanggai, a Mongolian folk band Jane met and played with in Beijing.

The balance of this delightful nine track album (all originals) features Jane’s songs performed by a range of Western Australia’s finest musicians, including two ex-Cowpersons (Ian Simpson and John Reed), a Waif (Ben Franz) and delicious electric guitar playing from Dave Brewer. Heartfelt songs,beautifully sung and played, with Jazz style somewhere between folk, Jazz and country, and a chinese element thrown into the mix for good measure.

This is a fabulous listen !

IAN DEARDEN - TRAD AND NOW - 2010