Mama Red & the Dark Blues will take listeners on a musical journey to Hades via Lost Love Canyon, Near Miss Alley and Shotgun Street – and bring them out feeling like they’ve ridden a thousand miles on a horse named Sorrow, but lived to tell the tale.
Mama Red & the Dark Blues is the brainchild of Perth writer / performer partnership Harry Deluxe and Melanie Bainbridge. With significant musical collaboration from some of Perth’s most creative instrumentalists, the band's new album, Wages of Sin, boasts some stellar compositions and works its way from a stripped back, emotionally raw a ‘Capella sound, to the uplifting resonance of a fifteen strong choir of Perth’s finest voices, directed by the incredible Libby Hammer.
Described as ‘Alt-Country-Pop with a hint of gospel’, but messing with genres, gender stereotypes and refusing to be stylistically confined, the band’s eclecticism and originality is part of their charm. They hark back to the earliest bawdy blues, sink into soulful R&B via the hallowed halls of country, grab a little gospel and then give a slightly ironic nod to modern pop – all within one hour and across one cleverly coherent album.
The Wages of Sin sings straight to the hearts of those who have wrestled with the wrong relationships, waded through self-doubt and addictions and who have come out the other end with grace, power and a universal story to share.
Having played swing, jazz and rockabilly favourites for audiences across Australia for over 20 years, lead vocalist Harry Deluxe is now transforming, developing, reinventing – bashing down the walls of the cover band box and bringing her original tunes and her authentic self to the stage.
A lead vocalist who can simply blow the speakers, with a posse of the State’s most talented musicians and some seriously sexy harmonies behind her – Mama Red & The Dark Blues deserve your undivided attention. And beware… if you don’t give it, you may have it taken from you by force.
Mama Red and The Dark Blues are: Harry Deluxe on lead vocals, Melanie Bainbridge - composer, lyricist and backing vocals, Al James – guitar, Gregory Brenton – drums and percussion, John Wilson – bass, Paul Gioia – piano / keys / organ and Therese Cruise – backing vocals.
"The arrangements were excellent whether they were originals or covers. Mama Red’s delivery covered gutsy blues to country to pop with a touch of gospel with ease.
The crowd left supremely satisfied, eagerly awaiting the chance to download songs soon and perhaps purchase a limited vinyl edition of Wages of Sin hopefully out by Christmas."
Claire Condry - Australian Stage
"The two hour launch dipped into all kinds of emotions and situations, and yes, the vocals only and torch songs were gutsy and brilliant, but I do love a ripping break up song and Come By Sunday is one of those songs you're still toe tapping to on the way home in the car."
Jay Crisp - Weekend Notes
"A tall, imposing figure with a fiery shock of hair, Mama rang the changes from harsh and strident to harmonious and tuneful in a pastiche ranging from the dark blues of the eponymous backing band to sweetness and light in duet with lyricist Melanie Bainbridge. It was a fun party night that exposed technique and timing with a touch of intrigue."
David Cusworth - The West Australian
HARRY DELUXE – lead vocals
Harry rather likes Kale. She even thinks it is perfectly reasonable to eat said green leafy vegetable in smoothies. She believes that you can make friends with salad. Harry has a tendency to knock things over and drop things – which is now, in her house at least – called ‘doing a Harry’. This does not accord with her partner’s belief that wine is sacred and should not be spilled (see Melanie Bainbridge). Harry sings because she can’t not. Music is medicine, therapy and solace for Harry. She loves to support local, original music – and can often be found in the audience at gigs, keeping music live and local. For more on Harry see https://www.facebook.com/Harry-Deluxe-181312035257962/
AL JAMES - guitar
Al does not enjoy hugs. He doesn’t even pretend to enjoy hugs. As a result, the people who love him most inflict them on him at alarmingly regular intervals. They are certain that over time he will come to enjoy them – or at least become somewhat desensitised. Al collects all manner of oddments and plants them in his garden. Currently he is growing several dolls heads, a few dismembered arms and a headless duck…thing… He also grows vegetables. Al is a guitarist who has blues riffs running through his veins… but he’ll jump on a double bass if the mood takes him. For more on Al see https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004284197092&fref=ts
GREG BRENTON – drums / percussion
Greg doesn't trust cafes that use the sippy cup style raised plastic teat lids. It’s usually a sign of awful coffee. He also doesn't trust cafes that serve coffee in brightly coloured mugs. If it ain't in a smallish white cup, then best to just leave it. Greg happily drinks instant coffee at home and is not a coffee snob, rather he just hates really bad coffee. He practices music incessantly and has an irrational fear of stopping in case he forgets how to music. Greg is frequently physically and emotionally moved by music, sometimes to tears or manic excitement. He usually prefers listening to music alone - see previous statement. For more on Greg see https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004284197092&fref=ts
PAUL GIOIA – piano / organ / keyboards
Paul shouts at the TV for therapy. He is borderline OCD and arrives at meetings on time. Paul took thirty years to perfect his gulab jamun recipe only to have it thrown out by a significant other. He possibly has the only mature salmon gum in a Perth backyard. Paul is undone by beautiful music. For more on Paul see http://www.paulgioia.com/
JOHN WILSON – electric & double bass
John is the most laid back man on the planet. He frequently goes bush and ‘gets lost’ in the wilderness to get some real down time. John loves a good hat. He has his casual Akubra, and his formal Akubra. They do look suspiciously similar. John has bass in his blood and is perhaps the only one of the Mama Red crew who doesn’t qualify as slightly obsessive or compulsive... but does qualify as a great balance for those of us who are...
THERESE CRUISE – backing vocals
Therese was discovered by Harry and Mel at karaoke while singing Def Leppard. She is a closet cosplayer. As in more than half her closet is actually cosplay. Therese's favourite beverage is Whiskey thanks to a liver damaging trip to Ireland. She can hold entire conversations with inanimate objects (including her car) and finds them to be quite good conversationalists. After almost 15 years in musical theatre Therese is now an expert quick change artist and can change an entire outfit in under 30 seconds. For more on Therese see https://www.facebook.com/aussiechicksinger?fref=ts
MELANIE BAINBRIDGE – lyrics / composition / backing vocals
Mel really, really, really doesn’t like Kale. Her motto is ‘thou shalt not eat weeds’. Mel believes that wine is a food group, taken best in liberal servings. She would rather spill blood than wine. Mel writes things. Lots of things. When she has spare time, she writes some other things. She hums incessantly – and often can’t tell she’s doing it. Mel thinks she is an awesome dancer… Facebook tells her otherwise… For more on Mel see https://www.facebook.com/melanie.bainbridge.568
KIERAN KENDERESSY – the super producer
Kieran has a Transylvanian heritage - but he loves garlic, so you don’t have to be worried about his canines. Kieran’s blood type is espresso but he is yet to try Black Blood of the Earth, like a true coffee addict would. He would rather be that guy who said “I read the book” rather than “Is that the one with Orlando Bloom in it?” Kieran’s world view has been influenced by too many Neil Gaiman comics and Dostoyevksy in equal measure. Kieran is a whisky snob who can no longer afford whisky older than he is. For more on Kieran see https://www.facebook.com/KieranKenderessy