Almanac Music: Not Quite Bob – The Non-Pensioners Edition

Not Quite Bob – The Non-Pensioners Edition – Charm of Finches, Woodland Hunters, Tracy McNeil, Raised By Eagles, Luke Sinclair Set, Pony Face, Teskey Bros


By gum (pronounced as though from Yorkshire, think Geoff Boycott) there are boatloads of great young musicians playing around Melbourne.  Many in NQB mode.  This lot certainly fit that bill.  And it’s time we had a look at, and listen to, artists that don’t have a Health Care card.




Charm of Finches


Sisters Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes are Charm of Finches, a sweet voiced duo hailing from the People’s Republic of Northcote (a nod to you JH).


Their debut album, Staring At The Starry Ceiling, was released in 2016 but their commercial (and critical I should say) breakthrough came late last year with Wonderful Oblivion.





And from that set, ‘Concentrate On Breathing’.





Influences?  Obvious I’d have thought, it’s the queen, Joni (to be considered soon when I get to the Hall of Famers).  Their version of ‘River’, released recently.





Which I hope foreshadows a dance through the J Mitchell songbook as a future project but for now – if they’re playing locally, go see them.






The Woodland Hunters


Despite the promise in the preamble these guys fall somewhere between pensioners and those with a HECS debt.  Melbourne locals, their music is self described as “a heady mix of influences from 60’s guitar wig-outs to swamp rock, 70’s jam bands to raw’n’dusty Americana.”  As with others, good enough for me.  Here on David Crosby’s ‘Almost Cut My Hair’.





They’ve released a handful of albums since their debut in 2011.  All available on Bandcamp, all worth checking out. Have a crack at 2019’s ‘The Thoughts of Chairman Jim’.





This is track 1, ‘Strange Days For A Presbyterian’ (a strong candidate for song title of that year) brought to you by the good folks at 3PBS.





On the swampy side of things, another great title in ‘Bad Voodoo At The Tiki Bar’.  From 2020’s mini, Pale Horse.







Tracy McNeil & the Good Life


Canadian born, Melbourne based, Tracy cites her influences as including Fleetwood Mac and Gram Parsons, links she shares with many others in this series..


Her first album was recorded in Canada and this track is typical of it’s stripped back solo approach.  ‘Queen of Hearts’.





Since settling in Australia she has recorded with her band, The Good Life, band members include her partner, guitarist and co-songwriter Dan Parsons.  They’ve recorded 4 albums with that outfit starting with Fire From Burning in 2011.


All 4 of these recordings are rippers.  From 2014’s Nobody Ever Leaves, ‘Wildcats’.





By 2020 Tracy and the band are in top form with You Be The Lightning.







Raised By Eagles


Contemporaries of Tracy McNeil as well as earlier NQBs in Liz Stringer and Van Walker, RBE are a great band of local Americana-influenced musos formed and starting recording in 2013 with a terrific self-titled debut.


I’ve included the bandcamp link as an encouragement towards purchase and because the link on Spotify features a different album cover from a later album.  Which confuses me.  As much nowadays does.  Alas.


The real album cover signals freedom and release and uplift.  That’s how they sound to me.


In the next one in 2015 they give us another great set of tunes in Diamonds In The Bloodstream.  From there and including material from all 3 albums there is this great set from 2018.





The most recent album is 2017’s I Must Be Somewhere.





I’ve seen them a few times and they’re great however a bit after the gig above their lead vocalist and songwriter Luke Sinclair formed the …




Luke Sinclair Set


Who recorded one of my favorites from last year in Heavy Dreams.





I guess we just stay tuned on the RBE front and enjoy more from Luke in any setting going forward.




Pony Face


I wanted to include Pony Face here so I could bang on about their incredible homage to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, itself a landmark in his fantastic career.  A bunch of beautiful mostly acoustic songs, much covered by others (the version of ‘State Trooper’ by the Blackeyed Susans is exceptional) is amongst the Boss’ best.  On this Pony Face brilliantly pay tribute.  Again I’m linking in their Bandcamp site for the same reasons above.


Go on.  Sling ‘em the $15, you know you want to.


Their most recent release of original material is 2018’s Déjà vu.







The Teskey Bros


Everybody loves The Teskey Bros.  I’m serious, everybody.  Formed in 2008 by brothers Josh and Sam with Warrandyte mates Brendon Love and Liam Gough, they’ve literally gone from strength to strength.


They’ve gone from local street shows and parties to the concert stages in the US via pubs, The Forum, the Music Bowl, Bluesfest, you name it.  They sound like Stax artists and Aussies all at the same time.  In 2017 they release Half Mile Harvest and soon after they’re doing a Tiny Desk style gig in LA with Crying Shame.





One of the commenters on that link remarks that they sound like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett all wrapped up and while I’m fairly sure Josh would shrink from that it’s hard not to note the similarity.


In the same year they’re headliners at Queenscliff and this is a whole set from there.





The next album is in 2019 with Run Home Slow.  I’d be surprised if I need to link it because I’m pretty sure you’d all have it but anyway …





A couple of live albums follow plus a great set Josh does with Ash Grunwald called Push The Blues Away.





Sam releases his own solo record and we wait for the next Brothers outing.


What have they got to do with Bob?  Not much really.  More Memphis, Tenn than Duluth, Minn but who cares?  I don’t.


I can’t leave them though without a repeat of a track I included on Australia Day in the piece I did on First Nations artists.


If this cover of an Archie Roach song by the Teskeys and Emma Donovan doesn’t get you in the feels then you’ll need to be checked for a pulse.





Get Back To The Land indeed.  Not a bad message for right now.




You can read more from Trevor Blainey HERE.



Read more stories from Almanac Music  HERE


If you would like to receive the Almanac Music and Poetry newsletter we will add you to the list. Please email us: [email protected]


To return to the  home page click HERE



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE






  1. Colin Ritchie says

    A selection of great Oz music Trev. Saw ‘Charm Of Finches’ playing on porch or in a doorway in Queenscliff a few years ago, mesmerising sound.

Leave a Comment