Busby Marou: Big hearts and beautiful beaches

If you’re on the hunt for something to lift your spirits on a winter’s Thursday night, look no further than Busby Marou at Fat Controller tonight.

Made up of Rockhampton natives Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou, the folk pop duo is fresh off the back of its first chart-topping album ‘Postcards from the Shell House’ and the boys are bringing us a fantastic set of music, old and new, to chase away the winter blues.

Marou says the number one spot was a huge surprise.

“We’re not one of the ‘top bands’, I suppose, and we were up against some big players,” he says humbly, “But when the mid-week results came in, we were number five and we thought we might be in with a bit of a chance.”

“We were still selling a lot of albums, and then we got the call from Warner …we thought we’d come in at number five or six, but they gave us the good news and we really enjoyed the partying that night.”

After suffering two consecutive cardiac arrests just a couple of short months ago, the 34-year-old has made an amazing recovery and says he’s ready to get back to doing what he loves.

“It really affected me, Tom and our manager; it affected the music… it’s a scary thought and unfortunately it can happen to anyone,” says Marou, “But we really enjoy being on the road, so it’s great to back with a new album.”

The duo’s ARIA #1 album emanates shades of Josh Pyke, Angus & Julia Stone and even Springsteen in some respects, but manages to bring forth a certain originality  – a certain unique honesty.

Marou says this record is more stripped back than their previous work.

“The last album had a real live sound—we recorded in Nashville because we really wanted to do it once, and to say we’ve done it,” he says, “But this was always going to be a more acoustic sound.

“It was mostly just Tom and I in the studio… and we thought, ‘let’s record everything individually and pull it all together and produce the sh*t out of it.

“I would really love to play in Holland, although the only thing about Amsterdam is the temptation to do bad, bad things is probably a little higher than other places. It’s like, ‘oh sh*t, I just had a heart attack and now I’m in Amsterdam!’”

Best known for his intricate work on the guitar and ukulele, Marou is a big advocate for the ‘keep it simple’ mantra – a quality which rings true throughout ‘Postcards from the Shell House’.

“We’re performing probably five or six songs off [the new album], and it’s tough to pick a favourite to play yet,” he says, “We’re really enjoying ‘Best Part of Me’ because people have connected to it and it’s getting some good airplay, but my favourite would probably be ‘Living in a Town’ because the song is so special to us.

“’Paint this Land’ is also really special to us because Tom and I see ourselves as ambassadors for reconciliation and that song has a few hidden messages in it.”

Recorded over the space of a month between Melbourne, Rockhampton and Great Keppel Island, the LP tells stories of nostalgia, growing up, and the ups and downs of life in a country town, as well as having elements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands influences.

Marou says there’s also a story behind the title of the album.

“The house itself has been there [on Great Keppel Island] for our lifetime, and before; the original owners were shell collectors,” says Marou, “More recently, though, some friends of ours actually bought it.

“We ended up doing quite a lot of the songwriting there, and it’s not just how the album got the name, but how it got the island vibe; it’s a beautiful spot and a really nice way to record.”

Jeremy and Tom pulled a couple of heavy hitters for the album, recruiting Evermore frontman Jon Hume to produce the album and John Mayer’s long-time guitarist David Ryan Harris for some six-stringed inspiration.

Marou says the ‘Postcards from the Shell House’ is like a good, faithful dog.

“It’d be the dog you take on your holiday, it’s your mate beside you while you’re having a beer on the beach with a fishing rod out,” he says, “It’d be a nice golden Labrador.”

The Busby Marou duo plans to conquer Europe in the next 12 months, health permitting…

“I would really love to play in Holland, although the only thing about Amsterdam is the temptation to do bad, bad things is probably a little higher than other places,” he laughs, “It’s like, ‘oh sh*t, I just had a heart attack and now I’m in Amsterdam!’”

Limited tickets for tonight’s show are still available so snap up a couple if you want to ward off winter, even for just one dreamy evening.

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