Brendan Gallagher has been writing and playing music for over twenty-five years. His talents extend beyond his main love, the guitar, and include piano, drums, percussion and bouzouki. He is best known as singer/songwriter/producer for Karma County.
Karma County was originally the name of Brendan's home studio - the ubiquitous spare room of his Bondi apartment. It was there that the first KC album ‘Last Stop Heavenly Heights’ took shape. It yielded the perennial favourite ‘Postcard’, which received extensive airplay on Triple J and ABC metro and regional radio.
In 1998, the second album ‘Olana’ was released to great acclaim and was Triple J’s Album Of The Week in April of that year. Songs like ‘Good Things Come To Me Now’, ‘Real World’, ‘On The Vine’ and more earned the album an ARIA nomination for Best Independent Release. The same year the band picked up the Best Independent Album award at the inaugural Music Critics Awards in Adelaide.
In 1996, by chance, Brendan stumbled upon a rare city performance of legendary Aboriginal performer Jimmy Little. Thus began a creative relationship that culminated in the release in June 1999 of the critically acclaimed and gold-selling album ‘Messenger’; a collection of seminal Australian compositions (Crowded House, Nick Cave, Ed Kuepper, the Church etc.). Produced, arranged and recorded by Brendan, Messenger went on to win Best Adult Contemporary Album at the 1999 ARIA awards and saw Jimmy inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Around the same time Brendan worked in his studio with former One Head Jet band mate Steve Appel on a bunch of songs that eventually found their way on to the debut King Curly album.
In September 1999 Brendan was asked by British producer Marius de Vries (Bjork, Neil Finn, Madonna) to play guitar on his re-mix of David Bowie’s ‘Survive’. The song, from Bowie’s ‘Hours’ album, was released as a single in Europe, USA and UK in January 2000. He has played on recordings for artists like Kylie Minogue, King Curly, Jackson Code, David McCormack, Stella One Eleven et al.
KC’s third album ‘Into The Land Of Promise’ went on to win Best Adult Contemporary Album at the 2000 ARIAs, making it two in a row for Brendan as producer. After touring through Europe, UK and North America the band returned to Australia to record their fourth album ‘Happy Birthday Dear Customer’ which was released in August 2001.
Around the same time Brendan recorded and produced a 4-track EP for up-and-coming singer/songwriter Lyall Adonis. In November 2001 Brendan recorded and produced the debut album ‘Inside The Universe’ for Aboriginal elder LJ Hill.
After 3 tours supporting the release of HBDC and 6 years on the road, Karma County decided to have 2002 off, which gave Brendan time to concentrate on producing and songwriting and the occasional solo tour. April-July saw him record and produce the much anticipated debut album for Lyall Adonis and the release of a revised edition of Brendan’s ‘Open Tuning Chord Book For Guitar’, which was originally published in 1995. The book has found its way into the guitar cases of artists like David Bowie, Ry Cooder, Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, Paul Kelly, You Am I’s Tim Rogers, Jimmy Barnes and others. A brief promotional tour boasted special duo performances with Grant McLennan (Go-Betweens) in Brisbane and Shane O’Mara in Melbourne. And he squeezed in some guest guitar work on the Polaroid’s album ‘Candy’, former Custard frontman David McCormack’s new band.
In the last 12 months Brendan has composed and produced music for two ABC TV documentaries by filmmaker Jennifer Crone (Southern Exposure and Dreamlife) and a short film, Mimi, by Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton and producer Rachel Perkins. He is also working on the score for the documentary feature Jimmy Little’s Gentle Journey.
Brendan is currently working on his debut solo album and is working with Jimmy Little on a special gospel album sequel to Messenger for release on Festival/Mushroom Records in 2004.