Acclaimed indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and Melbourne rhythm combo The PutBacks bring you hard-hitting and heartfelt soul songs telling stories of grief, struggle and redemption. Their debut record Dawn is a gritty, uniquely Australian record, simultaneously classic and contemporary.
The songwriting is in turns optimistic, angry and melancholic, and on occasions bruisingly honest. The music is fluid, live and raw, recorded in one room on eight channels of analogue tape and the electric connection between Emma and the band comes through in every beat.
Emma grew up singing church songs with her maternal grandparents on the North coast of New South Wales. Her first secular gigs were singing in The Donovans, a band comprised of her mother and five uncles. With her mother, Emma sang country for years, and in her youth was a fixture at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, but she always yearned for the bluesier tones of her Father’s record collection, full of American artists like Laverne Baker and Etta James and Indigenous Australian artists like No Fixed Address and Archie Roach.
Years later, after touring and recording with many of the mainstays of Indigenous music and developing as a solo artist in her own right, Emma met members of The PutBacks, and finally she found a band with the gritty blues-soaked tones she had been looking for.