Your free what's on guide to the top end

Tim Freedman

Iconic Aussie band The Whitlams are well known for their poignant vignettes of urban life, but their latest single about a man driving through the hills is something of a tree-change for these metro musos.

We caught up with the band’s lead singer, Tim Freedman, ahead of his solo tour to chat about the new single, ‘Man About a Dog’, and about The Whitlams’ first album in 14 years.

Last year, your band postponed the Gaffage and Clink tour – how does it feel to be on the road again?
Well, I was looking forward to a big band tour because we had new material for the first time in quite a while and a new sense of purpose. Luckily, I’m very flexible…As soon as things moved towards tables and chairs, I was out there playing cabaret sets. I’ve actually worked more than I have in years!

I’ve done 50, 60 solo gigs, and I’ve got a taste for it. When the new song ended up being the one that’s the most country that we’ve ever played, it made sense to get out to the regions.

What was the inspiration behind it?
I was on the north coast, doing some writing, and the rain had arrived. I had to go and visit a mate in the hills, six days after the rains had come, and I couldn’t believe how quickly the country had bounced back. I had a bit of a nature moment, which is quite memorable for me because I’m a very urban chap.

It’s about driving down a country lane, listening to Neil Young, while a farmer limps after his escaped cattle. I call it “pastoral pop”.

There are many of us very excited The Whitlams have a new album coming out after 14 years. What brought the band back together?
I became ambitious again. I wanted to play more shows, bigger shows. The band was sounding great, and I knew the only way to find new ears was to put out new material.

Anything different to previous albums?
I don’t think people will be too shocked – it’s a little bit simpler, but lyrically it’s all over the shop, like all the albums. There are sad songs and flippant songs and narrative songs, so it’s pretty typical in that respect.

Are you looking forward to visiting the Top End?
Darwin’s the most unique city in Australia. It’s one place where you know you’re not in the other joints, I tell you!

You mentioned that you’ve been enjoying performing solo – why do you think that is?
The challenge. I have to play a lot more piano, and I have to concentrate harder, and I have to tell more stories and create more laughs. You have to fill a room and be poignant and funny. It’s good old-fashioned cabaret – sing a song, tell a story!

Any music you’re digging lately?
I like The Avalanches’ new album. And I’ve been listening to Joni Mitchell albums because I was choosing a cover for the tour, which I won’t reveal until the night!

Tim Freedman: Man About A Dog Tour 2021
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