David Hyams – Travelling Bones


The album marks a departure from the celtic inspired fusion of Hyams’ instrumental albums and performances with the Miles To Go band. It’s stylistically more rooted in the folk/country area with bluesy tinges and not a bagpipe in sight – however, the strong connection to the West Australian landscape remains, with stories that include an encounter with an emu on a desolate stretch of north west highway (Roadside Lament), celebration of a Kimberley night (“Shine On”) and the ritual pilgrimage to favorite southern coastal areas (“In This Summer”).

Producer • Composer • Musician

David Hyams is an accomplished West Australian composer, producer and multi – instrumentalist. Playing acoustic and electric guitars, as well as mandolin, bass, dobro and harmonica, he has performed in a wide range of musical styles, from blues, pop/rock and country to the progressive folk of several popular WA acts.

A respected session guitarist and producer, David is known for his work with a range of Western Australian artists and also worked as sideman to a number of international acts, including touring Australia and Ireland with renowned Irish performer Sean Keane.

In 2000, David emerged as a composer and artist in his own right with the release of his critically acclaimed debut “Miles To Go”. The 13 track instrumental album attracted considerable radio airplay across Australia and a string of great reviews at home and abroad. Live performances by his 7 piece “Miles To Go band” followed, the band soon becoming a festival favourite and 8 times nominated for “Best World Music Act” at the WA Music Industry Associations awards (WAMIs).

David has composed for documentary and feature film, with his music being aired on numerous TV soundtracks. In 2013 he worked on the International feature Film “Kill Me 3 Times” as a music producer and arranger. As a songwriter he has collaborated with many artists and has been 3 times nominated for the WAM “Song of the year” awards, most recently in 2012. He was a finalist in the national MusicOz awards in 2006-7 and 2012, as well as the Australian Songwriters Association Awards in 2008.

David has had a long involvement with WA Indigenous musicians, including Peter Brandy and Kerriane Cox. His cross-cultural experience is extensive, having worked on a number of projects with remote and regional Aboriginal communities across WA and Central Australia since 1995, in particular as co-ordinator of an ArtsWA community music project in the Central Desert community of Jameson (Mantamaru) in 2005-6 and with the Martu people of the Western Desert in 2011-3.

David’s experience is diverse, having travelled to the Cocos Islands in 2010 to work with the Cocos Malay community and for 5 years running songwriting workshops in WA prisons, resulting in 55 songs being recorded – and including a collaboration with a women’s choir in Boronia pre-release centre. A compilation album “Songs from the Inside” was released in May 2010.

David has been a major contributor to WA’s music industry – as a member of ArtsWA’s contemporary music panel and a longstanding WAM board member, holding the President’s position from 2006 – 2008, with his contribution to the organisation and industry being acknowledged in 2010, when he was made the organisation’s 3rd honorary life member.

David continues to work from his Fremantle base and is currently recording his third album.

Review by Tony Smith
By ‘Miles To Go Music’. Mostly recorded at Soundbaker Studios. Full lyrics supplied. David Hyams plays guitars, bouzouki, mandolin, dobro, is writer and arranger, and contributes a gentle but strong voice. Angus Diggs, Elliot Smith, Roy Martinez, Manoli Vouyoucalos, Melanie Robinson, Jenny M Thomas, Natalie Gillespie, Angela Little, Shane O’Mara and James Hewgill assist ably on various instruments and with vocal backings. Hyams is well known in WA but is becoming better known across Australia, especially as a collaborator with veteran Bernard Carney. ‘Travelling Bones’ suggests that Hyams has a propensity for moving around. That is hardly surprising for anyone wanting to reach the broader audiences and markets east of the Nullarbor. However, much of the travel described in these songs is around the vast state of WA. ‘Shine On’ is inspired by the Kimberley night sky. It tells of the wrench of returning to the city with its light pollution and distractions. This excellent opening track features strong dobro riffs and gentle backing harmonies. ‘In This Summer’ describes the wait for an overdue summer to arrive. It has a particularly fresh beat which is distinctively Australian. In ‘A Roadside Lament’ Hyams tells of a collision with an emu near Carnarvon. He would have put the bird out of its misery if he could. Hyams is able to use seemingly minor incidents as inspiration for a song. ‘Home for the Weekend’ is a good upbeat contrast. It tells of travelling home from the central desert to the beach – and his love. ‘One Day Gone’ arose from some songwriting workshops. Hyams sings of the bravery of a woman coping with tragedy. One particularly powerful line says that ‘No artist could paint the sorrow there’. Hyams also gave songwriting workshops in jails. ‘Another Day’ expresses the sense of alienation felt by many inmates. Some tracks speak of love and relationships. ‘Love Stays’ lists things that fade, perish and disappear. Love on the other hand, survives. In the title track ‘Travelling Bones’, Hyams longs to stay at home but feels the pressure to travel for work. ‘Shifting Sands’ is dedicated to one ‘who could not make up her mind’. Again there is the restless spirit, whether or not involving geographical relocation. And ‘Bittersweet’ tells of a ‘poignant’ friendship. Two tracks specifically foreground the life of the travelling musician. In ‘On and On’, Hyams takes to the road, literally playing for his supper with Derry fiddler JP Sweeney. ‘You Are the Song’ – another upbeat piece, Hyams describes as ‘a love song dedicated to the muse’. Hyams has a true voice and uses good arrangements that do not obscure its purity. Hyams maintains the theme of travel consistently throughout. Some songs have a slight ‘country’ feel but not in any derivative sense. They are distinctively Australian and the many mentions of landscape show that Hyams understands the country. To produce 12 songs on a theme is a grand achievement. For them to be so consistently listenable is even more remarkable.

3 in stock

SKU: TN1948-70 Category:

Additional information

Weight .100 kg
Dimensions 14 × 12.5 × 1 cm