Queen of Boomtown is Gretta Ziller’s stunning debut album set for release through independent label, Social Family Records, on September 1. Whilst Ziller’s sound bears hallmarks of classic Americana, its essence is as diverse as the Melbourne songstress’ eclectic musical upbringing, reflected in the varied tracks on this superb collection, which defies categorisation and demands repeated listens.
The album features an impressive array of musicians, including members of Saskwatch, The Cat Empire, and the bands of Angus and Julie Stone, Passenger and Dan Sultan, with accomplished songwriter Jen Mize providing backing vocals as well as a duet appearance from Henry Wagons. Recorded at Woodstock Studios, Balaclava and produced by Paul Ruske, Queen of Boomtown was written over many years, covers vast emotional territory, and pushes musical boundaries.
“I didn’t want to make an album that sounded like anything in the Americana scene right now,” explains Ziller. “I wanted my album to reflect the soundtrack of my childhood, yet sonically and lyrically sound like who I am now. I really wanted to push the boundaries of what country music, or Americana, alt-country – whatever you want to call it – can sound like. I didn’t want to fit neat and tidy into the country music box.”
Slaughterhouse Blues is the lead and first single lifted from Queen of Boomtown. A song about the need to escape, it tells the story of living in a small-minded town and needing to get out by any means possible. Lyrically and melodically, it’s a bit of a ‘tip of the hat’ to one of Ziller’s main songwriting influences, Steve Earle, whilst staying true to her own unique style.
“Although Slaughterhouse Blues is about getting out of a small town, many people find themselves in similar situations (and I know I have), where they wake up one day thinking, I don’t fit in here, or I don’t want this to be me or my future,” says Ziller. “It’s that desire we all get for change and betterment of our situation and lives.”
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