Master songsmith Perry Keyes was last at Dashville for the inaugural Dashville Skyline 2015, and now he returns on the heels of his exceptional new album Jim Salmon's Lament.
Perry grew up in the inner city working class area of Sydney known as Redfern. He grew up in a home populated by various uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. Every Saturday morning his grandmother would do the house work whilst playing the likes of Ray Charles and Roy Orbison at a volume loud enough to spill out onto the neighbouring streets, lined with tightly-packed terraced houses, warehouses and textile factories.
Perry formed the band The Stolen Holdens in 1989. Musically inspired by the likes of The Clash and Elvis Costello and lyrically taking his cue from artists like Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen, Keyes and The Stolen Holdens developed a small but loyal following in the local Sydney music scene.
The band faded by the early '90s and Perry re-emerged in 2003, playing solo sets featuring songs that would make up the bulk of his debut double album Meter – released in 2005 to critical acclaim and numerous years end best-of lists.
His next album The Last Ghost Train Home was received with even greater acclaim upon its release in 2007. It went on to be short-listed for the Australian Music Prize and was named the ABC Radio National Album of the Year. It was followed by the equally acclaimed Johnny Ray's Downtown.
“There was a song on 2010’s Johnny Ray’s Downtown called 'Queen Of Everyone’s Heart' and there is a verse in there where I describe the family: a guy in his railway shirt, the mum with the bruises on her face, and I got the spark of an idea from that. There’s a family there, and it’s a fleeting glimpse of them, but what if I go a bit deeper?” says Perry.
“I started thinking about the families I grew up with and a particular family that lived in the James Cook [Housing Commission] flats, a brother and sister. I thought I would write about the dad, because I was pissed off with narcissistic blokes where everything they do is fuelled by self-interest but every time it got to mentioning the kids I would start writing a song about them, so I realised that the centre of the album was the brother and sister. That is the grace in the record.”
Don't miss this modern master at Gum Ball 2o19.