According to Jane Tyrrell, every man and his dog has told her to make a solo record. It’s all simply been a matter of time, however: following extensive recording and touring with The Herd and Urthboy, the Novocastrian gave her debut solo performances toward the end of 2013 as part of Elefant Traks’ 15-year anniversary celebrations. Now, after two years of on-and-off work towards the record’s completion, every man and his dog finally have their day.
“I guess I was just waiting for the window of opportunity where I was able to pluck up the courage to make it happen,” says Tyrrell, on the line from her new home in Melbourne. “It was purely practical, to be honest. I also felt as though I had explored everything that I could purely from the perspective of writing hooks and verses. I felt like I wasn’t so much inspired to continue down that path. I wanted to see what I had in me. I wanted to challenge myself.”
Echoes In The Aviary is a debut free of jitters or nervous twitches, with resonant, bold versatility and a firm stamp of identity. It’s the end product of demons such as uncertainty and reluctance being battled and ultimately defeated – even if it took longer than expected.
“I’ve had a notebook and many vocal sketches that I’ve been building up on my laptop for about eight years – and I failed to utilise any of it,” Tyrrell explains. “I went up to the Blue Mountains in October of 2012 by myself and listened through them, trying to take them in. I wanted to see if there was something there that was worth pursuit, and I just wasn’t getting the hit that I wanted. That’s when I approached the Pike brothers from PVT – they’re the type of guys that have always turned me on musically. I asked them to collaborate with me on some demos, and that’s where the whole album really started.”
The aforementioned Pike brothers, as well as producers Dustin McLean and Pip ‘Countbounce’ Norman, all assisted in the creation and arrangement of each song on Echoes. Tyrrell herself wrote every song on the album bar one – ‘Stolen Apples’ originally appeared on the 2006 album of the same name by the one and only Paul Kelly.
“Toward the end of making the album, Tim [Levinson, AKA Urthboy] asked me to perform with him on that tour [with Kelly],” she says of the cover’s origin. “I figured that maybe it would be the final burst of inspiration that I needed to get across the finish line. I was suffering a lot from writer’s block at the time, but I was also watching Paul and his band play this amazing two-hour set of beautifully written music. I’d go back to the hotel room, and I’d try and write… nothing was coming out. I started listening to Paul’s music more by myself in order to pull apart his approach and attempt my own take on it. ‘Stolen Apples’ totally blew me away – I thought to myself, ‘This is it. This is what I need to master.’”
The man himself gave his seal of approval, and was even present at the song’s live premiere at Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club. It also appears as though his support has not ended there. “I got a text from Missy Higgins the other day,” says Tyrrell with a giggle. “She was over at Paul’s for a barbecue, and he was playing my album. She said he wouldn’t take it off!”